Episode 308: 03-19-15
Building a Brand Called You
TURKEL Brands is a full-service, multicultural brand management firm located in Miami, Florida, offering creative, account management, brand strategy, research, production, digital, media planning and placement, public relations and below-the-line marketing services. Bruce has been on the show many times to discuss how to build the brand that is you.
We discuss how to manage your brand now that you have built it.
Philanthropic Celebrities and Smart Money
Morton’s innovative practice operates at the intersection of celebrity and philanthropy, comprising all aspects of high-profile nonprofit engagement – from the initial formation of a tax-exempt organization, to the ongoing oversight, compliance, governance and reporting consistent with legal requirements and best practices.
We discuss some of the inventive ways his clients are philanthropic and how you can donate to their causes.
Why Jim Walks with Lauren Book
Jim will discuss why he will walk with Lauren Book and the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena to help stop child abuse
Episode 308: 03-19-15 (To download, right-click and select “Save Link As”.)
James Fried: Alright, South Florida and beyond. We’ve got a great show for you today. Stock market went down a little, the dollar strengthened again so oil fell also. So it’s been a crazy day in economics, but what we’re going to talk about today is we’re going to talk about your brand, you built it, now how do you curate it, and then in the second half of the… with Bruce Turkel. And then in the second half of the hour we’re going to talk with Andrew Morton, turning to the stars for their philanthropy, we’re going to talk about some of his clients, their philanthropy, how you can contribute, what do they do… It’s going to be awesome! And then at the end of the show I’m going to talk a little about Lauren and Lauren’s kids, because Lauren is walking from Key West to Tallahassee right now to show her support for the people that have been victimized by child abuse. We’re going to talk to Lauren, I mean we’ll talk about Lauren and we’ll talk about why I’m going to join her at the Triple-A arena this Friday at 10:15 to talk with the Miami Heat and Lauren Book to prevent sexual abuse. So we’ll be right back, we’ve got a great show. Stick with us. Dee, it’s all yours![COMMERCIAL BREAK]
James Fried: Alright we are back, we are back with a vengeance. We’ve got my good friend Bruce Turkel on. I want to first of all, thank Bruce for coming up and speaking at the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. I got a lot of great feedback. Bruce, thank you so much.
Bruce Turkel: Thank you.
James Fried: It’s my pleasure. Today we’re going to talk to Bruce about the fact, Bruce comes on, we talk about branding and things like that. First of all, I want to shout out to Lolly, thank you for letting me know that the signal and sound is good here today. That means the gerbil’s running fast. We’re going to talk about curating your brand. We’ve built it, we’ve got it, now what do we do with it and sometimes the individual brand can be bigger than the organization, maybe how do you deal with that too. Welcome to the show. Bruce, how are you doing?
Bruce Turkel: I’m doing great! Thank you, thank you for inviting me.
James Fried: It’s my pleasure. Now Bruce, we’ve talked about your seven steps to building a brand, maybe you want to just gloss over that a little bit. And then I want to talk about what happens after you’ve built your brand cause there’s a lot of people that have made missteps like the bicyclist Lance Armstrong, and then some people have probably lisped their brand and helped rebuild it, people like Lee Iacocca. So Bruce, how does somebody build their brand? And then will talk after that about how to maximize it.
Bruce Turkel: Well, it’s critical to understand what a brand is. People think a brand is a logo, they think a brand is a sign, they think a brand is a trademark. It’s none of those things. A brand, essentially, is your reputation, what people think about you, say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the message that comes before you do and stays after you leave. In the old days, people were checking out a car, they used to slam the door or kicked the tire. I’m never really sure what that has to do with the quality of the car, but that’s what they did. Well today that kicking of the tire, the brand does that for you. The brand announces who you are and why you matter to them.
James Fried: Okay. So somebody spent a lot of time and energy building a brand, curating a brand. There’s two kinds of different directions we can go, I kind of laid it out upfront. What about somebody like Lance Armstrong, builds a brand, has a fabulous reputation and then it suddenly comes crumbling down? Can somebody like that rebuild their brand?
