I'm often puzzled when
extremely capable leaders in the
advisory board space decline my
invitation to be on the podcast.
My guest today did so when I initially
reached out to him on LinkedIn,
so I pressed him a little bit.
What confused me is he is a podcaster, so
it's not like a podcast will scare him.
Leads a large branding agency,
so, man branding is all about
putting yourself out in the world.
And has significant...
advisory experience in a lot of companies.
His answer was humbly, he was
not an advisory board expert,
which I went, wow, that's great.
And so I was happy to tell him
this show is not about experts.
It's about us all being learners.
You, me anybody who's a guest
on this show, what I know about
them for sure is they're all...
They're all people who are trying
to figure out things all coming
with a huge range of experience
capabilities, knowledge, insights and
uncertainties and things that they're
trying to figure out in the world.
And so today you get to meet Scott Oxford.
Scott is the founding partner.
and Head of Strategy and Creative at
the Creative Agency New Word Order,
which is based in Brisbane, Australia.
He's the host of the Brand Jam podcast.
He's a certified chair with
the Advisory Board Center.
He's quite brilliant, actually.
And he has a ton to offer
in our conversation.
So, you get to meet him now.
Here we go.
Scott Oxford, welcome to the
Advisory Board Insider Podcast.
I'm glad you're here.
I am very glad to be here too, Tom.
Yeah, so what are your
Where are you in the world?
I'm in Brisbane, Australia, in Queensland.
We'll be famous in 2032
for holding Olympic Games.
We're famous in our own
minds for lots of things.
Beautiful city, beautiful climate
beautiful part of Australia,
probably our favourite.
And I'm born and bred here.
I always start this show, I don't know why
I do this, but I always start this show
with what's your morning drink of choice?
I know you've just gotten, you
know, you've just started your day.
What do you generally start your day with?
Yeah, it's the first priority
probably after getting up is
heading for the coffee machine.
I've got a nice little Spanish
Espresso machine and make a flat white.
That's always the first that's an
Australian version of a white coffee,
I guess and Always nice and strong
double shot it's kind of my morning
routine is to do that allow myself to
wake up a bit and then dive into the
gym and Usually I'll make then a double
long black to sip throughout the gym.
So I'm Deeply coffee oriented.
And do you have a uh, a,
particular bean of choice?
Are you kind of a snob
about that kind of thing?
Or are you kind of relaxed about it all?
I, look, I'm kind of relaxed.
I, we have some wonderful roasters
in Brisbane, and there's one in
particular that is a bit of a favourite.
But I actually like to mix it up too.
So, rather than the same bean
all the time, I like to try
different, different stuff.
And because I drink both white
and black coffee, it's always good
to try different beans, because
some work better with others.
but yeah, we have a pretty vibrant
coffee culture in Australia.
And certainly in Brisbane, yeah,
we've got you know, spoil for choice
in amazing options and the flavor
profiles, it's a bit like wine.
I reckon, you know, there's so
many different flavors and you
know, at the end of the day, I like
exploring wine in the same way.
Yeah, that's really cool.
So you told us a little bit
about your wake up routine.
So you actually start with
coffee, then you go to the gym.
Do you actually go out to the gym
or do you have a gym in your home?
What's what's the morning
routine look like?
Well, I have three children who
are all sort of growing up now, but
I knew that I wanted to exercise.
Pretty much every day and I didn't want
to waste time and going to the gym.
And I also do love my routine.
So I love being able to do my program
in exactly the order that I do it.
So, I turned our media room into a weights
room, much to the Chagrin of some of
the family and and yeah, basically got
a few hundred kilograms of free weights
and a bunch of bars and, and things.
And yeah, it's a bit more advanced
than the average, but it's still,
it's pretty fit for purpose and
just means I don't commute, so.
way to go.
I'm 100 percent with you.
I do the same thing.
filled out my basement and
made that the the sort of
headquarters of my fitness routine.
Let's let's dive into a little
bit about all about Scott.
So take me back to
around 1990, maybe 1988.
I don't know what year that
would be, but I'm guessing pre,
pre university, pre college.
What were you dreaming about
for your life at that point?
what was in the future?
What was the big future that
Scott was, that age of Scott was
starting to imagine in his life?
I think it's a really common term
now, but I don't think we used it
as much or not in this context, but
it was really about storytelling.
I wanted to make films.
I wanted to create theater.
I wanted to make music.
I'm a musician as well.
So I just, I wanted to write songs.
I wanted to just basically put,
put stories out into the world.
And I think ever since I was a kid,
even in high school, I always sought
out opportunities to, to tell stories.
Then discovered different media
like film and and audio and
photography and those kinds of things.
So it was pretty much trying
everything and that carried well
past the eighties into, you know,
into my twenties in, and it was just
trying different, different things,
you know, like really exploring it.
And I think I was one of those.
People that was never going
to study an accounting degree
and become an accountant.
You know, I was never going to discover
my profession through a university degree.
So I did do a degree, but it
really was one of those degrees
where you're kind of exploring
different aspects of storytelling.
And I was a little bit surprised.
How non creative it was.
It was very um, critical and very I
guess, you know, academic, but it,
it, it wasn't particularly creative.
So I kind of trudged my way through three
years of, of uni and just decided it's
probably going to be, you know, out in
the real world where I'm going to do,
do stuff and sort of discover my way.
And I think that's my, my first job.
All of my clients were.
So I wasn't a creative, wasn't practicing
as creative, but all my clients were.
And what it meant that was that it
was essentially a sales marketing job.
And what it meant was that I
got to immerse myself in all of
these different creative firms.
And it was funny over time.
I found myself.
Putting ideas into their pieces of work.
