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Exposing Marketing Misconceptions: An interview with Austin Franke - Part 1
Episode 10410th November 2021 • Audio Branding • Jodi Krangle
00:00:00 00:30:06

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“We are loyal and loyalty is very common in business, but it’s what he calls ‘polygamously loyal.’ And essentially what that means is exactly what it sounds like: we’re loyal to a handful of brands.”

Austin Franke

This week’s guest is the founder and behavioral strategist at Woo Punch, a brand communications consultancy. As a brand design and advertising consultant, he helps brands construct and establish memory structures in their customer’s brains over time. As a mission consultant, he leverages behavioral science to help business owners pursue the long-term good of their company, their employees, and their customers without sacrificing their personal lives. And as a writer, he exposes the lies of business gurus with empirical evidence that debunks their claims. He has a simple message: customers don’t really think about brands. Advertising’s primary purpose is to remind customers, consciously and unconsciously, that brands exist.

His name is Austin Franke, and we’ll be getting into the nitty-gritty when it comes to getting and, most importantly, holding a potential client’s attention. How does this work? And how can we make it work better without being sleazy? In this episode, we’ll find out!

Making Your Own Music

We start off the show with a look back at the sounds that influenced Austin as a child, from his piano lessons in kindergarten to his uncle’s career as a musician. He recalls how he discovered the beauty of songwriting and creating his own music while learning to play the guitar, and the impact that jazz had upon him: “When I listen to jazz it just literally transports to me another place, and I don’t know of any other genre that’s ever really done that for me.”

Seducing the Subconscious

Next, we talk about how the study of behavioral science changed the way he sees marketing, and how it challenges the conventional wisdom of trying to create brand loyalty. We discuss the book Seducing the Subconscious by Robert Heath and just how many decisions we make during the day happen on a purely subconscious level. “I’m very intrigued by the idea,” he explains, “that most of our decisions happen without us ever knowing that we’re making them.”

The “Mad Men” Myth

Austin tells us about how Professor Byron Sharp created the term “polygamous loyalty,” and showed that brand loyalty doesn’t really create growth so much as result from it. We talk about “the ‘Mad Men’ myth” and how Don Draper’s persuasive approach to advertising is a good example of how not to advertise in this day and age. As Austin explains it: “we know that the goal of advertising is essentially to remind customers you exist when they are ready to buy.”

Disruptive Geckos

The first half of our interview concludes as we talk about how difficult industry innovation can really be. We take a look at the insurance industry as a case study in marketing disruption, and how Geico’s famous gecko completely changed the rules when it came to insurance advertising. “Geico disrupted an entire industry,” he says, “and I think the insurance industry is the best example I can think of right now that really leverages audio assets.”


Next week we’ll continue with a look at how social media has changed advertising, the future of Clubhouse and online communities, and how Woo Punch is helping clients build distinctive brand assets.

Episode Summary

  • Music, songwriting, and the power of jazz.
  • Behavioral science and the truth about marketing.
  • A look at polygamous loyalty and debunking the Mad Men myth.
  • Understanding the real goal of advertising.
  • How the Geico Gecko transformed the insurance industry.

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Editing/Production by Humberto Franco -