Bruce Turkel: No. Lance Armstrong has cooked his goose. And the reason is not actually because of what he did. The drug part, he probably could have gotten away with that because you would have believed that “They all do it, what are you going to do?” However, Lance Armstrong kept telling us to trust him, to believe him and maybe we even saw the ad. Hey, am I allowed to say ‘ass’ on the radio?
James Fried: You just did.
Bruce Turkel: Okay. So let me know if I can say it again.
James Fried: Dee, you didn’t blank that out, did you?
James Fried: Okay.
Bruce Turkel: So there was a Lance Armstrong ad, black and white ad, where he said ‘People say I’ve been taking drugs. I haven’t been on drugs. The only thing I’m on is this bicycle on my ass 24 hours a day training’. And he made this big deal about it so we all believed him. When it turned out not to be true, he had betrayed us, but worse, he had betrayed his authentic truth. Look what just happened to Brian Williams. Brian Williams lied about what happened in warfare and he’s Gonzo! Now he might come back as an entertainer, he might come back as a comedian. He’s a talented, handsome, well-known guy. He’s not coming back as an anchorman because the authentic truth of an anchorman, I’m talking Walter Cronkite, Diane Sawyer…
James Fried: David Brinkley.
Bruce Turkel: … all those guys, men and women, their authentic truth is truth. At the same time, Hillary Clinton lied about being shot at in warfare, and I’m not talking politics here and I don’t care what side you’re on, but she lied about it. She said she was shot at in Kosovo. It turns out she wasn’t. Did it affect her carrier? No, it did not. Why? Because a politician’s authentic truth is not the truth. We expect politicians to lie! We don’t like it, but we don’t really care that much cause we expect it, so they can deal with it. Brian Williams is toast and he’s toast because he violated his brand.
James Fried: Now so he violated his brand, he can’t recover, Lance Armstrong can’t recover, a politician can recover, that’s good, but…
Bruce Turkel: Tiger Woods can recover.
James Fried: Everything except his swing apparently.
Bruce Turkel: Well that’s his own issue. But as far as brand goes, his brand was not about fidelity or being a loving husband. His brand was about being a killer golfer. And that didn’t change. It has since, but it didn’t change at the time. So when he did what he did, we all said ‘That’s all too bad, okay’, and we moved on because it was not his authentic truth.
James Fried: Okay. So now somebody’s built a brand, they’ve got the brand, the brand is their truth about themselves, we’ll call it their reputation too. How do they go forward and curate that to make sure that missteps are mitigated because I don’t think anybody can be perfect?
Bruce Turkel: Three things. Number one, you have to know what it is. I know that sounds simple, but it’s not simplistic. A lot of people don’t know what it is. If you ask them ‘What’s the authentic truth? What’s the brand message of your store’, they will tell you ‘Oh, we have stuff people want’, or I don’t know. Amazingly enough, most people in business do not know what their brand message is. So number one, you got to know what it is.
James Fried: Yeah. And the way you find that out is to ask, right?
Bruce Turkel: And to create it. And to curate it, to use your words. Number two, you got to make sure that everybody in your operation knows what it is, because if you know but your employees, your partners, your associates they don’t know what it is, then they don’t know how to communicate the right thing. And then number three: Never ever violate it. Never ever violate it. You know your core value, you know your authentic truth, you know why you matter and what you stand for and you live up to it.
James Fried: Sorry Bruce. I’m just taking notes. I’m just taking notes, man.
Bruce Turkel: Then I’ll just keep blabbing.
James Fried: Keep blabbing. Wait. So know who you are, what your brand is and make that your message and what you really have to find is, what was the thing you said about the truth? What’s the term you used?
Bruce Turkel: Your authentic truth.
James Fried: There you go, authentic truth.
Bruce Turkel: Let’s look at brands everybody recognizes. Let’s look at automobiles. Porsche’s brand is performance. Audi’s brand is design. Mercedes’ brand is status and quality. Ferrari’s brand is picking up girls at night clubs. Actually no, no. I’m just trying to be funny. It’s not their brand. Lamborghini’s brand is picking up girls at night clubs.
James Fried: There you go.