We discussed projects that were on and
then, and I start writing copy lines
for them and I start, you know, I start
having ideas that kind of input into it.
And I then sort of realized that I
kind of had this little side gig where.
I was actually sort of dipping into
these creative teams and becoming
a part of, of what they did.
And at the same time, I had a
screenplay in my top drawer.
That screenplay is still
unfinished in my top drawer.
But that's, that's the
story of most creatives.
But really, really, it was,
it was about this immersion.
And um, I'd always heard about
this idea of on the job training.
And I thought that was
just for apprentices.
it didn't occur to me that
I could actually craft.
The career that I wanted by seeking
out opportunities to work in different
places and just insert myself
into different kind of projects.
And and so that, that kind of really whet
my appetite for working across a whole
range of different, different people,
different products, different brands,
different situations which you've got
to be comfortable with when you run a
creative agency, because it's the very
opposite to working in house where you're,
you know, working just on one brand.
So you're doing this immediately after
college that college that didn't seem
to do what you wanted it to do, but you
get involved in this other job, but you
immediately start, you know, sort of
jumping into these different companies.
So where, where did you go from there?
And what were some of the lessons
that started to emerge for you from
what you were experiencing because the
storyteller who didn't didn't really
get it in college is now starting to
get insight somewhere along the way.
What are the things you're
doing and learning in those
early years coming out of uni,
Yeah, well, I was yet to discover the term
entrepreneurialism and that typically is
seen as this, you know, sort of starting
businesses and taking risks and I, but I,
I, I never identified as that, but at the
same time, I just would see opportunities
and I would ask the question and I would,
I would seek out and see if I could add
value and And I just surprised myself
and it would never really bothered me
if I couldn't, cause what you expect.
It's like, what right have I got to
come into your project and do that?
But the more I offered, the more I
generated those discussions and it sort
of happened really quite organically.
These opportunities grew and suddenly
I realized that I was I was able
to work in this space and that I
have really quite flexible sort of
abilities, again, I, I attribute it,
to the fact that I was working with
all of these different organizations.
I wasn't there to, I wasn't
paid to do what I was doing.
So there was a freedom in being able to
explore and throw ideas in and but I would
throw in an idea and suddenly it would
be the headline of this whole campaign.
It's like, I never got paid for that.
But I didn't mind.
It was like, Oh, you
can, you can have that.
But for me, it was like, I can do this.
I could do this.
I could actually do
what you guys are doing.
And I think eventually I realized
I was probably going to need to
polish up a few other skills.
And so I, I sought out a production
company to go and work with for
a couple of years to really hone
my skills as a producer, and I
don't work as a producer, but.
The producer mindset, I think, is
really key to idea generation, because
that's almost the business side.
It's about putting the right people
together, creative producer, particularly
putting the right people together
and helping them all do their best.
Their best work.
And so, but it's got a
practicality of business and
that's the really important thing.
It's one thing for creatives to
have great ideas, but if the budget
doesn't work or the practicality
doesn't work, then what's the point?
So somewhere along the way, you decide
to move from being an employee to being
an entrepreneur and starting a business.
And while I read about it a little
bit, I'm interested in the origin
story or the genesis of, of a decision
to start a company called New Word.
And I've had to say that three times
before we started this took because
it wants to say new world order, but
there's, I think there's something
interesting in the, the naming convention.
But before you get to why you called
it that, tell me the origin story.
How did you decide to
get into the business?
And what was, you know, what
was the reason for that?
And what did you see as an
opportunity in the marketplace?
Well, you know, every.
Great or so called great man has
can have a great woman behind them.
And back in the early nineties,
I married my sweetheart and she
was a journalist and a copywriter.
And throughout the time that I was doing
my other job she was working across.
Advertising agencies and newsrooms and
dipping in and out of being a journalist
and a sub editor and like, and she
decided the time was right before I joined
to create a copywriting consultancy.
And we had this wonderful designer who
we worked with and we're brainstorming
one day and the name new word order
came up and it felt kind of a bit.
Daring a bit interesting and you know,
we kind of always said, you know,
from, from a copyright perspective,
copywriting is all about either new
words or a new order of those words.
So it was a play on that.
And then, of course, you got the
play on the new world order, which,
you know, I always have to say to
people, you know, where we're not
a right wing fundamentalist group.
We're just a play on words, you know, so.
But, um, it's stuck, it's stuck.
And so what, what happened was is
is that I was then able to introduce
her and between us, she's a long
copywriter, I'm a short copywriter.
We were then starting to work together.
So, these different clients that
I had and she went full time
in the copyright consultancy.
And then we kind of realized the
time was right for me to move across.
And my role was really to
widen it into a full service.
Creative agency, which is what we did.
And over those first few years and
we together, I do credit it with our
unique sort of mix and, you know, we'll
be married for 30 years next year.
So we've run a business
together for 20 years.
It's pretty mad, it either works or it
doesn't, you know, and so, we really
like each other, we're really happy,
you know, like it's that's not to say
there's a whole other podcast and the
challenges of running a business with your
part life partner and working together.
But what I can say is that we just had
these really amazing complimentary skills.
And that was really the key to me
being able to do my bit and join.
And, but we did it with a couple of.
Babies, basically, and and a mortgage,
you know, like, and I still don't know I
mean, that's what makes us entrepreneurs.
I think is that we took that risk because
looking back, I can't believe we were that
risky, You know,
would never do that today.
If you knew then what you know
now, you would never do it.
but it was, it was meant to be.
And very early on, we won a major
campaign that we had no right to win.
Against all the major agencies in town.
It was it was the quit smoking account
for the state government and it was a
big campaign and we did it and we, we did
it well and it was independently tested
to be really effective, not just in the
short term, but in the longer term too.
