Tersh talks with Brendan Kane, The Author of Hook Point, How To Stand Out In A 3-Second World!
Brendan Kane is a business and digital strategist for Fortune 500 corporations, brands, and celebrities. He thrives on helping his clients systematically find and engage new audiences that reward relevant content, products, and services with their attention and spend. Brendan transforms complexity into simplicity with tools and methods that amplify growth and enable execution. Starting his career at Lakeshore Entertainment, Brendan oversaw all aspects of their interactive media strategy. He worked on 16 films that generated a worldwide gross of $685 million dollars and pioneered the first-ever influencer campaign to effectively promote Lakeshore’s movies.
He then went on to build applications, platforms, and campaigns for celebrity clients such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Katie Couric, Charles Barkley, Michael Strahan, Zoe Saldana, Jason Statham, supermodel Adrianna Lima, and pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. Brendan is known for creating an innovative application for Taylor Swift and Rihanna that can automatically turn any Facebook profile into a website in less than 60 seconds. More than 50 million people worldwide have accessed the applications and platforms that were created for his celebrity clients.
He also served as vice president of digital for Paramount Pictures and helped scale one of the largest social optimization firms in the world that work with brands such as Disney, Fox, NBC, Netflix, Xbox, LinkedIn, and many notable fortune 100 companies.
Kane is most recently known for generating one million followers in over 100 countries in less than 30 days. He went on to publish the best-selling book One Million Followers, which breaks down how he was able to achieve such a feat.
- Get your free resources by visiting https://book.hookpoint.com/
- Learn more about Brendan by visiting https://brendanjkane.com/
- Learn more about Tersh by visiting https://serviceemperor.com
- Connect with Tersh on social media @tershblissett
- Have you ever wondered HOW to target your perfect client?!? It's EMOTION...EMOTION is what sells, and this link is how you learn your client's emotion for free... visit https://admanity.com/SBM/ to get this free share that I (Tersh) stand behind 100%!
"If you know how people will emotionally react, you have an advantage more valuable than all of humanity's innovations."
Thank you for listening to another episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast!
How to Stand Out In A 3 Second World w Brendan Kane
Tersh Blissett: [00:00:03] Hello, everyone, out there in the podcast world. Hope you have a wonderful day. You were listening to the Service Business Mastery Podcast. I'm your host Tersh Blissett today's episode. We're talking to Brendan King. You may have seen a few of his books out. I have Hookpoint here and I love it. Listen to it. I've read it and it's really cool about just how to stand out in a three-second world when it comes to social media and just connecting with your followers and your potential clients. But with that being said, welcome to the show, Brendan.
Brendan Kane: [00:00:35] Thanks. Thanks so much for having me. It's a pleasure to connect with you and everybody that's watching or listening to this.
Tersh Blissett: [00:00:41] So tell us a little bit about Hook Point and kind of where it came from and your background in general.
Brendan Kane: [00:00:50] It's a great question because Hook Point came out of having to really look back on the past 15 years of business and understand what I'm really good at more for myself than anything is like really dial in, like what do I want to do with my life? I've done so many things in my career and it's like, where do I provide the most value? And a lot of people know me for my first book, Around One Million Followers, how about the mass audience in 30 days? And I kind of got labeled as the social media guy, but I just look back at my experience and it's like I do so much more for companies and brands and clients than just like generating followers and social media, which we're good at. But I feel like the there is something missing or there is something missing from the overarching story. So when I kind of looked back at all the things and how I started, I, I went to film school TOTE's to want to be a film producer. And I was hoping that when I go to film school, though, teach you about business. And when I showed up, I quickly realized they don't teach you anything about business in film school. So I figured the best way to really learn about business is start your own. So I started a few Internet companies while I was going to college because it was most Cost-efficient way. And then when I moved to Los Angeles in two thousand five to pursue a career in film It's when the entertainment industry started reawakened to digital after the dotcom bust.
