Creating a Brand and How That Translates Into Profit

Creating a Brand and Turning it into Profit

Rich Malachy: The pandemic tried to slow us down and quiet us. Industry thought-leaders like Josh and I never stopped connecting, because we believe in the power of digital to grow our brands and ultimately, our business. I’m Rich Malachy, CEO, Malachy Parts and Service, founder, FEDD group, and an advocate for all of you. The food equipment service industry has evolved, but its digital presence as a whole has lagged behind. For the last four years, I’ve been putting out massive amounts of content consistently that has paid off in sales and relationships, that has created opportunities I never knew existed—kind of how I’m here today, to speak on this stage.

Josh Zolin: According to our influences growing up, Rich and I are not supposed to be here. We were not supposed to have found success in the skilled trades. We were not supposed to be advocating for the industry. And we were not supposed to be up, on this stage talking to you about it, yet, here we are. I’m Josh Zolin, the CEO of Windy City Equipment, author of Blue is the New White, podcast host, and challenger of what used to be. I got here first by putting in the work, then by showcasing that work across digital platforms and social media outlets, and then reaping the benefits in the form of growth, expansion, profits, and relationships. Listen, we all know the only true constant in this world is change, and our only hope is to adapt. And today, for the first time ever, Rich and I come together on stage to give you the blueprint of our success. So, pay attention, your future, and the future of our beautiful industry might just depend on you.

Rich Malachy: So, first time we are on stage together. 

Josh Zolin: First time, can you believe it? You guys have seen us everywhere online, probably, but just never on the stage. So, a little context here. You all know that Rich is in Jersey, I’m here in Phoenix, and when Heather asked us to speak on stage together, we said, “Absolutely, no problem.” I didn’t even think about it. And then we realized that we really couldn’t rehearse because we’re on opposite ends of the country. So, I’ve given that disclaimer to a couple of you already today that have come up and said, “Hey, have a great talk. I can’t wait to see you speak.” But it is absolutely the truth, we got a chance to rehearse, one time yesterday. So, everything you’re going to hear today is straight from the heart, shot from the hip, from the gut, whatever happens, happens. 

Rich Malachy: Yeah, I forget everything we said yesterday. 

Josh Zolin: Oh God, we don’t remember a word of it. 

Rich Malachy: We joke how we come up here, we blacked out, and then someone has to tell us what we said. So, ready to blackout?

Josh Zolin: Let’s, blackout man. So, what’s the point? Why are we here? Why did Heather ask us to come talk to you guys today about digital marketing? Why is it so important? Well, listen, three years ago, I used to say that digital marketing was the future of marketing. That was three years ago, guys. Now, it’s today. It’s now, it’s right now. So, that’s the main point. But the beautiful thing about it is that everybody’s point is a little bit different. Rich is going to talk about some things today. I’m going to talk about some things today, but ultimately, you’re going to have to find what works best for you. We’re going to start with the obvious. Marketing has always been about exposure. How many eyeballs can you get on your business? How many? And where are they? Yellow Pages?

Rich Malachy: 1981.

Josh Zolin: Magazines? 

Rich Malachy: 99. 

Josh Zolin: Billboards? 

Rich Malachy: Before we were born. I was looking at billboards, like 1970 something.

Josh Zolin: It’s online, right? It’s the internet, that’s where you have the most eyeballs. And not only is it the most eyeballs, but it’s one that you can control. It’s the ones that you can target. This is no longer the future; this is now and the point is to expose your business. And that also leads to reputation. Everybody here is proud of what they do, come on tell me how proud you are. You’re all proud. That’s why you’re here. That’s why we’re all here. And social media and digital marketing is a way to showcase that. It’s a way to strengthen that reputation. It’s a way to say to the world we’re good at what we do, come see.

Rich Malachy: That’s what branding is, branding is reputation. What we put out into the digital world is us. It’s led us to this stage, it led us to opportunities we didn’t know exist. And we have the obligation to the industry, to our companies to keep that reputation in good standing. If you’re not online, in the trenches, putting up the video, engaging, putting up the content, you’re not part of the conversation and you can’t change the narrative, it’s being written for you.

Josh Zolin: That is a good way to put it, Rich, we didn’t rehearse that at all.

Rich Malachy: No, I don’t know where that came from.

Josh Zolin: So, what happens when you strengthen your reputation? For those of you in here that don’t know, which I’m sure most of you do, you also strengthen something else. You also strengthen your valuation. Because the value of your business is not just based on your profit. It’s based on your reputation. It’s based on how many people actually enjoy picking up the phone and calling you, or seeing your content—in our case. So, it’s very interesting, what one point as far as a multiple of EBITDA can do for your business, you’re talking thousands, if not millions of dollars, by the time you’re ready for an exit. And social media and digital marketing is a surefire way to do that. The obvious thing, sales, how can this translate into sales? Profit? I want to take a poll here and see how many people think yes, over the last four years, how much of my company revenue I can attribute to one platform, LinkedIn. Do we have any guesses? Four dollars on the nose, right there. 

