When you know your archetype – your personality style – it’s easier to understand why you act as you do. More importantly, understanding the archetypes of those around you makes it easier to interact with one another. In this episode, Ann Bennett, an award-winning branding expert and graphic designer talks with Elizabeth Bachman about self-awareness and understanding are gifts. Especially when you need to get things done. Tune in to this episode to start owning who you are and go beyond to change the world!
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Dream Interview: Joan of Arc
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The Gift Of Archetypes When Getting Things Done
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My guest in this episode is Ann Bennett. She’s a branding and marketing specialist. We met when we were both speaking at a conference and I was impressed by her. She has a lot to say about what makes you important, what makes people notice you, and how you need to know who you are to know what works best.
The official bio is that Ann Bennett is the Founder of RenegadeBranding.com. She’s an international speaker, bestselling author, coach, and brand profit builder. She uses her marketing and branding genius to help women experts and a few good men build their standout personal brands and boost their profitability and presence. She works with purpose-driven experts who do transformational work so that they can liberate and ignite their unique genius, also their authentic voice, and build the right brand platform that will get them where they need to go. Ann has 25 years of experience in visual and graphic design, and has brought her talents to many major magazines from Popular Mechanics to Vogue. She is a lot of fun. I know that you’ll enjoy this interview. Here comes Ann Bennett.
Ann Bennett, it’s so much fun to see you again. Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.
Ann and I met at a conference in London in 2019. Who knew that everything would change after that? We had our tables in the back of the room next to each other. I had great fun watching her and being impressed. I’m glad to have you on the show. Before I get into all the cool things I’m going to ask you about, let me know who is your dream interview, somebody from history whom you’d like to interview? What would you ask them and who should be listening?
A lot of times when we think about historical figures, someone that I’m enthralled by, and I don’t even have a clue about how she created what she did, was Joan of Arc. She was the original badass of leadership. She was 13 or 14 years old, a young girl, leading a giant French army and having all these men follow her into battle.
At that point, women weren’t even allowed to go anywhere and do anything other than cook and have babies. It hasn’t changed that much. I would love to have dinner with her and discuss what kind of enrollment conversation, type of inspiration, and type of heart she presents over and over to do these incredible things with all these men. To me, that’s very inspirational, and at that young age, almost impossible to achieve.
She was slapped down and burned at the stake. She got the results for her client and then was no fun to have around. There’s an old saying that heroes are no fun to live with at home. Who should be listening to that conversation?
It’s any woman who leads people and who is in a leadership role. She’s got big ideas that could be very innovative or have an opinion that’s different or whatever that powers are, how to enroll them in the concepts and the ideas. That’s what she did. I don’t think she was the best warrior on the team, but she was the one to lead everyone. She was the visionary.
I wasn’t going to go here but I’m going to ask you about impact. One of the things is that visionaries, leaders, or people with that spark need to have somebody beside them who gets things done.
It is an understatement, I believe.
All those years in opera, I worked with a lot of visionaries where there was somebody following around behind them figuring out how to get things done. My dad always used to say, “There are two kinds of people in the world, the thinker-uppers and getter-downers. You need both.”
They’re not mutually exclusive in one person but usually, as a visionary, people are more apt to be strategy and picture-oriented. The getter-downer types are more of the other troops. It’s the other people who come in with their sense of expertise and genius in the implementation of a concept or an idea. The innovators are the big future thinker and ushering in concepts and ideas that in Joan’s case, might not be that popular in the general population. The same thing happens in business. The visionaries are always pushing the envelope. They’re up on the edge or over the edge sometimes. Their team is the one that needs to bring in all the pieces of how it’s going to work, the logistical aspects of it.
That brings up another thought about that. We only hear about the visions that work, which are maybe 5% or 1%, or as Thomas Edison said that he didn’t fail 99 times. He just found 99 things that didn’t work.
He’s the perfect example of that because he made the hypothesis and took the idea and the concept. At one point, after how many trials and errors failed, he was iterating the whole time, “This didn’t work. This worked. This worked better.” He’d then go with the worked better. At one point, he discovered filament. The missing ingredient was this one thing, this filament that was the thing that we know as light.
The filament is the little piece of wire that goes between the two electrical poles that burn. I didn’t know that part of the story.
He tried all these other things but it didn’t work at all. He is perfect in terms of a visionary. He had the concept, idea, and tenacity or blind ambition to go through all the steps to get to where he wanted to go. When I listened to some of my other mentors talk about making billions of dollars, it was very similar to the trajectory that you’re doing.
What does it mean?
It looks like you’re failing and you’re going to a new idea, “Let me try this. This didn’t work or not work as well as I want it to.” You’re iterating slightly. It’s never changing complete directions. He didn’t all of a sudden decide he was going to invent the doorknob. He stayed with the vision of the light bulb. It’s something crazy. It was 1,000 times or more than 1,000 iterating and trying ideas. To me, that is what it takes to build a super successful business, or if you’re working for a corporation or some other entity, it’s all part of that.
I want to circle back to the thinker-uppers and getter-downers but this leads me to one of the questions I had for you. How much does mindset play in our success? Think about the mindset of Joan of Arc or Thomas Edison keeping going.