Brendan Kane: [00:02:15] So when I showed up, I started like everybody else at the bottom, making coffee and copies and deliveries. And I'm sure you've heard, like the entertainment industry is one of the most competitive and cutthroat industries. So when I was this assistant, people would ask me, well, what do you want to do and or why are you in L.A.? And I would say, well, I want to be a film producer. And I could just see everybody's eyes glaze over because I was just one of a million other people moving to L.A. to pursue the same thing. So I needed I knew I needed to find a way to stand out and a point of what I call it now. And I just took a step step back and I would listen to the conversations happening in the studio. And what I realized is there was a sense of anxiety and panic that would come over the office when we finished a movie because we spent tens of millions, in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars on a single piece of content. And now we need hundreds of millions of people around the world to know about it in just a few short months. Do you have any chance of making sure we don't lose money? So with that, I just started kind of saying, hey, listen, I started these Internet companies in college. I know how to tap into these traffic sources through websites, blogs, and then social media was just starting because remember, this is back two thousand five.
Brendan Kane: [00:03:28] I would love to help you because there are very cost-efficient ways and often free ways that we can scale your message. Would that be helpful? And they said yes. So that was kind of the first iteration of the hook point that I created for myself to get my foot in the door and go for making coffee to creating a digital division for the first studio I work for. And then from there, I just kind of kept going. I got bored with the movie industry because people think it's such a sexy and creative thing, but it's just another corporation. And I'm of the mindset that I love to do things and create things rather than spending time asking permission to do them. So I left and I started building my own technology platforms and licensing them back to big media companies. So I had to go into the room with a Yahoo, a Facebook, MTV, a Viacom, or even like celebrities like a Taylor Swift and express the value or the hook to first get the meeting, but then hold that attention and lead to a potential deal. So that's kind of where this concept of hook points started out and where I had to actually just I had to get good at it. Otherwise, I was going to be stuck making coffee for years and years and waiting to work my way up the ladder. And as an entrepreneur yourself, you know, that's just not kind of worth it for us.
Tersh Blissett: [00:04:45] Yeah. One hundred percent. So could you share a little bit about the how you came into the room with Taylor Swift and how that it's in your book and I love how you kind of laid it out there, how she wants to interact with or how she wanted to be able to work and kind of persue that, convey that message and be able to change it constantly. And how you went and actually had a conversation with them. Can you can you share that story?
Brendan Kane: [00:05:16] Absolutely. And it's and it's kind of a longer process. And people would think because the introduction came through MTV. So I initially got to MTV and structured licensing partnerships with them, with technologies, new technologies I built. And early on in the process, the executive at MTV is like, hey, do you want to go meet this? This girl, Taylor Swift, she's going to be a big star. I think she's right for technology. And at the time, she wasn't a huge star like she was on the function because the first time I ever met her and her manager was backstage at the Grammys rehearsal or something. So she was on her way. But she's not she wasn't the key global superstar there. And some people may be saying, well, how did you get a meeting with MTV or how did you get a deal that started with working in the movie industry? And I made a connection while I was working one studio with another woman that worked at Paramount. And she brought me to Viacom and MTV through that. But once I said, OK, let's meet with her because I'm down to meet anybody that this person was recommending because he's a really trusted source, then it's a series of processes with big name brands or celebrities. So the first meeting was with the manager, which, as I mentioned, was like at this rehearsal backstage at the Grammys. Taylor came in for like maybe like a minute singing or something and was like just a general introduction.
Brendan Kane: [00:06:48] But the whole focus of the meeting was just on the manager. I knew that I didn't want to get distracted trying to grab Taylor's attention or anything, because what I had to do first was I had to understand how the manager perceived the business, what the manager perceived as their challenges were the goals so that I could articulate our technology to fulfill whatever he whatever he saw as their challenges and also the opportunity. So after that, then he's like, OK, that sounds good, but you need to go talk to Taylor's dad. So then same process had to do with Taylor's dad. Then it became I had to then talk to Taylor's mom to get her buy it because her parents were very involved in her career early on. And and then it became the meeting with Taylor. And again, by that time, I was collecting information from each of the people, the manager, the father, the mother and even MTV of how Taylor Taylor perceive the world, what she loved, what she didn't like and all those things. And then I would use that information in the meeting. Now, again, in any of these meetings, I'll go in. I still have to read body language tone responses, because you may get all this information about a person, but then you show up and their personality is completely different because they just came from a horrible meeting or they're on the top of the world and everything's exciting to them.