And that really put us on the map, I
think, and really established that A
big chunk of our work was going to be
around empowering people, supporting
people to make positive change.
And this whole space of attitudinal
behavior change, it just seemed like
we, we had a knack for being able to
understand how people think in order to
impact their, their attitudes, which then
impacts their behaviors and bring some
science into it, bring all of that in.
So yeah, it's a funny old journey.
And we still do a lot of
work in that space today.
So I, I can't help myself.
I've got to ask because my wife
and I have been in business
a long time together as well.
And we actually have a kind of
interesting little sub business
called Married with Company.
and it's really all about this, when a
married couple actually work together in
a business, but lead and run a business
together versus one being the leader
and another just being an employee.
And when I say just being an employee,
don't mean that like they're not
But it's different.
But I'm talking partnerships, people who
are married and run a company together.
So I'm, I'm intrigued what, what would
you say are one or two of the things
that have been really beneficial to
the two of you in in working together
for so long as co leaders of a company?
The benefits are absolutely around
trust and a deep knowledge and
understanding of the other person.
You know, it's more than just
someone having skin in the game.
It's, it's that our whole family
livelihood comes from this business.
The, the buck absolutely
stops with the two of us.
And when one of us is doing.
Well, it gives the other
permission to have a little bit of
downtime and space or vice versa.
You know, we don't both have to be on.
We're rarely both having a
great day at the same time.
So it's really nice.
But I think it's, I think, you know,
you would know, in a circle of friends,
you don't have many people who get what
your life is like when you do this.
and so I think running a business
alone would be Thank you.
I've not seen in the decades.
I've been doing this.
I've not seen many partnerships
like this of non partners work.
Most of those have been great
businesses that have either ended.
In disagreement and end
of relationship usually.
whereas for us, we're just,
we're sort of right in it.
We're supporting one another where we can
be completely honest, completely open.
We get, we can speak from one another
in so many ways, you know, like, we
almost don't have us have to be in
those key decision making meetings.
And we can sub in for each other,
you know, Suzanne had got really
sort of sick the other day and we
had to do some, she had some focus
groups with some elderly people.
You can't put a sick
person into that space.
I was able to just sub in.
I had a ball.
I love, I love older people and we
had the best time and it's just that
ability to have each other's back
and to really jump in for each other.
yeah, that's really cool.
Well, thank you.
That was a diversion, but
it was a helpful one for me.
So, tell me a little bit
about New Word Order now.
How big are you?
Like, how much activity are you doing?
And then I'll, I'll ask you a couple
more questions about it, because I think
they're relevant to our conversation.
But tell me about where you are now.
You've been at this almost 20
years, you said, or 20 years.
Yeah, it's probably a bit over that now.
We kind of lose track
after that long, but yeah,
you hit 20, everything is just a blur.
yeah, it is.
And, and the early days feel like
about eight years ago and they're
like 17 years ago and it's, it's mad,
but so yeah, we're, we're a small
independent full service creative agency.
And essentially that means we work
across every aspect of marketing comms.
Production design brand, our real
specialties, our brand, we have a very
honed brand methodology that that is
a real passion space of mine and brand
actually being much more than just logos
and like brand being very much that sort
of deeper story, internal brand, external
brand, the kind of stuff that can be
really powerful and critical to, Internal
and external success for businesses.
And then there's that other
side, which is behavior change.
But at the same time, when you take on
a client, you do all manner of projects.
So we do a lot of campaign work,
a a lot of different publications,
web, digital, you name it.
So pretty much everything that
has its challenges as well.
But we have a team of around Transcribed
It shifts and changes around 15, 16 of us.
but we, we've always worked
That campaign I mentioned,
we won early on.
We did that with no staff of our own.
We basically collaborated with a whole
range of other businesses that we had
relationship with and essentially found
a consortium and delivered it that
way and very successfully as well.
So we've always had that mentality
of rather than having one team and.
That's who you get, whether or not
they're graded or not, we're able
to pull in specialists in different
fields and, you know, bring them
into the space and, and we already
have established those relationships.
So we have a really good working process
and and that just means where we can
do things that we've never done before.
And in that classic entrepreneurial
way sometimes we've taken
on projects and it's like.
How are we going to do that?
I'll find someone and you
know, it's not fudging it.
It's actually just about, it's
like that great producing, which
is like, who do we need for this?
And you find someone and
they're like, they're perfect.
And you pull them in.
And so, yeah, we do a very
wide range of projects.
There's this, this great model.
A guy named Dan Sullivan who runs an
organization called Strategic Code.
She has this concept called who not how.
Who, not how.
So a lot of times we kind of get
in that situation and we're stuck
and we go, Oh, what do we do?
And a lot of times we go,
how are we going to do that?
And what you just said, which is his
concept, which is who should we find who
knows how to do the, the what and the how.
And it's a really important distinction
that I find as you, as you're doing stuff
in the world and you don't know what to
do, it's a, it's a great, it's mechanism
and I know it's been really helpful to me.
So, obviously this podcast is about
advisory boards and let, let me start
with through your agency experience
now that you've been at it a long time.
can you give me a sense of your
experiences along the way, your
perspectives on advisory boards, advice,
the actual function of advice how you've
seen it either with other companies, your
own company, what's been your experience
of advisory boards through this lengthy
process you've had with your company?
Yeah, well, predominantly the role
I've played in the, the position,
you know, uh, we've always worked to
mix strategy and creative together.
The traditional model in agencies is
to, is to keep them very separate.
And that's really sort of worked for us.
And for me, I'm one of those creatures
that that really, you know, mixes
the two together when I work.
And what that means is that that
advice is very much around coming
up with ideas, but it's also about.
