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#10 Brand Manager Perspective with Simon Fung


Simon Fung on Talk Experiential

Simon Fung on episode #10 on Talk Experiential.

JOEY:            All right, welcome back to Talk Experiential Podcast. I’ve a got a good friend of mine, someone that’s worked for us for many, many years, a guy named Simon Fung out of New York City. He’s been a phenomenal manager, brand ambassador, I don’t know what else you do in this world, but it’s so great, it’s so great to have you on the podcast.

SIMON:         (Laugh), thank you Joey, thanks for having me. I really appreciate this time and I look — I’m very excited to be here.

JOEY:            Yeah. Well, and, you know, one of the reasons why I want to bring you on is one, you know, you, you see a different look than, you know, what we do internally, you know, as a experiential marketing. And so, you know, you show up onsite, you know, you work with clients, you work with brands, all types of different events. But, why don’t you give me a little rundown of your background and, you know, also how you got into this industry.

SIMON:         Yeah. Sure. So, I’ve been doing events promotion for about 10 years now. Oh, I still remember doing my first promotion when I was at least I think about 16 years old, you know, I was just playing just to get a feel, looking for my real job, looking for a real job, basically get my firsthand experience. I didn’t get a job in the deli. I didn’t work at a restaurant. I just wanted to be out there talking to people. I wanted a job where, all right, let me just make $16 and call it a day and such.

And one day I just went online and then submitted myself to be a constant character for Santa Claus. And it was for client X out in New York City. And we were out there, we were all Santa Claus and I did one gig. They did need me the next day. And then, ever since then, that’s how I started. So, — and as of right now, 10 years later, I’m still doing it and traveling around the US and talking to people about different brands and currently on the auto show circuit.

JOEY:            Awesome. And with — you said you’re doing it, let’s, let’s talk through that, like what positions are you typically picking up and doing, doing it?

SIMON:         Yeah. Sure. So, I’ve been working as a manager, a tour manager, a lead brand ambassador, production lead, production assistant, you know, many of the promotions where seats management row. So, as a manager I basically oversee a brand, a group of brand ambassadors. Making sure that the duties are met, you know, just keeping in touch with the client and then with the agency and making sure that everything is all set and ready to go for the activation.

JOEY:            Cool. And again, you’ve been on — we’ve worked several events. I think you do, I don’t know, like 20 a year, probably more than that with us.

SIMON:         Yeah, oh, boy, (laugh).

JOEY:            And obviously we get a great feedback from you. And let’s talk about, you know, being onsite, kind of talk it through that because it’s, it’s a different ball game when you are onsite, you know, running a program, you know, especially with some of the clients too because some, some folks that we work with usually sit in an office but they, they don’t really have that on, onsite experience.

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            Let’s, let’s talk through kind of the whole process of like, you know, what, what are expectations onsite, you know, I guess also there’s always something that’s going to go wrong. And, and you’ve done a very good job too just over the years working with you is — all right, let’s, let’s see, let’s see 10 steps ahead of us like what could go wrong and how can we prevent that. And obviously, you know, if things will go wrong no matter, no matter how perfect we try to make it.

SIMON:         Yes.

JOEY:            But, —

SIMON:         Absolutely. Yeah.

JOEY:            Well, maybe, and maybe we could pick an example event.

SIMON:         Yeah. Absolutely Joey. Definitely things will or may go wrong no matter how perfect it is, you know, the client may show up and say, well, you know, BA is not standing at the right place, they’re not smiling enough or the BA’s come late, where are they? The, the footprint is wrong especially moving a tent, you know, the permits are not the right permits for it. Things will go wrong no matter what happens. So, the key is keep calm and think outside the box. Because at the end of the day, you know, no matter what goes wrong, if you fix it and make, make it go right, the client is going to go, well, you know what, you solved a problem, it’s going to go right and it’s going to be — they’re going to be very happy about what you did to solve that problem.

For example, if you’re showing up with a 20 x 10 tent, you may show up and put it in one place. And then, two hours later, they might say, well, you don’t have the spot, you are not reserve to move to the spot. So, I mean the first thing you might say, well, what the hell, you know, like we spent two hours setting up this tent and now you’re telling me that it’s wrong. Worse can, the worse thing can happen. So, the best thing to do is to stay calm and make sure that you find a solution and move forward with it, so.

JOEY:            Yeah. 