Bruce Turkel: Toyota’s brand is durability. So a couple of years ago, Ferrari’s the 4R8 costs, I think only $300,000, right, started catching on fire. They would spontaneously combust because it turned out some adhesive in the fender would drip on the manifold, get hot, boom, they’d go up in flames. And Ferrari said ‘Anyone that catches on fire, we will replace it, no questions asked’. Why? Because their brand is about uncompromising performance to guys who can spend upwards of half a million dollars on a car. Now Toyota, at the same time, they had that problem with the unintended acceleration. But they kept saying ‘No, it’s not us. No, it’s a problem with the mats’. They did not accept their authentic truth and the estimates are that they lost a billion dollars in brand equity. Why? Because if a Toyota is not fast, you don’t care. If a Toyota is not sexy, you don’t care. If a Toyota doesn’t start, doesn’t run, isn’t safe, you care. Because what’s Toyota’s brand truth? Durability. They’re in appliance. We don’t expect them to be the fastest car, we don’t expect them to be the cheapest car. But we do expect them to start every time and do what we expect form them. And so they violated their authentic truth.
James Fried: Wow. You’re not kidding. My authentic truth within the context of our business is that we’re creative, hard-driven and creative to your transaction and we bring capital to the table. So I need to make sure that I have the rest of my team onboard and on message, and we need to continue to say that message.
Bruce Turkel: No. Actually if you don’t mind, I’m going to disagree with you. Those…
James Fried: I don’t mind. I’m thrilled when you do it. I like doing that.
Bruce Turkel: Those are the things you do, those are the things you sell, those are the things you trade for money. The ability to generate capital, the ability to make a deal make sense. And that’s your craft. Those are what we call RTBs, ‘reasons to believe’.
James Fried: Okay.
Bruce Turkel: That is not your brand. Your brand is based around dependability, creativity, honesty, I don’t know, I’m putting these things out there. Your brand is probably based around the fact that I am better at what I do because I utilize your services, right?
James Fried: Correct.
Bruce Turkel: So I’m a better me because I do business with you. Remember, the first rule of branding is all about them. Your brand is not about you. It’s about what your customer or consumer gets from the relationship. Let me, can I tell you a story?
James Fried: Yeah. And I got to tell you, we’ve only got a couple of minutes. Should we take, can we take an early break Dee, and then come back? Okay. We’re going to take an early break. Stick with us. Bruce is going to tell us a story. It’s going to be awesome. I’m done taking notes cause I got too many. I’m just going to listen to my replay. Dee, it’s all yours. Back after this![COMMERCIAL BREAK]
James Fried: Alright! We are back. We are with branding expert Bruce Turkel. We talked about how you build your brand. We’re talking about curating your brand and Bruce says this story he wants to relate. So Bruce, you’re up.
Bruce Turkel: Well I want to tell you a story about my buddy Bob Burkowitz. You know Bob, he runs MultiVision, that great video production company here in town?
James Fried: Sure.
Bruce Turkel: So a lot of years ago, Bob is on an airplane. Bob always flew first class because he says he found business leads flying first class. Me, I never meet anyone. Bob always did. So he’s flying first class and he says he starts chatting to the guy next to him, turns out to be Tom Monaghan. Tom Monaghan owns Domino’s. My guess is Tom Monaghan has his own planes now, but this was a number of years ago. And Bob says ‘Oh, my goodness! Domino’s! I love Domino’s! You make my favorite pizza’. Tom Monaghan says ‘No, we don’t’. Bob says ‘Yeah, you do. I love Domino’s’. Tom Monaghan says ‘No. We don’t! There’s a better pizza. There’s a little Italian place up the street or a coal fired place. There somewhere you love’. In Bob’s case it probably is his favorite pizza, I have to say. But he says ‘No, we don’t have the best because I’m not in the pizza business’. Bob says ‘What are you talking about you’re not in the pizza business’. Tom Monaghan says ‘I’m not in the pizza business. Pizza is what I exchange for money’. So Bob says ‘What business are you in? You’re in the delivery business’. Tom says ‘Well not really. That’s not the business I’m in’. Bob says ‘Well what business are you in’, Tom Monaghan says, ‘I am in the ‘I invited the boys over to play cards, I didn’t get any food and my wife is pissed’ business. I’m in the ‘it’s 6:30, I’m hungry, I didn’t have time to cook dinner’ business. I’m in the ‘we had a birthday party and my idiot cousin brought eighteen people I wasn’t expecting and I don’t have enough food’ business’. Tom Monaghan said ‘That’s why our tagline is 30 minutes or it’s free because in more than 30 minutes you can do something else. You can go to a different pizza place, you can cook something, you can get burgers or some Chinese food’. He says ‘But in under 30 minutes you cannot solve your food problem any other way but us. That’s the business I’m in’. So that’s his authentic truth. That’s why they offer it to you for free if they ever did not deliver within 30 minutes.
