Lars Darbney – Your Brand Amplified Transcript

Welcome to Your Brand Amplified the podcast where we interview marketers, publicists and brands to learn their stories, what makes them tick and tips and tricks that make a difference. Welcome to another edition of Your Brand Amplified. I'm Anika Jackson. And I am really excited to be here with Lars Dabney. Hi, Lars. How are you?

00;00;01;05 – 00;00;20;21
Anika

Welcome to Your Brand Amplified the podcast where we interview marketers, publicists and brands to learn their stories, what makes them tick and tips and tricks that make a difference. Welcome to another edition of Your Brand Amplified. I’m Anika Jackson. And I am really excited to be here with Lars Dabney. Hi, Lars. How are you?

00;00;21;05 – 00;00;22;17
Lars Dabney

I’m good. How are you doing, Anika?

00;00;22;19 – 00;00;44;01
Anika

I am great. So before we get into your business, your background is so varied and interesting. I’d love for you to talk about, you know, where you grew up, all of your languages, all of the different things that led you to where you are right now. Yeah, that’s a lot like a condensed version.

00;00;44;25 – 00;01;08;10
Lars Dabney

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, you know, short version, I grew up kind of all over the place. My dad’s work moved our family around about every two years. And I think that I had to just trying a lot of different things. You know, every time we move somewhere new, I’d be like, Oh, I’m gonna join this new club or try this new activity or whatever it may be.

00;01;09;26 – 00;01;30;18
Lars Dabney

I also went to a lot of schools that like to, you know, talk about the Renaissance man. I went to I went to an all boys school in a couple of occasions. And, you know, we’re going to raise your boys to be a Renaissance man. And I think like, you know, almost nobody takes that seriously. But I guess I did because I was just like, very well, I shall do everything.

00;01;32;04 – 00;01;47;26
Lars Dabney

So, yeah, I you know, between them moving around, I was able to experience a lot of different cultures and sort of mentalities about things. That was also where the languages started. I speak five languages, Mandarin, German, French, Spanish, and English.

00;01;50;00 – 00;02;09;18
Lars Dabney

And I just I just got really I really like learning them. They’re fun. And it’s definitely, you know, it gets easier as you learn more of them, right. Like, each new language Spanish was astonishingly quick. That was that was the one I picked up most recently. Also helped that I was immersing at the time. I was like, Argentina.

00;02;09;24 – 00;02;11;15
Anika

Oh, yeah. That’s. Yeah.

00;02;12;28 – 00;02;30;03
Lars Dabney

So but yeah, I and then, you know, I kind of got to college I had gotten really into politics was like, cool. I want to do like international politics. As I think many freshman undergrads often think.

00;02;30;03 – 00;02;32;22
Anika

Bright eyed, head full of ideas.

00;02;33;01 – 00;02;33;19
Lars Dabney

Poli Sci, that’s cool.

00;02;33;19 – 00;02;34;08
Anika

Change the world.

00;02;34;17 – 00;03;06;07
Lars Dabney

Yeah. You’d take a poli sci course and you’re like, Wow, this is dry as toast. So I, I wound up kind of graduating with this major in East Asian languages and cultures and a minor in poli sci like, okay, I’m gonna go do foreign foreign politics or foreign service in China. But then at the last second, I got really interested in human rights law and I kind of always knew that I wanted to fight dragons to put it in, in terms.

00;03;06;19 – 00;03;13;25
Lars Dabney

Based on the book I was obsessed with as a child, which was St George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

00;03;17;00 – 00;03;44;00
Lars Dabney

And and so I knew I wanted to like, you know, fight the good fight. And so I wound up pursuing a lot of different pathways in the kind of like public sector, either government or nonprofits. I worked as a journalist. I was a war correspondent for a while. Right after law school, I was a journalist in law school and afterwards and then went to Afghanistan for a while and then worked for the State Department.

00;03;44;00 – 00;04;10;20
Lars Dabney

anti-Human trafficking kind of wound up being the pathway that I pursued after law school. And love that work, but hit a point where I was I wanted to have this really high level strategic influence on what was happening in my field, in large part because it’s a very young field. And I actually think candidly, there’s a lot of misguided notions about what’s effective and about how to actually impact that sector.

00;04;10;26 – 00;04;26;28
Lars Dabney

Yeah, that phenomenon, a lot of people are really obsessed with prosecuting and like it doesn’t work. Like it’s statistically like if you actually do like an analysis of the numbers, it makes no difference. And conversely, like, economic interventions can be very effective.