Brendan Kane: [00:08:12] So when when I went into that meeting with Taylor, I took away some key points from from the other meetings I had is one, she really like to have hands on control with her brand because she built her fan base herself. She built it one by one. And she's the genius behind her success. She didn't have a huge record label or millions of dollars in marketing budget. When she first started it out, it was her ability to tap into social media, fostered these one to one connections with fans, turn them into brand advocates. And because it was happening in a time where social media was emerging, these brand advocates were now sharing with thousands or tens of thousands of people. So that was one key takeaway. The other key takeaway was the whole team was frustrated with the fact that they had her official site at the time was an all flash site, would take 48 hours to update the bounce right off the home page is like ninety six percent. It just wasn't fulfilling the goals that they were looking for in the technology that we ultimately did a deal around was it was a application that could dynamically write code for you so you could drag and drop anything onto the screen and our system would write the code for you. So this was really prior to Squarespace and Wick's and it was more of an enterprise level.
Brendan Kane: [00:09:24] So what we did for Taylor, just to show her the power of this, we literally built her an entirely new site in less than six hours. And then we walked to the meeting. I just said, hey, here's the mouse. You can change any element, you can change the navigation. We can change the entire background of the site all within, like, two clicks, no code or anything. So that's kind of like the key points in the meeting with I think the first meeting was like over an hour, like there's multiple aspects. But those were the key things that I really dialed into is one control, because I knew she and her team wanted out of this official site. And to the creative expression and the ability for this technology to foster stronger relationships with her fans in these brand advocates, that meant so much to her. And then even after that, we had to go through another meeting with her agents. And it was like a team of like ten people at an agency. So when you're doing deals of that size, I'm not going to say every time it's like that, but it's a lengthy process like and like doing deals with MTV takes six months minimum to get done, to go through all the paperwork and all of that. So that's just kind of a little bit.
Tersh Blissett: [00:10:35] Of those you mentioned a couple of times that even here now that you need to you need to fill out the room and you needed to make sure that you could pivot any time on any conversation whenever we're going in presenting stuff to clients. Most of our listeners here are going to be service business owners. So plumbers, electricians and stuff like that. In your opinion, should we get a like a template that we just it's always the same every single time. Are we going to be more successful if we actually draw it out in front of them? Which way are you leaning? I mean,
Brendan Kane: [00:11:19] Yeah, it's a great that's a great question in my experience. My opinion is and I've done both sides of it, I've gone into meetings with a demo, a pitch deck, a presentation already planned out, and you just go dove directly into it. And can you be successful with it? Sure. But you can also shoot yourself in the foot with it. And we've seen this with major deals that we're going after. If we're going after like a Disney or a Microsoft or a Netflix going into those meetings, what we found the best approach is get to know the person on the other side of the table. I'm not saying their personal life or stuff like that understand what their job responsibility is, what they're their biggest pain point or challenges, how they perceive the world, what is of the most value to them. And this can be applied to anybody, a plumber, whoever is. We found that when you start that way, you gleam a lot of information about how they perceive the world, how they perceive challenges, obstacles, and then you can go into the value of your service and how it pertains to solving that problem. Because the other way and I've seen this with ourselves, I've seen this with other people, is if you start just with the pitch, you may be talking about things that they don't care about or you may turn them off right away. So I've always found that you can really gleam a lot and and hone in what you're going to present that at present to them by collecting information and data first.
Tersh Blissett: [00:12:50] So I guess we'll pivot a little bit, but it kind of goes with that what you've said there. How much does storytelling involved in making a successful, quote unquote, pitch? I know you're a fan and likewise, I'm kind of getting rid of the elevator pitch altogether, but, um. What storytelling? I love storytelling. I'm not a great storyteller, and that's one of the main reasons why I picked up your book. But I, I want to hear what you have to say about storytelling and mastering the art of that and how that kind of goes into the conversation you would have with like a Taylor Swift or in TV or a homeowner that is needs that are they're told it's replaced.