James Fried: So what he’s selling then is he’s selling dependable convenience.
Bruce Turkel: No. It’s even better.
James Fried: Oh, wait! Wait! He’s solving somebody’s problem!
Bruce Turkel: There you go! Bam! He’s solving your problem.
James Fried: Yes! I got it!
Bruce Turkel: Your wife is mad at you, your husband is mad at you, your boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father, your kids are screaming. What are you going to do? Call Domino’s. He’s solving your problem.
James Fried: So it’s all about the customer.
Bruce Turkel: Exactly right. In fact, you can see it, it’s a textbook case. That’s why Papa John’s, when they made their brand they said ‘Better ingredients, better pizza’, because they realize that Domino’s pizza didn’t have to be great. What had to be great was the solving of the problem. That’s the authentic truth. That’s what you never violate. That’s where the business is. That’s where the profits are.
James Fried: Well Bruce, all I think we’re really all about is profits and I think that you’re right. If people identify a problem, then they can solve it. The people will beat a path to their door to have their problem solved.
Bruce Turkel: That’s right. They used to say it’s about a mouse trap, but how many of us have mouse problems? But we have other problems and the person who solves it is the person whose product we’ll buy. However, you have to look at the solving. It’s not always the practical solving. Often it’s the emotional solving. You can solve a problem in lots of different ways, but what’s the way that makes me feel good?
James Fried: What makes you feel good is usually the best solution. And the best solution is never easy to figure out. Once you do and you can meet the needs, then I think it’s something really good. For instance, in business I’ve noticed a market niche that I believe has been underserved. I’ve been building for the past five years relationships to do business there. Only in the last couple of weeks have those relationships paid off. And so I found that if I was consistent and I provided good service and I was easy to check out, the people could default to me and be my client. It makes them feel comfortable when they go online and see that the entire first two pages of Google is James Fried.
Bruce Turkel: It’s called ‘social proof’. The social media proves that. It’s like slamming the door and kicking that tire. It tells the consumer they can trust and count on you because your true to your authentic self.
James Fried: Yeah. In fact, if they did a survey of the social media, they’ll see that I’m consistently who I am. Somebody who’s thoughtful, caring, does good business and both in the philanthropic and commercial real estate world.
Bruce Turkel: I’m getting tears on my microphone, Jim.
James Fried: Oh, my goodness.
Bruce Turkel: I’m welling up.
James Fried: Is it too deep? Is it too deep here? We’ll have to peal that back then. I don’t want to be too deep today. So Bruce, somebody’s curating their brand. Is there something they should focus on, like your seven steps that you had for creating the brand? Is there a follow-up group of ideas, your 1, 2, 3, where you talked about knowing who your brand messenger is, is the boss, your employees have to work for the brand and then never violate your core values? I guess it’s hard not to violate your core values sometimes.
Bruce Turkel: Well that’s what makes them core values, right? It’s easy to live with stuff when it’s easy. The trick is to be able to demonstrate when things are tough. I spoke last week, two weeks ago, at a conference for a company that manufactures software for what used to be called complaint departments. Now they’re called customer service departments, but they used to be called complaint departments. And it dawned on me that the best time to make a loyal customer is when they’re mad. Because that’s when you prove you don’t violate your core values. That’s when you prove that you care about the customer because it’s an emotional time. And if you can demonstrate in that emotional time that you are true to your word, your company will do what it takes, your company will make them happy, that’s when you have an opportunity to really build customer loyalty.
James Fried: Well I can totally agree with that because right then you’re solving somebody’s problem and as you said proving who you are. And I have a thing that I do when I have a good customer service experience at the end, I always thank them and say that I hoped that our call was monitored for customer insurance purposes or whatever they say. And the people always really get a kick out of it. It’s the best way to say thank you to somebody who’s taken your BS for 15 or 20 minutes.