00;04;27;00 – 00;04;45;12
Anika

Right. So and this is one of my core issue areas. And but I go through I, I attack it from like how can I help people get more education? Right. Because more education equals better health outcomes equals less likely to be trafficked. There’s so many implications.

00;04;45;26 – 00;05;04;12
Lars Dabney

So many implications. Right? So those kinds of systemic interventions was what I wanted to see more focus on. But as an attorney, as a field investigator, I was kind of a cog in the machine. And so I was like, all right, I want to be able to influence things at a higher level. You a quick head check on who’s in charge here.

00;05;05;01 – 00;05;27;21
Lars Dabney

And of course, all the people in charge. None of them were from the field. They were none of them are from the sector. You know, they most of them didn’t even really have a background in rights of any kind. They were there because they had money and power. And so, you know, they had been tapped because they could bring in the funders or because they had a friend who was, you know, the president or whatever it may be.

00;05;28;03 – 00;05;47;18
Lars Dabney

And and I was like, OK, so I guess I need money and power if I want to be able to have that kind of impact. I have no savings because I have a career in the public sector by now. So what what can I do? And I had I had been building websites back in college as a way to make beer money, and it kind of stuck with it.

00;05;47;18 – 00;06;09;00
Lars Dabney

Did projects here and there over the years, kept getting more and more into it. So I was like, you know, what, I’m going to I’m going to start an agency because the startup cost for that is, do you have a laptop? Yep. And and then I’m going to you know, build build that up and build an agency that kind of represents a lot of the ideals that I want to see in the world.

00;06;09;00 – 00;06;26;25
Lars Dabney

Right. That that we work with people who whose causes we care about, who like who we really actually genuinely support. And we don’t work with people who we don’t. And that like the way we work is really sort of embracing of the team and that we bring a lot of the kind of principles that I grew up in Australia.

00;06;26;25 – 00;06;50;05
Lars Dabney

Right? So the minimum legal required holidays there is 20, 20 days of paid vacation per year. So I was like cool. That’s as a matter of fact, we have an open vacation policy. You know, I encourage my team if anybody is going to have less than 20 in a given year, I’m like, hey, why don’t you put some stuff on the calendar and you know, full health care, all this kind of stuff that’s like a perk in the US, so sorry.

00;06;50;16 – 00;07;14;21
Anika

You know, interestingly so the company that I merged with most recently is based in Australia. Yeah, right. Yes. So we have unlimited PTO, we have mental health days once a month. They’re doing a lot like one of our new New Zealand agencies had some really amazing thought leaders. So now we’re doing a lot of seminars that are mandatory for to improve ourselves, not even talking about work.

00;07;14;21 – 00;07;37;23
Anika

Right. And they’re really incorporating a lot of that insurance. 100% paid for all of those things that just seem like they should be basic human rights and not based on the economics, because I know that, OK, if I want to take this time off, I want to make sure I’m doing an amazing job and doing everything I can to so that I can just go and take time off and not be stressed.

00;07;37;24 – 00;07;41;22
Anika

Right. And so I think it actually really helps people not to digress like.

00;07;41;27 – 00;07;59;27
Lars Dabney

No, no, I think that’s exactly it. Right? I think it has huge benefits and and yeah, just trying to apply a lot of those, you know, the thoughts that I’ve had over the years working at places I did like and places I didn’t like with bosses I liked or didn’t like and just trying to like, say, like, all right, can I can I do a better job, right?

00;07;59;27 – 00;08;31;20
Lars Dabney

Can I can I build a better mousetrap here? And that’s been a really fun project. And I think one thing that I have taken a lot of personal got a lot of personal happiness out of is how much my team likes working at my company. Yeah. You know, everybody is just really happy to be there. And and says so, you know, repeatedly, like I have one on ones with every on my team each month and they’re always just like so stoked to be able to find a place like that.

00;08;32;24 – 00;08;36;19
Lars Dabney

And yeah, so that’s, that’s been really that’s been really good.

00;08;37;28 – 00;08;52;06
Anika

So yeah. So you went through this whole career and you had a law degree. You were a war journalist, you worked in the public sector, and then you realized that you could create change through websites so what does that look like?