Seven million dollars just from LinkedIn alone. This is not YouTube. This is not Instagram. It’s not Facebook, this not Tik Tok, this is not any other platform, this is just LinkedIn. So, if that doesn’t tell you the power of what we’re about to talk about today, I don’t know what will. So, I don’t know if I should drop the mic or just hand it over, Rich.

Rich Malachy: Yeah. And I want to just touch on the valuation because we’re here to talk about profit, because that’s what this was about, how does this translate into profit. And, I don’t know if I have 7 million ways, but there are just different things that have occurred from installations that come through LinkedIn, through a national chain account that we have that equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, recently, I’ve made an announcement about an acquisition. Josh and I were talking about that. I don’t believe that they would have probably even reached out to me or thought of me, had I not been pumping out content, and they’re seeing what we’re doing in our business, they are seeing how we’re treating our employees, they are seeing how we’re adding technology, and the owner wanted to leave it in hands that were going to build that legacy and continue it on. Now, that might equate to millions if I do it right, I don’t know.

Josh Zolin: It is yet to be seen.

Rich Malachy: Yet to be seen. 

Josh Zolin: Now, let’s give a round of applause for Rich. That was huge, the power of social media. 

Rich Malachy: Thank you. So, this is something that I think if you watch my videos… I don’t know if you watch my videos, but if you do, we talk a lot about community. We talk a lot about that over on the FEDD group on Facebook, we talk about community. This is a community. And we were talking again about yesterday in the Marketing Committee meeting, talking about we want CFESA it to be known. We’re sitting there with Charlie and Nick Crib, we were saying how do we get them to know, we want the culinary students to know who CFESA is, we want the restaurants we work with to know who CFESA is, we want it to be beyond the membership, have to build a community, you have to make them care not going to just happen. So, there’s got to be consistency. I know, Patti, with Pots Down we were talking about you having to do it over time, so you can measure it, and you have to do it over and over again. 

Four years ago, I started this Facebook group. It took years to get almost a thousand people in there caring about it. It is amazing, I walked in, and I’m seeing people wearing some of the shirts that we have in our store, you know, original members, and all this stuff. I mean that’s a community, that’s what this is, people want to rally around something they believe in. The people in this room are here for a reason. They’ve been coming here for 20, 30, 40 years for a reason, it is already a community. Now it’s time we start getting really loud together, it got to be collective. It can’t just be me and him out there putting videos out showing what we’re doing. It is lonely, guys, we want some company, the relationships are everything we were talking about that too. People are the currency, that’s how business goes down, it’s not just our industry, it’s any industry. 

But building these relationships the person next to you might have the next big opportunity. Maybe they don’t know you. All these new timers here, that’s amazing, I’ve never seen this many. These people need to know who you are. They might not know. I bet you, if you were putting video out over the last 365 days and they walk in this room, they might recognize you, that might be the reason to spark that conversation and increase opportunities that you just never knew existed. I never wanted to be on the stage. 

My mother is in shock right now. She’s like, “You’re going to get up in front and talk to people you didn’t talk till you were 23.” I’m like, yeah.” I was scared to death I didn’t open my mouth. Teachers will call home, “Is everything okay?” But here we are now. And it’s passion, it’s passion for the industry, it’s the passion for the people, this industry gave me everything, I feel we have a responsibility to let the next generation know. It’s much bigger than just putting video out much bigger. 

Josh Zolin: I’m on episode 108 now on the podcast. That’s 108 different people, different relationships that I’ve been able to build, just through digital marketing, just through digital media. And I see a lot of people in the audience today who have been on my show, and who have come up to me…I can’t even tell you how many people have come up to me and said, “Hey, it’s great to finally meet you in person.” This is the day and age that we live in, it’s unbelievable. You know what? Let’s take a poll real quick here. All right, stand up, if you’ve seen any of my YouTube videos or my podcast, stand up. All right. How about Rich’s?

Rich Malachy: Have you seen me seen fired? Have you watched any Fired up episodes?

Josh Zolin: Who in here is in the FEDD group? Unbelievable, look around you, we’re just two people.

Rich Malachy: Pretty Amazing.

Josh Zolin: Imagine if we all did this, what would the industry look like in five years? 10 years? We probably are caught up to the rest of the world. So, you’re going to ask me, what does it look like? How do we achieve this? How do we do this? That’s why we’re up here talking to you, and that’s what you’ve come here to understand. So, I’m here to tell you that, I know what your excuse is. “I just don’t have the time.” I’ve heard it a thousand times. I don’t have the time. Well, it’s not a time issue, guys, it’s a priority issue. That’s what we’re looking at here, it’s a priority issue. I’m going to talk all about that later. I’m going to make a ton of you feel really bad about yourself, but it’ll be fine because it’s all in good spirit. All right, but listen, it’s about starting small, like anything else in life. You don’t have to jump right into what I and Rich are doing. You don’t have to jump right into doing a podcast or having a video series? Or what do you do two years ago? 365 videos, a video a day? 

Rich Malachy: One video a day.