Bruce Turkel: The other thing to do is to ask the name of their supervisor and send the supervisor a note telling them how great they are.
James Fried: Oh. I always ask the person their name even though they don’t sometimes necessarily do it because I want to say I’m having a conversation with a person, not somebody on the other end of the phone in a call center. Sometimes when they start solving my problem, but it takes a while I say ‘Go get a diet Coke. I’ll hold’.
Bruce Turkel: Yeah, showing that you’re empathetic, you realize that your problem is not the worst thing in the world. And by the way, them helping you can be better. I’ll tell you I used that when I go to airports. I try to get in line and I wait until I see someone berating the poor person behind the counter, then I walk up after them and say ‘Boy, what a jerk. You really have to deal with these idiots? Don’t they know you have no control over when the plain takes off?’. And then I listen to 5 minutes of them ranting, ‘I know! Just yesterday someone did this and someone did that’, and then a lot of the times they slide me an upgrade after that. All I did was listen. All I did was empathize. I made it all about them, not all about me like the person before me.
James Fried: Wow! What a great tip! While we’re talking about airports and airlines, you just wrote a blog about luggage, which I really thought was terrific when you emphasize the ‘lug’ in ‘luggage’. There’s apparently this new stuff coming up. What’s that all about, Bruce?
Bruce Turkel: Well, companies want to take advantage of technology and everybody wants a cell technology, and I’m a total tech-geek, I like every bit of technology, I want everything Apple makes. But the new luggage they’re creating now has all kinds of technological things built in. They have scales built in, they have GPS tracking built in, they have locks you control with your smartphone, all this kind of stuff, which sound fun and it sounds sexy. But here’s the key in my mind, the best way to travel is light. The less weight, the happier you are. I believe there’s only two kinds of luggage, carry-on and lost. And the way you don’t lose it is by keeping it with you at all times. So I take as little as possible, I want it to be as light as possible, and I don’t want all that stuff.
James Fried: Wow! That’s great for packing, but let’s get back to building our brand for a minute. We’ve only got a couple of minutes left, maybe some people turned in early. I think it would be important to talk about the three points that you mentioned about making sure that once you have the brand to make sure that you consistently deliver it, how you consistently deliver and what you do to make sure that your team’s onboard as well. I think you started with first that the firm should know their own authentic truth, I guess that’s who they are.
Bruce Turkel: Yeah. But I guarantee you most don’t. Walk around your office, ask people ‘Hey, what do we stand for’. And you tell me how many of the people in your office can sing the same tune. I don’t mean ‘use the same words’, they can say it in their own words. But if they go ‘Oh, you know, like we do good work and we have good prices and customer service and I don’t know’. That’s what you’re going to hear. They’re not going to say ‘Bang! Bang! Bang’.
James Fried: Well, they don’t even think about it usually. They’re too busy trying to make a phone call.
Bruce Turkel: It’s not their job to think about it. It’s their job to be informed about it and then figure out how that works with who they are.
James Fried: Well Bruce, we’ve had a great thing here today talking about building your brand, maintaining your brand. If people want to find out about you, get on your blog list, learn more about what you’re saying every day, cause I get that blog, it’s terrific. How do they find you? How do they sign up for that blog?
Bruce Turkel: Very easy. If they want to sign up for the blog, just go to my name, bruceturkel.com. You go to my website, it says ‘blog’ on the top, click on it and it says ‘Sign up’ and you can put your name in. Or you can send me your address and in that case I will actually send you the blog. And to do that, my email address is my first initial, last name firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Fried: Bruce, I want to thank you so much for joining us today. It’s always great to have your energy and ideas on our show. I look forward to having you back again real soon. And again, thanks so much for talking today about building your brand and maintaining it.
Bruce Turkel: It’s always a treat. I love being here, your energy is just infectious. Thank you.