00;08;53;06 – 00;09;38;16
Lars Dabney

Yeah. So I think, you know, as, as a kind of mid generation millennial, the the realization that like technology has all this capacity right? That’s not news at this point. Pretty much everybody’s figured that out now. But awareness of how to really tap into that, I think is still pretty limited you know, and and particularly in the nonprofit sector where budgets are always tight and people are always, you know, have too many jobs to do, too many hats to wear, and, you know, often the tech technological side of things, the digital side of things gets relegated to somebody who’s already got a full time job doing other stuff.

00;09;38;16 – 00;09;54;28
Lars Dabney

Right. But, you know, they get told, hey, somebody’s got to do the website. So you’re in charge now. And and I had seen that at different organizations I worked at. And I was like, you know, I feel like I could really, you know, by being focused on this, I can actually really weaponize the Internet for these causes that I care about.

00;09;56;17 – 00;10;18;18
Lars Dabney

And so we we do work in the anti-trafficking sector since that’s my background and that’s I have a network there, but we do a lot across a bunch of different nonprofit sectors. And that’s not all of our clients, I guess. 50, 60% of our client base is nonprofits we work for. I’m really keen on working for social enterprises, which is kind of effectively what we are.

00;10;18;22 – 00;10;40;03
Lars Dabney

I think it’s pretty vague term, but but yeah, you know, I, I love to sit down and say like, look, you know, you and many people look at a website and you’re like, Oh, well I got to have a website because you had to have one, right? You know, it’s like business cards. So let’s put the thing on there.

00;10;40;03 – 00;10;59;03
Lars Dabney

Like we’ll have the, the home page and we’ll have a about page and the contact form and the team page and we’re done. And I love sitting down and being like, Look, actually, you’re spending all this money and this can do things for your mission. You know, if you are a group that’s that’s focused on building up a grassroots community, right?

00;10;59;05 – 00;11;22;27
Lars Dabney

That’s really engaged not just with your organization, but with each other because that’s where you get traction from. Yeah, we can we can accelerate that in a very serious way by building this website intelligently. And that’s true for nonprofits as it is for for profits. I was just talking with a company that has a food products that works with is very focused on the extreme sports sector.

00;11;22;27 – 00;11;48;00
Lars Dabney

Right. And so they have a whole community of like extreme sports athletes and they’re like, we really want to make more use of these guys and get them more engaged. And I’m like, cool. I have this great toolkit for that because I’ve been doing with all these nonprofits and thinking about, you know, building stories, I think great is like that’s kind of the essence of it is this this story that gets stuck in people’s head of-

00;11;48;01 – 00;12;02;06
Lars Dabney

Oh, yeah. I remember the time I went there and I met this person or like I went to the website and, and I learned about this thing and I got really jazzed and I emailed this person and they got back to me and then I went and I volunteered at this event and I met this person. And now we’re getting married and having kids.

00;12;03;03 – 00;12;30;15
Lars Dabney

You know, it’s like that’s an extreme version perhaps. But I think I think building those experiences and thinking about the website as part of the larger mission and world right? Something that actually advances what the company or the organization is trying to do, but is also like one step in in this larger interaction that a human being is having with your brand or your organization.

00;12;30;24 – 00;13;11;01
Anika

Well, and I think I think what you’re saying right there is very important because anybody can go to an easy website builder website or like hire somebody inexpensive, which I’m not knocking that, right? But and get a very templated standard website that, like you said, it just has basic information. It’s not really telling your story. And websites like social media, like PR, like your advertising campaigns, everything has to be so integrated and tell a part of that story in that narrative that you really want to show who you are, because especially I think this is something where you and I have obviously always kind of lived in this space of really wanting to be authentic

00;13;11;01 – 00;13;32;03
Anika

and raw and real and transparent. And I think that brand is whether they’re nonprofit, for profit social enterprises, are scene our finally kind of realizing, oh yeah, we don’t just want to say our spot on our message and think people are going to come and respond to it. We need to show up in a way that is really integrated and that really shows people that we believe in what we’re saying.

00;13;32;18 – 00;13;58;14
Lars Dabney

Yes. Yes, that’s exactly right. I think that authenticity is the single most valuable piece that you can have and what you’re kind of putting out there to the world. You know, we all get bombarded by advertising constantly. Yeah, we know what it sounds like when it’s fake. You know, when, when, when Pepsi is what was it they did that video with people singing in the middle of the pandemic and everybody was like, no guys.

00;13;58;15 – 00;13;59;04
Lars Dabney

No.

00;13;59;21 – 00;14;13;18
Anika

Yeah. I think they had some influencer or reality star in it and all of those things. And it just yeah, it was completely oh, it was the Black Lives Matter, right? Or one of them had one of those. And yeah, it was.