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            No, that’s great. That’s great. I mean, yeah, you’re, you’re our onsite person of all events and, you know, you know what I mean. I don’t, I don’t go on events as much anymore, but, you know, and I know you’ve, you’ve managed folks, you know, lots of people, you know, I guess kind of — let’s talk through kind of your management style and, you know, even thinking of like, all right, I’m managing 20, 30, I think we have 30 people in New York last year. I mean every year we have that. But, what’s kind of your management style and approach to actually being able to manage that many people at once and ensuring that they’re doing what they’re doing right. And things like that.

SIMON:         Yeah. Absolutely. So being a manager for a brand ambassador it means that, you understand where the brand ambassador is coming from. As a brand ambassador myself for many, many years, understand where they’re coming from either [inaudible 0:06:59] five minutes late or if they’re coming in, you know, overwhelmed. I understand where they’re coming from because I’ve been there, I know what’s going on. And I settle down for a little bit, make sure that everything is okay. I ask them what’s going on. So, I understand what their situation is and then we’ll form from there.

As far as managing a whole group of people, you’re not going to be able to understand every situation that they’re coming from. If 10 people are late, then what the hell, you know, things happen, you understand where they’re coming from and make note of it. But, if there’s one or two people coming in and, you know, regardless if they’re late, regardless if something happens to them on their way here or even act, during the activation, you want to work with them because these are the people that you will be working with either for days or months or even for years, because this industry is so small that you never know who you’re going to run into after that single, that single activation.

JOEY:            Right. And then, also, you know, say we have 20 people working an event and someone is just not performing, performing right or even the client’s like I don’t think they’re good fit, you know, what are some of the things that — how you handle onsite, how do you deal with the person that’s just not performing right?

SIMON:         Let’s go fire them right away. No, I’m joking.

JOEY:            (Laugh).

SIMON:         (Laugh), no, absolutely not, you do not want to fire the person right away without understanding what’s going on. Even if the client says, I don’t like them, that’s totally fine. You ask the client what’s going on and see why they don’t like them. Because, is it because the client don’t like the way they’re standing, is it because they’re not smiling enough. You as a manager need to understand what the situation is, where the person is coming from. Maybe the person came in, maybe the brand ambassador, the brand ambassador came in a day, something happened to them. Maybe their grandparents had passed away or something. You just never know.

As far as that’s concerned, you set them aside, you ask them what’s going on and, you know, tell them to take a break for about 15 minutes. Even after 15 minutes, they may come back, do everything that right, and then the activation go on correctly. So, you know, you just got to take a step back when things go wrong, understand what the situation is and then execute.

JOEY:            Great. And, you know, with our industry, it’s, it’s independent contractors, you know, a lot of people work for different industries, you know, we even have people that talent that works one event that gets praised by a client, they’re like, oh, it was so awesome. But then, then we throw them on a project, your client was really disappointed. And, you know, I think the one big thing too is we’re, we’re dealing with humans at the end of the day.

SIMON:         Yes.

JOEY:            You know, and I make this joke with a lot of people, it’s like I sometimes wish our, our company was based off of the HBO show called Westworld. Have you ever seen that?

SIMON:         I have, I have heard about it but I have not seen it.

JOEY:            It’s a bunch of robots like literally it’s like human robots that’s really controlled by a mastermind. And I wish we could make that happen. But, you know, we’re not in the day of age of that. But, I think there is a human element that we have to put is, is, you know, there’s reasons why, you know, we, we’re successful, Air Fresh Marketing on hiring people and retaining people, you know, when we, we try as much as possible to, to ensure what the value of working with us will be. It’s, you know, paying people on time, you know, and hopefully giving, giving a little bit more support to the staff that’s working. But, I guess in your experience, have you seen, you know, different ways of, of managing these folks of, you know, one day they have a bad day, but, you know, risk retaining. And I mean I guess if we look at our brand ambassador like how, how can you bring your, how do you bring you’re A-game to every event? 

SIMON:         Yeah. Absolutely. Those are actually really good points that you mentioned, you know, bringing you’re A-game means just being yourself and just showing up on time, doing your work that you’re supposed to. And I remember having one conversation with a brand ambassador that I work with many, many years ago, you know, there was a group of us, we were all working, and then he came up to me and said, well, those brand ambassadors over there are not working. And you know what I said to him? I said, if you’re still busy worrying, worrying about what others are doing, then you’re probably not doing your job that you’re supposed to.