Josh Zolin: You don’t have to do that. You have to just do something. Ask a question, put up an opinion, a thought, post a picture. People love pictures of you smiling or of your teammates smiling, just post a picture. But the secret sauce is in the consistency, like anything else in life, I don’t care if it’s once a week, once every other week, or once a month, your audience needs to expect when you’re going to put out that content. So, that’s going to lead me into a little story. Most of you know that. I have a decently successful YouTube channel in this specific industry. So, this is going to be the first time I actually share how that came about publicly. So, back in 2013 – and this is not a plug – but I read a book by Gary Vee called Thank You Economy. And this is before I was really doing much online, but it really struck a chord with me because it went into what Rich just talked about with relationships, how to develop relationships, and then turn that into profit. 

But I figured what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. So I called up one of my customers one day and I said, “Hey, listen, I’ll give you a free pm, if you let me come in at three o’clock in the morning, and just film everything that I do.” And of course, they heard “free,” I had them at free. So, I got in there at three o’clock, I spent probably about five hours shooting a bunch of videos. We must have done 50 videos. And I’m talking simple, stuff that we take for granted, but the general public doesn’t really know about, like how to reset a breaker, how to reset a GFI, how to remove a top grate from a stovetop, just easy maintenance stuff that people don’t know about, but this was content, so videos anywhere from one minute long to seven minutes long, depending on how in-depth. 

I got 50 videos, went back, did some editing, minor basic editing. So, spend another five hours doing that, had about 10 total hours invested. So, what did I do? I put those on YouTube, but I scheduled one a week for a year, I didn’t do anything else for a year, what happened in that year was believable. From 10 hours of work, 10 hours invested, I had people reaching out to me from all over the world, to thank me for what I was doing, to ask me questions, to offer me advice, to work for me, to buy from me. I didn’t have to do anything except spend 10 hours to shoot 50 videos. 

So, what did I do, I did it again after a year and shot like 200 videos, and it’s the same thing. But the second part to that is what we really want to focus on that, and I’m going to let Rich talk on this part because he’s the master at it. He accomplished in four years, what took me eight years to accomplish. So, once I started putting out those videos, and these people started reaching out, there was another obligation on my end, I had to nurture these relationships, these newfound relationships, because that’s what they are, they’re not just typed words on a screen, there’s actually a person behind it, believe it or not. I had to nurture these relationships and engage. I had to reach back, “Thank you for watching. I really appreciate it. What can I help you with? I appreciate your advice, thank you.” Simple little things, but it’s in the engagement. Rich, in the engagement.

Rich Malachy:  And I just didn’t touch too, because there’s been a lot of talks too about… I know there’s a logistics problem going on in the industry. There are labor shortages, technicians. When you prioritize things…People often ask me, “How are you finding new technicians? How are you finding new employees?” Of course, there’s Indeed, there are the old ways of doing things, maybe you put something in a local paper still, I don’t know, there are different ways, but for me, it’s been the priority of the video content we’ve been putting out of showing what our company does what they offer the people of it. 

People are calling us, saying, “Hey, Rich, I love the videos, I’d love to come and sit and talk with you, I want to see what you’re up to. I want to see what you guys really have to offer.” It has been probably, the single most valuable tool that we’ve put out. And Lisa, helped me shoot that that video, the four reasons why you want to be a Malachy Care staff. And we just kept running it and running it on paid adverting, some different things, and it’s out there, it’s out there every day, I probably come up in people’s feeds, there are probably people that are sick of seeing my face. Sorry. 

So, leading into the engagement, because this is an important piece of even what I’m just talking about, about putting that video out and finding new talent, because it’s real. But you have to care about the people that are taking time out of their day to make a comment under your video or post. Think about how busy we are. Do you really just go out of your way to make a comment, unless you really care about what that post is about or what that video or that content is about? You don’t. So, when someone says it, I challenge anybody to find me not replying to a comment. Maybe I miss one or two, but I am locked and loaded all day long. It’s a priority to me. I’m building a brand, I’m building a business, it is real dollars that equate.

Josh Zolin: It is all who you know, right?

Rich Malachy: Who you know.

Josh Zolin: Fun fact I’m pretty sure our relationship started by one of us commenting on somebody else’s video. 

Rich Malachy: Yeah, you’re a pretty handsome guy.

Josh Zolin: Yeah, something like that right? And you are too, we should be best friends. 

Rich Malachy: Yeah, and now we are the two best friends that anyone could have. But that’s how it happened, so many people in this room too. I don’t know where Roger Smelser is. How would we have really known each other? Thank God we met this guy, he’s been like a mentor to both of us, it’s amazing. And there are other people in this room that have reached out on LinkedIn and said, “Hey, Rich, I really love what you’re doing. And also, I got an install I want you to…” there’s just so many things that can equate from being vulnerable, putting yourself out there, a lot of disruption talk. Maybe you have to disrupt your own world and break through the wall, like they talked about earlier today. This is a wall you have to breakthrough. A lot of people are scared of that camera. A lot of people are scared. Not a weapon, I promise. 

Josh Zolin: Here’s a test, Rich, are you scared of the camera? 

