PODCAST EP 108
Building Online Trust with Mal McCallion
Simon Dell chats with Growtion Managing Director Mal McCallion on the value of building online trust through marketing content.Listen Now
This is a powerful and revealing interview with Jules Lund, an experienced host who has featured on such TV shows as Getaway and Today and radio shows on 2Day FM and The Hit Network. He’s also the CEO of Tribe (https://www.tribegroup.co), a marketplace for social influencers and the brands that need them. The influencer marketing platform connects brands directly with social media influencers, to create campaigns aimed at the influencer’s audience.
You can contact Jules here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juleslund/
Simon Dell: I welcome to the show this week Jules Lund, who has a list of talents and accomplishments the length of my arm, including hosting Getaway, the Logies red carpet. He’s done stuff on television, radio, digital. He’s been on breakfast raid… Do you know what? People can look this stuff up.
Jules Lund: But half of it is bullshit because half of it I wrote. I just make stuff up. I just created a Wikipedia page. I said that I cured cancer, that I know where Elvis is living. I figured out exactly what’s happening with the Bermuda Triangle. I mean, I’m claiming a lot of credit for things I haven’t done.
Simon Dell: Mate, if you haven’t bullshitted on your LinkedIn profile, you are nobody. That’s all I can say.
Jules Lund: Exactly.
Simon Dell: The first thing that jumped out to me on this was graphic design. Can you design?
Jules Lund: To be honest, I’m about to spend this afternoon putting together a high-level mock for a creative agency. Adam Faria is a consumer psychologist. He’s also on the board of Tribe, which is my company, and he’s a smart cookie. He’s created Thinkerbell, a company built on the combination of – I suppose – he calls it measured magic, but it’s all around science, and magic, and marketing.
And so, he’s got a brand, a beauty brand, who has a challenge, and he thinks we can fix it. And so, I have to visually articulate what is possible. And what I love about these guys is that they’re courageous, and they try new things. And I think that any brand that comes to them has a sense of faith and trust because they’ve won every known award individually before coming together for Thinkerbell.
So, what I want to do is, I’ve got a lot of thoughts but it’s pointless unless I can very clearly visually communicate that. And so, this afternoon, I don’t know how to use any graphic programs, and I build everything in Keynote.
Simon Dell: Okay, yeah. Keynote’s quite a creative platform, isn’t it?
Jules Lund: I’d be a weapon if I knew Photoshop, or Illustrator, or anything else. So, I’m going to build these Insta Story mocks using content, and how to take still imagery and turn it into motion, like 15-second ads, that combine not only the image that our content creator generates, but also a testimonial with their profile pic that comes up so that it’s sort of authenticity but packaged in a really highly engaging and high performing ad format, which is Insta Stories, which no one really knows how to figure out including myself. So, I’ll tell you in five hours.
Simon Dell: As you’ve just said that there, it’s kind of occurred to me that with all the things that have happened with social media in the past 10 years, I don’t think people talk much about the barriers that have been reduced in terms of the ability to produce content. I mean, if you didn’t know all the Adobe programs 10 years ago, you were pretty much fucking hopeless, weren’t you?
Jules Lund: Yeah. Well, to be honest, and that’s where a company like Canva, Melanie Perkins and Cliff, where those guys have hit – they’re in 190 countries and they’re worth a billion dollars. It’s in a hundred and ninety countries and they’re worth a billion dollars, and it’s democratising design because of the skill needed to be able to use those programs that intimidate the shit out of me.
Whereas you go into these, and they’ve got millions of stock imagery, got plug-and-play, you add the fonts, you add the colours, and that’s just powerful tech to give people power, give people independence and agility where agencies can use that to create mocks, like, I should be doing this afternoon.
And then all the way down to small businesses being able to use that for all of their social media needs, where they get a… I don’t know if they do motion. I’ll have to have a look, but there’s other platforms for that, you plug in stuff and create them. There’s so many problems. There’s so many bottlenecks with advertising today. And the first one is that five years ago, you only need a handful of assets and you could run – you only needed one still image and you could run a national billboard campaign.
You only needed a bit of video, which was your TVC. But now with digital advertising, considering everyone’s staring at their phones, and you combine personalisation like the super power of Google and Facebook, the gift of our generation is being able to target precise audiences. But you need precise messaging, and that’s where the wheels fall off because advertisers haven’t caught up.
They need to go from a handful of images a year to needing hundreds every couple of months or every month. And who the fuck is going to produce all that? Because creative agencies, they do low-volume, high-quality stunning award-winning content, right? But small businesses can’t afford that because you need a hundred pieces of content.
And then you can’t use stock image libraries because it’s all… It’s the antithesis of personalisation, and then you can’t just scour the web to see who’s just randomly taking stunning photos of your shampoo bottles so that you can ask to purchase it and put it in your marketing. Like, there’s actually no creative solution for content right now.
Simon Dell: Do you think the likes of the Canvas and what you’re doing now is due to that complacency from the ad agency over all those years?
Jules Lund: No. I just think consumer behaviour shifted quick. Social platforms shifted quick. And it’s like trying to turn the I do know one of the things I’ve written down through in three dots three words here when I was thinking about the questions. I was going to ask you and I’ve written a dad industry question mark complacency. Do you think the success of these the likes of the campers and what you’re doing now as well is due to that complacency from the adder it ad industry over all those years. No, I just think consumer behaviour shifted quick social platforms shifted quick and it’s like trying to turn the Titanic.
I don’t think it’s complacency. I think it’s moving really fucking fast. And I think that marketers… You’re 44, I’m 39. The point is, we and all the CMOs, all the C-suite, are right our age. And they’re making decisions, billion-dollar decisions what to do with their marketing.
You and I, our purchasing behaviour was influenced by TV and radio. And even though we understand social and digital, it doesn’t have the same meaning to us that it has to Millennials, that have literally learnt about the world through their mobile, and all of their advertising has come through word of mouth through influencer marketing, or it’s come through branded content on Facebook, or however, right?