00;14;14;02 – 00;14;24;23
Lars Dabney

Oh, that’s right. It was it was the George Floyd protest. Right. And it was like, who is it? Like Kendall Jenner? Like, went up to a to a cop and gave him a Pepsi. And he was like, not the point guy. Yeah.

00;14;24;28 – 00;14;28;27
Anika

Yeah. Completely missing the boat. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

00;14;29;17 – 00;14;56;03
Lars Dabney

Yeah. And so I think that that authenticity is like huge. And and, you know, I think your company your work and mine share this aspect that, like, we can’t be authentic if we’re working for a client that we don’t actually believe in. You know, and so we’re picky about who we work with because because we want to be authentic, because that’s at the end of the day, that makes me feel like I’m living a worthwhile life.

00;14;57;29 – 00;14;58;29
Lars Dabney

And. Yeah.

00;14;59;11 – 00;15;08;04
Anika

Yeah. So do you turn down clients? Like, if somebody comes to you and you realize that, oh, wow, this is really not a fit, how do you how do you. Yeah, that’s just a yes.

00;15;08;19 – 00;15;30;13
Lars Dabney

Yeah. Yeah, we do. I haven’t turned down a ton. You know, I think, like, honestly, I think this is because we were originally based in D.C., the most common issue. And this is going to sound funny coming from a war correspondent, but like, we don’t do anything with the military and I, let me be clear. I support the military.

00;15;30;13 – 00;15;51;20
Lars Dabney

I have nothing wrong with people being in the military. And, you know, my my dad’s family is from Annapolis. Like we posted mids the whole thing. Right. We’re actually kind of a military family. But broadly speaking, I am, you know, loosely a pacifist. I went to war as a journalist to inform people about the cost of war.

00;15;51;20 – 00;16;13;08
Lars Dabney

I, I don’t want my work to help people kill people. Yeah, and and even if it’s good guys killing bad guys, I just, I don’t think that’s that’s a path that leads to, you know, the outcome that we all want, which is world peace, right? Every Ms. Universe, since ever has said yeah.

00;16;13;08 – 00;16;31;24
Anika

I think that’s one of the things is because I had my own company, and then now I’ve merged with another company, and I know that the ideals of some of the new clients might not be the same as mine. So reconciling that. But I think what I can do is continue bringing in the kind of clients that I do want to work with.

00;16;32;04 – 00;16;52;05
Anika

Right. And shifting things that way and showing these clients might be nonprofits or social enterprise are doing good in the world, but they still have budgets for marketing and PR, they still have money to spend. And so why not spend it with us where we can, you know, hopefully make an even bigger impact using kind of like a little bit bigger agency scale.

00;16;52;22 – 00;17;20;27
Lars Dabney

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. You know, it’s like that the tilting of the scales is it’s always contextual right? But like, bending rather than tilting the scales, maybe bending the arc of history towards justice, right? That is that is very much you know, taking the resources of a large organization like Bastion and, and applying it to the kinds of causes that you care about is awesome, right?

00;17;20;28 – 00;17;43;15
Lars Dabney

You know, and that that makes a huge difference to. So, yeah. And, yeah, so, you know, I think I think picking those those clients and working on those stories then that, like you care about is is good for the clients, good for their work. But personally, it’s good, right? That’s that’s the main reason it’s like at the end of the day, I want to go to bed feeling like I’m happy about the.

00;17;43;15 – 00;17;47;18
Anika

Stuff that I’m working on. Absolutely. So how long is Lightning Fruit been around?

00;17;47;18 – 00;17;50;08
Lars Dabney

Six and a half years?

00;17;50;17 – 00;17;54;28
Anika

Six and a half years. Awesome. And survived through the pandemic, all of that.

00;17;55;11 – 00;18;21;23
Lars Dabney

Yeah. Yeah. Did did survive through the pandemic. You know, unfortunately, I know a lot of digital agencies actually did quite well in the pandemic, but because so much of our client base were nonprofits. Yeah. And the first line item to get cut when the economy goes south is donations. Our client base took a pretty heavy hit, but we did a lot of pro bono work during that time and helped get people kind of back on their feet.

00;18;21;23 – 00;18;45;18
Lars Dabney

And, yeah, it’s, you know, everything’s back in action now, so but yeah, it’s been six and a half years the first four months of that, I still had a full time job. I was doing evenings and weekends. Yeah, yeah. But, but yeah. And then I got, got a big contract and was like, cool, this is enough for me to huck myself into the void and see how it goes.

