Hitting The Mark

Hitting The Mark

Conversations with founders and investors about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success with your host, brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter.

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Fabian

Ep014 – Sam Mazzeo, Co-Founder, Wilkmazz

Strategic Clarity + Verbal Clarity

Fabian chats with Sam Mazzeo who runs a law office in San Diego together with his partner that they built into a brand that goes against the grain. His firm’s brand is built on boldness in an industry that is known for blandness. Wilkmazz’s client area is subtly titled ‘Lawyer’s Shit.’ Sam talks about the pros and cons of creating a bold brand and why one needs to keep re-branding over and over again in order to remain authentic.

Notes

I sit down with my lawyer (indeed!), who has not been my lawyer before I invited him onto my show. I came across their site, wilkmazz.com, after hearing Sam speak in an interview and it took me only a few split seconds to know that I have to get him onto this podcast. I believe in a brand being authentic, and direct, and as simple as being bold sounds, it takes a special personality and lots of guts to actually pull it off and to pull it off successfully, and the partners at this San Diego law firm sure pulled it off.

Sam and I talk about why they have a bold and authentic brand, how it helps and where it hurts.

An episode that any bold entrepreneur and marketer should dive into and learn from when they need a good kick in their behind to take some bold moves.

To connect with Sam, hit him up at holler@wilkmazz.com or visit the ever so intriguing ‘anti-law-office’ law office brand at wilkmazz.com

____Full Transcript:

F Geyrhalter: Welcome to episode number 14 of Hitting The Mark. It’s still such a baby, 14 only. It’s crazy, but today we dive into how one can craft a brand that stands out within an entire industry, simply by being bold. Those of you who follow me closely know how much I believe in a brand being authentic, and direct, and as simple as being bold sounds, it takes a special personality and lots of guts to actually pull it off and to pull it off successfully. Today I talk with Sam Mazzeo, who is co-founder and partner of the law firm Wilkmazz in San Diego. I learned about his firm while I was doing research for an interview I had coming up on Fabio Palvelli’s show, and I stumbled upon Sam who was on that program right before me. He talked refreshingly direct about law for visual artists, so I glanced at his firm’s website for about 10 seconds and I knew that I had to have this guy on my show. Sam got his start in litigation before diving into the social impact world as legal counsel at Invisible Children, after the organization released the most viral video in history. That’s a big claim, but if I tell you what it was, you will agree it was KONY 2012, which is quite amazing. He currently spends his time sending gifs and not jifs, which is very important to him, to clients in between filing trademarks and drafting contracts. He has also served on some legit local boards like TEDx San Diego and Think Dignity. Fun fact, he learned to do a standing back flip for a Teen Wolf costume. And in the few weeks that I have now corresponded with him, I can attest to the gif sending habit, but have not witnessed the Teen Wolf back flip yet. With that being said, welcome to the show, Sam.

S Mazzeo: Thank you. Yes, I’m glad to be here. Excited to talk about our brand and all the things that that means.

F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. So first off, when I saw your site, which I mentioned, I was just immediately in awe of what you did from a branding side, which we will dive into shortly. But rather important to mention, and in full transparency to our listeners, in the few weeks from when I booked you on the show to today, I actually ended up hiring you to review a massive contract of ours. Which not only speaks volumes about how branding actually leads to sales, but further you were reviewing my contract verbally. So via dictation or voice, since you had a really bad cooking accident on Mother’s Day, I learned, and you were not able to use your right hand. Still are not able to use your right hand. And that speaks volumes about you as a person, and how much you actually care about your clients. So how are you recovering from a peculiar accident in the kitchen that most probably completely disrupted your own brand for a little while?