Brendan Kane: [00:13:42] Yes. So there's different types of stories you can tell, like when we talk about storytelling. Most people think, oh, it's like a narrative. You're telling them like a children's bedtime story or like the tale of like a tale, like the Taylor Swift story that we just covered, which are effective. But you don't necessarily have to do it. Like if you're a plumber or some service based business or like an electrician. Do you really need to tell stories about other clients? You can. It's effective. But the other form of a story is, again, just how do you you take in this information of like, OK, this is what the client is experiencing, the problems and challenges. And then you can just basically express this is how I'll overcome that challenge for you or help you with that challenge. And that is a story in and of itself of it doesn't have to be like a narrative beginning, middle and end. It could just be, OK, this is what you're presenting. This is what we're going to bring back. The storytelling that I typically do is more case study driven, like what I talked about with Taylor Swift. Or if I go into another meeting, I'll talk about how I worked with another client to achieve certain results.
Brendan Kane: [00:14:57] And I'll tell a story that way. Or the most important thing that I have found is is less about the It's, less about telling a story and more about how are you solving this person's greatest pain point. And the best way that that I can describe this to everybody listening or watching to this is just imagine that I come up to you on the street and I say, hey, I know. And you think in your head, like, what is the thing that keeps you up at night? What causes you stress, anxiety? It could be personal. It could be professional, whatever. The thing that just really consciously is just driving you crazy, your biggest pain. And I come up to you on the street and say, hey, listen, I know you're experiencing this pain. I would love to solve this for you. I mean, who's going to say no to that? We all want our our greatest problems and challenges solved. So that's exactly what you're doing in these meetings. If you're a plumber or electrician, maybe you're not solving their greatest problem, but you can figure out how the problem is impacting them or any service that your your service or product or whatever you're selling can provide value to overcome that obstacle.
Tersh Blissett: [00:16:08] Yeah, I love that. That is that is really good. I mean, I love how you simplified it to because I tend to overcomplicate things. And so it's like I just come in, find out their pain point, have the conversation with them and then go back to them and just share with them how you're going to solve that pain point. How are you going to solve that, that fear or the unknown, the uncertainty. And with service businesses, a lot of times people don't experience working with service businesses a lot. So then the entire experience itself is unknown. And so just having that clear story even built out, I think would be a great a great idea for for any service business.
Brendan Kane: [00:16:57] Yeah. I mean, I just kind of break it down to I, I personally don't like selling it, just I don't feel comfortable doing it. And so I for myself and I think the reason I'm able to operate at the level I am and close the clients I have is I don't go in and sell anything. I go in and solve problems. I go in and I really understand, try to understand what is this person's greatest problem that correlates it correlating to the service that I can provide. And then I just present the solution to that problem as our service not selling. I'm just saying this is one way you can approach it and. Ninety-eight percent of the time when we close the client, it's just because of that and there's really very little conversation after that. You know, in some cases like in the Taylor Swift's or the TVs, there's drawn-out negotiations and stuff. But typically the deal closes. And that initial conversation, because you've built up enough excitement that you're going to solve this big problem or challenge for them.
Tersh Blissett: [00:18:05] So I feel like you're very similar to that to myself. And I don't like selling either educating and creating that storyline as you said. But whenever it comes time to ask for the clothes or ask for the sale, how do you do that in your experience? For me, that's kind of a struggle. A lot of people that's that is their struggle, even if they're especially if they, quote-unquote, aren't salespeople. So how do you do that?