Always having woven through that
a very strong strategic backbone.
If you haven't got a compelling
reason to do something, you don't do
it just because it's kind of cool.
And so what that's meant when I look
at the work that I've done is that we,
if I had to divide our clients into
two camps, there are the marketing.
Specialists, so chief marketing
officers, marketing managers professional
marketers of any kind that we deal with.
And on the other side, you're
dealing with either a subject
matter expert or a leader, owner,
CEO, and on that side, there's a,
there's a strong educational aspect.
And there's, there's a, a lesser
understanding of brand marketing,
the power of them and the importance
of them to business success.
And truly what I've found a lot is that
brand and marketing is seen as very sort
of soft and fluffy and nice to have.
what I know and what I've seen is that
they can be deeply powerful, incisive
and make huge differences to internally.
And to externally for
companies and businesses.
So what that's meant for me is
that my work, rather than just
delivering on a project, our
work becomes much more advisory.
And it really has been about
recognizing that our, say, a brand
project, we're wanting to align brand
strategy with business strategy.
But the research that we do
uncovers such rich insights.
Nuggets that they've never known
before that it that research
influences business strategy.
So, so what we're finding is it's
not just a, if our job is just
to get someone to come to the
door and knock and, that was it.
Everything can fall over at
the door if you don't answer
it, if you answer it poorly.
And so what we discovered is that
you actually need to work to make
that a very consistent experience.
And you need to absolutely invest
beyond the door and you need to be.
And what that means is, is a deep level
of advice that sometimes means operational
changes, sometimes means re rethinking
things that were already put to bed.
And that, that can be quite challenging.
But it's also requires.
And it requires evidence.
And so within that space, rather than
us just being the ideas, people who
do creative things and make things
look pretty and shiny, we're actually
very much about being able to advise
into the success of a project, not
just the piece that we're working on.
And for me, that's really
been the I guess informal way.
And so I found my way informally into
brains trusts into informal advisory
boards, even without that name,
where I would find myself regularly
with 2 or 3 other quite different
people to me, but all of my kind
of stage and caliber giving advice.
In return for lunch being bought for
us, you know, or, or doing the glass of
wine thing where it's throwing around
some ideas and you know, a bit of a
whiteboard session, that kind of thing.
And so, it was when we reached a point
where we did some business strategy work
with an external provider who took us
through the board prep program, what
that, you know, I actually experienced
the advisory board IP and structure from
the position of Being an actual customer.
so yeah, so that
so you went through a process of,
creating for yourself an advisory board.
well, we went through the
process of actually exploring the
appropriateness and the viability of it.
And that's the beauty of that, of that
program, which funnily enough, I can
now deliver for other people, you know,
is that it helps you understand where
you are and what your priorities are.
Whether an advisory board or what form
of advisory board is right, and there
is a spectrum of those advisory boards,
you know, from the very, very formal
right back to that kind of advisory
board of one not even call that.
So for us, we ran the process
and we established that a full
blown advisory board wasn't what
our business needed at that time.
What we needed was a brains trust
of a couple of people who would, you
know, who we knew who would take the
time and those people to this day
are still intrinsic to our business.
And you know, I've got one in particular,
we do the same for each other.
We, we actually.
We get together once every
three weeks at lunchtime.
We just drink Bloody Mary's.
There's a story behind
Which, which is a great, a great way
to have an advisory board structure for
It's really good.
And whoever needs advice
buys the drinks on that day.
but yeah, there's, I think what I'd
have to say too, is that for me, what I
found, especially in the last five years
is that I found more and more clients
were CEOs or C suite level who were.
Often men who were where I was four or
five years ago in my journey of health,
wellbeing, balance even just to getting
their businesses, they had these vibrant,
strong, powerful, growing businesses,
but they were working a hundred hours.
They were 20 kilos overweight.
They weren't seeing their kids.
They weren't doing all this stuff.
And I know this is moving a bit more
into coaching, but you can see that
I just kind of, what I've found is my
work is, is about going beyond just
the professional advice and that's
what I love about advisory boards.
They're really about getting around.
The people within the business of
leaders or the members of the business
who are on the advisory board, which is
usually a a CEO or an owner and another
senior leader and just really nurturing
them as leaders and as owners and as,
as, as practitioners in what they do.
And giving them holistic support.
And that's for me.
That's what I love about it
and look forward to in the
future of advisory boards.
Is that really deeply personal side?
Because you would have heard the stories
that so many times advisory boards find,
particularly when you have business owners
who say a partnership where they're not.
A couple or even if they are and their
marriage isn't in great position,
it becomes messy and it becomes
personal and it becomes, you have
to be able to negotiate that space.
And I feel like everything I've done is
kind of prepped me for that, that ability
to advise at a very business level,
but also be deeply sensitive to that.
And having walked my own mental
health journey, having walked my own
health and fitness journey, being in
my early fifties, being in the best
shape I've ever been in my whole life.
And I talked to these guys in the
late 40s and they're wheezing and
overweight and unhealthy and imbalanced.
And I'm like, dude, I would
just love to, I can help you.
I can help you.
So, part of, part of you've, we,
we've kind of assumed something
in the conversation, which maybe
our listeners aren't completely
aware of or aligned with, which is.
You came in contact with the
advisory board center, which is
actually headquartered in Australia.
And you went through a process
with them, which is something
that companies can go through.
But what's intriguing to me is in our
conversation is what were the elements of
that process that you engaged initially
that particularly sparked your attention
that, that kind of grabbed you and went.
Mm, that's really powerful.
Or the way they look at that is
particularly helpful in terms of
how you looked at your business and
maybe how you looked at the companies
you were informally advising as a
contractor to them in the brand space.