S Mazzeo: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I appreciate you checking in on that. It’s definitely been an adjustment. And I think that, you know, one of the things that our brand does is hopefully demonstrates who we are. Because I think at the end of the day, one of the things that we’ll touch on is transparency. And so in that same vein, you know, as soon as this accident happened, I had a short sort of debate in my own head about whether or not to let people know that this has happened. Because we’re a small team, we’re a team of three lawyers, and if one person has the loss of the ability to use one of their hands, I could see where that would go a long way to maybe degrade the confidence in our firm, and our work, that our clients may have and that our partners may have. And so I went back and forth a little bit, but like I said, it was a short debate because at the end of the day, you know, that transparency is going to be the one of the most important things to us and to our clients. So I want them to know what’s going on, both from the perspective of, I care about my clients as people, as humans, as friends. And I think a lot of them do the same for me and for my staff. So beyond just notifying them for that reason, I thought it was also important to let them know that, you know, maybe there will be a few less gifs, and maybe there will be some oddly capitalized text in my emails because I’m using voice to text. And so it’s definitely been an adjustment. You know, I think I’d be lying if I said Game of Thrones that night didn’t influence my use of the knife in the kitchen that day, and so maybe I can blame it on that and HBO, but I’m doing well.

F Geyrhalter: Well, needless to say, I’m sure you’re unsubscribed from HBO now like everyone else.

S Mazzeo: Right.

F Geyrhalter: Well, I mean look, I think that the way that you handled that, and I was actually part of that, because at that point I was already a client of yours, well last week, right? It is so true that people don’t hire the brand they fall in love with what you say and how you say it as a brand, but then to get to know you and in the end they deal with you, and people like you, otherwise they wouldn’t work with you. Right? I mean, that’s just the truth. That’s how it works. People have a lot of empathy, especially when you portray your brand in such a transparent and authentic manner. I mean, on your site, you greet visitors with the line, and I love that, “We’re just like you, but lawyers.” And once you actually dive into the site, you see an area called a lawyer’s shit, which is an assortment of visual notes. Many of them are gift. And now that I started working with you, my client dashboard has the same name. So when I get to look, and the audience has to realize, you know like how this is so different? When I get to look at mundane yet super critical contracts that you send me, you actually push me into an area called lawyer shit. So under lawyer shit, I see my contracts and you further explain on your site that we think anyone taking a , and doing something different, deserves bitching lawyers. While I feel that you yourself are doing something quite different, how did this all start and like how was that bold language being crafted?

S Mazzeo: Yes, great question. So yes, in a real quick plug for our own services, is that legal locker is what you’re referring to. It’s something that we give to all of our clients that houses all of their legal documentation, and it does have a big banner that says lawyer shit at the top. And you know, I think I will get around to answering your question. But the lawyer shit thing is so interesting because, you know, it was one of those things where we went back and forth throughout the branding process. And I think, you know, there comes a point where you have to make a decision, and you touched on it a little bit in the intro, but you have to make a decision on whether or not you are going to go for it, and whether or not you are going to be bold. Because you can continue to sort of toe the line and the status quo is always going to be a very non-offensive, very non bold, it doesn’t jump out at you type of website for a law firm and for lawyers. And I think that, that serves the purpose by and large for what lawyers mostly need. Frankly, I want to also recognize and acknowledge that as a transactional corporate attorney, that helps artists, and nonprofits, and businesses, and startups, that we’re in a unique sort of field. Because if we were criminal law, or family law, you know, we can’t have a fun website to the degree that we can with the work that we do. The other funny thing about the lawyer shit piece is that I’ve had conversations with other attorneys that are more of the traditional approach to the brand, and to the style of the practice of law. And they’ve told me flat out that other lawyers have seen that, and we’re known as the lawyer shit guys, and that it’s totally unprofessional and inappropriate. And so I think that I had two reactions when I heard that. One is, “Oh, I kind of wondered what some of the bigger law firms thought of this.” And two, “I don’t really give a shit if they don’t like it.”

F Geyrhalter: Well, may I add three to this? It actually showed you that it works, right? I mean if you get negative response from the ones that you want to stand apart from, it’s the best flattery. I mean, then you’re like, okay, perfect, this is great, because if people start talking about us within the industry that we’re different, and we want to be different for our creative clients. Perfect, right?

S Mazzeo: Yes, haters are going to hate.