Rich Malachy: No, a little bit. 

Josh Zolin: Yeah, alright. Now the point is though, is I still get nervous in front of the camera, you should have seen us before we got on stage here, we’re still blacked out, so it’s fine right now. But before we got on stage, we couldn’t even see straight, this stuff is not supernatural. Sure, it comes natural to some people, but maybe not everybody, but we do it anyway. That’s the thing, that’s the definition of courage, right? Being afraid and doing it anyway. And that’s what we do. 

Rich Malachy: That’s what we. It is not easy. And I know probably I could be controversial at times and sometimes I’m funny, maybe I don’t know, sometimes there’s education. There’s a lot of different things that go into the strategy that we put forth in what we’re doing, nothing is by chance. And going back to the engagement, adding to these conversations, gaining the valuable feedback that you’re going to get from the audience. These are your people, these could be your potential customers, these could be your potential manufacturer partnerships. They could be your potential best friends. You just don’t know where you’re going to land. But that’s the whole point.

Josh Zolin: So, that brings it back to me, right? I’m going to talk about your most common excuse for any of this. “I have no time.” 

Rich Malachy: How do you know?

Josh Zolin: We’re best friends. I have no time. How many of you have said that when somebody says you need to be online? Yeah, you’re not going to admit it. I’m not going to ask you to raise your hand. That’s okay. But it’s not a time issue, it’s a priority issue. So, once you can prioritize this and understand that this is real business today, in 2021, you’ll be in a much better spot. So a couple of thoughts on time, right? First and foremost, there are tools out there to help you with this. Rich, you probably use a lot more of these than I do, but like Hootsuite, right? 

Rich Malachy: Yep. 

Josh Zolin: Hootsuite, there’s a scheduling tool, there are things that help you organize. So, you’re not trying to jump around from platform to platform to platform, you can organize it, schedule it, and do it that way. So, that’s number one. Number two, I challenge anybody here, going back to what I said before, of starting small and being consistent, it only takes five minutes, just to get started. I’m not talking about where Rich and I are at now or Lisa’s over here with a fancy camera, and she’s doing hours and hours of editing behind the scenes. You’re not there yet, right? But when you start, it only takes five minutes, post something, what are you doing at night? What are you doing when you get home? You are watching Netflix? You are just relaxing and hanging out? Take five minutes to better your business, because that’s what it takes. And here’s the thing, once you do it, once you start it, once you’re consistent with it, then you can start to justify it because you’re going to be able to quantify it. I’m going to repeat that again. Once you quantify, you can justify it, once you start seeing that ROI, you’re going to say to yourself, “Why didn’t I listen to these guys sooner? Why didn’t I do this before,” because it’s real?

Rich Malachy: It’s so real. And talking about the time, and over the years so many people have said they have no time, [inaudible 23:32] has no time. Oh, right there, you have time. There is plenty of time. We all get those 24 hours. And it’s so crucial when you’re trying to build something and you’re trying to get close to the customer. I think the brands, whether you’re a small business or big business, I think the brands that get closest to the customer at the end is going to win. The ones that tell their stories and connect are going to win. And I’ll even give another example of what we saw yesterday, Carolina, I don’t know if Carolina is in the room, Myanmar, there she is. You gave an amazing, inspiring speech yesterday, and I didn’t know any of that. And then I saw you kiss your dad on the head, on the back and I was like, “Oh man,” I had tears in my eyes, because it’s family business stuff. 

And my sister used to play office and I was the customer. I had to go in and buy stuff. I was 15. “Can I buy a notepad?” she was like, “Yeah,” and she loved cash registers. But these are the things that connect us and if she puts that out, however you want to put it out into the media world, these people are going to see that, your customer is going to see it, manufacturers are going to see it, it’s going to bring you closer. That’s what this is all about. This is about connection.

Josh Zolin: And like anything else in life, you get what you give, right? You’re going to get out what you put in. So, as you move forward, and you do this, you take those five minutes, maybe those five minutes turn into 10 minutes, 10 turns into 20 and do an hour a week, and an hour a week, you’ll probably start to understand exactly why you’re doing it. And then you can slowly build, you can slowly build to the point where it’s a regular thing, if you have the time, then at that point, once you can justify it, to devote to it, then do it, if not look into bringing somebody on because now you see the power of what it does. Make sense? Rich, give them a plan. 

Rich Malachy: So, we just put this up, because this is obviously nothing to install, and it’s nothing big and crazy, elaborate thing. You just have to commit to this, this is going to be something need to commit to and understand again, it’s about building business. It’s about bringing value to the people that are watching it. It’s about uplifting an industry because we are all in this together. We want the world to know about us. We want the world to see us. I did a video—I walked onto a college campus maybe two or three years ago, I don’t know Josh, if he saw this, and I’m asking people if they know what the food equipment service industry is. And one answer was… some guy looked at me bewildered and he was like, “Do you mean utensils?” And I was like, “Yeah, we fix spoons, we bend them back, it is a lucrative business.” People don’t know, people don’t know that we’re here.