But a ton of it hasn’t been coming through TV and radio necessarily, right? So, still got power. But the reality is, they’re not influenced as much by that. It doesn’t mean as much. Right now, we cannot help but have a disproportionate amount of value on TV and radio. It’s what we know and we’re comfortable, and we try to disrupt ourselves, but it’s really hard to shift that paradigm, like it’s over 30 years.
And so, what’s happening is, customers have moved on. And the social platforms have created all these formats that the customers are loving, engaging with 6 second ads. It’s vertical video, Insta Story, Snap, all of this stuff. The platforms are testing this stuff. The consumers start loving it.
They’re offering this bloody party, all jumping around, and then the social platforms comes over to the advertiser and says, “Hey, did you want to come over here? You can pay to reach the eyeballs that I’m engaging.”
And then it all falls over. The brand goes, “Yeah, I’d love to.” And then the advertiser goes. “Yeah, all you have to do is this, this, this, and this.” And they go, “The fuck?” You’re telling me that every six weeks, I need personalised content for every different brand persona? Like, every persona and customer journey that I have? “Yeah, because it needs to be specific. Because you can now reach a 22 year old girl in Cronulla who’s interested in fashion and fitness.”
“Okay, so I need a piece of content just for them?” “Yes.” “How many are those personas you got?” “15.” So, you get breadth right? And then you go, “That’s all well and good.” But the social platform says in six weeks, that all goes to shit. It suffers from ad fatigue. So then, personalisation is nothing without volume.
And then you get all that sorted and then they go, “Well, that’s just your static images. You also need vertical video, long-form, and you need…” And this is the problem we’re in right now. Where do you go to get that variety in volume?
What I believe, and I reckon I’m probably too early for it, is the group fastest-growing creative solution on the planet is customers? It’s your own customers. So, that’s what I’m banking on because I reckon they are the ones that can provide the variety of volume, and are the experts in crafting thumb-stopping content in the formats that social platforms are innovating with. And who better to create content that customers love than the customers themselves?
Simon Dell: It must scare the crap out of some of the corporates that you talk to in the first instance.
Jules Lund: I don’t know. That’s what Adam Faria says. “You must scare the shit out of creative agencies.” I say, “No. It shouldn’t.” In the same way that when we first started, we were talking about influencer marketing – and don’t forget PR agencies were influencer marketing before there was influencer marketing.
They crafted this whole thing. When I was a D-grade celebrity on TV and radio, they would send our shit daily for us to be able to talk about, and spread, and talk about on air, on radio, on TV. That was influencer marketing. It was like, who were those opinion leaders? How do we get them to sample our product and spread the word? Before there was social media.
And so, everyone said, “Your platform’s going to kill PR.” And I was like, “Are you kidding me? They should continue to do exactly what they do. What we provide is the volume around it.”
So, creative agencies, it’s not shifting to just 300 pieces of content for your Instagram or Facebook campaigns. It’s that plus the TV, and the billboards, and all that. So, creative agencies have to do exactly what they do. They craft that stunning content.
Grey Worldwide CEO Leo Raymond said to me at a big event in Athens, “I’m a creative agency. It would scare my teams, but as I see it, it’s like . We start the beat. We create the brand tone. We get the creative, we nail that.” So, we start the beat, and then the customers and the creatives then add their sound and then amplify the volume.
And we’ve done that. They do TVCs, and then they come to us, they put the TVC in the brief, and then you get 300 people doing what’s happening in the TVC. So, they like hand-delivering the mass marketing message, but they’re personalising it to their audience that they have crafted this unique dialect with over thousands of posts over five or six years now.
And so, it’s doing all of it together. And if someone’s intimidated, then they’re missing the point, that it’s not a replacement. We need to add it.
Simon Dell: I think there’s a lot of PR, and having worked with some of these, there’s a lot of PR agencies, PR people, that are still scared of their own. I’ve had PR people that work, their lifeblood is a spreadsheet full of their top contacts. That’s how they exist, and I think they fear that that’s going to stop being as relevant to their clients.
Jules Lund: It shouldn’t. I would be doing exactly that. And then off from the side, I’d use technology. I’d go, “Here’s my $20.” And they’re going to nail it. “I’m going to spend some time. I’m going to craft this, and then here’s $200.” I don’t have to speak to, and I’ll put $10,000 over here and I’ll put $10,000 over there.
And now I go back to the client with hundreds of pieces of content, and all these ways that they can repurpose it, all of this unbelievable sentiment analysis, and all of this word of mouth. It’s absurd. With the technology available, you should be surprising and delighting every client. You don’t even have to say that, “Here’s the technology.” Just say, “I’ll just go to my database and then come back with 300 pieces.” And they go, “That’s a pretty good database.”
Simon Dell: You mentioned the six-second ad. That’s quite a new thing, isn’t it?
Jules Lund: The point is that you scroll a news feed on a phone in 1.5 seconds. Now, static images don’t catch your eye enough. And so, Facebook talk about zero-second ads. If you haven’t caught someone in the first second, you’re not going to catch them. And so, we take, for instance Unilever, they’ve done like 40-odd campaigns for dozens of different brands across the globe with us, and they take content, still-imagery, and then they just give it a Ken Burns effect, that slow pan, a slow pan and then a bit of graphic comes up at the end.
But just that, if you’re scrolling your feed and there’s a beautiful pic of Omo, and it was all about sensitive moments, a beautiful pic of a mom and her child and they’re using Omo because it’s sensitive and considerate to sensitive skin. Then you’re seeing that image it starts moving, you just lean in more.
It’s as simple as that. Let’s not overcomplicate it. And so, there’s a big push and everyone’s freaking out. Shit, everyone wants video. And I want video. Stop freaking out that you got to get these departments and how much money do I have to spend to have a video strategy. Consumers…
Simon Dell: I made a video for a dentist two to three months ago with a mate of mine for 500 bucks, 15-second, and it looked like – It was a half-day shoot. You get the right people and you can produce some fantastic things.