00;18;46;01 – 00;19;00;08
Anika

Awesome. I love it. What else inspires and motivates you? It’s I mean, I know obviously your work is very inspiring and motivating, and I love that you get that you and your team get to get up every day and be so excited about what you’re doing.

00;19;01;04 – 00;19;27;17
Lars Dabney

Yeah. Honestly, like, I love the creative aspect of things. Like, I love, I love just like thinking about how to either visually or narratively create something that’s like art, right? Effectively and and the some of the websites that we work on, I’m just so stoked about how they visually look and how the animations work and all this kind of stuff.

00;19;28;24 – 00;19;44;16
Lars Dabney

And I love the like the feeling that gives to the viewer when they visit that, right? Like that that kind of like the way it pulls them in to the story that’s being told and and I really like people. I like I like talking to people. I like working with people. I like, you know, I’m a people person.

00;19;45;19 – 00;20;00;09
Lars Dabney

So just, you know, having conversations with. Yeah, like this one or with clients or whatever, you know, collaborating on things that’s just fuel for the for the fire for me as well.

00;20;00;09 – 00;20;32;20
Anika

And I love that we met, I think on LinkedIn. But yeah, but it’s it’s wonderful when you meet people on LinkedIn and you see that they have the same values and, you know, you can make that connection. Even though we live in totally different states, we’ve never met in person and that really inspires me meeting people like you who are doing amazing things and are able to do what I think is everybody well, I don’t know if it’s everybody’s ideal, but it’s certainly mine is being able to, like, feel really good about getting up every morning for everything that you’re doing in your life.

00;20;32;20 – 00;20;42;00
Anika

Right? So websites, is there anything next going to continue developing what you’re doing or are you going to become a B Corp like?

00;20;42;21 – 00;21;07;05
Lars Dabney

Yeah, actually, B Corp has been on the on the list for a while. I mean, the process is involved. I just haven’t had the bandwidth to really kind of give it the attention it needs to figure that out. But definitely I’m aiming to do that. Eventually. I think, you know, one of the things that’s kind of coming down the pipe for us probably not too far off, is I want to actually experiment a little bit with the corporate structure.

00;21;08;11 – 00;21;28;08
Lars Dabney

I I, I, as, as you may have picked up, I’m kind of a lefty and, and I’m a little skeptical or not skeptical, but I think like the next major step that we as a species need to take is kind of reinventing or evolving capitalism because like the way it’s structured right now is not working

00;21;28;08 – 00;21;31;19
Anika

Well, it’s corporatism. You know.

00;21;32;01 – 00;22;00;27
Lars Dabney

Exactly. Exactly. And Jeff Bezos becoming Emperor of the moon is not something that I see as like, a positive for humanity. So I’m really intrigued by, you know, looking at things like collective kind of structures, you know, cooperative type things. So that’s something that as I get the team a little bigger and as I get writing through it into more of a position where it can kind of run itself, that that I really want to do with that, that I kind of want to turn it into some sort of hippie commune.

00;22;01;06 – 00;22;18;22
Anika

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s I mean, again, I’m like generalizing, like everybody wants to that like, no, not everybody wants to do that. But definitely my friends and I always talked about like let’s get some land and we’ll have like some common, you know, Eddy use where we have the common kitchen and living spaces.

00;22;19;06 – 00;22;19;25
Lars Dabney

Where I grew up in-

00;22;19;25 – 00;22;25;08
Anika

In many homes that we can go off to except without becoming a cult. How do you work that?

00;22;25;27 – 00;22;26;19
Lars Dabney

That’s the trick.

00;22;27;03 – 00;22;27;14
Anika

Yeah.

00;22;27;23 – 00;22;42;15
Lars Dabney

Oh, yeah, yeah. No, I don’t know if you’ve ever read anything about Bow Grippin, but that’s like the German version of it, and I love them. I read an article about it years and years ago, and I sent it to all my friends was like, Let’s do this. Of course we were all in college and nobody had any money.

00;22;42;15 – 00;22;45;19
Lars Dabney

We couldn’t buy property. So it’s not happening. But one day.

00;22;47;12 – 00;22;49;07
Anika

So what is your ideal client?

00;22;50;12 – 00;23;11;18
Lars Dabney

Oh, gosh, I think my personally my ideal client right now, which is which is very much like a moment to moment thing because it’s kind of based on like what I’m really interested in because I do a lot of very sort of selective client outreach. And my ideal client would right now would probably be a social enterprise, right?

