Happy MR Podcast Podcast Series

Ep. 524 – IA Annual 2022 Conference Series: Adam Jolley, EVP + General Manager Americas at Paradigm Sample

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Jamin Brazil: Live from Insights Association North American Annual Conference. I am joined by the handsome and very comfortable Adam Jolley. Paradigm sample.


Adam Jolley: Feels great.


Jamin Brazil: Friend. Long time podcaster.


Adam Jolley: Yes.


Jamin Brazil: Let’s talk about the evolution of podcasts.


Adam Jolley: I’m in. I’m in.


Jamin Brazil: You ready? I’ll go ahead and go first. Happy Market Research started about four years ago. The initial format was pretty structured I would say. I was pretty married to my discussion guide. Hard to veer out then it kind of evolved through COVID to be more I’d say inspirational. More human story, tell me about your parents. That kind of thing. This year we’ve changed it up. We’re doing a drop every Monday. Usually the drops are pretty highly curated so I’ve got like a 1600-word script that I’ll write and then it has a point of view. Then I play a 15 to 20 minute long form interview with somebody.


Adam Jolley: Right.


Jamin Brazil: That’s the format for this year. Tell me about your story? How’s the evolution going for the podcast?


Adam Jolley: I think the biggest evolution is that I think about it- we just walked out. You were on stage. Dina was on stage and you were talking about your brand. How you can change. How you can find different things to be an extension of who you’re brand is online. Podcast is a great outlet for that. We change all the time. COVID changed everybody.


Jamin Brazil: We have to change.


Adam Jolley: Right. Like that I think the podcast always have to change as well. You can feel some personality. I know like with your podcast when I listen to it, yes it’s you talking and telling a story, you have the interview. Then there’s parts of your personality that’s kind of Easter egg out with the music that comes out. Just like the human concept of it. Asking the stories. Asking about somebody’s parents. What kind of got them into the industry. To me that is as much as I think if the first time you listen to it, it might seem like you’re extending someone else’s brand, it’s your brand. I think that’s the biggest evolution that we’re getting now.


Jamin Brazil: Interesting.


Adam Jolley: There are moments where I’m like, everybody’s got a podcast. Then there’s also moments like this is great everyone has a podcast. Everyone has a louder voice. The mega phone isn’t as exclusive as it used to be. I hope that they always evolve. That’s our goal also. There will be times where I feel like we’re just doing the same thing all the time. Please let’s change it. Let’s do something here.


Jamin Brazil: It gets boring.


Adam Jolley: Let’s put an end cap on this. If not, then there is that sensitive line of what is my purpose for doing this.


Jamin Brazil: Tell us about the podcast. Tell everybody where they can find it. The whole thing.


Adam Jolley: Two podcasts. One is The Ride. That is more market research based. A lot of news. The money that is coming in and out of market research. Then just fun games. Hosted with Adam Dietrich. He’s my best friend. It’s really just conversations we always have. We just record it. That is anywhere you can list to podcasts. Then there’s A Breath of Air which I do with Zee Johnson Zappy. It is the market research. We do go into the mindset of market researchers. It’s a lot about mental health. How are we doing. It started during the pandemic. Every time I feel like we’ve covered everything, a new topic happens, something happens at work. We run into somebody. Somebody tells us a story. It always gets us back to kind of the more human side like we’ve been talking about. Also, how that implies to how market researchers think. We are curious people. We are definitely people that we make data driven decisions. It’s a lot of- there are several things that go into your own personality as well.


Jamin Brazil: What’s your favorite moment as a podcast host?


Adam Jolley: My favorite moment is when things go long. I say that also with a little tinge because I hate editing that type of stuff. I know when things go wrong. When a rabbit hole happens that is unplanned, unscripted we didn’t expect to start talking about something. I know that’s going to be the good one. That’s going to be the one that somebody will ask me about. Or that’s going to- as silly as it sounds. That’s going to get the most listened to, the most downloads, the most likes or something when we post it somewhere. It is I think when we’re- we talk about vulnerability all the time. Sometimes that’s hollow. When you’re truly vulnerable and you’re just like going off and it goes long, you worry about did I say too much. That’s the best time. Those are like the moments where I feel first scared, like what did I say. Is there going to be repercussions. Then I feel comfortable to because I know it’s the truest part of me or Zee or Adam when we’re recording.


Jamin Brazil: Different events like IEX have podcast awards. Last year I think maybe it was two years ago, the winner of the award actually she doesn’t have a podcast anymore. That’s hilarious.


Adam Jolley: There’s something to that. Yes.


Jamin Brazil: As you think about companies that are wanting to spin up a podcast or maybe they’re just starting it. What are some tips? Give them three tips?


Adam Jolley: I think the biggest part is to first decide what do you want to accomplish. This is another thing we’ve talked about here at this conference. Start with the outcome. Start with what is the end game onto this. Then work your way backwards in the podcast and the planning of what it is. The other part is be unique. I think anybody could come on and read market research news and do those type of things. That’s something you’ve evolved from too, right?