Jules Lund: Absolutely. The key to that, even that frightens people because then they need – which they should use you and let you take care of them. But my point is, for most of us, you don’t need video. What everyone is craving is motion. Motion is different to video. And as I say, taking a photo and slowly making it pan is motion. And Facebook talk about motion is the new filter.
Over the last 12 months, filters are amazing in terms of just polishing something up, just taking it, doing something so simple like pressing a button, and yet this thing just comes alive and just catches people off guard in a sea of static. And motion is that. So, figuring out how to give things slow pans and then throwing it in is powerful.
We’ve got an issue over the next few years, and I guarantee it’ll change the second that the Millennials hit the C-suite. You got billion-dollar contracts and budgets. And say, it’s 70% on traditional, 30% on digital and social. Mate, that’s going to trickle down over the next few years. Someone is going to change. They’re just going to get into that role, and you know, they’re now 38, I think, the Millennials. The oldest Millennials, in the next few years, they’re the c-suite. And this thing will fucking flip.
And when it flips, everyone’s going to feel this pressure of like, “Where the hell is all this disposable content? I need 200 pieces of content over the next two weeks. I need to spit it out and I need to run this stuff programmatically. Otherwise, we’re paying millions of dollars on content that gets ignored because it’s not personalised.” And it’s not sophisticated, and it’s gone tired. Like, it’s just going to be huge.
I reckon influencer marketing will pale in significance to what I believe is the big category on the rise, which is customer-generated content. It’s UGC, which is boring as hell, and it’s been shit for years because it was a Nokia 6210 taking a photo at a footy stadium of your meat pie and uploading it to the Telstra microsite. UGC has been shit outside of travel industry because people were taking away the big cameras and had the time, but everything else was garbage.
The big difference now is that people are armed with smartphones, and every smartphone manufacturer on the planet right now is racing each other. And the war will be one who ever releases the best creative tools. If you look at the marketing of Huawei, Samsung, Pixel, and Apple, no one is talking about the phone anymore. They’re all talking about the camera. And so, all of the things is about investing in the creator.
And so, kids on the street have these creative tools the same time that the professionals will get them. Branded AR will be huge and every app developer is currently going bananas since Tim Cook released the AR Kit into Apple. All of these apps are about to come flying out, where you can get Bacardi, put it in front of your AR app, and the whole thing comes alive. The bat logo flies off.
And then they’re going to need 300 versions of people interacting with that. It’s all well and good to do the tech, but who’s going to then interact? And then the second thing why UGC is about to blow up, is not only do they have the tech, they have the talent, seven years’ worth. They’ve just graduated from the University of Instagrams, turn a billion people nearly and that’ll be the next announcement. A billion people, every day people, into not only photographers, but because everyone’s crafting their own personal brand on Instagram.
They’re fucking marketers. You look at the content that comes through from punters who have never thought or read a brief, and these guys look at the colour tones of the packaging of the Linx bottle, and they will do flat layers and stuff with the same colour tones. No one even mentions it. They just get it.
Simon Dell: There’s about a thousand questions I can ask you now. I’m going to come back to the influencer stuff because that’s where your skill set and your destination for you is at the moment. I just want to get a bit more of a history about you personally.
The question I ask everyone on this is: What was your first job? When was the first time somebody paid you money to do something?
Jules Lund: I was a drug dealer.
Simon Dell: That’s the first time that’s been mentioned.
Jules Lund: I’d go up to John Barton, chemist, in Ashburton. And I’d go in there with my BMX, and they would give me a bag of drugs that I had to drop off to the old grannies. And they gave me $2 every night. I’d ride around Ashburton and Melbourne trafficking these drug drops.
Simon Dell: So, completely legal drugs.
Jules Lund: Yeah.
Simon Dell: Oh, thank god for that. I thought we might have to cut this bit out.
Jules Lund: Well, you need click bait, don’t you? I was thinking of the headline for you.
Simon Dell: Jules Lund, drug dealer.
Jules Lund: Exactly.
Simon Dell: That’s going to be how I’m going to push it on Twitter.
Jules Lund: Go for it.
Simon Dell: How old were you then? I was going to say a BMX, that must’ve been quite young.
Jules Lund: I reckon I would be about 9 or 10, but it’s funny. As people say, I think it was Steve Jobs addressing Harvard or Stanford talking about joining the dots. You can’t join them looking forward. You can only join them… But I was entrepreneurial. I was always hustling. So, what we would do is, I would be selling old newspapers at my parent’s parties. My parents just had parties galore and I was just thinking, “This is just a captive audience of drunks.”
And so, I’d just go and pick up all the papers and they had a price on it. It was a dollar on the paper. It’s worth a dollar even though it was three-weeks old next to the fireplace. And I’d just walk around selling it and making coins. And then we had a carwash out the front of our house for years. On the weekends, it was $3 a car and they’d just lined the street up. We’d just wash everyone’s cars and the kids would do it, me and the neighbourhood kids.
Little did they know that the night before, I was getting mum’s vacuum cleaner bag and just covering every fucking car on the street and dust.
Simon Dell: You’re creating your own marketplace. That’s genius.
Jules Lund: And the golf club, they stick it… We used to jump in all the dams and find all the golf balls because there’s all creeks and shit around the golf course. So, we’d just jump in there and buy all the golf balls and then just sell them to people. And then we just started going, “I’ve run out of finding golf balls.” So, we just taught the Golden Retriever, friend’s dog. We’d hide down there in the creek. As they hit the ball onto the green, there’s a curve and we would just set the dog to go out there, grab the ball. And then on the third hall, after that, we’d sell them back to them.
Simon Dell: There seems to be a continuing them here in your business.
Jules Lund: Dishonesty. I was a shit kid. I would find the hustle but I’d cross the line, but it wasn’t until I… At about 15, I was probably pretty close to getting booted out of school for graffiti and being a smartass. I had someone come to my school and run a workshop and change my life. He became my mentor up until he passed away from cancer six years ago.