00;23;11;18 – 00;23;41;07
Lars Dabney

I’d like to work with a business that is using its business model to shift the way the world works in a good way. And one who, you know, both both has an actual substantial component of it that’s digital, right? Their business model and he recognizes how important that is. Right. And and the potential that it has that like, hey, you know, this is this is something that we really want to spend time on.

00;23;41;16 – 00;24;02;25
Lars Dabney

That we want to think about. And that, like, once we build our digital framework, you know, not just website, but your email campaign, your criminal, this kind of stuff, it’s an ongoing and continuous sharpening effort after that. Right. We don’t it’s not set and forget we want to keep leaning in and like making it better and pushing the numbers in the right direction.

00;24;02;25 – 00;24;23;10
Lars Dabney

Yeah. And you know, in particular, I think lately I’ve been very focused on environmental causes. So I would love to work with a social enterprise that had built a business model around doing something to help save the planet from impending doom. So yeah, that’s, that’s probably my ideal client right now, OK?

00;24;23;26 – 00;24;38;16
Anika

And when somebody comes into you they get a website, you also do like digital marketing advice, SEO, all of like the entire comprehensive digital universe, or?

00;24;38;16 – 00;25;02;00
Lars Dabney

The one piece we don’t do yet is, is digital ad buys. So, so we can actually build the ads or design them if people need us to. And we will analyze the data from those campaigns to assess what changes we should be making on the website or in other pieces of the ecosystem to try and optimize the impact of those campaigns.

00;25;02;10 – 00;25;30;09
Lars Dabney

But we don’t do the actual buys yet because we just don’t have a person on our team who has the right expertize yet. That is a higher I’m looking to make in the next year or so. We will be adding that. But yeah, I mean, beyond that, we do development, we do design, we do. You know what? I kind of broadly refer to his digital strategy, which is that looking at all these pieces of the digital ecosystem and doing this kind of analysis of the data and saying like, all right, you know, we’ve got some bottlenecks here.

00;25;30;09 – 00;25;37;15
Lars Dabney

We’ve got like a fall off at this point, like, yeah, let’s fix these so we can see that big number go up in the right direction. We want it to.

00;25;37;27 – 00;26;02;24
Anika

Yeah, I don’t, I don’t think the normal person who’s trying to get a website and like looking at things understands all the analytics and data mining and things that you have to do behind the scenes to make sure that, you know, I think like somebody I know was working on a website for a nonprofit in San Diego, and they’re realizing people were clicking through like on all these random places weren’t going.

00;26;02;28 – 00;26;20;23
Anika

So they’re like, OK, we’re just going to make all of these links like every word clickable so that it has to where we want them to direct to, to donate or to, you know, decide to fly or whatever. But there is like those little nuances and tweaks that go into the design. And then also you look at brand strategy.

00;26;20;24 – 00;26;25;28
Anika

Does that do they have a brand strategy, do they not, how does that play into it? Right.

00;26;25;28 – 00;26;44;23
Lars Dabney

So yeah, yeah. No, totally. And I think analytics, you know, Google Analytics or honestly any of the different analytics tools out there, they don’t they don’t make it easy, you know, if you’re not already pretty familiar with them. Like when you first pull up a Google Analytics dashboard, you’re just like, what am I supposed to do with this?

00;26;44;24 – 00;27;17;11
Lars Dabney

Another language any of this mean? It is very much another language. So, you know, I think I think being able to help people kind of recognize like yeah, you know, for starters, like, yeah, you need it. I definitely do recommend people to Squarespace solution sometimes, right? When they come to me and they’re like, hey, I’m starting up my solopreneur business and I’ve got, you know, my budget is x hundred dollars and I’m like, don’t hire Dev, because then you’re going to be disappointed and frustrated because you don’t have enough budget for them to do a proper job on this.

00;27;17;21 – 00;27;50;13
Lars Dabney

But you can absolutely do this yourself on Squarespace. And, you know, I can give people like pointers on how to make that work well for them and how to get up and running with that. Yeah. And I have seen people produce, you know, great sort of brass plaque type websites, brochure websites that just kind of, you know, give them that digital presence and then down the road as they grow, you know, have that conversation about like, hey, yeah, you know, if you want to think about how to like really try and improve the number of people coming in from your ads who are actually then selling out your contact form, that’s that’s where we come

00;27;50;13 – 00;27;52;09
Lars Dabney

in. You know, and that’s what we can really help you with.