The fact is that you want to show up to a job, do the job, make sure that everything goes well, and that’s all. Don’t worry about what others are doing during the job because if you are, you’re not worrying about what you’re supposed to do. And that basically tells me as the manager that you’re not doing your job. So, that easily pinpoints that out.

JOEY:            Yeah. 

SIMON:         So.

JOEY:            Absolutely. And then, I guess going to a client side because I know we’ll have a lot of listeners that are from agencies, brands, that hire companies like Air Fresh Marketing or, you know, other staffing companies. And I guess from your standpoint working with a client — I mean I know you’ve, you had tons of crazy experiences, let’s talk through kind of, you know, client working with someone onsite with you. I mean what — I guess — I know I’m just be it more broad and just start the conversation. But, I guess how is that relationship that you’ve created usually is, is a client onsite most of the time on, on events you? And then, if they are, you know, how, how do you interact with them and, you know, make them feel like that the event is going well?

SIMON:         Yeah. Absolutely. So, if you just let it to be yourself when you’re onsite, you just introduce yourself to them. Hey, my name is Simon. I’m the event manager. It makes them feel that you are present, you are there. Because at the end of the day, the client don’t want to, you know, interact with that many people. They want to interact with that one person, so that one person can interact with their group of people. So, as a manager myself, I’ll show up to an event and say, hey, my name is Simon, I’m the event manager here, if there’s anything you need, let me know, I’m in charge of these brand ambassadors, with their lunch breaks, all of that. Like I said, if there’s anything that you need from us, let me know, and I’ll be happy to escalate that with our group of people. So, just introduce yourself, be yourself and make yourself comfortable. And don’t try to, you know, contact them or text them during the day to make sure that they’re okay. And that’s the same job that you want to have with the client as well as the agency so that way all, everybody is in loop together on the same page.

JOEY:            Perfect. No, that’s great. That’s good info. What’s your favorite event that you’ve ever worked?

SIMON:         Oh, my favorite, it has to be with Air Fresh Marketing.

JOEY:            (Laugh), of course. We have awesome events but I know that you’ve worked on some other cool campaigns. So what’s, what’s your — one that kind of stands out in your mind? 

SIMON:         Well, I, you know, I’ve been on many of the Adidas events that we’ve –that I’ve worked with many, many years. And they are actually one of the most fun, intuitive, exciting, events that I’ve worked on. I still remember my first event at — oh, men, my first Adidas event at the Miami Sony Open, right. So, it was that — 

JOEY:            Right. I think that’s what it was, yeah. Then we — you flew down for that, for the week?

SIMON:         Yes, I did. Actually, that might be the week after — yeah, that might, actually that is the first one. That is the first of Adidas events I’ve done, sorry my bad — oh, is that the 7 x 7 event championship in Texas.

JOEY:            Simon, we’ve done so many events together, it’s so hard to remember. I’m just kidding.

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            No, I believe both of them. But I — what, — do you remember what event the first that you’ve worked with us before?

SIMON:         It was Sports Authority. It was on Thanksgiving Day.

JOEY:            That’s right.

SIMON:         2011.

JOEY:            Awesome. And they’re no longer around unfortunately.

SIMON:         Right. I still remember that day, (laugh).

JOEY:            Right. Sorry, I’m looking at my office and I’m — we’re on the, it’s not the 13th floor, they call it the penthouse floor which sounds better.

SIMON:         That’s the highest.

JOEY:            It’s the highest floor. But, I’m overlooking a sports authority right now and it’s closed, so if that makes sense, (laugh).

SIMON:         Oh, geez.

JOEY:            Yeah, that’s right. So, it was in New York, correct? 

SIMON:         It was in New York. It was in Gordon City. It was two stores. And we were handing out promotional collateral to consumers for a Black Friday.

JOEY:            Okay.

SIMON:         I still remember the exact day. I still remember the collateral. I still remember exactly what the hours were. And I remember having Thanksgiving dinner that night, and then heading out to the promo.

JOEY:            Did we pay you on time?

SIMON:         Oh, absolutely.

JOEY:            That wasn’t a plug. I was just wondering, (laugh).

SIMON:         That was a trick, that was a trick question.

JOEY:            It was a trick question, right. No, that’s —

SIMON:         That was to see if, that was to see if you’re going to work another event with us, (laugh).