He was just my guiding light. He invested in me and he said, “There’s something in there that you just haven’t tapped into yet.” He saw things that I hadn’t seen. He just worked with me until – he nurtured them out and put me on stage. It was just incredible. He’d nurture these things out, push me with terror in my eyes, stepping out of my comfort zone. Everyone would praise and go, “That was pretty good.” And then he’d say, “See?” And then I go, “Fuck, it’s hard to deny, yeah. That went okay.”
And then he just did that for years and years until I was doing bigger and scarier stuff but feeling pretty comfortable with it.
Simon Dell: What sort of things was he getting you to do?
Jules Lund: MC-ing. So, I’d be MC-ing at 16 in front of a thousand people. And he’d pair me with a celebrity at the time. I did that for years. And then I would also go out to… He would go to schools and do inspirational talks because he was a celebrity footballer. He came out from Ireland. He had the record for the most amount of consecutive games. He played every single game of football as the rock, which is the most demanding role through broken fingers and crooked backs for 12 years, every game, didn’t miss one.
And he won the Brownlow Medal, and then he started to pay it forward, but he was just this incredible teacher. And so, his outlook on life is just so profound that I just followed him around. So, I’d wag most Wednesdays because that was sport. He taught me how to drive and I’d drive him three hours away while he did work and prepared for these inspirational talks to 300 people at the Rotary Club.
And so, I used to go out there and sit behind him and just write word for word what he’s doing, just mimic him. And then he would say, “You know how to do that exercise. Come out and stir them up.” And so, I’d do a little bit of an exercise, and then I’d do a bit more of one, and then he’d , “Right. I’m now sitting in the back and you’re doing it.”
And then I was just using his words. And then after a while, I would trial some stuff and go off piste and go, “Shoot, that worked.” And then I would start to integrate my own stuff. And then after a while, I was just doing all of my own stuff. And then I was training a hundred kids underneath me.
And so, he was just able to pay that forward. The Reach Foundation is what he created, and it’s worked with hundreds of thousands of teenagers and just given so much self-belief to kids that just wouldn’t have.
Simon Dell: What was it with him that made it different? I presume there must’ve been teachers.
Jules Lund: You got a 15-year-old kid, if you don’t meet them at their level, you are missing the point. He came in, I was at the back with all my mates, and I was just rip… He was a celebrity guest speaker and we used to make them cry. We used to just sit there and terrorise them. And so, he did this, but he was 10 foot tall, right? And I just went, “I don’t care about this guy.”
And so, I started to sabotage it. He then e it different from I mean, I presume they must have been teachers trying to sort of encourage. Yeah. Well, he wasn’t a fuckwit on like honestly he just no but that’s fair enough. You’ve got a 15 year old kid, you know, like if you don’t meet them at their level you are missing the point. Yeah, like he came in and I like I was at the back with all my mates and I was just rip it like he was a celebrity guest talker, you know, like guest speaker. We used to make them cry like we used to just sit there and just terrorise them, you know like and so he did this and but he was ten foot tall.
We’re on and so I just went I don’t give flow. I don’t care about this guy. And so I started to sabotage it. He then goes, “Right, you stand up.” Because the teacher is about to kick me out as per usual. And so, I stood up and he goes, “What’s your name?” And they go, “Rupert.” And everyone laughs. And he goes, “So, who are you?” And I said, “I don’t know. What do you mean?” “What do you want to do in your life?” “I don’t know.”
And he’s like, “Well, it’s pretty obvious. You’re never going to know what you want to do in life unless you know who you are. He doesn’t have a fucking idea. Look at you being all tough, and it was just like…” And he said, “And yet you can lead all these kids in the back, so there’s obviously something good in there.” And so, he slapped me in the face with a pat on the back. I turned up to this course and it just wasn’t bullshit. We were in a room of 25 kids, some from detention centres, some living on the street, some drug-addicted, some from a psychiatric unit; kids from really expensive private schools and me.
We all sat around and talked about what the fuck was going on in our life. And just that in itself was powerful. It just built this thing in a time when there was no such thing as personal development. That was for the scouts or church. No one was even remotely thinking about this stuff, and yet they did it with edge. And you couldn’t do a lot of that today because it was full-on… That hang us off cliffs. We would push the boundaries of fear. It was amazing.
So, that’s what was different. And even today, if you want to build rapport with someone, if you’re not authentic, you’re just kidding yourself. You got no chance.
Simon Dell: Do you still do things today that scare you?
Jules Lund: Everything. That’s my problem. Because what Jim taught me was, “Just lean into the darkness.” I fucking hate doing that, but yet all I do with that. Because the problem with that is the tension in your body. Right now, I’m in tension mode. I’ve been like this for three years; started my own business. We got 60 people around the globe, and we’re trying to grow this thing fast, and we’re trying to get more investment, and we think we can have a crack. I’ve got a vision and I reckon it’s going to come true.
I don’t know if I’m going to be the one who owns the category, but I can see how all these tectonic plates are moving, and I reckon it’s going to trigger something huge, and I’m excited by it. Like, I’m driven because I go, “What if?” And then I get passionate and I go, “How do I do that?” And I’m really good in enrolling people, like, “Guys, look at this.” And everyone goes, “Yeah, let’s jump on.” And then I go, “Let’s try and do this thing.” And before you know it, the goals are outside of our reach, which is the point of them. Everyone’s relying on me because I’ve dragged them into it.
Everyone else is struggling. I’m pressuring them to get the best out of themselves. I’m disciplining myself, which is pretty brutal in my own head, expecting the same out of these other poor people who are coming along for the journey. And then when things don’t go right or things aren’t flying, then you’ve got to work harder. I’ve got two kids and a wife and I’m trying to be… because Jim died in the end and he said, “Mate, you might get so busy making a living you forget to make a life.”