Brendan Kane: [00:18:36] So there's two approaches. One approaches and I use I've used this a lot is when they say, OK, well, what is the pricing or how do we go from here? Typically, I don't like talking about pricing. I don't feel comfortable. So I say, I'll send you I'll shoot you over an email that just here's the with the pricing in the structure and how it all works because what it does is take that takes that pressure off of you. If you don't feel comfortable talking about pricing or you don't feel comfortable negotiating right there on the spot, some sales experts would probably advise against that. But I kind of typically like doing that approach. It works better for me. And with an electrician or a plumber, it's a bit different. I think you could just the pricing is not huge. But the other approach that we've employed more is and this is when you start getting bigger or you create a partner is I don't I have a sales team. I have a team that talks them through everything, close the deal, the paperwork, collect a payment, everything like that. So I like to provide both options because in the beginning I wasn't big enough to have a sales team and I didn't really want to take on a partner. And it wasn't that I didn't want to take upon a partner. I just didn't have the right partner that I felt comfortable with and scaling the business with from that respect. So that's why I wanted to give two options. One is when you're just starting out, you can just play the email game with it. And number two, you can just get a partner, a VA, or a salesperson to handle that part. If it's not something you feel comfortable with or it's not something.
Tersh Blissett: [00:20:19] Yeah, perfect, cool, so we only have a few minutes left here, would you mind sharing just the brief story for those who don't know first before I do that, what's the best way to get your book?
Brendan Kane: [00:20:34] I would go to the website book.HookPoint.com because there you can get the physical book, the ebook, and the audiobook for just the cost of shipping the physical book.
Tersh Blissett: [00:20:47] Oh, nice. That's perfect. OK, so my last question, your experience, how you kind of became the social media guy. Tell us your story about gaining a million followers and how that happened and would you do it again type thing, or is it do again?
Brendan Kane: [00:21:13] Well, it's definitely doable. We've done it many, many times, people look at the cover of the book, and then they just assume they look at my social channels and they assume that that's all it is. First off, we've our team internally is. Amassed well over 50 million followers and 40 billion views, so it's pretty extensive, but also people in the other people in the book that we feature have amassed amazing things. It's not just me. It's not just our strategies that went off and interviewed friends and partners that have done remarkable things on social media, like an influence What did 15 million followers in 15 months, a friend that created a company that's doing three and a half billion views a month. So there's a well-rounded perspective of different expertise in that. So how did I get to it? Why did I do it? I did it because of everything we talked about. It was a hook point. So I had always been inspired by what Tim Ferriss did with the four-hour work week as a book, as a ground pillar for a brand. And I thought about doing a book for a long time. But again, because of my start in the entertainment industry, I was trained to think big. So if I'm going to do something like a book, I want to make sure that it has a strong hook to really grab people's attention and give it the best chance of success, because it's something like there are over one point seven million books released every year.
Brendan Kane: [00:22:31] So it's so noisy and crowded. So I had spent about three and a half years developing the methodologies that allowed me to do it. It wasn't like I just woke up one morning and did it. I created the systems through trial and error of working with big brands, celebrities, journalists on how to scale their brand through different KPIs, whether it was viewed, sheer ability, clicks, traffic, and then in some cases, followers. All of those objectives use the same methodology. I just started getting asked to use it for followers, specifically with Facebook at the time. So I knew I could do it. It was a matter of if I could do it as a matter of why I should do it. So I thought, like, OK, I know I can generate a million followers in 30 days. Would it be interesting for me to do it for somebody? That's nobody is not a celebrity or a professional athlete or musician to start from scratch and just show what's possible. So what I did is I called up a literary agent that I was connected with who's represented over five billion dollars worth of book sales.
Brendan Kane: [00:23:38] So very well versed in the market, very successful. And I just asked them, hey, I'm thinking about doing this experiment of generating a million followers in 30 days. And do you think that's a strong enough hook for a book? And I said, would you sign me as a client and represent me and get me a publishing deal? And he said yes. So I knew that was the first indication. So that's why I did it. I did it. A million followers, one hundred countries in 30 days on Facebook first. And then subsequently, I created a system for building a million followers on Instagram. But the whole motivation behind it was I knew that there was a lot of information that for myself and also my partners that I wanted to share with the world to help people get their message out there. But I knew that the only way to do it was to have a strong hook to bring people in, to teach them what they need to know. So one of the principle principles we talk about is there's a big difference between what people want and what people need. And oftentimes you'll fail in sales or scaling their business because they're focusing too much on the need that they know the customer or the client has or needs to have, but the customer or client isn't there.