James Fried: You’re the best! It’s yours, Dee![COMMERCIAL BREAK]
James Fried: Alright, we are back. We’ve got one of my favorite, well shoot! It’s favorite guest day! Between you and Bruce Turkel, we’ve got Andrew Morton! Andrew Morton heads up the philanthropy department for Handler Thayer. They’re the best No.1 real estate firm for family offices and all kinds other good stuff. But we got Andrew here on today to talk a little bit about some of the Celebrity Philanthropy that he’s been working on. Andrew, who’s the guy next to you in the photo? He looks a little bit bigger than the president.
Andrew Morton: Too bad this is radio. Yeah, I had a great visit on Tuesday. We had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came to DC and really was just a very good example of what celebrity philanthropy is all about. He was, some people know Kareem was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and it’s been a real passionate advocate for cancer treatment and cancer funding, was here for a standup cancer event on Capitol Hill to advocate for an increase in the research budget for the National Institute of Health.
James Fried: Wow. So standup to cancer. That’s a terrific group. What else has Kareem been involved with?
Andrew Morton: It’s funny. If somebody asked him on Tuesday whether he considered himself a basketball player, an author or a scholar, and he actually said he’s first and foremost a scholar and you just have to listen to him talk to understand how true that is. His passion is for stem education, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and he has been on a mission to increase stem experiences particularly for underprivileged communities in the inner cities. He’s got an incredible program that he’s funding in Los Angeles called, it’s been renamed ‘Camp Skyhook’. Camp Skyhook was an existing program for the Los Angeles Unified School District that for a lack of funding was unable to provide many experiences for the kids. It’s actually an outdoor education facility in the Los Angeles National Forest about 45 minutes from LA. You feel like you’re half a world from LA. It literally feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. And it provides for a 5-day outdoor education experience for inner city kids to go out into the woods to measure plants and take water samples, and be scientists and naturalists for a week. Through the funds that Kareem has been able to generate with Skyhook Foundation, he’s providing the resources to sort of bolster the LA Unified School District budget and reopen the program and make sure that there are kids that are coming week after week instead of just over the summer.
James Fried: Well I’ll make sure by the way, that I post the picture on our Facebook and website as soon as we get this interview down and get it tapped. We’ll make sure that we use the photo of you and Kareem maybe as the icon for that interview. This is awesome.
Andrew Morton: Find a picture of Kareem make Camp Skyhook. People only just see me looking like I’m 4.5 feet tall.
James Fried: Camp Skyhook. I’m going to do that. Maybe you can send me one of the pictures and we can use that. Who else do you do business with? We talked a little basketball. Do you do any other sports?
Andrew Morton: Yeah. I’ve been working with coach Ditka on his organization is called ‘Gridiron Greats’, a really incredible group that has for years and years… as most folks now may have heard this story about some of the long-term effects of tackle football. And I don’t mind saying that I don’t believe that the league is doing a whole heck of a lot for the retired players, the guys that were traveling in a greyhound bus and sleeping floor to a room at the Motel 6, we’re the backbone where the NFL is today. And unfortunately, these guys, before free agency, before the salaries got to where they were, many of these guys are in dire need of medical services, in dire need of financial assistance. So coach established a non-profit that raises money to provide emergency, financial and healthcare opportunities for retired players and their families. Strictly need-based, there’s an application process and for anybody who qualifies, the organization doesn’t provide cash resources directly to the player. They would provide the resources to third parties, whether it’s a hospital, a doctor, a landlord, a utility company, a grocery store… Any sort of opportunity to provide relief to these retired players who are in dire straits and need that help, I hope which is the league is not providing right now.
James Fried: Oh, I think the league just wants them to rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. What else? We talked some athletes. How about the celebrity world for our folks out there that like to talk about, I guess, movie stars and stuff like that?