And he was addicted to busyness. He finally spent some money on himself. He bought a Porsche Cayenne because he was a great property developer. He’s just so smart. And at 40-45, he finally spent some money on himself, and you know, one of the tumours in his eye renders him pretty much blind. He can’t fucking drive it a month later, and he’s just like, “My god, I’ve had all this money, had all this time, and now I’m dying.” It was just brutal.
And so he’s like, “Don’t make the same mistake.” And here I am making the same fucking mistake. But that’s the problem because you go, “I want to make the most of this life.” We’re all given gifts, and as an opportunist, which I all think we are, you want to go, “How high can I push that?” But it just comes with enormous sacrifice. And so, everything I do right now is too much. Like, I go, “What if we do that?” It’s just hard to make it work rather than just sitting back and enjoying life. It’s funny.
Simon Dell: How did you get yourself involved in the entertainment industry? What was the big break for you?
Jules Lund: Jim taught me how to be a TV presenter, and he was never one. He just taught me how to move with a room and read the beats. And I was always an attention seeker, I was always a show-off and I liked to perform. Through school, I love design and art. It was all about photography and a lot of the things I’m doing today is just a genuine passion. I just love visually having an idea and just going, “Look at that!” So, that was that.
So, I went into graphic design, I started studying that. Around the same time, art and so that was you know, it was it was all about photography and a lot of the things that I’m doing today, you know, he’s just a genuine passion. I just love visually having idea and then just going with that. So that was that so I went into graphic design. I started studying that around the same time. We did a reach course and we went away with all these kids from the psychiatric unit.
They’re all trying to off themselves on this weekend. And I was thinking, “How bad can life be, these young kids, girls, at every opportunity, if we’re not watching them, not run in front of a car, jump off a cliff?” It was intense. We were out of our depth. But I just couldn’t get beyond that. And so, I left graphic design and went, “I want to work with teenagers.” And I had a scholarship for clinical hypnosis, and I want to learn more about that, but I was fucking 19.
I had no life experience. I had no right to be talking to anyone. I travelled overseas. And so, I went overseas for eight months and a lot of that I travelled by myself, scaring the shit out of myself through Europe. And through that process through the states, me and my best friend just went to all the talk shows. Rather than going to theme parks, we just went “Let’s go to Ricky Lake”, “Let’s go to Jerry Springer,” Sally Jessy Raphael, Queen Latifah, Roseanne Barr, Tonisha, all these TV shows.
And so, we did. And when we’re in the audience, we started hanging shit, and asking questions, and winning competitions. And Roseanne Barr sent me on the street and paid me money to take photos of weirdos, and make one comment one day on Ricki Lake. I propose to a girl on Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer, I got in a fight with this male gigolo. We just had a ball ride.
All the presenters were like, “That was funny.” Jerry Springer going, “That was really funny.”
Simon Dell: What was happening on the Jerry Springer episode that you sat in on? That’s a wild TV show.
Jules Lund: I can’t even explain it. These days, I couldn’t have said what I said. There’s no way. The male gigolo was saying, “Six pack of beer I could turn any of you gay” to the audience. And I just said, from the heterosexuals, you aim to please, you can stay over there with your STDs. Because he was trying to steal some girl’s boyfriend, having this relationship. It was a mess.
Simon Dell: I miss that TV show. I really miss that TV show.
Jules Lund: The amount of eps I watched at 22 living on toasted sandwiches, sitting there watching Jerry Springer in the middle of the day in my undies. But my point being that once I did that, I started to go,” These guys are getting paid quite well for having a ball ride.” And I would watch them work it in between the ad breaks, these presenters. I was like, “I reckon I could have a crack at that.” And so, I came back, and very quickly, Ed McGuire giving me an opportunity to do a kid’s show pilot. There was 70 people auditioning for it, but like I was match fit.
And then I won a competition called 15 Days of Fame on radio. And then through radio, they gave me my own radio show. They said that went really well. And so, I created the Reach Foundation, all the stuff that I was running out in school workshops . Because I was, at this time, running 10 workshops out in secondary schools a week doing life coaching, even though I was a kid.
Simon Dell: Sorry to interrupt. I think that’s a perfect person to be doing the coaching to some of the kids.
Jules Lund: The teachers would shit themselves. I’d turn up with my hat backwards, bleach blond hair, nose ring, and just this bogan. But within literally 20 minutes, I’d have 200 kids sitting in a circle in the dark, crying, apologising to each other for being mean. And it was – the teachers would just go – you’d be year 9 and I would go in there and do this thing called a sensory, I’d build rapport, talk about confidence, then I get them all to lie down and get them to imagine themselves, imagine someone in their classes being victimised. And then I bring them all up and I go, “I want you to just thank someone who’s had your back in this environment.”
They thank each other, opens the door, and then I just go, “Who deserves an apology from you?” And this changed lives. Like, I still have what are now fathers come up to me in petrol stations, hugging me, going, “Someone apologise to me.” That age, a lot of people are bottomed-down, and you don’t need much.
And I said, “I didn’t do it, mate.” Kids aren’t innately mean. Give them the opportunity that it’s safe to be kind and they just take it. And so, for 10 years, we were able to create these environments where you just change lives. People have no self-belief, and then a comment from someone they thought hated them or someone influential just flips their whole script.
It’s still the best job I’ve ever had, and I spent 10 years traveling the globe for free in business class, jumping out of planes, playing soccer with baby elephants, and going through Africa and all that. And everyone said that was the dream job. Me and my stereo in the boot of my old Valiant, driving to fucking out in the countryside, talking to kids was powerful.
And I’ll get back to that once I make enough money just to be able to set up a family and pull my head out of my ass. I’d get generous again. But right now, I’m a selfish prick.
Simon Dell: That leads me to one of the questions that I wrote down before we started talking: kids as influencers. Obviously, you’re working in that space. What’s your feeling? And you’ve got your two daughters, have you?
Jules Lund: Yeah. Eight and five.