Jamin Brazil: Yes.


Adam Jolley: When I think about the podcast that I love with you to the zappy podcast. Or I listen to Little Bird even. Those type of things. It’s so different. It’s not just the person. It’s not just their voice. They’re delivery. It’s so different in that there’s something to it. Even like with your podcast talking with the music and talking more about the different generational type of research. That’s so different. You become- it’s not just a brand where Pepsi, Coke it’s all the same type of stuff. It’s like, this is a totally different segment. It’s not market share. We make the market.


Jamin Brazil: Yes.


Adam Jolley: That’s probably the biggest advice I could give to somebody if they want to setup. Think about what you sell. What you would say to a client that makes you different. Make it part of your podcast to.


Jamin Brazil: You’re really starting with the audience.


Adam Jolley: Right


Jamin Brazil: Frame out who the audience is and why they should give a shit about what it is you’re talking about.


Adam Jolley: Right. The value that you’re giving to the customer should be tangible. Just like you would in business. That sounds crazy to say.


Jamin Brazil: It’s true.


Adam Jolley: To be always have that same mindset. The same thing with relationships. You and I are both married men.


Jamin Brazil: Right.


Adam Jolley: If we take our wife out to dinner or some sort of a thing, that’s a moment that we are trying to manufacture or create that has some memory and connection to it.


Jamin Brazil: A hundred percent. That’s thinking audience first being not selfish. If I were to go on a date with my wife, we only did the stuff that I wanted to do. I might be looking for another soon, right. I just wouldn’t work out very well. I think that’s the part to is I wondered if we started if a company was going to do a market research podcast. They actually did some market research about what listeners wanted to hear about. What gaps are there that you would want to hear about. Instead of this is just a part of our marketing mix now. Just like you would like we’re going to a trade show. We’re getting T-shirts or something like that. That would probably be a lot more impactful.


Adam Jolley: Yes. For sure. That’s a good point. That’s like actually talking to customers and seeing what-


Jamin Brazil: Doing market research. In market research.


Adam Jolley: Which we don’t do. Why would we do that?


Jamin Brazil: No. We know everything.


Adam Jolley: Right. Exactly. I liken it to I heard it one time, this goes back 20 years. A guy said, if I was going to buy a lawnmower from a company and I pulled up to the company’s headquarters and their lawn was overgrown and it looked like crap. I wouldn’t buy the lawnmower from them. I’m like that guy makes so much sense.


Jamin Brazil: It does. It does. Why don’t we use the lawnmower.


Adam Jolley: Right. If you have to- as much as it is a branding it should also be an extension of the brand that you have. There are times, honestly there are times when I will under edit like I just said, going long is a great thing. I will un edit a podcast or I’ll leave in giggles into it. That’s just who we are. That’s a little more human than finally polished, everything’s great. I think we all need to think about that when we make any part of marketing.


Jamin Brazil: Do you have a regular part of your podcast that you cut out or edit a lot?


Adam Jolley: Yes. For the Breath of Air podcast, I edit out whenever- we don’t rehearse anything. Zee never sends me the questions before. I never send her the questions. A lot of times we’ll ask a question that is, I mean, transparently is probably too deep for a podcast. We’ll ask like well how did that make you feel. It will be some kind of big impact and there will be- we usually each of us will give two to three different answers. I’m like OK. Then we’ll meet after. Which one do we want to dig in. That’s the part I edit. For Adam Dietrich and I, again brand and opinion is a big part of brand but I edit out a lot of our opinions. At some point in the day it’s an extension. I understand some opinions they might impact what our day jobs look like. I edit those a lot. I always think at the end of the year, I look at what we have and there’s hundreds of hours of unused.


Jamin Brazil: You guys had a podcast on was it right when I left Focus Vision where you talked about it. Or was it when Decipher was acquired by Focus Vision. I can’t remember which.


Adam Jolley: It was Decipher acquired by Focus Vision.


Jamin Brazil: It sounded like you edited some stuff out in that episode?


Adam Jolley: I did. Yes. That’s how it goes. There’s a lot- we have a segment of our podcast that talks about political polling. That’s a huge part of market research.


Jamin Brazil: Yes. I am.


Adam Jolley: Let’s be honest, political polling is just like a concept test where you’re picking cereal boxes. It’s like that one looks best. We’ll vote for him or her. Sometimes opinion gets in the way with that. Dietrich all the time, as soon as we get to recording, it’s the same speech every single time. Where he’s like, we are professionals. We need to not think of our opinions. Let’s not close doors. Let’s keep everything open. Let’s edit this, this and this out. I’m like OK that’s a great idea. I think it’s easy to sometimes talk yourself into everything is good. What you said.