“It’s not over until I win,” attitude. “It’s just another day.” My opinion is that mindset is at least 90% and everything else is strategies and tactics that worked well or not as well as you would like them to. Stay persistent and focused, continuing through the ups and downs. It’s like being married for a long time and still being in love with the person. You are thinking he is the best thing since you met him on day one and 200 years later, it’s the same. “I love you. I admire you. I respect you.”Mindset is 90%. Everything else is strategy and tactics. Click To Tweet
It’s the same thing in terms of mindset for building a business or doing anything that you want to accomplish if you don’t know how to do it. Who knows how to stay married for 50 or 60 years and still be in love and excited about the other person? I don’t even know them that well. I’ve only been married to them for 50 years. What happens when we think we know, our world shrinks.
You don’t know when you stay curious. “I don’t know what Elizabeth is going to be like now. She’s not the same person that she was yesterday because she’s growing and changing. I’m growing and changing.” The environment is chaotic. It’s always changing. When we start to think we know something or someone, it limits what we’re capable of, I believe. To become limitless is to be able to be curious and face things with an “I don’t know” attitude. “I don’t know how that’s going to go.”
At what point do we recognize that maybe we have a vision and it’s not going to work? For instance, a tech project. Sixty-seven percent of tech projects fail and you never hear about them. You only hear about the ones that win. All the lottery numbers don’t come through and you only hear about the person who wins the mega millions. What do you think about pursuing a vision when maybe you’ve gone down the wrong road?
My opinion is all the roads are the right road. “Make a decision and make it right,” are two of my favorite things. You can always make another decision. Decisiveness is extremely important and it doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind or move direction. Be flexible enough to move directions. It’s a great game that we play with ourselves.
How much fun is it to know where it’s going to go and how it’s going to be where there are no surprises, delights, or disappointments? It is a little boring. In my opinion, I like to live in a very exciting way because it’s a fun thing to do. Entrepreneurs have a times ten sense of adventure but visionaries and people that start companies have these same ideas. I don’t know what the percentage is of people that start things and don’t complete them or they fail or they never get to market.
“Fail forward fast,” is a very American attitude.
It’s been an interesting idea. Instead of failing forward fast, what if we held it like, “I’m moving forward and iterating. I’m changing quickly.”
For our non-English speaking or international listeners, what do you mean by iterating? Explain that, please.
I’m doing it again with a few corrections. I’m seeing something that needs a correction or small adjustment. I’m adjusting slightly and then I’m going again. Most people that I’ve seen, the successful ones, are constantly changing what it is they’re doing. Not in big steps though but in very tiny steps. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
It’s tweaking and refining.
For people that start and stop, that’s hard. That wears me out thinking about it.
This is when I need to ask you. You do branding and public relations. You are the rebel brand. Talk to me about the four rebel brand archetypes. These are the four Renegade archetypes. I was talking about thinker-uppers and getter-downers but you’ve got four.
I developed them to create simplicity because we’re very complex. As human beings, we like to make it hard. I thought, “Let’s label everybody into four distinct categories, nurturer, disruptor, innovator or geek.” You can have primary and secondary things that you lead with but when you’re developing a brand, you want to land on the one thing that people see and recognize about either your product or service that it’s what leads.
When you think about Joan of Arc, she led with certain language and inspiration. She gathered people behind her for something larger than herself. A brand is a way of emotion and it’s something larger than you. It’s not only nice pictures, a tagline, or colors. It’s a movement that’s a lot bigger than you are that other people can align, play and want to be a part of.
If we apply these archetypes to working within an organization where you certainly need your personal brand and how important that is, tell us a little bit about who these four people are. Why does it matter to know whom you work with and who does not?
It’s great because we’re the kind of people who want people to be like us. I don’t know why it doesn’t make for great.
Everybody does. You assume everybody thinks the way you do.
They want to think the way I do or do things the way I do. When you have archetypes, you can see the gifts and the beauty of people that are different from you or approach a problem-solving situation differently than you approach it. It gives you more options and ideas. If you’re a nurturer, you’re going to be looking at the clients or the people that you’re serving as the most important of the business.
You are people-focused.
If you are a disruptor, you’re going to be all about, “Let’s push the boundaries, have a point of view, stand out, be different, and be controversial.” You’re going to be the one that’s a little bit of the troublemaker and the rebel in that group. You’ve got your innovators that are thinking big picture and what’s the biggest thing we can do and how is it going to impact our clients, people, and service. You’ve got your geeks that want to have everything planned out. They know where they’re going and all the little pieces to make it happen.
Those are the real getter-downers in my world. Everyone has a level of getting things done so it’s not as cut and dried but some people are more on the visionary, dreamy, and creative side. There are also the ones that are like, “I’m going to take care of my people because they’re the most important thing ever. The people, the environment, the culture of my corporation is the most important thing.”
They all have their focus on what the most important thing is. When you bring them together, then you have a team that’s able to push and pull each other and hopefully, inspire each other to see different ways to solve a problem and different things that they could do. Your disruptors are going to say something different than your geek and neither one is better than the other. They’re great. It’s whoever solves the problem. It’s all about that. It’s not about being better than other people. You want to be on a team. It’s all about everybody.