Andrew Morton: The first Domino client as I call her, the one that I randomly crossed paths with about 12 years ago and wound up in this goofy practice, this is an actress, Julia Ormond, who is, back when I met her a dozen years ago, just struck me as one of the most articulate, intelligent individuals that I ever met. Not celebrity, she was probably the first so-called celebrity that I ever had a conversation with. Julia, who at the time was doing some work in the area of refugee relief, went on to really focus her efforts on human trafficking and slavery. She was the UN Goodwill Ambassador to combat trafficking and slavery, formed a non-profit called ‘Asset’, the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking. I did not come up with that on my own, I swear. DC is the home of the forced acronym. I didn’t come up with that, she did. And she’s again, sort of what exactly celebrity philanthropy does best and that’s being an advocate, drawing attention to a cause that perhaps isn’t getting the kind of attention that it should get. She’s testified on Congress, she’s testified before the UN Security Council. She’s done some tremendous work in terms of trying to raise awareness about the face of human trafficking and slavery. Did not go away in 1865. It’s still around even in this country. And she’s just really been amazing at highlighting the issue. She was singular responsible for developing a law in California that now requires major corporations to disclose their policies on combating trafficking and slavery and the raw material supply chain. So again, exactly what celebrities do best is bring attention to an issue and put it on the radar screen of government agencies, of politicians and use what they bring to the table in terms of a spotlight to get something done at a really sustenance level.
James Fried: Now, we talked about what they do. What is it that you do for them?
Andrew Morton: That’s a good question. My job’s a lot easier. I am legal counsel. My job is really just to make sure that as they’re out there, doing this work, as their forming non-profits and raising money, collecting contributions, sending tax receipts, that sort of thing, that it’s all done to the highest standard of best practices and all legal requirements. Unfortunately, we live in a world where folks think of non-profits as just this touchy-feely kumbaya kind of thing and they don’t realize that non-profits are corporations, and non-profits are every bit of business as ExxonMobil, as Microsoft. And they have a tremendous amount of compliance responsibility. My job is simply an easy part. I just have to make sure that as they’re out there doing the work, as they’re out there raising attention, as they’re putting folks in the position to move the needle on these causes, that it’s all done to the highest standards of non-profits.
James Fried: Andrew, we only have a couple of minutes left and I want to make sure your associate back at the office emails me the email addresses or the websites and we can put those on our web for the charities and philanthropies that we talked about. Maybe you can even give me a couple of more. We only have a couple of minutes left and I want to get a little bit more deep into the kinds of things that make you a different type of person. What are you doing this summer?
Andrew Morton: It’s not too open-ended of a question. You’re leaning towards the… You like those endurance racing stuff, don’t you?
James Fried: That’s what I want to talk about. I don’t want to hear about how you’re going to eat croissants in France. I want to talk about the cycling.
Andrew Morton: No, I’m going to be part of a team riding my bike from Oceanside, California to Indianapolis, Maryland. At least that’s the plan, 3020 miles in about a week. So we’ll see how that works out. I know you got a cycling quote for the next guest, so hopefully that’ll beat up for you nicely.
James Fried: You’re absolutely the best. I want to thank Andrew Morton today coming on and talking about philanthropy. Our next segment is going to be about Lauren Book and her walk. Andrew, thanks so much for coming on and if you want to stay on a little bit, we could talk about what you do for some of your celebrity clients to help them throw events. You got a couple of more minutes?
Andrew Morton: Always.
James Fried: Alright. Stick with us. We’ll be right back after this break with more Andrew Morton and then we’ll talk a little bit about Lauren Book with some good celebrity discussions about their philanthropies. Good people doing good, profile today in the second half of Fried on Business. Dee, it’s yours![COMMERCIAL BREAK]
James Fried: Alright, we’re back with Fried on Business and we have Andrew Morton philanthropy attorney to the stars of sports and the silver screen. And welcome back.
Andrew Morton: Thanks, Jim.
James Fried: Now we’re going to talk a little bit in this segment about Lauren’s kids, Lauren’s walk. And maybe I should lay the foundation for what we’re going to talk about next, which is the events that the philanthropist athletes show and how they support each other at the events. But first I want to talk about what’s happening tomorrow at 12 o’clock, actually 10:15 to 12:15 over at the Miami Arena. Lauren Book will be walking, I’ll be walking, my wife will be walking. It is the Heat players if they’re in town, and certainly the back office, the front office will be walking. We met Coach Spoelstra, we’ve met all these different Heat related people. And why do they come out? Because they come out to support Lauren. Why do they support Lauren? Because Lauren advocates child abuse. 95%… Oh, my God! Did I just say that?
Andrew Morton: I was going to let you correct yourself on that one.