00;27;52;25 – 00;28;06;12
Anika

Awesome. Well, is there anything that we haven’t covered that you wanted to share with the audience today? If somebody is looking at, you know, how to make sure that they have a website that presents who they are in the world in their brand?

00;28;06;28 – 00;28;47;21
Lars Dabney

Yeah. I think honestly, like one of the things I would say in the context of the last like two to five years is that like never underestimate the impact that your voice has, that your businesses or your brand’s voice has. You know, it is society is collective, right? The societal changes, our collective and putting the effort in to express what you care about and to and to say like, hey, we are we’re a company that really like we give a damn about plastic in the ocean.

00;28;47;25 – 00;29;08;09
Lars Dabney

And granted, that’s kind of remote from what we actually do. But like we put the effort in and we minimize packaging waste and we have taken these steps to like recycle these components. You know, it’s it might seem small compared to all the other things that you’re trying to do with your website. But like that that can shift the social dialog, right?

00;29;08;09 – 00;29;32;12
Lars Dabney

Other people see that and like, oh, I didn’t know that was possible. And maybe I should be doing that with my company or asking the, the other company that I buy stuff from what they’re doing about this. Yeah. And it just, you know, it has this knock on effect and so I think I think putting your, your ideas into your brand, into the work that you’re doing, into the thing that consumes 80% of your time right.

00;29;33;17 – 00;29;44;03
Lars Dabney

Is it can be so much more significant than you realize and is so true worthwhile thing to do and so yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s my like say.

00;29;44;26 – 00;30;06;07
Anika

That’s great advice and it’s something I was actually thinking of like oh yeah. Because I’m about, I’m redoing like my own personal brand stuff and I’m like, yeah, I need to really like put all that stuff on there as I’m thinking about like how I want it to look and feel like. So people really understand, like, what my values are and who I am and how I’m going to shop for them is the same way I’m going to shop for myself.

00;30;06;07 – 00;30;08;18
Anika

Right? That’s the goal.

00;30;09;06 – 00;30;10;16
Lars Dabney

Yeah, yeah. Totally.

00;30;10;27 – 00;30;15;18
Anika

So Lightingfruit.com and on all socials.

00;30;16;20 – 00;30;23;23
Lars Dabney

Yes, Lighting Fruit on all of the socials. It’s fortunately and nobody else uses that name. Yeah, we got we got the OG handle on all of ’em.

00;30;25;04 – 00;30;26;22
Anika

How did you come up with that name?

00;30;28;00 – 00;31;03;13
Lars Dabney

So there’s an elaborate story on somewhere on I think it’s on an old version of our website involving like a grandfather of mine who was a pirate captain in Madagascar and a lemon tree on top of his house. Well, but the actual story is word association. I was just like, OK, Internet, digital electricity, lightning name and and then fruit is like, you know, the fruit of our labors, you know, this good thing that we’ve created and that we give to you, you know, it’s got a lot of positive connotations so yeah, slap those two together and like before you go, awesome.

00;31;04;16 – 00;31;05;26
Anika

Do you have a favorite quote?

00;31;07;03 – 00;31;15;10
Lars Dabney

Oh, favorite quote. Oh, yeah. Hang on now, let me pull up Facebook. I haven’t I haven’t looked at my Facebook profile in forever, but I do have some quotes on there.

00;31;15;14 – 00;31;15;24
Anika

Nice.

00;31;17;11 – 00;31;40;11
Lars Dabney

I will say, I quote I quote, MLK on the arc of history bends towards justice all the time because I’m a diehard optimist. And like when people are bemoaning the doom and gloom of the world, I’m always like, I think we’ll get there as a species eventually. But oh, man, this is it. OK, so this quotes from a Terry Pratchett book.

00;31;40;11 – 00;31;42;18
Lars Dabney

I don’t know if you know Terry Pratchett. You do.

00;31;43;13 – 00;31;44;07
Anika

No? I don’t know.

00;31;44;15 – 00;32;13;19
Lars Dabney

Oh, yeah. So he’s a he’s a British- was, he passed away recently unfortunately. He’s a British comedic author, And he’s written this extensive series of books in this place called The Discworld, which is very much a parody of our world. And each book kind of focuses on parodying a particular thing. OK, now here’s a question. Do you know where to find the quote section on a Facebook profile?

00;32;13;22 – 00;32;18;16
Lars Dabney

Is it in About still? No, no.

