Michael Roderick, Creating a Referable Brand – InnovaBuzz 328

Michael Roderick

Michael Roderick, Small Pond Enterprises

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Michael Roderick who is the CEO of Small Pond Enterprises which helps thoughtful givers become thought leaders by making their brands referable, their messaging memorable, and their ideas unforgettable. Michael began his career in education teaching High School English before breaking into the world of Broadway producing. He made this transition in less than two years prompting colleagues to ask him how he did it. This led to him creating a series of experiential workshops to study the dynamics behind relationship building and messaging.

Now, Michael speaks and consults on how individuals and companies can create Referable Brands for themselves so they can be top of mind for partnership, media opportunities, and more. His frameworks have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and popular podcasts like The Art of Charm and Unmistakable Creative. He is also the host of the podcast Access to Anyone which shows how you can get to know anyone you want in business and in life using the latest technology and time tested principles.

In our discussion, Michael and I talked about:

  • The three things every business needs to focus on to have their message resonate (S.A.D.)
  • How to get your very best copy, which is actually your client’s language
  • The rise of the maven – content curators that provide insights and experience

Jason Van Orden in episode 275 introduced us to Michael.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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Messaging is not about what you do. It's about what you do for your clients. @MichaelRoderick on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Michael Roderick of Small Pond Enterprises

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Get to know people as people.
  • People love to be useful. They hate to feel used. Make them feel they’re a part of your story, because that is what will motivate them to help you and support you in your own ventures.
  • Stop calling people investors. They are people. They have all sorts of motivation for doing the things that they do. They are not checkbooks. The more that you can understand that they are people who have a desire to be a part of something, and focus your offers and the things you are putting together around what is interesting to them, the easier the process is going to be, because nobody likes to be pitched on something that they’re not interested in.
  • Relationship expansion is simply connecting with people and growing your network. Relationship retention is all about not just making connections and building your network, but also taking the time to follow-up with these people and getting to know them on a deeper level.
  • Relationship retention has its limits. You have to make decisions for yourself about what you can considerably do, because you simply cannot meet with everybody. Think about the relationships that you would like to deepen and how you can get to know the people in your community better before spending more time going out, connecting with new people, and just focusing on relationship expansion.
  • Messaging is not about what you do. It’s about what you do for your clients. If you cannot articulate how you are helping and supporting other people, it doesn’t matter how many years in business you’ve had, how many degrees and certifications you have. It is just going to flop. 
  • The three things that every business needs to focus on to have their message resonate – S.A.D
    1. Solve a problem – what problem are you solving for people?
    2. Alleviate pain – what pain does this problem cause? Why is this person in pain, and how can you help alleviate that?
    3. Decrease friction – how can you solve it faster?
  • Some of the best taglines and some of your best copy is in your client’s mouth. The more that you can focus on their kind of language, the more attention you’ll get from those people.
  • Take the time to think about how you can take your ideas and turn them into something that other people can talk about.
  • It’s easier to pitch any sale and present value when you create curiosity in the mind of other people about what you could possibly do.
  • This the golden age of customer development. Everybody is willing to talk to you right now about their problem. If you want to learn more about your product or service, then, start interviewing people to understand their pain points and get to know them better.
  • Interest is far more important than access. You can get in front of anybody, but if they don’t want you sitting next to them, the game is over. Your job is to create interest. You have to figure out what is interesting to them and how there is a relationship there. 
  • Every person has his own impulse and timeline around reciprocity. Give without expecting anything in return. A gift is something that you give without expecting anything in return. When you expect something in return, it is not a gift but a transaction.
  • Give yourself permission to mess up. You won’t always be consistent and brilliant.
  • Write without expecting any response. Just put yourself out there and see how it goes. When you’re too caught up in expecting what it’s going to be and how it needs to be, in many cases, you will never produce anything.
  • Perfect doesn’t exist. It only exists in your mind, and you will never make it as exactly as what it is in your mind.
  • Whatever somebody thinks is “the way”, is the door that everybody is cramming into, but there are tons of windows. There’s a lot of different definitions for success.
  • The Rise of the Maven: We’re at a point where so much content is coming online and there’s a lot of opportunity for people to be content curators as opposed to just being content creators. 
  • Most people are just figuring out the tools. The opportunity is going to be in the experience. It’s about figuring out ways to use a tool like nobody else is using it. 
  • The person who can figure out how to make breakout rooms and presentations even more dynamic and can change the experience of people, is going to have a lot more traction than all of the people who are just using the tool as how the tool is meant to be used.
  • The power and opportunity lies in the experience of technology. If we can start using technology and reimagine the idea of what it means to have an exclusive experience that is not only tied to price, then, there’s a lot of opportunities where more people have access and more opportunities than they normally wouldn’t have.
A gift is something that you give without expecting anything in return. When you expect something in return, it is not a gift but a transaction. @MichaelRoderick on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Michael’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Go where you’re awesome not where you’re ordinary. Go to places where people don’t know about your stuff.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Getting a diverse group of people together.
  3. Favourite tool for innovationEvernote and Superhuman
  4. Keep project/client on track – Set up ways for you to stay in touch. Touch base on progress as opposed to touching base on the actual work.
  5. Differentiate – Create your own language. Have your own words for things, because then, people will constantly refer back to you.

To Be a Leader

The keys to all the doors you need to open are in other people’s pockets. It’s always worth it to reach out to people in your world. Have conversations with them about what it is that you need, because you’ll never know how they can help you. Most importantly, you are holding a lot of keys in your pockets right now for things that other people need, so have those conversations and see where they can all go.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Michael through the Small Pond Enterprises website.

Suggested Guest

Michael suggested we have a conversation with John DeMato, virtual photographer and visual storyteller. So John, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Michael Roderick.


Access Small Pond Enterprises’ Referability Rater Here.

Cool Things About Michael

  • He recently founded The Connecting Connectors Conference (ConnectorCon).
  • He is also the founder of Relationship Adventure Day (RAD).
  • He holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Theatre from NYU.
People love to be useful. They hate to feel used. Make them feel they're a part of your story, because that is what will motivate them to help you and support you in your own ventures. @MichaelRoderick on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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