F Geyrhalter: Absolutely, absolutely, and they have a good reason. They have a good reason, right? It’s threatening, it’s insecurity. It’s like, oh wow, they’re bold and we’re not. So obviously we’re not going to like that. But you know, obviously, so you wanted from the get go be a no BS type of law firm, right? Which now ended up looking like a cool brand, more so than a law office, which is awesome for your creative clients, because they themselves surround themselves constantly with cool brands. So you fit right into their life. But how much of that was actually driven by your, and your co founders, personalities versus deeply connecting it and understanding that creative target audience? I mean, how did you know or decide that going that bold would end up winning you even geezer clients, like myself? Most others would be so afraid to take that step.

S Mazzeo: Yes, well, I think we realized at one point, because we had a different brand before the brand that you see now, and it was a little bit more of the traditional approach, but it was still also younger and sort of a little bit more cooler, hipper, what have you. And so with this brand, you know, we weren’t sure necessarily that it was going to resonate with people, but we spent probably … I mean look, it was definitely longer than we planned on it being, and originally the rebrand was only intended to be an update to our website, and that other brand that we had. And then at some point along the way, and I do have to give a lot of credit to my business partner and co-founder Emily, because she at one point in time said, “Look, I want this to be fucking art.” You know, at the time I think I was like, well that seems a little over the top. But I think as we sort of progress throughout the process, and we really brought together a team of individuals that were going to help with this. And you know, one of them, his name is Justin Power, he is in LA, he’s a creative wizard. He had a sit down so many times and really just do sort of like brand identity brainstorming. And really to your point as to some of the topics we’ll talk about, it really is more about who we are, who we need to be for our clients, and really what we are putting out there. Because at the end of the day, I think the epitome of a good brand is that it is a representation of the people behind it, and not one that’s contrived, and not one that’s inauthentic. It has to actually be you. Because with lawyers in particular there’s so many stigmas and there’s so many good reasons for there to be stigmas. And so we realized that people want to work with us because they might want to get a beer with us, or go get coffee with us. And so at the end of the day, you know, there’s a ton of lawyers out there, and there’s certainly no shortage of lawyers that reach out, and you know, try to get business if you meet them at an event or what have you. And so for us it’s a lot about, do we get along with who we’d be working with? Because another thing that I say all the time is, you know, work is work. Do I enjoy every contract that I draft? Do I enjoy advising on the same type of contractual language four to eight times a week? Maybe, maybe not. But do I enjoy who I work with and that they’re trying to change the world and that they’re doing awesome things? Yes, that I do enjoy. And so I think your brand has to represent who you are, because then it brings who you want to work with.

F Geyrhalter: I absolutely agree with you. I absolutely agree with you. And when we ourselves actually as a brand consult, and we are currently going back to that, and actually constantly refreshing that too, of like who are we really? And how do we want to live our days? Right? Because in the end, you know that’s how you spend most of your life. Doing what could be considered work, but it doesn’t have to be considered work if you actually enjoy the people that you surround yourself with. I totally agree with that and on your about page which you titled Letter, you write the following and I will absolutely a hundred percent read this verbatim right now, because it is just brand language poetry, and it was so good to hear that you spent a lot of time actually massaging that because it definitely shows. So here’s how it goes. “This is that page of the website you always skip. It’s a love letter to the anonymous many who mainly avoid having lawyers as friends. If you’re being honest, then we have to say that we never originally intended on being lawyers. It turns out that we love it. It turns out that being one is about empowerment more than anything. Money doesn’t tell you how to be a person. Red Tape doesn’t define a business. We’re here frankly to be your shit umbrella so you can do your actual work with joy, leave the paperwork, and processes, and awkward, stressful, tense emails to us. You have unexpected places to take your crusade or enterprise. The future is always abstract, but your vision isn’t. One creative human needs friends to make a vision real. It turns out you need creative lawyers too. The point is we love you, we hear you, and we want to help you. Signed, just a couple of lawyers with hearts on our sleeves.” So what I’m wondering, so it’s real, it’s really, really beautiful, right? Like on many levels, and what you just said is totally embodied in this. But what I’m really interested in is how did this narrative that you crafted change client behavior? Because you know, I’m wondering, are people opening up? Are they being more authentic in return? Is there a client lawyer wall that you have successfully smashed solely because of the way you present your brand?