JOEY:            Right. No, that’s cool. So, I kind of want to transition, kind of, you know, we’ve talked about some of the stuff onsite, how staff should act, but let’s kind of talk about just inactivation of like let’s focus on a brand, on, you know, obviously experiential marketing has grown substantially over the years. Brands are starting to understand that it’s really important to have this component when you’re spending a lot of money. I mean Super Bowl. We’re on the week that that just happens, Super Bowl was couple of days ago. Obviously this podcast will probably air in a month. But, I love Super Bowl because just to see what brands are doing. I mean they’re spending five million dollars on a spot. But, why are these brands, you know, if a brand is not adding an experience piece, I think they’re failing. Honestly, I think it’s so important. But, just kind of your —

SIMON:         Absolutely.

JOEY:            Your experience, just with experience like — I guess, what do you see the value of doing experience, you know, we’ll just start simple like what, what do you see the value for a brand to be activating in events like the ones you’ve worked on? 

SIMON:         Well, you know, it’s mostly for consumers to get a hands on experience and understand what the brand is. And a lot of times, we sit at home and we watch commercials and we see ads on TV. And we think for ourselves, okay, well, I guess this brand X, Y, Z is trying to promote to me. Well, yeah, obviously, they’re trying to promote to you. But, when you’re onsite and you’re doing experiential marketing, you’re getting yourself in the brain. You’re building a relationship with the brand itself. For example, let’s just say, can I mention a, can I mention the brand?

JOEY:            Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

SIMON:         First of all, many of our Toyota experiences, either if it’s at Coachella, whether it’s at Engadget or an auto show, you’ll see many different engagements which allows the consumer to be involved in the brand. And one made you think — I realize is that if the consumer gets involved in the brand, they’re most likely to think about that in the mere future. And that’s what you want. You don’t want the consumer to watch TV and then think about it for two seconds and forget about it. You want them to remember for a very long time. And having experiential marketing, allows the consumer to build their relationship with the brand.

JOEY:            Right. And, and kind of to your point, it’s really focusing on, you know, that psychological level too. It’s, you know, building that experience, being able to be excited about something, you know, after that event or, you know, I mean I guess a good example is, not Pepsi or Coke because everybody just knows the brand, so commercial obviously makes sense.

SIMON:         Uh-hum.

JOEY:            But like say we have a new product that, that XYZ company startup wants to do, doing a commercial or a radio ad I think is complete waste of money. I mean you’ve got to get these, these tangible products in people’s hands. You’ve got to get them to try it, you know, there’s a two level step up to it too because experiential marketing isn’t just getting someone excited about a brand, but it’s also data research, right. It’s, you know, getting to know what people are saying about it, you know, if they even like it. And I think that’s why it’s so important too is when activations do happen, there is that recap side of it. Trying to get that as much data as possible, you know, whether it’s from a brand ambassador, a manager, you know, back to the brand, so they actually understand, you know, how it what went — obviously, you know, this experiential world has a lot of different elements with, with it, with, you know, whether and where you want to activate and —

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            Who you can get in front of, but —

SIMON:         Yes, that’s about right.

JOEY:            What are some of the cooler activations? I know, I know we kind of said a few, but like have you seen anything that’s very creative that you’re like, wow, that was really cool not just to work for but I really feel like that brand is taking that — you know, taking that next step?

SIMON:         Well, I mean there’s just so many activations out there that are engaging. I can’t remember exactly which one because I’ve done so many, I’ve seen so many. And I think one that’s very effective is one that engages to consumer to be involved in the brand itself, whether it’s automotive, whether it’s sporting, whether it’s a home improvement material or, or product, any brand is possible if they get the consumer involved. So, spending that extra money on an engagement at activation can help and can be the consumer to eventually buy your product. So, that’s how I think about it, so.

JOEY:            Yeah. Absolutely. Well, and then, and then in this day and age of Snapchat. I think we’re Snapchat friends and we’ve set a few things (laugh).

SIMON:         We are.

JOEY:            I literally just started two months ago. I’m a — I do it just because I’m like, what the heck is this hype? I mean they’re about to do an IPO. I, I say — I’m mentioning it one because we’re turning into a fully gadget technology world where the consumers are now getting so flooded with data in the, in their face or marketing and — you know, how can a brand differentiate themselves from their next competitor. It’s, it’s a very crowded space of just anything marketing. The one — the reason I mentioned Snapchat is I even got Spectacles. Do you have those or seen those?

SIMON:         I don’t. I’ve seen them before and —

JOEY:            Yeah. 