Simon Dell: How do you feel about that? How do you feel about the rise of that? People using their children… And I don’t necessarily need mean teenagers, I mean children children.
Jules Lund: I mean, we would have them in our community, but not that I would even know. Look, I’m not right into it. The reason being is… We have a lot of content that features kids, and it’s beautiful, stunning. So, it’s the parent’s account or it’s the kid’s, and they’re taking photos, and they’re featuring and stuff.
But actually, I think there’s a real danger in… I just think it can distort things. I think appearing in photos is fine. But as soon as the kid has an idea of engagement, and let’s do that one, that’s going to do better than that one, make sure you do this… As soon as you start shifting every day childish behaviour for gain, if you disrupt it too much, it becomes a bit like a show parent.
It’s a bit Toddlers & Tiaras. I think it can be toxic. And look, no kid has ever benefited from being famous too early. Not a kid on the planet. It’s just because it’s unnatural and it’s not fair. They’re trying to figure out who the hell they are, and you’re telling them, the world is telling them that they’re special. And they ain’t. They’re a snotty little kid, and they should grow up as one of 30 in a class.
Simon Dell: It’s difficult when I see brands tapping into that sort of celebrity kid. Certain brands probably don’t have any alternative because they’re appealing to kids, so they need kids to demonstrate to other kids the benefits of their brand, or their location, or whatever it is. To me, it feels… You got it spot on there. No kid ever benefited from becoming famous too early. I think that’s priceless.
Jules Lund: I mean, I don’t see it. Do you see that in Australia? I wouldn’t even know of one example of that.
Simon Dell: I can think of one very famous PR lady who uses her kids, that I find a struggle.
Jules Lund: Yeah. I think outside of that, it would drop off pretty quick. And I know exactly what you’re talking about. To be honest, I also know of the power for brands. It’s dangerous because it’s really powerful for brands. I know that particular case, and there were these Dora the Explorer Reebok shoes. Sales just melted down as soon as they were featured. It’s interesting.
Simon Dell: There’s a lot of questions, and you and I can probably talk for a good couple of hours. I’m just a bit weary of your time as well. But I want to cut more questions back to influencer marketing because that’s where your brain and skills are at the moment.
One of the questions that I get asked a lot is that a lot of people perceive that influencer marketing just for that commercial B2C marketplace. Is there still an opportunity for B2B businesses to be using influencers?
Jules Lund: At times. And I get this question at the end of every presentation at conferences, and it just all depends. The short answer is it may not. It just may not work. And the reason being is, what you’re purchasing is access to an influencer’s audience. Now, that audience is varied.
If say for instance Earth Wall, a client of yours, which is insulation in the walls, et cetera, if they were trying to appeal to retailers, or if a recruiter was trying to appeal to businesses, you’re going to have to assume that the influencer’s audience is relevant to that. And no one has collected a concentrated group of retailers or concentrated group of decision makers within businesses that might need a recruiter.
So, it’s just about the audience you’re accessing. And so, I don’t think it works for lifestyle products. Because you’ve got to understand why people are following them in Instagram in the first place. And no one follows someone on Instagram for tips on recruiters or tips on the property market. It just doesn’t work that way.
It is a visual medium that broadcasts aspirational images, aspiration. And it’s an aspirational lifestyle. So yes, we do a lot with banks. And everyone goes, “How?” Because banks get people’s finances in order and are the champions that enable these influencers to have the lifestyles that they’re celebrating.
You know, whether they’re traveling overseas, or they’ve just done a beautiful renovation. Because that makes sense. That’s what money’s for. You’re not taking photos of your bank statement. They’re using the NAB travel app, and that is amazingly perfect for influencer marketing.
But B2B can be tricky. But where it works unbelievably well… because Instagram isn’t great for performance marketing. Why? Well, actually, I’ll say this: influencer marketing is not performance marketing. And the reason influencer marketing is not performance marketing is because the majority of it is built on Instagram. And Instagram does not allow you to create URLs. You either have to ram the path to purchase in your link in bio, or you have to say, “Go to my Insta Stories.”
Those without 10,000 followers get to put a URL. It is painful. There’s no button there unless you’re doing advertising. In which case, it’s unbelievably powerful. Learn more, click here. But organic influencer marketing doesn’t connect those two dots. And not only that, but consumer behaviour is not to go into Instagram and purchase these.
Consumer behaviours is to go in there and be inspired, to learn, to understand about a brand, to keep its brand awareness. It’s not click-through attribution. But that doesn’t mean influencer marketing can’t become performance marketing. And where it comes into play, which is incredibly powerful, is in user-generated content performs 6.9x better in Facebook than brand-generated content.
The reason being is because when you’re scrolling your feed in 1.5 seconds, you see an image, it looks a bit raw, authentic, doesn’t look like this polished brand ad. You stop, you think, “Is this my friend?” And just that moment in time attracts such high… And we see that through all of our content.
Because people running influencer marketing campaigns through us, like the Unilever example for OMO, and then 50 pieces go out in social. They can see the top 5 highest performing pieces of content that have over-engaged based on the creative. Then they can put that into advertising.
They can put that into billboards. They can put that back into Instagram Ads. Now, you are actually targeting a precise audience with Facebook filter. That targeting is amazing. So, B2B is easily fixed. You go, “I need a photo of the guys who have just won the block or house rules, and I want them to take an awesome piece of content that celebrates it. And then I want to put it into Facebook and I want to pick retailers. I want to pick Sydney. I want to pick people that like the Bunnings page. I want to pick…
You can find your audience there. That is a hell of a lot more of a sophisticated tool than just going… That influencer’s got 100,000 people. I wonder how many are relevant. You pay for the relevance, and that you cannot beat. And so, what’s more is, not only can you buy that content that is personalised, performs better, you can pick the audience, but you could also add the click-through: learn more, buy now, shop now. And now, it’s performance marketing.
That’s the left-right hook. Influencer marketing can take you to a point. It’s powerful. It’s great for market research. It’s great for authenticity. It’s great for generating high volumes of content. But it stops. Now, take it and turn this thing into an absolute weapon.
