From Branding to Advisory Boards: Scott Oxford on Portfolio Development

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.

Thank you.

Yeah, so what are your
geographic coordinates?

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.

All right.

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?

What happened?

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?

right, right.

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 it's.

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.

Incredibly lonely.

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
very collaboratively.

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.


are big.

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.

It's not.

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?

No, no.

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 actually.

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,

I think.

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?

hot yoga.


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.

Got it.

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

just look.

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.

I've stopped


We found it.

We found the irrational

Thank you.

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.

Creators and Guests

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
An Executive Coach, Tom Adams helps entrepreneurs & executives expand the vision of their lives so that they flourish & as a result, their businesses will too.
Scott Oxford
Scott Oxford
Co-Founder & Head of Strategy and Creative
From Branding to Advisory Boards: Scott Oxford on Portfolio Development
Broadcast by