SIMON:         That looked really cool.

JOEY:            I did videos in Vegas. So, yeah, it did a really cool video that we pieced it together just 100% through Spectacles. And — you know, it has nothing to do with Snapchat too. It was just they own the product. But, but the big thing is it’s — you know, that 15 second bite size content it, it really blows my mind — you know, how this world now is. We only have 15 seconds to get in front of someone, how can we make that happen? But, I think it’s kind of our cool experiences especially if you’re — you know, if you’re a brand that’s targeting a certain target market, let’s just say millennials, you literally have 15 seconds to, to engage with them and get them involved in what you’re doing. Is there any — I know you worked a lot and I know, another hard question because sometimes I don’t even know what I did the previous weekend because I have so much going on with kids. 

SIMON:         Uh-hum. (Laugh).

JOEY:            But, I guess have you seen anything cool that, that’s kind of click but, but engaging and — you know, high value for, for a client onsite?

SIMON:         Oh, I’d say that’s a very hard question Joey.

JOEY:            I, I like hard questions, sorry, (laugh).

SIMON:         (Laugh), that’s funnier than some of the questions I get at the auto shows.

JOEY:            It is. It is. I like to go deeper with this.

SIMON:         Yeah, you did, (laugh). But, it’s like, like asking me asking me what’s the turning radius on a, on a Tacoma. 

JOEY:            What is it?

SIMON:         (Laugh), so, oh, really.

JOEY:            360, (laugh). 

SIMON:         Well, we’ll find out. I’ll get back to you Sir, (laugh).

JOEY:            Right, (laugh).

SIMON:         But, as far as, you know, few second gadget, I mean the only gadget I’ve come up — I’ve, I’ve dealt with is virtual reality that’s more something that I’ve dealt with in the last couple of months or seen. I think Spectacles maybe it and also Facebook live.

JOEY:            Yeah.

SIMON:         That’s something that’s along those lines.

JOEY:            Well, let me stir, I know I, I know that I kind of stamped you on this. Let’s, let’ talk about VR. You brought up a really good point. Tell, let — tell me more about what, what that experience was that you get, you worked on previously. 

SIMON:         Yeah. Sure. So, basically, virtual reality allows you to get an experience of what it looks like outside reality. So, (laugh), you basically put on those Samsung gear VR or you can put on a Daydream by Google. You put that on and it takes you to a different world. So, with some of the demos I’ve seen, we taken people to seven different places around the world and they get to experience it. Some may get fear feeling, some may get happiness and it definitely takes you about three minutes to complete and you get a whole new different experience trying it, so.

JOEY:            So, tell me about let’s, let’s talk about one example. So, you have, — you’re at a type of festival, what’s that experience for the consumer? And what — if you don’t mind, just talking about the brand, but what — 

SIMON:         Yeah. Sure. So, we can definitely talk about what we use at, at the auto shows. And Toyota uses a, an Oculus, Oculus rent to promote to consumers about their safety features. So, the consumer gets into the vehicle, they put on these wonderful, expensive virtual reality glasses for about three to four minutes. And it takes them to a whole new world — you know, it explains to them what happens to certain safety features, tell them, talk to them about what, what would not happen if things like that would not happen. And then, another thing I’ve encountered is an explanation. It takes you to a whole explanation of what, how hydrogen works in the vehicle. So, you know, virtual reality allows you to go and do a deeper explanation of certain things without being it on paper, so.

JOEY:            Right. But — and that’s kind of the whole thing of just experiential marketing is — you know, having that really cool experience that you can turn a brand in. I, I, I believe I was watching a video, one of our last podcasts was a creative guy, Steve out of LA. He does a lot of creative experiential projects. But, he was really — it was around Christmas time and what they did was it was — you know, okay, it was for a kid’s hospital — you know, kids are sick, they’re in their bed. And what they did was they brought these goggles or I mean this VR Samsung headsets to them and they put it on and they experienced this whole wonderful world of Santa Claus and presents and — you know, I believe Rudolf was there like all these really cool Christmas experience. And then, Santa Claus shows up, hands him a gift and then he takes it off and in real life, actually Santa Claus is handing him a gift. And they’re blown away. I mean think about how, how impactful you — a technology like that can work. Have — but have you seen — are you — I guess how was the brand activating on these, on these events? Are they, are they taking information beforehand, before they even put them on?