I, first and foremost, I feel like
the whole framework takes My business
as seriously as I do and recognizes
that we're very, very human and
it allows for the both of those.
So those, those 2 factors mean
there's a great deal of care.
And if, if I having done the certified
chair program, what I have taken from
that is a whole level of rigor, which
is founded in care to up the ante on My
own advisory that I'm just doing through
through my day to day through my business.
And so for me, it was that when we ran
through the that initial program, it was
probably asking questions and revealing
insights that we hadn't ever had before.
And so that program was run with by a
certified chair who was not in that role.
He was in the role of of a business
consultant to us at the time.
we didn't formally engage with
advisory board center at that stage,
but I saw their IP on it, copyright.
And I remember taking note of that.
And it was, it was, it was going to
be a couple of years later, probably
where I'd been watching people I
really respected on LinkedIn, who had
done their chair program, who were
taking positions on advisory boards.
And I was like, I could
get onto this one day.
And they actually reach out to
me I think they, they have a
process of, not just referrals.
I don't think I was referred in, but
I think I was identified, I guess, as
somebody who, who may be a candidate.
And then I just targeted.
But again, it was, it was one of
those lovely processes where they
have a, everything's just so Yeah.
Beautifully crafted in what they do.
And they, they took me through a process
of helping me identify whether this
was really something right for me,
but it was also to qualify as well.
So, and it was at the end of that.
It wasn't like a test, but it was really
a case of establishing on both sides
that this was something right to do.
And I I really loved that.
I learned a lot in that process.
I learned about what I wanted and
helped me define what I wanted to do
in the advisory space moving forward.
and so, yeah, I signed up for the
certified chair program and that
was a two day program delivered.
I did it in person and as opposed
to the um, you know, in a, in a
Australian company directors course,
which is the governance board side.
That is a 5 day, heavy duty, blow your
mind, just about leave you bleeding
on the pavement kind of thing.
This was 2 days of deeply
invigorating just brilliant IP
that clearly is backed up by this.
beautiful, everything you
need is at your fingertips.
And to me, that was just like having
built and run a small business where
nothing is at your fingertips ever.
It was just so nice to go, wow,
my, I totally have my back.
So that was sort of that
transition, I guess, into this
place where we find ourselves now.
so you mentioned it, but I'd like
to clarify it with you, which is
what did you see as the outcome?
Because the advisory board center
for those who may not know who may be
listening has a not only do they have
You know, an I P process of really
world leadership that I've learned I've
experienced in terms of how to how to
think about advisory boards, how to
think about different types of advisory
boards, how to bring rigor to them, how
to bring a systematic way to think about
them, how to set up yourself for one.
And you and I both have the designation
of certified chair within that structure.
But my question for you is what, by
taking that course and by deciding to
become a certified chair, what In your
mind, did you have a kind of the outcome
for yourself that was independent of
your role and function as, you know,
the co founder of a branding marketing,
digital this strategy agency that
you have, but separate from that, did
you have some kind of goal for that?
Did you have some kind of ambition
around actually getting certified?
And look, it's a multi pronged goal.
I love my work day to day when I'm not the
servant in a master servant relationship.
I love my work when I walk into a
room and I am there to add value and
I love sitting with a couple of very
high caliber leaders, people I admire
and they look to me for my expertise.
and that's not an ego thing.
That's just a inflow kind of thing.
I love that moment when you can really.
You can be the only person in that
space who's able to do that thing.
And so, for me, the idea of joining
advisory boards as an addition on top
of my daily work and being able to work
in those different spaces in a different
capacity, but just in that space, which,
of course, is focused on solving problems
and bringing a totally fresh perspective.
And I love the idea that that
was going to be outside of a
different professional engagement.
You know, like, it was a fit
for purpose focus kind of space.
The idea of of chairing again was very
much to add rigor to any work I do as
an advisor on a board, but also I'm
just one of those people that loves
to come in and assemble great people.
So from that perspective, the idea
of, of chairing and assisting a
company and putting together an
advisory board that's, you know,
where I can bring that independence
of thinking and bring the freshness.
And it, it just, it just,
that stuff makes me happy.
That's the kind of stuff.
So that's, that definitely, I'd
definitely love to move into a space
of, of being on advisory boards, but.
We also sort of see in our professional
practice that there is a real opportunity
to leverage this very high level
that Suzanne, my partner has that
I have uh, we have a former CMO on
our team as well, who has incredible
experience and the like, and potentially
even to create An NWO advisory, you
know, new order advisory almost to
really create a kind of space there.
And what I love about the advisory board
center is not this is an ad for them.
But what I love about them is that
they're very encouraging to us to,
you know, really help us make that
work and craft that and support us
in, building in building that out.
And I, I do know that if I, every day
in my work, eventually I got to just.
give, solve problems and give ideas and
give the benefit of that to people who
just want to hear what I have to say,
wouldn't that be a sweet way to work every
So, when I first asked you to be on the
show, you had an interesting response.
You said no, not interested.
I'm not an expert.
And I found that an interesting response.
But when we kind of dug into
the conversation my response to
you was neither am I, I'm, I'm
not an expert at this either.
I think I went through the program
a little bit before you and in going
through the program, I discovered
something really kind of cool about it
but frankly, despite being an advisor
to a lot of people, not unlike yourself,
I have a different role that I play.
I'm an executive coach and work in that.
I I took the advisory the certified chair
program from the advisory board center is
a way because I started to see what I felt
like was an opportunity in the market.
And the opportunity I saw was that
companies who had advisory boards
somehow had a different level.
Or they played on a slightly
different level than those who didn't.
And I coached, you know, CEOs
of companies who have advisory
boards and those who don't.