Simon Dell: I think the interesting thing with B2B marketing is that if you’re targeting CEOs, or CMOs, or CIOs, or whatever that C-suite or senior managers, those people are often on channels. They’re on Facebook. They’re on Instagram. They’re on Twitter, but it just doesn’t necessarily say, “Hi, I’m a CEO” in their profile.
It’s just about trying to work out, as you’ve said, what content’s right for them. What are they interested in reading, or watching, or all those kind of things? And putting that content out there. And I think to a degree, sometimes, they’ll find it because they’re looking for it.
Jules Lund: Actually, it’s a bloody good point, mate. You think about Gruen, right? Gruen, who is liking that page? Who is following the social of Gruen? Industry professionals. That is a niche community. So, if you want a lookalike audience or you want to target them, you can go to Facebook right now and say, “I want to send my ads to everyone who’s liked the Gruen page. That is phenomenal. Anyone that likes ad views page or whatever industry that you choose, absolutely.
It’s going to be hard to be Google and Facebook. I just think Facebook is going to be the layer for all advertising in the future. You just can’t beat the data. You cannot beat the ability to pick exactly what you need, and it’s bloody underpriced. But yet, it’s already gone through the roof since this year. I think in the first three months, it went up 43%.
Why? Because Zuckerberg said, “Right, we’re going to minimise all the branded, organic content in the feed and we’re going to remove that because we want more meaningful connections with users and their family and friends.” Which forces everyone to do advertising now.
And if they’re all going to do advertising, it’s going to be competitive, and it’s going to cost more, which means you’re going to want to perform. If you want to perform, you got to get the creative right. If you want to get the creative right, you have to have a variety. As I said earlier, a volume, and you have to know the creative format.
And so, that’s the problem. So, where everyone is going to keep pushing towards that, then we’re going to hit that bottle neck.
Simon Dell: My last three questions for you today. Again, we could talk for hours. Whether anyone would listen to us for an hour is another merit entirely. I normally ask people about what brands people like. That’s my normal third-to-last question, but I’m going to ask you a different question.
Aside from your mentor who you’ve mentioned earlier, who influences you today?
Jules Lund: Mark Brewis. I really gained confidence from him. So for those who don’t know and those listening from overseas, he is one of our greatest business brains. He was a disruptor in the home loans environment, went up against the big banks, sold that for half a billion dollars, and then he was the head honcho on the Celebrity Apprentice Australia.
And now, he’s created something called The Mentor, and this whole platform around mentored for small businesses. And so, there’s a TV show, a series. I featured one of the episodes a little while ago with Tribe. And just being around Mark Brewis… What I love about him, he’s rough around the edges.
He’s a true, blue, fighting… He’s got the Ozzy spirit. He’s a boxer. He’s in his 50’s and he’s just charismatic, but he’s just not polished and he just gets shit done. He calls a spade a spade but yet he’s got a big heart and he cares. And I just think that his platform, which is him and all the digital platforms, and what he will build around him, is just going to be so incredibly powerful.
And so, that inspires me. Because I’ve never done… I shouldn’t even be in this. I’ve got a marketing tech company. I’ve never run a company. I’ve never studied marketing, and I’ve no idea about tech. When I see people like that, I just go, “Grit and street smarts can do plenty.” And so, that gives me inspiration. And I see a lot of successful people around the world.
I just like courage. Fearlessness is something very attractive, but it’s all bullshit. I don’t like people who are fearless. I like people who are scared shitless and do it anyway. That’s what I love, you know. That’s an attractive quality. Fearlessness, you’re just a flog mouthing off I reckon.
Simon Dell: It’s funny. I was listening to a podcast. We spoke about it earlier, Tim Ferriss, one of his podcasts, his latest one with a lady called Cindy Whitehead. And she’s grown and sold a lot of pharma companies in the US. And she started a pharma company based on selling male testosterone implants, things like that. She started that with no medical, no pharma experience whatsoever. No business experience, nothing.
But she saw the gap. And her solution was: surround yourself with people who do know those things. You don’t have to know all those things. You just have to have people working with you and around you that do know those things, so that they can help you and teach you. I don’t think you need to know about tech. You’d have to have passion and be a leader. Just as long as you’ve got the right people around you.
Jules Lund: Absolutely, and I’m surrounded with smart people, superstars. I’m very, very lucky. But as soon as I said earlier, I enrol them, I owe them. I’d want them to ride on my vision, which luckily I feel like I am. I’m convinced of what we’re working towards. But I do have those doubts. Are we too early? Is it too ambitious? Just so many doubts. That’s the tension of being entrepreneurial. I think we all feel that. We all have our tension in our life and it can distract us.
My conflict is: What Jim Stynes imparted in his final days, don’t be addicted to being busy. It’s a strange conundrum. He also said, “Make the most of life.” And how I interpret that is by pushing myself to my limits, but it might be actually sitting down and having a better conversation, being more present around my family and friends. It’s an interesting area but we all face those.
Simon Dell: It’s definitely changed. Mate, in terms of you’re sort of sitting there saying, “Oh, we’re too early.” Anyone who gets the chance to go to TRIGROUP.co, you look at the case studies that you’ve got on there. And I think when you look at some of the brands that you’ve been working with, I don’t think there’s any question about you being too early. I think you’re right on the money. Anyone who’s worked with Guzman and Gomez is a fan of mine. Anyone who knows me knows that I eat there about three times a week.
Jules Lund: It’s a problem, isn’t it, with Mexican? Because when I’m in London, my London team laugh at me because whenever they say, “What do you want to eat?” I go, “Mexican.” I have no issue eating Mexican every day. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, because it fits for all of them. You can have a brekkie wrap. I’m stuck in that. I reckon I’m in trouble. I’m an addict, too.