S Mazzeo: Yes, I think, you know, first and foremost, I want to say, and I think this is probably true of any creative process. It takes, like I said, a team. It takes a village, and we had an incredible writer and editor that helped us with our site. Her name is Amy Boyd and I won’t take away from that Letter though because Emily spent a lot of time just with morning pages, and writing in the morning, and she kind of came up with this beautiful sort of outline of what we’re doing. And I think that, you know, through the process of having Amy help, and then also the various different brand meetings, we really sort of honed in on that ultimate copy that made it onto the website. And it is beautiful, and it’s so representative, but it’s also interesting because as your business and as you change, your brand has to, and so we’re already looking at how we might want to update that to sort of highlight more of the education that we do now and so on. But to answer your question, yes, I think, it’s a gift and a curse sometimes because I do think that we have much more transparent and authentic conversations with our clients. We certainly feel that we’re much more on the same page with our clients. And I think that they feel that probably even more so than we do. You know, at the end of the day, we know what we’re doing for our clients and we have our processes and our systems. And I think so the differences with them, if there’s a wall that got smashed down, it’s for the client. They really feel now like when they sit and they speak with us, or when they’re talking to on the phone, that it’s not this lawyer up here on this pedestal talking down to them, the common folk that need the lawyer’s help. It’s we’re peers, and we’re friends, and we want to help you out because we care about what you’re doing. So I do think that that happened and I think though that going back to the gift and the curse aspect of it, there is something that comes with our brand. And with that sort of informality that we also have to make sure that everything we do is so buttoned up, and is so pristine, and that we are so responsive. Because if we portray a brand of these casual, fun lawyers and then we screw something up, and not to say that that’s something that happens, but you know, if we’re a little late on a response, it be .. you know, if we have a typo in a document, or whatever the case may be, it’s really easy then for that client to go, “Oh well they’re just fun lawyers. They’re not good lawyers.” And so it really is a double edged sword. And I, and I cringe using that analogy with my hand injury right now.

F Geyrhalter: Oh God, yes.

S Mazzeo: But it is because, you know, we have to make sure that everything we do is to the utmost level of service in order to make sure that that brand comes across as what I described before. Friendly, approachable, transparent, on the same page. Because, you know, if we do anything subpar, it’s sort of, it’s highlighted, it’s emphasized, it’s multiplied. And so I do think that our clients do feel like that wall has been sort of taken down, but at the same time it can go right back up really quickly if we’re not on top of it.

F Geyrhalter: Yes, you’re absolutely right. I mean, you’re fully aware of the danger that comes with it. But you know, quite frankly, being bold, and being authentic, and being you, and being a friend brand in that sense. And I hate saying it that way, but that’s what it is, right? Completely hundred percent wins over the risk, and I can attest to that because I have been going through the exact emotions that you’re sharing now. So when I saw your brand, I’m like, I gotta have this guy on my podcast. And then I ran into issues with a contract, I needed it really quickly, I reached out to you, and I was wondering, I’m like, Well, is that just a cool for facade? Is it just a cool brand? And are these just kids that are just, you know, like fun? Are they actually like serious lawyers? So it is the exact same hesitation that I have, but it’s still a hundred percent won over. The transparency, the boldness, I’m like, I want to work with these guys. Like it makes sense to me. And then of course you totally, I’m not going to make metaphors like, you know, pulled an arm or like, you know. But you just came, you just totally delivered. And so that’s, that’s what it’s about. But I believe that someone who would be afraid if they would be able to deliver, they would just hide on their regular law firm website and content. You know what I mean? Like they would just look like everyone else. So I think that there’s something about being so bold that makes me realize, well these people know what they’re doing, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to pull that off. So question to you, Legal Unicorn. It’s an attorney network that I think you helped build? How did that come about? And how do the Wilkmazz and Legal Unicorn brands interact?