And I noticed this distinction
and I went, Hmm, what is that?
What's going on there?
And so I, I went through the process.
I didn't know the advisory
board center existed.
I'd never seen the.
you know, the IP anywhere.
It's not as big in the U.
as it is in your backyard.
It's quite big in, I feel like,
in Europe and Australasia and
all of those kind of places.
There seems to be a much more vigorous
approach to advisory boards in the U.
There's a lot of advisory boards,
but they're kind of ad hoc.
They're not as they're not as rigorous.
They just kind of come and go.
They might, an advisory board might just
be the seats, you know, the names on your
website more than anything necessarily.
They might be investors,
whatever that package looks like.
And so, part of our original conversation
was recognizing we're both, neither
of us are experts in this field.
I call myself an insider just because I'm
talking to people who are in the space.
You say you're not an expert.
But I was really interested because
I think what we're both trying to
do is we see the value of this.
I think we've built our companies.
We've done our work and
now we're trying to go.
How do how do we access that next spot?
And I guess what I'm wondering is.
You know what?
What kind of direction?
And this might be helpful to somebody else
who's a new and newly into this space.
What kind of moves do you feel like you're
making to potentially get on or chair or
lead or be a member of an advisory board?
Now that you have this designation that
is independent of your company, and
that's independent of a company team.
based advisory structure that you
might build within New Word Order.
Well, what I loved is about doing
the certified chair program with the
different people sitting around the table.
And there were a lot of people who
have had big corporate careers, built
businesses, done all of these things,
and they're moving into a space of
what's called a portfolio career.
Not a new term, but that as I mentioned
earlier, I love variety and diversity.
And so the idea of having a portfolio
career where I'm able to work in those
different spaces, I've told you, I,
I love the idea of coaching leaders.
I love, you know, that's
not been my practice.
And you know, but, but I, I would like
to think that, as an agency, we can
there are a few hats that I can Put on
to other people and maintain certainly
always my backbone role and lead
strategy and creative for the agency.
But I would love to to sort of, I guess,
move into those kind of different spaces.
And so I would love to sit on a couple
of quite diverse advisory boards.
I probably most qualified
to sit on boards for.
You know, family owned companies,
you know, private companies.
So that I've never worked
corporate not really.
and so, but that said I've advised
into C suites in corporate.
So, you know, it's it's gonna really
be case by case, but I don't have this
set idea of, You know, I want to be on
Gucci's advisory board or this or that,
you know, Gucci really recently set up
a youth advisory board, I think, and
did something that I'm a youth, but,
you know, like they, there are, there
are these specific opportunities, but,
you know, I sat with a client the other
day in Australia, it's been legislated
that anyone working in aged care is
going to need to have an advisory board.
And so that's a huge
opportunity in Australia.
I have a few clients in working in
that space of older people and, and
it was just, I said, Oh, have you
guys set up your advisory board yet?
So, no, no, we need to do that.
And I said, I could, outside of New at
All, I can actually help you with that.
Like, you know, that's
different to why I'm here.
We're here to talk brand and marketing,
but you know, and, and so for me
that That idea of being able to um,
you know, sort of shift into that.
So I, I see them working alongside.
I, I, I don't think we see ourselves
selling our business or, you know, or
necessarily ever leaving it behind.
You know, it's been a, it's been a
baby we've created for a long time.
And it's also professional services.
easy to sell those kind of
businesses, especially when your
strengths are at the center of it.
And um, I think, you know, we,
we started this business so that
we would have choices and the
ability to work in diverse spaces.
And so for me, that idea of being on
advisory boards is very much about that.
I'll say too you know, I've got
a fairly advanced pre revenue,
but nearly completed prototype.
Business, that's sort of an innovation
that's come out of our agency.
That's quite different to
anything else that we've done.
So I'm one of these people that's
going to probably, you know, I'll need
an advisory board for that business.
If it goes somewhere, you know, it's
going to be that kind of, you know, and
that's what's lovely about this community.
You know, I've, I've been, I mean,
you, you found me because I've
been posting around advisory.
I've had meetings with some amazing
people in the last few weeks, people,
high caliber, incredible people who
just say, I just want to buy a coffee.
Let's just catch up and have a
coffee, which is the metaphorical
equivalent of a podcast.
And it's just nobody
hears the conversation.
But but yeah, we're forming this network.
And these are I'm just
meeting incredible people.
And I think I would love to sit on
an advisory board or chair one with a
bunch of incredible, interesting minds
who have the heart that we have, which
is to add value and to contribute.
Transcribed by https: otter.
ai Not just, not an arrogant benefit them
from my experience, but this is, you know,
knock things out and just be a part of
that, you know, in a different capacity
while I still do what I do every day.
Yeah, well, I, I'm, I'm intrigued
because you're, you're a brand guru
and I'll just, I'll admit that even
though you might not be a advisory
board expert, you are an expert
on brand and brand development.
And I, I think it's always an interesting.
to do like a brand review on ourselves,
not in terms of our business, but in
this function of being an advisor.
And I, I thought it'd be interesting
to maybe you know, dig in how you as
a brand guru, look at this challenge
for yourself as a, as somebody doing
this, like as a, as an advisor, how are
you creating for yourself a branding?
Approach, which is again,
in advisory board space.
I don't think it has anything to
do with logos and, look and feel.
It's all about what's the story
you're telling in the world.
What's the, the messaging
you're putting out there.
So how do you think about branding
yourself in this environment?
How do you think about that
concept as you're, as you're
sort of adding this potential
other part to a portfolio career?
It's, I think it's, it's demonstrating.
Value and what value is to a
potential client is outcomes, not
services, you know, it's 1 thing.