My friends, for 20 years, still don’t know what I do, we have to talk about it, we have to get louder, that’s how people are going to care about CFESA. That’s how the people we want to care about when we have that, that logo on our website, I have that logo on my van. It means something to us. We want to make it mean something to everyone else, when we get there, we could sit down to say,”Hhey, listen, we offer the best warranty, we offer the best service. We’re CFESA company, we are a certified CFESA company. “What does that mean?” We want them to know, how are we going to have them know because everyone in this room is going to commit right now, I want to hear it, are we going to commit? No, no, no, no, no, no. Are we going to commit? Right, let’s get fired up, so, you start small…

Josh Zolin: No plugs, Rich? 

Rich Malachy: Oh, that’s right. Sorry, take it back. But you start small, you build consistency. You all have a device in your hand, in your pocket in front of you. You all have a device, that’s how we started. Let the world know what’s going on in your world. 

Josh Zolin: And I’ll tell you what, we can even help you take that first step. If this thing is daunting to you, if you don’t know exactly what you want to put out, or how you want to start or anything like that, come on my show, come on, Rich’s show, we will do the work for you, all you have to do is hit the share button. Can you handle hitting the share button? I think so. But that’s a good first step, right? And let us quantify it for you. And then once you can see that, maybe it’ll inspire you to start doing it yourself.

Rich Malachy: Get comfortable with it, get comfortable behind the camera. It’s not as hard as you think, it’s not as scary as you think. Because everyone in here has a voice, everyone in here has the knowledge, everyone in here has the experience, we just all need to see it.

Josh Zolin: And everybody in here is working toward the same cause. Which is powerful stuff, right? You saw all of you standing before, it’s just me and Rich. We all have a shared vision, we all have something in common, and we can all put this stuff out there and make an even bigger impact than just the two of us.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, everything that you think about in your business every day, how do we do this? How do we do that? I’m not saying all the answers are going to come through your digital branding or your marketing. But I’m going to tell you, consistently over time 365 from now, if you start today, opportunities will arise, people will come knocking on your door, you’ll see things through a different light, and I guarantee you, it might ignite even more passion in you for the industry than you ever knew you had. Because doing this has led me to have amazing conversations on the live show, on the podcast stuff that we’ve done, and bringing us closer together. And that’s what the community is all about, build your own community, start a Facebook group, if you have to, get people in there, like-minded people, build it around your brand. 

Again, the people in this room, community, and the tools we were talking about before, there are ways to do these things. I was talking with a couple of people earlier about how we put this content out. There’s a lot of free stuff, you could use Canva, you could use Inshot, you could use Adobe Spark, I use it every single day. 

Josh Zolin: This is built on Canva.

Rich Malachy: This is built on Canva. There are tools at your fingertips. And at the end of it all when you’re sitting there in front of the cameras, if you want people to care, you have to bring them value, whether you’re educating them, entertaining them, making them laugh, making them cry, getting them inspired, tugging on their heartstrings, that’s why they’re going to come back.

Josh Zolin: Get people to care about you, and then they’ll care about your business. 

Rich Malachy: Say that again.

Josh Zolin: Get people to care about you, and then they’ll care about your business

Rich Malachy: 100%. And when you look again, as CFESA as an association, I’ve been coming here since 2006, started with my father, I was a new newcomer, at that point, a lot of people took me under their wing, showed me the ropes, showed me the way. Kirby was one of them, always helping me, guiding me through. This is what we want to do, we want to blow this thing up. I sat with someone about three years ago, they said was, “How do we get this industry to go viral?” I said, “Well, we’re in a niche industry, we’re not going to blow the masses up.” But what we need to do is, together, we’re a lot of people, we are a lot of people in this room. And if we’re starting to put out content collectively, I can assure you that this CFESA community is going to grow, the people in your market are going to know who you are, and they’re going to care. And it’s going to make your business better. And we’re going to sit here one day, maybe a year from now, wherever the next conference is and we’re going to have different stories to tell. So, everyone’s going to get excited about digital. Just from the past day or so, a lot of questions on things. So, if anyone has any questions, how many platforms are you on Josh?

Josh Zolin: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn. Twitter. 

Rich Malachy: Tik Tok? 

Josh Zolin: I haven’t made it on Tik Tok yet, guys, I’m not a good dancer. Oh, this is good.

Rich Malachy: Well, for me. LinkedIn is gold, the traction that we get there. There are some videos and things that you have hundreds of comments, five, six thousand views. And I think from this entire industry, LinkedIn is where you want to be, Tik Tok is definitely up and coming and we’re starting to dabble in that it definitely be important. 

Josh Zolin: It is. 

Rich Malachy: Thomas.

Josh Zolin: Wait, hold on, I want to answer that question real quick. I would also say that it depends on what you’re looking for. For general business, LinkedIn has been fantastic, just like Rich said. For technicians, Instagram has been good. For the next generation. We talked about this, Olivia, Lindsay in the YPC meeting yesterday, the next generation of technicians coming in, one of the ways that we can get them interested in what we do is Tik Tok, you got to put out some creative stuff on there. So, I would say it depends on who you’re trying to attract and which one’s going to be most successful.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, there’s a free version, so you can get started right away, but we do have the paid version, it’s great. Obviously, you could do a PowerPoint presentation, you can do any kind of marketing materials to brand your business. Are you using Canva?