S Mazzeo: Yes, I’ll start with the Legal Unicorn Society is kind of a passion project, and I think it’s also a really necessary addition to professional services. Generally speaking, not just the legal industry. And look, I would be lying if I said we’re full steam ahead with the Legal Unicorn Society because it’s been difficult to do that, and, you know, because we’ve got to run the law firm. I do a lot of local advocacy work through another nonprofit that I helped found. And then with Legal Unicorn Society we did, we actually filed all the nonprofit paperwork for it. We co-founded it with a number of other lawyers. And the reason that I say it’s such a necessary thing for professional services, is that what ends up happening I think, and especially nowadays, is that the trend at least is toward smaller mom and pop, for lack of a more modern term for a small business that that cares and is kind of family values. That’s kind of where we’re going with most of the what we call the millennial generation. But I think that spans a good segment of our workforce nowadays. And so it’s people that do several different things, or they have their own small business while they do other jobs. And so I think that in doing that, one thing that is lost, is that with giant law firms, and if you go to a giant law firm, you need help with A, B, and C, they can also do X, Y, and Z. Because they’re a gigantic law firm with a million lawyers. And so we don’t have that. And so one of the reasons that this sort of came about was we needed to have that sort of big law firm feel, while still maintaining small law firm prices and that small law firm approach to the service for our clients. And so we just started to realize that there were a couple other law firms out there that were doing it like we’re doing it. And I think that, you know, traditionally you’re going to hear someone say, “Oh no, there’s a competitive brand out there.” And frankly I could give no shits less about there being competitors that look and brand themselves, and treat their clients the way that we do. As a matter of fact, I think that that’s the way I’d love to see the industry go. And we have interns every semester because we want to show the younger generations of lawyers that you can do it this way, and that you can have fun doing it. And so when we found these other brands that were doing it in a fun way, there’s Framework Law in LA, there’s Kyle Westaway in New York, there’s a few of them out there. And we just wanted to make sure that we maintain a network with these other law firms because A, we can all learn from each other. B, we can all share clients if we have different expertise, and C, like we don’t … we can’t walk down the hallway and talk to another attorney in our big law office and go, “Hey, am I crazy?” Or like, “What have you seen on this type of thing?” And so we have that now with the Legal Unicorn Society and there’s other benefits that we hope to achieve as far as like discounts on group rates for different professional services. And we want to do retreats and we did an event in Venice last year that we called the Legal Unicorn Academy, where we did a day long event teaching people about finance, legal, wellness. You know, we had meditation, we had branding consultants come in and we did the whole deal. And so we really just formed that nonprofit to, I guess, add more value both to our profession, but also to the people we serve.

F Geyrhalter: Very, very, cool initiative. And it makes so much sense, everything you said. It’s again, it’s part of the defense mechanism that, kind of like, you know, like it’s being triggered where you’re small, you’re doing something different, you’re going against the grain, who else is doing this? It’s kind of like, let’s all join forces, so that we’re bigger, right? That we can actually utilize each other and the strengths of each other. It’s great. So with that being said, you’re very much like myself. You’re a serial entrepreneur, you know, you have ideas, you want to push them out. You want to actually create businesses, like Legal Unicorn Society, which as you said, there’s already enough on your plate and why do you do it? Well, you just have that urge. And that’s why I love having people like you on, because this show is definitely for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. But what was a ginormous brand fail that you went through? Like things go wrong. And with your brand specifically, I’m wondering, did you ever overstep it? Or was there something where you just felt like, now we should just take a step back?

S Mazzeo: Yes, you know, I had seen that question when you had sent it over in advance, and I was trying to think through. I certainly don’t want to act like there hasn’t been any fails in my professional career. And I think if I had to point to a sort of a brand fail for us, you know I would have to probably say that right now the brand that we have doesn’t highlight a couple of things well enough. And it obviously like overall our brand is a total smashing success and I’m very thankful for that. But I do think that if I pointed to … the things that come to mind are, it took us forever to get it out and we actually, the update to the website that we originally going to do, that then sort of morphed into a rebrand, was to get our associate attorney at the time on the website and he ended up leaving before we even got the rebrand done. I would say that’s a peripheral brand fail. Then I would say also that I really don’t feel like … and I get mixed feedback when I say this, but I don’t know if I feel like my … the brand currently demonstrates enough how much we care about our clients and that we really, really, feel as though our value is that we educate our clients along the way. You know, I really have come to the conclusion that the way we represent our clients is that we help them usually at an early stage with everything that they need to get set up for the short and long term. And in doing so, we really educate them on all of those steps. At least I hope that this is the case. And in doing so, they may not need us, you know, anytime soon or again at all, and that’s totally fine. We just want them to tell a friend, so we can help that friend in that same position. I think that our website could do a better job of highlighting that educational component, and that empowerment component. And I do think that just from … there’s too many pictures of my face, and my business partners face on this website. That’s the other thing that I think would be a slight fail, is that I’d love to highlight and lift up our clients a little bit more, and our staff a little bit more.