00;32;18;21 – 00;32;22;00
Anika

Like if you look at your profile, you don’t just see a quote underneath the-

00;32;22;05 – 00;32;52;28
Lars Dabney

Yeah, it’s like it used to be right there. But I mean, OK, honestly, I mean, I’m going to disclose something here, I don’t social at all. Like I avoided like the plague. And it’s not that- I just, I just, well, I don’t even avoid it, really. I just kind of stopped. I felt like it was it was not giving me a lot of meaningful interactions with people and I kind of was just like, you know, I, I feel like I’d rather what’s at my family.

00;32;54;06 – 00;33;23;01
Lars Dabney

So, so I haven’t really looked I can’t find it. But let’s see how does the quote start? I can probably do this. I stuff my head. This is a book that is a from a book called Jingo that is a parody of actually a very prescient parody of kind of be like Iraq War. He wrote it in before that happened.

00;33;24;08 – 00;33;43;07
Lars Dabney

He wrote it in the late nineties. So it may have actually been a reference to Desert Storm kind of, but it was kind of about the conflict between the West and Middle East culturally and kind of sending it up and being like, look, this is ridiculous. Like, there’s no reason for us to have that’s like other than like all the moneyed interests behind it.

00;33;44;00 – 00;34;16;21
Lars Dabney

And at the end of that, the patrician of Ankh-Morpork, who’s this incredibly intelligent political figure who’s just constantly kind of behind the scenes, like always knows what’s going on. And he kind of single handedly orchestrates peace when everybody else is so dead set on going to war. And he says, “bought and sold men, marched away commander Byams, and then came back how glorious the battles that they never fought.

00;34;18;05 – 00;34;47;18
Lars Dabney

And you say bought and sold perhaps, but not, I think, needlessly spent.” so I always like that quote. I think it reflects I mean, I think it’s very clever. It’s very clever character. But you know, it’s it’s this question of like geopolitics and the systems around us are always going to be shoving us around. Yeah. You know, the thing what’s happening in the Ukraine right now is like a horrific travesty.

00;34;47;24 – 00;35;23;06
Lars Dabney

The individuals caught up in it are not behind it. You know, they aren’t the cause for it. They are being bought and sold. But there are you know, it is still possible to be a force for insuring for trying to make it such that, like these events are not wasted, you know, that like these lives aren’t lost meaninglessly, that something is made of the tragedy and and that somehow we use that to, like, bend ourselves towards being better.

00;35;23;25 – 00;35;36;08
Anika

So yeah, yeah, we might we could just keep talking probably for hours but I’m going to stop myself for sure.

00;35;36;08 – 00;35;37;29
Lars Dabney

Yeah. No, I definitely could.

00;35;38;07 – 00;35;57;29
Anika

I think that that but that brings up, you know, it just goes back to the work that you’re trying to do every day and that you’re really trying to help change people’s hearts and minds by what they see when they go to one of your client’s websites and how they see that they can show up in the world and how they can make an impact.

00;35;58;12 – 00;35;59;09
Anika

And that’s really beautiful.

00;35;59;09 – 00;36;00;21
Lars Dabney

So yeah. That’s what I’m hoping for.

00;36;01;09 – 00;36;12;16
Anika

Yeah. Thank you for taking some- Well, I guess there’s probably no snow, so I was going to say thanks for not going snowboarding today and taking the time to be interviewed by me instead.

00;36;12;29 – 00;36;15;16
Lars Dabney

Of course, my pleasure. Yes.

00;36;16;06 – 00;36;21;25
Anika

Well, and I would love to put that book in the show notes too, because now I’m like, Oh, now I’m intrigued. I went, Oh.

00;36;21;25 – 00;36;22;21
Lars Dabney

Yeah, yeah.

00;36;22;27 – 00;36;34;02
Lars Dabney

Jingo by Terry Pratchett. It’s great. It’s really funny. It’s really, really clever, really funny. And when you realize it was written before 911, it is so prescient. It’s kind of mind boggling.

00;36;34;15 – 00;36;55;28
Anika

Amazing. Well, thank you for an open, honest, fun, rambling conversation today on Your Brand Amplified. I love talking to you. And I know that our audience will get value out of this and really hopefully come away thinking about how to be authentic and show their values every day in their work. And I guess that we’ll be back again next week! Want more?

00;36;56;06 – 00;37;02;01
Anika

Check out AmplifywithAnnika.com or follow me on socials @AmplifywithAnnika.

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