Josh Zolin: Yeah, we use it a little bit, it’s great for consistency. Because you’ll be able to replace pictures and things like that while keeping the same background. And one of the things that we didn’t get into today because it’s even a completely different conversation is the elements of branding, and how to actually take that brand and turn it into something that somebody can recognize over the course of time. So, Canva is a great system for being able to get that branding down and then change the primary image or primary text or whatever overlays you put over it. So, that’s how we use Canva.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, 100%, it helps your brand and there’s a lot of professional creative stuff there all ready for you to just dive right into. 

Josh Zolin: Push the damn button. No, I’m serious. I know it’s hard, especially if you’re not the type of person that goes on camera a lot. It’s unnatural. It doesn’t feel right. You should have seen the first time, if you go back and look at my YouTube channel, you can find the first videos that I did, and you would almost not recognize me, you’d probably laugh thinking that I was up on stage talking to you all of you right now, because it was bad. It was super bad, but it doesn’t matter. I’m going to go old school here and I’m going to say you just got to get over it, because it’s not It’s all about you, it’s all about your business, about your mission, it’s what you’re trying to accomplish. And if your face being on camera is what’s going to accomplish that and that’s what it’s going to take, that’s what you have to do. So, as they say, put your big boy pants on and just do it. I’m sorry if that sounds rude, it is not my personality, not rude. 

Next question, great question. I’ll take this in first and then you. So, it depends on what I’m doing and it fluctuates when I’m trying new things. I started the podcast now, which is completely separate from YouTube, they’re different things, I started that about a year and a half ago. And when I started it, I was spending probably a good three hours trying to edit one video. And then as I got better, I got that down to a system, I was able to edit it myself for about an hour. As we started to put out more content, I focused very heavily on production quality, if you’ve seen any of the stuff that I put out recently, either for, Blue is the new white or Windy City, it has been high-quality stuff. So, I have a dedicated person that will edit all of my videos and things like that now. If I was doing it myself, it’d be equivalent to about 40 hours a week. Rich, where are you at?

Rich Malachy: Yeah, right now in various different situations. But we definitely lock away at least five hours a week just for the Fired Ups, to make sure that we’re getting that content out because that’s been really, really important to what we’re doing. Aside from that, we’re doing different pictures, different video content, we’ll choose different topics, we’ll make sure that we’re hitting from different angles. I would say, because we do Tip Tuesday, we have vlog stuff, we have Gold Collar stuff, we have all these different things that we would pick to make sure that we’re going to talk about, I would say, about a good 30 to 40 hours a week. Lisa is over here like “It’s more like 70,” maybe modest a little more

Josh Zolin: Another question, I have an answer, do you want to go first on this? 

Rich Malachy: For me, simply, we’re not really putting any money into a lot of ads. The only ads we really poured money into were our, “Four Reasons Why You Want To Be A Technician With Us.” And it wasn’t that much, maybe five grand, we poured into that. We saw some good traction on it. But most of it is organic, we’re really just pumping out so much content, like LinkedIn, and Instagram, a lot of the things are accumulating organically from that, over time, as these platforms…LinkedIn still have really good organic growth. So, that’s changing, it’s going to be like Facebook and Instagram soon. So, we’ll probably have to look into doing some more paid advertising on that. But right now, I’m really focused on the organic.

Josh Zolin: Yeah, and so the angle that I take on it is, especially for the podcast, I have an hour of dialogue basically, with a guest. So, I have somebody – it’s actually my little sister – I have her, transcribe it, and then post it as a blog post on the website. So, that helps that SEO portion of it. So, it’s always top of mind, but it’s not something that I primarily focus on, it’s just something that I try to maintain, if that makes sense. And even with just trying to maintain it, the attraction has been unbelievable. 

No, not me. I’d kind of took the reins on that myself, to be honest. I have my in-house guy, he and I had sat down and gone over how to brand, what we want our image to look like, and build our own roadmap internally to our success. And he’s only been on the company about a year and a half, something like that. Before that, literally, it was just me shooting from the hip. It was just me putting out as much content as humanly possible and letting everything else just gravitate towards it. I probably would have done better with a plan. But no, I have not used an outside digital marketing company to help me. Rich.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, no. And this is good for me to talk on, because, we’re talking about why? Everyone has their own way and they’re always talking about success. Yesterday, we were talking about what’s the formula for success, and what does that look like? And what is its objective? I think success is objective. And my wiser, is maybe a little different than some of the people in the room even Josh’s, you know, we’re looking to build a media company as well, which you know, you’ve seen. So, we’re doing our own thing, we, at some point, we’d love to help other people, right now, we’re focused on ourselves internally building that media company, so, we understand exactly what we’re doing before we go to market big. So, yeah, there’s a lot of different reasons you might want to go with a digital marketing company to help you, especially in the beginning, so we can help you put a strategy together, why not invest a little bit, especially if you’re just unsure. And I’m sure you can reach out to Josh and me on anything, we’re always happy to help, we are an open book.