F Geyrhalter: That makes a whole lot of sense. It’s not necessarily a fail, but I love that story. Because it was a little bit out of your control, most probably when you did the rebrand for one reason and then it ended up actually for a different reason. But I mean I’m so glad that you did, because that’s how I found you and I think it is so noble the way that you approach this. When I do my workshops with my clients, it’s those notorious eight hour workshops where I like pull the company out of them. Like help them create a brand and define who they are. And one of the things that we do is a memorial speech and so it’s basically sitting down if like, okay, 20, 30 years from now, 50, 60 years from now, what would you tell an audience if you’re brand doesn’t exist anymore? And why does it not exist anymore? And what are they actually missing? And what happens very often these days is that clients say exactly what you just said where, well, I hope we’re just not necessary anymore. I hope that in 40 years from now everyone’s going to have learned so much from us, that don’t need us anymore. Or that everything is just honest, or law is just changing, or whatever. So I think that that idea that you actually want to educate your clients rather than, you know, dictate onto them what they need to forward to their clients to get a contract signed, is a huge, huge, brand trait. And I totally agree, we feel like celebrating that on your website and celebrating your clients. You know, obviously mainly myself I think would be a noble thing for you to do.

S Mazzeo: Well brands have to change, you know, sooner or later I think you refer to yourself as a geezer earlier on on this call, which you’re way too young to be doing that. But sooner or later, you know, myself and my staff and we’re going to be geezers too. And the website won’t be cool with, if you know, it looks like it’s a young hip website with a bunch of old people in the photos. And so, you know, brands and things change. And so, I think every brand has a shelf life, and that’s something that we all have to acknowledge and be aware of too, because then it becomes inauthentic if we just leave it, and set it, and forget it.

F Geyrhalter: Absolutely right, absolutely right. And that’s why most of the people that I speak to on this podcast, they do say that. They say that every year we meet and we look at our brand, and we say, is this still us? Does this still represent us? And it’s such an important exercise to do, especially also for brand agencies. Like people like me who do that everyday with others, but it’s so hard to do it for yourself. So it’s a super important lesson to learn. Is there any brand advice that you have for founders as a take away?

S Mazzeo: You know, I think it’s really important when it’s founders plural, just period, kind of hard stop there because I think that you always have to have a balance. And I do think that this brand would not be nearly as impactful, and nearly as bold if it wasn’t for Emily. And I think that we probably would have went too far over the top in some areas if it wasn’t for me. And so I think that it’s super important to make sure that you have that balance amongst founders. And I think that most successful businesses that is part of what makes them successful, is that you have that counterbalance of the personalities that run the business. And so, I think at the end of the day that’s probably what steered us in the direction that we went. And a lot of the time, I was blown away by the creativity that I saw coming from the team that we put together and coming from Emily. But then there were other times where I would have to say, “Look, I know for a fact that that will not be helpful for us in certain situations that we deal with for our clients.” And so there’s that competing interest of course, of making sure that the website represents us, but then also making sure that it doesn’t hurt our clients when we’re doing work for them and we’re supporting them. Because one thing to this day that I still have to tell my clients is, “Look, if you need us to send a demand letter, or a cease and desist letter, and someone looks us up, we’re not the scariest law firm out there. So you may actually want to work with a different firm for something like that.”

F Geyrhalter: Interesting, and that’s where you have your Legal Unicorn Society where you might be able to reach out to them, or then they refer you to someone who looks really, like big and lean, big and mean.

S Mazzeo: Totally.