They need the geeks, the people who are going to check all the boxes and go through the list. Having worked many times with people who’ve got a whole bunch of brilliant ideas, you never know if they’re good ideas. I often say, “I’ve got lots of ideas. They’re not all good ideas.” I always make sure that my team checks me and says, “Do you want that? Do you mean that?”
Usually, it’s the 3rd or 4th revision is one that we wind up with because for me at least, I need to go through several versions until I know exactly what’s going to make sense. I know people who can do it right off the top of their heads and they’re right. That’s incredibly annoying for those of us for whom it’s much harder. Once you’ve identified what you are good at or what your archetype is, how do you use that to deal with the other archetypes?
It’s a good question and it gives us the known factors. I’m a disruptor. I love working with geeks. They’re my favorite people because they get stuff done. They’re much more logical and pragmatic. I can be very pragmatic but I’m not a linear thinker. When I look at things, I’m out in a bigger arena where my geeks are like, “Ann, we want to have a plan. Can you do a brain dump and then we can take that and put it in a spreadsheet?”
When I talk to them, I’m talking to them like that. I’m saying, “How would you solve this problem? Here’s my problem. What’s the best, fastest, easiest and most efficient way to do it? I have no idea. I want to create this event or do whatever it is I’m doing.” For instance, I was talking with one of my team players. I have all these ideas and projects and they’re happening all at once. I can only focus on one thing at a time. I can only sell and present one thing at a time.
How do I keep track of everything so it all gets done on a timeline? It’s like, “There’s a fire. Great. I’ll put it out.” I’m good at swinging by the seat of my pants and solving problems very quickly. I am not great at the planning aspect of a large project down. She was like, “Put in a spreadsheet and I’ll figure it out.” I’m like, “A spreadsheet? Can I do a brain dump? That’s what I’m good at.”
I often think about that kind of relationship as she’s an anchor for you and you kick her out of her rut.
For her, I’m sure it feels like pushing. I’m just doing what I’m doing, which is trying to expand as much as possible all the time. She’s probably like, “Settle down. We need to plan to make that happen.”
The lesson for this is something I learned the hard way having made many mistakes. Surround ourselves with people who think differently. If you know where you are not good, the parts that you’re weak on, find someone good at that, who likes it, and have them do that. I have a friend who has lots of big-picture ideas.
She thinks about world issues. She is responsible for the finances of an organization. She’s inherited a finance job. I said, “Hire a bookkeeper because the bookkeeper will love working with the numbers and it’s not your genius. You can then think about the great philosophical questions that you’re good at, as long as you know that about yourself.”
When you know your archetype, it does allow you to go, “I’m very much of a geek. I need a big-picture person. I need an innovator or a disruptor to break out of and help me get even bigger in the way that I think.”When you know your archetype, it allows you to know who you are and what you need. Click To Tweet
Ann, let me ask you. If you’re part of a team, how can you use this knowledge? How can you tell people what you’re good at or what you need to function better?
I have a client I’m working with. She’s very geeky and super computer savvy. She writes programs and all this stuff. We’re working on a project that has to do with enhanced reality but it’s got a different name. When I finished speaking with her, she is always like, “Could you give me the list of what we’re going to do next?” This is because I’m talking like, “We’re going to do this. We’re going to enroll this person and get money from over here. I’m going to introduce you to this one. I’ve got this big thing happening. Tell me the three things we’re going to do next.”
That is knowing what you need and then asking for what you need.
For me, being a disruptor, if I get too much information, I get small. I give all the big information and all the chunks to my clients, my coworkers, and the people that work with me that are geeks because they love that. They’re like, “I’m going to eat this up. I’m going to feel great.” For me, I’m like, “A spreadsheet.”
We all have to do it. The key is to make sure you know what works. Ann Bennett, it has been so much fun to work with you. I’m going to ask one more question. Talk to us about what the word impact means to you.
Impact is about expanding how other people think. Influence is more like once they’re impacted, they want to follow or I have command over a certain amount of people. I have this influence out in the world or I have my 10,000 people, my leads or I got 100 million clients or whatever that is. Impact is when you can shake up and expand how people think. They have a point of view and all of a sudden, they’re like, “I could do that and it’d be that easy. How does that work?” You are causing curiosity or willingness.
You are breaking the pattern. This has been so much fun. Thank you so much. I’m so glad we stood next to each other in that terrible hotel basement.
It was awful. You will do almost anything to speak.
Yes. I learned a lot and I met some great people there. It was a wonderful conference. We had a good time and I met you, which was great fun. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for having me.
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About Ann Bennett
As an award-winning graphic designer working for Vogue Magazine and now a brand profit builder, Ann Bennett has helped 1,000’s of talented women illuminate, translate and amplify their unique brands to they can STAND OUT, speak with confidence and sell with authority. She helps them to build a Renegade brand identity that positions their influence and explode their profits to 6-figures and beyond.
Ann’s life mission is to impact women entrepreneurs to own who they are, expand beyond their growth edge, and amplify their brilliance so they can get unruly, make more money, and change the world!