SIMON:         Yes and no actually, so it really depends on what the brand is looking for. So, for example, in an auto show, we want, we just want consumers to understand the [inaudible 0:29:10] of the safety feature. So, they don’t have to fill out anything. They just step into a vehicle, put it on and then — and they’ll go on, that’s it versus other brands where they want you to fill out a, an exit survey right after. So, that’s when you have to put in your email address and, and get a lead out of that, so.

JOEY:            Got you. Okay. Cool. What — the other thing too we can talk about is I know we talked about issues that happen onsite, you know, from a brand ambassador’s perspective. But, I know a lot of, like I said earlier that brands and agencies will be on — you know, listening to this podcast and I just want to just give them a different perspective of how they — how an activation works onsite. And, you know, what are, what are some of the issues that — you can name just one like what, that’s come up recently that the client didn’t realize in the past — you know, a lot of brands and agencies will be listening to this podcast, so I wanted to kind of give them a picture of being onsite, you know, actually running the activation because I think the big thing is this, when a brand is working an — typically they’re working with an agency. Sometimes they just do it on their own. But, when they’re thinking about, you know, putting on event, I mean there’s, there’s hours and hours of planning and setting it up and actually making an event happen. But then, you know, once everything is ready to go, the event is the next day — I guess when I kind of talk through like the — just kind of just on, on set presence —

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            Of, of — you know, how an activation works, you know, we did talk about some of the issues, you know, how, how a brand ambassador could act. But — you know, from a client perspective, — you know, what, what should be the expectations of an event? And, yeah, I guess, well, I guess do you have anything that you, you want to chat about that? 

SIMON:         Yeah. Basically from any activation — you know, the brand ambassador show up, you go through training for about two hours. You — you know, first guest come, comes in, you have everybody in place and then you execute. Now, what a lot of clients don’t realize is that there are customers out there who may or may not heard of the brand or may not enjoy the brand. And that’s where the hard part comes from. That’s where, that’s where about the hard part is. A lot of these ambassadors, brand ambassadors that are hired know how to deal with these brand ambassadors. Because they’re trained, you know, to answer questions such as, well, let me find out for you or, or maybe if they can’t find the answer, thye’ll be able to help them find another thing that they may like.

For example, you know, let’s just say at the auto show, you know, you have consumers that come up and say, well, I don’t like Toyotas. I don’t like the way this car looks. I don’t like the way this drives. I don’t like foreign brands, X, Y, and Z.

Well, you know, as a brand ambassador, oh, you really can’t say much except you say, well, I understand where you’re coming from, but is there anything else that we can do to help you make your day, make your happy. You know, a lot of these brand ambassadors are trained to answer questions like that. But, many clients out there they may or may not understand that these things may occur. They just want to execute, they expect everybody to know the brand and they expect the, the brand ambassadors to work. And that’s not always the case. So, you may have people that may come up to you and start yelling at you because they don’t like the brand or they never heard of it before or they did not get it, they’re not getting enough goodies from the brand. So, these are things that clients may not understand or may not see. Does that answer the question?

JOEY:            Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And that’s — I mean you brought up a good point too, you know, it seem — you know, creating a, an experience is one thing, but it’s like on pen and paper. But then also experience in actually having someone experience it, because I think too that when a client is looking to actually roll this out in mini markets, it’s always good to do a test and see, you know, what’s going to work, what doesn’t work you know, and also find an agency that can help concept that one, first figure out the goal of inactivation because there’s, you know, there’s some activations out there that’s literally geared for tasting like we want to get as many people that taste my product as possible, hopefully in turn will understand the brand through brand ambassadors, through signage, through content. But then the next thing is, is, is, well, it sounded great to that concept to implement. But, in reality, it wasn’t. So, it’s, it’s smart, you know, when you are thinking of, of putting on a, an activation like this. It’s very smart to, you know, know your data, know your market, know who you’re going after. And, yeah, I mean, yeah, that’s why I brought you on this podcast because I know you had some of that experience just onsite.

SIMON:         Right. So, absolutely Joey, you know, like you said, it may be easy to put it on paper, but once you get onsite, it’s a whole another scenario because, you know, things happen last minute and you’ll just never know what’s going to happen onsite and until you get there. So, all you’ve got to do is just work from the, the mistakes and see what works and what don’t work.

JOEY:            What’s your next event?