Our service is to be an advisory
board chair or to be but at the
end of the day, Nobody wants an
advisory board for the sake of it.
What we're seeking to do is is for
breakthrough and in our business,
or we're seeking to revolutionize or
innovate or do these kind of things.
And I think I think the best way I
can show that value is to demonstrate
expertise, leadership and even a bit of.
And safety is in rigor.
You know, I think that's the thing
people are afraid of when it comes to
this is, am I going to have a couple
of, unicorn crackpots, you know,
who are going to tell me to do this
and push me this way and that way.
And as, as a business owner, you
have enough voices in your head.
You don't need more voices in your head.
What you need is someone to just.
Turn a light on for you
and, make a spark happen.
And so what I'm aiming to do is
probably really demonstrate that
I'm more than just a brand guy, you
know, and and really probably show
that it is that more holistic way.
And that's what I do with brand anyway.
And my work is, is actually showing
people that brand isn't just about
looking, putting a shiny new suit on.
Deeply about the substance.
It's about, you know, if you want to
follow that metaphor, it's about, a
professional development elocution.
It's about growing the full experience.
And I think, and I think brand is, is
about that, particularly as we learned
that internal brand, which is much more
than just culture or HR internal brand
is so critical to external brand being.
Being sort of really full.
So if I look at myself, I'm just trying
to show I'm trying to demonstrate an
understanding an ability to approach
that and build a promise that I
may not turn up with the answer,
but I've got what I need in here.
To work with you and together,
we're gonna come up with some magic.
that's, that's powerful.
So, if I were to ask you what your
superpower might be, because you've,
you've stated it how you see it,
but like, what's your super, if
you're sitting with a CEO of a.
Let's say a private company that,
you know, might be doing 10 million
in annualized turnover revenue and
they, they bring an advisory board
in and they're seeking outcomes.
A lot of times your function In
that advisory board is you have
a specific purpose to be there.
You have a specific expertise.
So I'm going to maybe dig in.
What do you see as potentially a
superpower that you bring to the table?
What's the what's the distinct?
Perspective, the way that you help
them think that may be different
than, say, a corporate finance
guy or a, or a legal woman who
sits on that same advisory board.
What are you bringing to the table?
It's uniquely you that nobody
else has the, that has that
vision that you seem to have.
Yeah, it's such an interesting question.
I think for me when you bring in
specialists in those fields, they're there
largely to advocate for that specialty.
My job has always been to be able to
scan the many different points, the
practicalities through to the, the
much more exciting and adventurous to
be able to push a boundary while also
never forgetting the parameters and
then identifying the gaps and knowing
when to pull in legal, that legal and
when to pull in cyber security, you
know, when to do those kind of things.
But I think it's that ability to
just sort of see that whole bigger
picture at a very top level, scan
the full view and somehow pinpoint.
These things and be able
to then out of that go.
All right, we'll need this.
We'll need that only that and I
can also read you and I know that
you're the kind of leader that's
going to need facts and figures.
So you're the kind of leader
who needs to feel this.
And if you feel it, you know it.
And I've worked with both.
You know, some, some leaders
go strongly on gut feeling.
Some rely purely on facts.
Some a combination of the two.
I think we're all a bit of a combination
of the two, but I think it's that it's,
it's about reading and understanding.
I don't get caught out very much by people
surprising me with their personalities
or, or their, their deeper agendas.
You've got to see beyond that.
Just like when you look at
the big picture, you've got to
still see the detail in there.
Otherwise you get caught out by something.
I don't know if that's a
good explanation, but I
No, I think, I think it's fabulous.
Yeah, no, I think it's fabulous.
And I think part of the, the
ongoing process that, that any
of us are in who are trying to
move into this kind of space.
And the more I've talked to people,
even people who have had historic, you
know, they've sat on boards, they've
sat in all these different situations.
They're also trying to find their way
to this, what their, unique position
is, how do they, how do they act
when it's not governance versus when
it's advisory and the distinctions
that come in that environment?
So, no, I think it's fabulous.
So, do you have any any final thoughts on
advisory boards, advisory board function?
That we didn't cover that you feel like
I, maybe didn't ask you the right way on.
I know you're also a podcaster.
So sometimes there's things
that you're going in your head.
Why didn't he ask me this?
And so I'm giving you the chance.
So is there something we
didn't, didn't discuss that I
probably should have asked you?
And I'm enjoying
submitting to you as host.
It's, it's lovely.
We, we actually approach
podcasts very similarly.
Every, all the prep you did was exactly
what I always did with my customers,
you know, with my interviewees as well.
But what I, what I probably, what I
probably would say is that it's, you
owe it to yourself to understand.
What an advisory board could do
for you, rather than just, I think
when I first approached it, I
mistook it for a governance board.
And I think it's that these are
very, very different things.
And I have deep respect for governance
boards, but it's not my space.
I, I'm happy to leave that to For all
the risk and everything that's associated
with that I know that this is kind of
my sort of sweet spot and and I think,
I think it's, it's really a case of take
the time because I think, you know, it's
a very lonely thing running a business
and there are not many, certainly a great
coach is an absolute godsend, you know,
so, but this is, a way, you know, of,
Injecting some powerful thinking into a
business that you may not be able to do,
even if you hire and you may never be able
to hire that level of expertise anyway.
So that sort of taster
into that kind of space.
so I, I just think I would advise
people, you know, who are looking,
considering advisory boards just.
dig into it, you know, dig into some
of the stories of it because you
know, they are sort of profound and
powerful outcomes that come from it.
but yeah, no, I've I really enjoyed
this exploration and somehow you make
it me comfortable talking about me.
That's really weird.