Brendan Kane: [00:24:49] So, for example, I know that people need to know how to test content. I know they need to understand the psychology of communication to successfully create content, the value and the importance of strategic partnerships, all of these things. But if I would have led with any of those, if the book title was the art of AB testing and social media platforms, it would fall flat. So I start with the want of followers. So it's a million followers and 30 days of how I did it. And I sat and then I say, and it's in the book is like, OK, if you really want followers, then these are all the things you need to know how to master. And that's kind of the progression of how that hook came about. Now, just a quick kind of background of how I accomplished this on Facebook and Instagram for ourselves and our for our clients. Facebook, we developed a system on top of the Facebook advertising platform, not using it as a media buying tool, but using it as a market research tool to identify content, formats, themes, and structures that are highly shareable. So I would just test all of this content.
Brendan Kane: [00:25:54] I would pass like three hundred content variations every night and I would wake up in the morning, look at the results, see what was being shared at the highest velocity, and use those learnings to feel the next set of tests at midnight. And I would just do that over and over again to the tune of testing. Five thousand variations of content in 30 days. Now, when I say five thousand variations, it's not five thousand individual pieces of content. I'll take one piece of content and test it one hundred two hundred different ways because it gives us more chances to win and more chances to learn. So that's how we were able to scale with Facebook. Different the Facebook ad platform just doesn't work the same when it applies to Instagram, it does with Facebook. So we had to create a new testing methodology and process of distributing content on other high traffic and high follower Account. Account.. So we have one partner that has five million followers. So we'll test content variations organically through his account. to see, which drives the highest motivation of somebody clicking back and following our account. or our clients account.. And then once we have that winning variation, then we have a network of 15 other accounts that we can syndicate that content out to.
Tersh Blissett: [00:27:08] Huh, well, that's cool. I love that, and that's all split and that's all broken down in the other book.
Brendan Kane: [00:27:16] Yeah, Hook Point actually has a lot of the testing methodologies in. It is, too. I would say for service-based businesses, Hook Point is the best place to start.
Tersh Blissett: [00:27:26] Yeah, I agree with that. One hundred percent because whenever It's service businesses aren't flashy, they're not, it's not glamorous. And so for me, I've always had a struggle like what is my hook point? Like, how do I get? And then I didn't use those exact questions in terms until I discovered your book. And then I was like, oh yes. That's the question that I've been looking for. You know how to answer that question. So, yeah, that's awesome.
Brendan Kane: [00:27:54] And I just want to say that any service can be sexy, any service can take off online. Like we just worked with a dentist and repositioned her whole thing. Really. There's a great YouTube channel called Clear Tax Value and is a tax account... But he's blowing up. He's at one point two million subscribers and the average viewer rate is like three to five hundred thousand views. There's a doctor called Dr. Mike that has I don't even know what he's at right now, six or seven million subscribers. So we often get that question asked is like, well, can this work? I know you worked with all these big celebrities and media companies, but can this work for me, my small business or. I don't think my industry is sexy. Every industry can be contextualized with a hook point to grab attention.
Tersh Blissett: [00:28:39] Sweet boom might drop. Thank you. Where can people learn more about you, follow you and just learn more about Hook Point and everything? And you'll do.
Brendan Kane: [00:28:50] Yeah, if people have an interest, I would just check out Hook Point.com If they want to connect with me, they can direct message on Instagram @BrendanKane or they can check out my personal website. BrendanJKane.com
Tersh Blissett: [00:29:03] Perfect. Brendan, thank you so much for coming on the show. And thank you. Everybody who's listening to or watching this episode of the Service Business Mastery Podcast. This podcast focused on service business owners, managers, and technicians who are considering becoming business owners themselves. I hope you found value in today's episode. My entire target with this show is to help answer some unasked questions. And a lot of times when we're first starting out, we don't even know to ask about anything like a hook point. But with that being said, I hope you have a wonderful and safe week and until we talk to you next time.
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