SIMON:         My next event is at the Chicago Auto Show. And I’ll be there for 10 days. Moving on to Charlotte for a wine and drive and then I’ll head up to Cleveland.

JOEY:            So, 10 days, is that 10 days straight?

SIMON:         Yeah, that’s 10 days straight, and then another 10 days in Cleveland, Ohio.

JOEY:            And are they what, full 10 to 12 hour days?

SIMON:         They are actually six-hour days, (laugh).

JOEY:            Oh, that’s not bad. It looks like, how do you do that? (Laugh).

SIMON:         (Laugh), not bad at all.

JOEY:            How do you — I mean that’s still a lot 10 days in a row. How do you, how do you fight fatigue and how do you prepare yourself every day to be the best you could be?

SIMON:         Oh, yeah, that’s, that’s a really good question Joey. I wish I knew that 10 years ago when I first started because eating healthy — being on the road is actually one of the hardest things for a travelling brand ambassador because you just don’t know what you’re going to deal with, you know, and you just don’t know what the weather is going to be like, you don’t know what, what — who you’re going to be working with, where you’re going to be working with. And, and to maintain myself, you know, you always want to eat the right things and have healthy options as well. And one thing I learned to do is to travel with my NutriBullet and being my fruits and vegetables or even find fruits and vegetables at a nearby hotel or nearby supermarket and go from there. Because, you know, eating convention center food every single day or eating fried food at a, at a state fair where it’s not always the good, it’s not always a good thing, so.

JOEY:            Right. No, that’s great. That’s great that you do that. And I’ve seen that. I’m sure you’ve, you’ve learned over the years while as you’re traveling working these long hours.

SIMON:         Absolutely. Yeah, I mean it would not help, it would not only help you mentally but it will help you financially as well, yeah.

JOEY:            Right. 

SIMON:         Living on cost and I remember this year I worked, I actually worked at the Texas State Fair and the New York State Fair which is about 24 days. And I’ve not spent a dollar at the State Fair, buying food.

JOEY:            Wow. 

SIMON:         So, —

JOEY:            That’s great, (laugh).

SIMON:         Yeah, it’s definitely doable. You just have to stick to your plan and put a goal to it, and go from there. So, it’s definitely doable. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it because you can.

JOEY:            How many, how many companies do you — agencies do you work for in a year? 

SIMON:         Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. So, I think the max I’ve done is about 38.

JOEY:            Are you kidding me?

SIMON:         Yeah.

JOEY:            And how, (laugh).

SIMON:         (Laugh).

JOEY:            Wow, that hits my number and I was like at 14 or something like that, but 38, how do you, how do you keep track of all of that? I mean do you have checks coming in, you know, you have taxes, how do you even think about that?

SIMON:         Yeah. Sure. So, I manage my portfolio, I call it portfolio with the spreadsheet. So, basically from every year, every agency, every check that I receive, every direct deposit, put that into my spreadsheet and then save into my database and then save the database into another database so I would always have backup. And then, as far as receipts, every time I spend out on a credit card, I would take — I photo up the credit, of the receipt and then I’ll upload to a document that will link up with my credit card online. So, it’s definitely doable. I highly recommend it. It will make your life so much easier. And then, always backup your files because a few months ago, I end up losing, I end up losing my file because I was copying, copying and paste and I overwritten one of the copies. And luckily, I was able to recover that file because I backed it up somewhere, so. 

JOEY:            Good. No, that’s great. That’s great. And it’s — then you, you keep a — like you probably work with an agency like, oh, I’m going to get paid in 2 weeks or 30 days and then if you mark it. Then, if you don’t get paid, you follow up, how do you do that? 

SIMON:         Yeah. Absolutely. So, every time I get paid, I basically put a stamp mark next to the, the Excel spreadsheet and set a pay, when I got paid. And then, if I don’t get paid, that’s when I start following up on it. But as, as of right now, I don’t really have that — I don’t — I mean it just comes.

JOEY:            Yeah. Right. 

SIMON:         Basically, so I don’t really have to follow up with a lot of agencies because at this point in — as this, as this day and time, you, you want to trust these agencies to pay you, so and, and luckily I don’t have to follow up with a lot of agencies in terms of payment.

JOEY:           Well, that is good to hear. It sounds like you know which agencies you want to work with and there are agencies that you are just not going to touch. Simon, it was great having you on the show. Thank you for all of your valuable insight.

SIMON:         Thank you for having me. This was great.

To listen to the episode in full, go here.

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