Simon Dell: Mate, I posted this on Facebook the other week. My son turned two yesterday, and two weekends ago, we’re driving around a roundabout near where we live. He can’t even see where the Guzman y Gomez is from that roundabout, but he knows it’s there and he’s shouting out in the back of the car, “Beto, beto, beto!” Which is obviously his short version of burrito.
So, I’ve now trained him to know where the Guzman y Gomez is near where we live, so that anytime we’re there, that’s the reaction I get from the back of the car.
Jules Lund: In terms of inspiration, Steven Marks, who’s the founder, and he’s been running that for 10 years and working his little ring off. American guy who’s charismatic, and then he’s got Lara Thom, who is the CMO there.
Simon Dell: I’ve been trying to get Lara on this show.
Jules Lund: Get one of her siblings. In her family, there’s five of them I think, and I think four of them are in marketing. They’re CMOs, they’re all hilarious. I think the mom was the one who said, “I’ve raised a bunch of bullshitters.” But she’s unreal, and Steven is powerful. If you ever have a chance to go onto the Guzman y Gomez, just find out their content marketing and the risks that they take. They’re the perfect one.
You didn’t ask the question about brands. Guzman and also Vinomofo.
Simon Dell: I’ve interviewed Justin from Vinomofo. He was one of my very firsts. The brand story there is fantastic.
Jules Lund: But just have some balls. This is a personality, put it out there. Don’t play too safe. And it resonates with people. That’s that authenticity piece that I’m talking about. For a brand to be authentic, for Mark Bruce to be authentically him, I think that’s really inspiring. I know it seems odd with influencer marketing because authenticity comes under the microscope because they’re paid for it.
But I tell you what: all of these content creators have crafted a community on authenticity. They were crafting content, and giving it for free, and inspiring their audience for five or six years before there was an option to make a cent out of it. And what they still do is maintain that. When you’re an influencer, you get the advocacy for free. What you’re paying for is for someone to take the time to craft some stunning content for you.
I reckon that’s why people don’t unfollow influencers when they post a sponsored post, because all of them say #ad, but at micro-influencer level, those audiences go, “Hey. I like this person. If they’re making a bit of money, I’m cool with that.”
Simon Dell: Back to the Guzman y Gomez story. Years and years ago when they first started, we won a Guzman y Gomez competition online. This was my agency. We’ve only been running it for about a year, and they sent the whole agency Guzman y Gomez hoodies. We spent the whole afternoon taking photos of ourselves in our Guzman y Gomez hoodies and posted them everywhere.
Jules Lund: Brilliant.
Simon Dell: It cost them five hoodies and some postage.
Jules Lund: And I’ve got a Guzman y Gomez skateboard sitting in our office. I kid you not.
Simon Dell: You’ve upped me with my hoodie. Mate, last question: What’s the plan for Tribe this year? What have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
Jules Lund: As I said, what’s unique about our platform is that there’s no barrier to entry. You actually put a brief in there. And within days, your own customers go out and purchase your product if they don’t already have it at home. They craft content and they submit it to you upfront as a pitch. So effectively, you go through this inbox. If you like it, you buy it; if you don’t, you don’t.
And so, it’s complete reverse on every other model around the planet. So, if Nutella wants 50 pieces of content, they go to another platform, they get 50 pieces of content generated. In ours, they choose 50 out of 200. So brands started to say, “Hey, I declined the other 150 because the influencers wasn’t right, their engagement, their feed.” But that piece of content is mind-blowingly good. That is so on brand.
Can I just purchase that content, put it in our social ads, or put in our billboard or print, or whatever? And so, we started selling the content rights of it. Then, people coming to us and saying, “Hey, I don’t even need the influencer. Can I just have content?” We’ve created content-only campaigns. It’s like a stock image library, but on demand and shot to your specification.
And having a hundred photographers come to your wedding, but you only pay for the pics you love. And the influencers actually love it because they’re making heaps of money taking photos on their phone and we’re paid out like 7 million bucks. That’s what we’re playing with. It’s like: Who are those gutsy people, gutsy brands, that actually just want 10 or 20 pieces of content that they can use in their advertising that want to actually empower their own customers to generate that?”
And why I say I sometimes think we’re too early is because… Cadbury got 350 pieces of content in a few days. If I got a Cadbury, “Mate, here’s 350 pieces of content. What do you want to do with it?” That scares the hell out of them. No one really has the systems to be able to shove 300 pieces of content into a machine. You need a growth marketer or a performance marketer.
So, the world hasn’t caught up. We’re now selling pieces that are 10, 20, 30, 40. But in the future, we’ll have this machine that can produce 1,000 – 2,000. That’s what I mean. We’re early in the piece. People don’t want 100 pieces of content even though they need it, because it’s like we give them the fuel, but they need the car. They need the whole system to use it.
That’s our focus and we’re pretty excited by it.
Simon Dell: Mate, it’s been an absolute pleasure. As I’ve said a couple of times before, you and I can go on and talk for hours here.
Jules Lund: I’m sorry, mate. You ask a question and I rattle on for ever.
Simon Dell: Maybe we’ll do this again in 3 – 6 months’ time and get more ideas, get more specific about some of the stuff you’re doing. Mate, thank you very much. If anybody wants to get in contact with you, what’s the best place to talk to you?
Jules Lund: You can hit us up through tribegroup.co. But if there was one thing that you should have a look at, it’s going to Instagram and type @tribe.content. You’ll see a few hundred case studies there of the content quality. And I just reckon that I hope makes you go, “Wow, the quality of the content is amazing.” And the brands using it… We work with 7,000 brands. It’s just beautiful. I’m just so inspired. As a designer, I’m just so inspired by everyday people just being able to just wow the hell out of me.
Simon Dell: Mate, good luck putting your presentation together this afternoon. Rock out the old Paint Shop Pro if you can’t do anything else.
Jules Lund: And my favourite font, Mistral.
Simon Dell: No, Comic Sans, mate. It’s been a pleasure, mate. Thank you very much for your time today.
Jules Lund: No worries. Thanks Simon. That was excellent.