Josh Zolin: Well, we’ll help, we’re not super happy to. I’m just kidding. We love all of you. That is a good question. No, I’m going to quote Roger here, “All ships rise with the tide.” I don’t think that it’ll become white noise. I think that it’s desperately what the industry needs. And sure, everything is cyclical and maybe one day will come where the foodservice equipment industry flooded the internet and that’s all you see, but I don’t think so, because really, we don’t want to just stay in our circle, that’s not what we want. It’s funny because I talk a lot about like, the skilled trades gap and things and all of that—and sometimes I think I’m gaining a whole lot of traction, except for I’m seeing the same people over and over and over again, and you know, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and Instagram, these platforms are super smart. So, they keep showing you content that you’ve watched in the past. So, we need to find a way to break out of that and to reach the masses, reach the general public, because that’s the message that we’re trying to convey. The actual repair businesses and manufacturers and things like that, that’s one thing. But when we’re talking about getting people interested in CFESA and this trade, in particular, we got to first let them know that it actually exists. So, the more that we can talk about it, collectively, the higher chance we have a breaking out of our own circle and getting to those masses. Does that make sense?

Rich Malachy: And there’s power in numbers, there is power in community. I don’t think that it’s going to be, people’s feeds are going to be inundated with all of us, showing ovens being repaired and all these different things. But no, again, we want people to know what CFESA is, we want people to care about it. The only way to do that in today’s world 2021 and beyond, is through digital, it’s through the phone. I mean, no one’s reading magazines and papers anymore. I mean, some might. But where’s the next generation, they’re on their phone? And we’ve been talking about this for years, this is not new, but it’s time for everybody to get more involved. And I think that’s, that’s what the whole point of this is.

Josh Zolin: Yeah, that’s the whole reason Heather asked us to talk, that’s the whole reason why she reached out to us to have this conversation with you guys today. 

Rich Malachy: Yeah, we’re seeing more video content, we’re seeing more things going down and with Tik Tok, and we see Olivia’s doing some different things, trying to get the industry involved. And I think it’s time, it’s time, we have to press the button, get in front of the camera, let’s do this. Let’s show the world who CFESA is. We are CFESA. 

Josh Zolin: We are CFESA.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, I think this goes back to self-awareness, you know what you want. You’ve got to know what you’re after. For me when I was going out and I was going to market things, I wanted to build my brand as Rich Malachy. And you’ll never really see me say, at the end of the video, “Make sure you go to visit our website and call us at 201-8…” I’m not promoting the company in that sense, I’m just talking about the things that are going on in our world. I’ll talk about the things that are going on in our company, I’ll show what’s going on in our company, it all ties right back the Malachy Parts and Service. That’s how I envision our strategies as we’re putting things forth. 

So, do I put stuff out on Malachy Parts and Service on LinkedIn? Of course, but there’s more of a hyper-focus on what I’m doing, what our company is doing collectively? And again, that flows right back into the business because I want the same things you do, I want to attract more good people. I want more new vans on the road and people happy and creating opportunities. You could do it your way, there’s no right or wrong. So, self-awareness, I think. 

Josh Zolin: No, that’s a good answer. And I would say this, I would say that the next generation is incredibly smart. They can discern the difference between an Ad and a value Ad. And what I mean when I say that is that when they see an ad, they keep scrolling, Rich says, he doesn’t put, “hey, call us at the end of our videos” or “go to the website,” this and that. And that’s because his main focus is delivering the information and that’s what appeals to that next generation, which I know that everybody in here is finding ways, is trying to find ways to appeal to this next generation, especially within our trade to attract people who are business. And the way that I see is that the clean trucks and the things like that, and that’s super great for anybody that’s looking for that. But we’re trying to target the people who aren’t to at least educate them on what this trade means. 

There are different circumstances, different ways to use it, like Rich said, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing – and that’s fantastic, but when you ask the difference between a personal brand and a company brand, as far as – at least for me, you know, my main focus is to try to deliver this information into the world, and get people to understand and recognize, actually stop scrolling, when they get to my content, my information, so I can educate them, and then develop that intrigue. Once they have the intrigue, then they’re going to go back and they’re going to look at more videos, they’re going to go to my website, maybe they’ll call me, maybe they’ll reach out, maybe they’ll follow me on other platforms, whatever it may be. But that’s that first initial step when they’re in my circle, then I can deliver them the messages that I want them to hear. What an awesome question.

Rich Malachy: Yea.

Josh Zolin: Oh [crosstalk]

Rich Malachy: You start.