You've got me to talk about
things that I don't normally talk
Oh, that's delightful.
Well, as we finish this
conversation, I always like to
throw some other questions at you.
Just some fun, rapid fire ones.
Just because they help me
to understand you more.
So, uh, let's start.
And I think this may be sacrilegious to
ask a brand person, but Apple or Windows?
From what perspective, I
think I could safely go Apple.
I figured that that would be the case, but
you know, it, it doesn't hurt me to ask
I've invested so much money in, sorry,
I was just going to say, I've invested
so much money in Apple over the years
building a creative agency, but I've
also been grateful for their reliability.
What was the first question
you asked chat GPT the very
first time you, you logged in?
look, I think I went straight to
something really, really practical.
I have a startup concept that brings
together psychology, predictive
analytics and and AI together.
And I basically said to it,
how could I use predictive
analytics, psychology and AI?
To solve this problem.
Oh, so cool.
and it was, it was not bad.
It was not bad.
That, that's the interesting thing I found
is when, when you actually first start
playing with it, you realize, Hmm, this
is, this is really interesting and it's
fundamentally going to shape how, how
we think about the world going forward.
So, besides everything else you said
earlier, you're a musician and a singer.
So I'm always intrigued by what's
the song that's on almost on repeat
in your head that you sing in the
shower or or in the most random
places, or when you're anxious,
what's the song that is perpetually
playing in your head right now?
Because I realize it changes, but
what's the thing your wife goes,
would you quit singing that song?
Well, it's been recorded by many, many
people, but the version I hear in my
head of Stardust is Nat King Cole.
but I grew up listening to Willie
Nelson sing that and that was
an album my parents played.
And yeah, as someone who sort of loves
that, I love singing jazz, but that's
like a more loungy kind of softer
version, but I just think it's a
but that's the one that's stuck
in your head all the time.
all the time, all the time, there's, yeah,
What's the book that has
shaped you more than any other?
in terms of influence,
what might that book be?
It's gonna be hard to
explain why, but probably C.
Lewis is the Lion, the
Witch, and the Wardrobe,
it was an early read, but he's just such
a Beautiful, accessible user of language
and metaphor and story and imagination.
And I feel like that book in
particular, in that whole series
is a beautiful capturing of all of
those things that as an adult, as
well as as a child, Brings me warmth,
Yeah, that's, that's great.
What's your poison?
Hot yoga or cold plunges?
Love it very, very much.
The cold plunge.
I love cool water.
I haven't done an ice bath yet.
But I used to do a lot of distance
running and I would love, it
gets very hot here in summer.
So I go out, you know, it's sort
of 40 degrees Celsius and you're
kind of done 20 K and you're
very hot diving into a cold pool.
That moment you dive into it,
your whole body feels like it's
regenerating cell by cell all over.
I love that feeling.
Hasn't transferred to the cold plunge yet.
Love hot yoga.
Would do it every second day if I could.
you seem to have a bazillion
things, ideas floating.
You've got great ideas.
You're, you're exploring different paths.
You really have this portfolio
career, but outside of that, what are
you irrationally passionate about?
If I followed you into your whole week,
is there another thing that's not work ish
that you're irrationally passionate about?
beyond exercise I probably love cars,
but I don't have a crazy collection
of cars or anything like that.
I can't afford it.
But I do love cars.
I'm a bit of a crazy cat man as well.
I got a, I got a ginger kitten
for us to sleep over there.
He's my new sort of passion,
new little guy called George.
But yeah, those things
feel really mundane.
Surely there's got to be
something more exciting
No, no, sometimes there's not.
It's just that sometimes there's
this little thing like you're,
you're a knife collector or I mean,
people have really interesting
things when you dig deep enough.
There's this whole layer of
really interesting things that
people are, you know, deeply into.
Like, for instance, I'm crazy
interested in studio equipment.
I don't know why.
And you know, this is a little
studio I built off my office
in a house, a custom house.
We built, I built this little studio and
I love microphones and I, I have way too
many microphones for one requirement.
I've thought of it
I've thought of it then
Polaroid SX 70 cameras.
The SX 70 was a, it was a, it sits sort of
long and flat and it actually flips out.
They came out in 60s and 70s.
It uses Polaroid film that the kind where
it has a plastic coating over it so you
can move pigment around underneath it.
And I, I worked with an artist once who
did this and used a metal a wooden sort
of stylus to move the pigment around.
I've never done that.
But there's just something really glorious
about the steel and leather design of it.
And the fact that it flips open.
And I've bought way too
many of those on eBay.
There you go.
We found it.
We found the irrational
The studio equipment one, the
too many microphones thing.
That's what gave it
away from me.
So there you
Oh, I, and I don't understand it.
I don't understand why I need, you know,
I need a road microphone and I need, and
I've got this, you know, this microphone
up here so that it's not in my face.
I didn't like the.
But I got all those microphones.
I got every single one
of them and, and strange.
but I wouldn't get rid of them.
Like those things.
I will hold onto those suckers.
I love them.
well, Scott, this has been delightful.
Um, I know that you said you weren't
an expert, but my gosh, you had a lot
to offer anyone who's listening today.
I think your perspective, your insight,
the way you look at the world, the way
you look at, things is really profound.
And I think, from the perspective
of an advisory board thing and being
what I consider an insider, even
though there's no way in hell I am.
I think you've got a lot to offer even
in the advisory board space as a chair
and, and a, as sitting on somebody's.
Board or just advising people
because I think your insights
on the world are pretty cool.
So, uh, Thank you for being a part
of this with me Thank you for sharing
your gift with the rest of us and
the really cool things you're doing
in the world It's been a pleasure
Oh, same for me, Tom.
Thanks so much.