Jamin Brazil: It totally is. Editing. Thank goodness for editing. It’s super great. I would like to hear the cut episode of the Decipher point of view at some point. Just because I find that fascinating. I feel like we kind of we miss because we have the opportunity to do so much work in post. We miss some of the- I guess it’s true with TV and any kind of a media where there’s production. Other than a live event. There’s so much of the personality that is caught. For example, I have a little bit of dyslexia. I have a very strict script that I write for my introductions. I will stumble on words when I have in a literal- which is funny because I’ve done 450 of these things. It’s ridiculous. Then I don’t have Tourette’s but I do enjoy cursing. Then I’ll start cursing which is hilarious. My poor production manager has to- maybe in the comments you can add how many F words you’ve edited out. That’s good. I notice that when I start going down a trail that’s like oh F, F, F. Then it starts rolling. Then it gets actually really funny at some point.


Adam Jolley: Same with us. You’ll hear it especially with Zee and I because it’s emotional and I think when it’s all about having your thoughts. My thoughts are out of order a lot of times. I’ll through in the middle, then the end, then the beginning of a story. Or where I’m going down a path. Then in the spaces I fill, I say shit all the time. That’s just my curse word of choice. Shit and shit and shit. I’ll look into at the end and it’s just like an um.


Jamin Brazil: It’s like an um.


Adam Jolley: I hear that and I’m like oh my gosh that’s so much worse than those ums. It’s good.


Jamin Brazil: That’s so funny. We’ve talked a lot about podcasts. Tell us a little bit about Paradigm Sample?


Adam Jolley: It’s an evolving place. I started last January. I’ve been there 14 months. I think when I started there I had- everyone knows the name. Everyone knows Seema also who podcasts. Which is like my super hero.


Jamin Brazil: Yes. Dated gurus. One of the OG’s.


Adam Jolley: It’s amazing. When the company started like we knew that- my role was to come in and try to like add a breath of air to the company. Try to challenge thinking and maybe add some layers to make it less flat from where it was. Along the way I think two things happened. One, the people that have been there, your lifers get new challenges. The norm is shaken up. They can see what’s in it for them and they can grow. The new people that we brought in, definitely added some new personalities and they added their own brands. Bringing people like A. J. in. There’s another great podcaster. All we do is hire podcasters. That’s what we do. That’s half of our marketing budget.


Jamin Brazil: It’s called brand building.


Adam Jolley: Right. You added people who have their own brands. It’s been huge. What we’re doing is a little bit different than other panel companies. Really focusing on engagement with our panelist. Getting them- we’re not going to be the 50 percent gen pop answer. We’re the people, you have a couple ends. We’re better for that. You want more engagement. You want an eye hut. You want a community type of recruit, that’s where we really have found our niche. Kind of echoed that brands, the engage, the passionate. If you talk to Seema, if you talk to me, we’re engaged and passionate. Like making the product kind of an extension of ourselves.


Jamin Brazil: Are you guys connected to the marketplaces?


Adam Jolley: We are. We sell to and from the marketplaces. Which has become a huge impact over the last two years. It’s no secret that when COVID happened, a lot of people stopped recruiting into their panels. Everyone started fishing from the same pond. Work through the marketplaces. Supply was a huge hit especially in 2020 was a huge hit. Then 2021 as well some of the repercussions. Now, demand is at an all-time high. Thank god people are more curious. People- you see what happened during COVID. You can’t make those mistakes with your brand. You have to do the research. It’s less gut check for what you’re doing. Demand in the sample space, I always laugh. When I see a sample person, I’d be like show me someone who’s having a bad year. The demand is so high. When demand gets high and everyone’s been fishing from the same pond for so long. You have to reinvest into it. You have to find a different way to do things. Build your own brand into what that sample company is doing. Also, think a little bit differently and just be in a sample company. Set yourself out a little differently. Come up with more products. We were sitting earlier today and the presenter was talking about impact versus numbers. So many times we talk about numbers. I think in sample we can get very caught up into we deliver a 105 percent or we came in under budget, our margins. Everything is number based a very much ledger. As she said she reworded it and looked at impact proudly for me. It went a little bit down a rabbit hole to where at the end it was like let’s not think about how you completed a project. Think about how you saved 15 million lives because the medication was kept chilled and was able to travel to different places. You had this huge impact. That might be the extreme but I think for sample companies, this is kind of my soapbox on sample companies, is start to think about the impact we’re having. Instead of transactional in our marketplace. It’s just a number. You’re just a means to an end.


Jamin Brazil: You’re giving my speech for tomorrow. So funny. Hilarious. Adam, if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Adam Jolley: LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn. Twitter is Adam Jolley. Then email Adam dot Jolley at paradigm sample dot com.


Jamin Brazil: That’s J-O-L-L-E-Y. And as always you can find his information in the show notes. Have a great rest of your- Adam thanks for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Adam Jolley: Thank you so much. So much fun. Thanks so much Jamin.


Jamin Brazil: Everybody, have a great day. Bye.