F Geyrhalter: And I think most probably with your continuous rebranding, there’s always a way to kind of like balance one and the other. Besides a whole lot, what does branding mean to you? I know it means a whole lot to you, but what, to you and to your firm and what you’ve been going through in the last months or years, what does it mean to you? How important is it to you?

S Mazzeo: I mean, it’s one of the most important things, but then also at the same time, as I said, that I wanted to sort of catch myself because the most important thing is the work that we do. And the service that we provide. But I think that you can look at brands as the storefront nowadays. And so you think to the past, and you think about businesses, and how tremendously important that sign out front is and what the windows look like, how nice the store looks and is kept up. And so nowadays that’s our storefront, is our brand. So depending on the day you catch me and you talk to me, some days I’m going to say it’s the most important thing because look, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now doing this. You know, you wouldn’t have hired me last week to work on something for you had we not had a beautiful storefront on the internet. But on another day, you might talk to me and I might say, “Look, it’s the icing on the cake. If someone hears about the work we did for someone else, and that person was thrilled and that’s why they recommended us, then the website is just the cherry on top.” It’s the icing on the cake when they go and they say, “Oh, I heard good things about them and oh shit, their website’s really cool too.” So I think, you know, maybe this is a non answer cause I’m saying it’s both tremendously important and also not important at all. But I think that somewhere in between is the truth. And I think that you can’t do business nowadays without some kind of brand. Whether or not that means that there’s a visual presence, or just that’s your personal brand and how you interact with people. So I think it really depends on which way you look at it too. Because you know, sometimes I think about how there’s a lot of lawyers that just do their work through word of mouth referral and they don’t even have a website. And that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a brand. I’m sure if you talk to people, and you talk about how that lawyer interacts with their clients, you know, they must be doing something right in order to not even need that storefront. And so they have a brand too, and it’s just a more interpersonal brand. And so I really think that depending on any way you break it down, brands are tremendously important nowadays. And even more so, I’m going to put the lawyer hat on for a second, because with the way intellectual property is nowadays and how much harder it’s getting to protect your own trademarks, and your own brand, and it’s so much more important to have a brand because the market’s crowded. And so it’s just a difficult thing to have and protect in and of itself.

F Geyrhalter: I’m so glad that you touched on that. Super, super important and we feel that every day as we file for trademarks, and as we create brands here, it is getting more and more difficult by the minute. Listeners who fell in love with, may I say it, a law firm just now, where can they connect with you?

S Mazzeo: Yes, so you can find us online at Wilkmazz.com. Same going to be for the social media handles. It’s going to be Wilkmazz, W-I-L-K-M-A-Z-Z. And then also if you want to just shoot us an email, whether you need help, or you just want to give us a shout. We love to meet new people. It’s holler@wilkmazz.com. You know, traditional spelling of holler when you want to holler at someone, and then Wilkmazz as I spelled. So those are some of the easiest ways to reach out to us. You know, it’s 2019 if you send us a Facebook message, or social media message, just, yes email. If you reach out through the website portal, we’re going to get it and get back to you pretty quickly. That’s definitely something that we find to be tremendously important. Like I mentioned at the earlier part, is responsiveness. So yes, feel free to reach out just if you want to say hi. We love meeting other cool brands too.

F Geyrhalter: I can attest to the responsiveness. Thank you, Sam, for having been my guest and for sharing what you do, how you do it, and most importantly, the authentic manner in which you do it with my listeners. That was absolutely bitching to use your well-crafted brand copy.

S Mazzeo: Thank you. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to speak with you, and hopefully everyone that hears this learns that, hey, you don’t have to do it the way that, whatever it is you do, whatever profession, you don’t have to do it that old, traditional way. You can do it whichever way you want and you can be you doing it.

F Geyrhalter: Amen. And thank you all for listening, and even more for rating my show since I am sure that is exactly what you will be doing right this minute. This podcast is brought to you by absolutely no sponsor because I have not had a chance to create an official sponsorship program, or to ask for sponsorship. So if you’re interested, reach out. You know where to find me. The Hitting The Mark theme music was written and produced by Happiness Won. I will see you next time when we, once again, we’ll be hitting the mark.


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