Josh Zolin: So, I’m going to go back to 2013 when I put out these YouTube videos, certain people loved them, restaurant owners, new technicians that were just getting into the trade. Some people hated them, thought that I was revealing industry secrets, that I was being too transparent. If you go back and look at some of my videos, you’ll see some of those comments that you’re talking about. So, over the last eight years, let’s just say this, I’ve been incredibly humbled, because I’ve had to really choose my words wisely in responding, but yeah, the negative comments, definitely come. There are some people that just don’t agree with what we’re doing. There are some people that think that they know best. And, honestly, I look at it as a challenge, it makes me better as a leader of my company, when I can successfully navigate that type of comment. So, yeah, it happens, it definitely does.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, it happens. I try not to engage, honestly, in stuff like that. There are just a lot of people, people that are going to troll you, it’s going to happen. I know that I’m going to piss somebody off at some point and it’s not just me, it comes in the territory to anybody putting themselves out there into the public eye. You know, if you’re putting your opinions out there, and your thoughts, be prepared, they’re going to come, and you’re just going to go like this, and not worry about them, and focus on the people that do care. Those are the people, you don’t want to worry about the 1%, they’re always going to be there, they’re always going to have something to say, something negative, “I don’t get it, you’re silly, this is ridiculous. You’re full of…” So, you just got to deal with it and keep moving in a positive and stay focused on the price.

Josh Zolin: And it goes back to reputation, you’ve got to be mindful about what you put out there, especially when you’re engaging, when you’re putting out content. Look, like anything else, like any other form of advertising, like any other form of conversation, you have to make sure that you’re saying the right thing, because it could just as easily hurt your reputation as it could help your reputation. I know we’re sitting up here talking about how you got to put this content out and this is great and that’s because, we’ve had several years to develop these skills and not put out things that will piss people off, quite honestly…

Rich Malachy: I still do.

Josh Zolin: Rich still does, but it’s definitely something that you have to be mindful of, and especially in your responses to those negative comments because they will come.

Rich Malachy: Yeah, and I want to create a positive impact, positive change. Now there’s real heart and care behind a lot of this stuff. So, when people are coming at you, sometimes you got to duck, just let them go and keep your focus.

Josh Zolin: A couple of minutes left, any other questions?

Rich Malachy: Yeah, definitely it’s a trial and we’ve scheduled things for 7am, do stuff for a week, I’ll just say I’m going to post something else 7am, noon, all different times. For us, when we will go back and look at it, it really is all over the map for us. When I look at the algorithms or the statistics, within the app, it’s really all over the place. 

Josh Zolin: Yeah, we’ve used the data to try to come up with some standard days and times, I talked earlier about consistency, but it does take a while to get to that point because you have to try several different times in order to see what works best for your audience. You can Google it all day long, and they’ll say, the best time to post on Instagram is this and the best time to post on LinkedIn is this. And every single website, you see will have a different answer. So, you really just have to do it. And you have to be consistent with it. And then you have to do your own research and then come up with a schedule that works for you. But yeah, to answer your question, we do work on a schedule. 

Rich Malachy: Yeah, and for the live show, we do our best to try to do 10 am Eastern every single time so people know in their head, “Okay, they’re going live at 10 am.” And getting consistency, like you said, got to be consistent. Well, I know Hootsuite…

Josh Zolin: Hootsuite does.

Rich Malachy: Hootsuite does, yeah.  If you sign up, you’ll be able to put your post in there, it’ll go to all the platforms for you at whatever time you want, just like that. So, you can prepare stuff for the week. I know it’s an investment that maybe you spending an hour on Saturday or something before you go out with your kids or whatever you’re going to do, spend an hour put a couple of things together schedule it for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, throw something up every day and forget it, you keep it moving, and let that drive you, let that be consistency, let that’d be the consistency you need.

That’s an inappropriate question, how much does this hotel cost? Yeah, I think it’s one of the things, if you go to Indeed, you can probably… because I did this, I go to Indeed, and I would look for what people are now putting for descriptions for digital media, or digital marketing, whatever, and I just copy what someone else was doing, after I read it, I went through everything and I said, this is what I’m looking for. And I made it my own, I put my own, put it up on Indeed and that’s how you could find the CFESA. And as far as pay rate goes, the scale can depend on where you live, depending on qualification, just like technicians or anything you have to figure that out. 

Josh Zolin: You’ve got to be clear on what you want. If you’re hiring somebody to do something, once or twice a week, could be part-time, could just be somebody who’s familiar with social media, and can do it part-time. It’s super simple stuff. Lisa and my marketing guy have been doing it for a long time, and for the amount of content that we’re putting out, it just makes sense. But there’s a scale, right? So, if you’re looking for a budget, like my podcast, I didn’t have a budget, I spent $250, and then I did it myself for six months and it worked well. 250 bucks, I use dfree editing software, free everything. And I was able to actually put this content out. But if you just want to get started, you can bring on somebody like an intern or something like that to push you towards that goal, but you don’t get to start out with a full-time person and budgeting for that.

Lisa Zalenski

Lisa Z loves putting her creative muscle to work daily as FEDD’s Director of Media where there’s never a dull moment. The thrill of navigating once uncharted waters allows Lisa to use her digital marketing expertise to put the food equipment industry on the map. Her fearless and can-do attitude fuels the connection engine as it moves forward.