James Fried: Oh, God! Lauren advocates AGAINST child abuse. So look for people who are grooming the kids in your area, if somebody’s paying some kid special attention, there’s probably something going on behind the scenes. Check it out. It’s your duty as a citizen, and it’s Florida law to report it. So join Lauren and myself and the Miami Heat around 10:15 to 12:15 tomorrow at the triple-A. Now, let’s talk about some of the events that you’ve been throwing, Andrew. What are some good events that the philanthropists you work with throw and do they support each other at the events?
Andrew Morton: They’re great. Probably the biggest privilege of my job is I get to work with some folks who just care deeply about these causes. We talked a little bit when I was on last time, about how frustrating it is sometimes to hear folks say that these people are only doing it to make themselves look good, they’re only doing it cause they have to. That’s not, candidly, been my experience. The folks that go into the philanthropy sector are doing it knowing that it takes work and it’s an added burden, it’s an added… I shouldn’t say burden. It’s something extra in their schedule, and these are not people who tend to have a whole lot of time. So when you have that self-selection of the folks who do care deeply about these causes, they understand the power of leveraging that celebrity into philanthropy. They know how much it means to them when other celebrities attend their events and of course, they will pay it forward and do the same thing. There’s a bit of a circuit for the more active philanthropists who will attend each other’s events, whether it’s a golf tournament or a gala, and seeing an annual event or something along those lines. They’re deeply supportive of each other, especially when they have similar causes. For example, on Tuesday the event that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attended on Capitol Hill was also attended by Pierce Brosnan and Marsha Cross. So if one celebrity can bring a spotlight to a cause, that just starts to go up exponentially when you multiply that by a number of celebrities. You bring them together and the power just tends to increase because it’s drawing all those different demographics, the folks who follow each one of them. It can really grow, either the attendance of event or the number of people who will read a new story or watch a TV, a new segment, that sort of thing.
James Fried: What’s your favorite event that you’ve attended? You don’t have to out the celebrity unless you want to, but what’s the favorite charity event that you attended? Cause I know you go to a bunch of them with all these super-duper people.
Andrew Morton: The events tend to… What I always advocate or what I recommend that my clients do is make it easy on themselves and attend events or host events they’re going to be anyway. So, there tends to be a number of celebrity-related causes, events around. For example, the Super Bowl, the SP Awards, the Oscars… The different events where folks are going to be anyway. The Super Bowl week is one night after another of these charity events that because you have so many people who were there anyway. It’s very difficult to get an event on somebody’s schedule if they’re not planning to travel. If you got to put somebody on a plane, fly them across the country, put them up in a hotel to attend an event for a few hours and fly them back, that’s very different than saying ‘Okay. Look. You’re going to be at the Super Bowl anyway, so could you drop by and walk the red carpet at that event’. I actually was lucky enough and I should say was not without its stress, but this past Super Bowl week had five clients who hosted a total of nine events that raised millions of dollars. I mean one event alone brought in over a million dollars.
James Fried: Wow. I know who I want to go to the Super Bowl with next year.
Andrew Morton: Well not the Super Bowl. The trick is you go in on Wednesday and you book a flight out on Saturday morning. You are no part of being at the game.
James Fried: Why? What happens? Because it’s an absolute corporate zoo?
Andrew Morton: It’s a football game. Yeah, exactly. There are better things to do with $7.000 or $8.000 than watch a football game. Like maybe give it to charity and watch the game on TV.
James Fried: Oh! High five to you Andrew!
Andrew Morton: That’d be my suggestion. There you go.
James Fried: Now we’re talking about what Bruce talked about, being true to your authentic brand. What do you think your brand is?
Andrew Morton: Well what I hope it is is just doing philanthropy the right way. It’s not enough in this world to just be well-intentioned when it comes to non-profit oversight and non-profit management. You can have all the best intentions possible, but there are laws to follow. There are best practices to follow. Despite your very lofty motives, if you don’t do it the right way, not only aren’t you going to have much of an impact, but it actually harms the whole so-called celebrity philanthropy model because then folks in the public tend to think that none of these celebrities know what they’re doing, that none of the causes related to high-profile individuals are really well managed or overseen properly. So what I would hope my brand is is just if you’re going to work with me, than you’re going to do it right. It’s going to be transparent, it’s going to be in line with every law, every rig, all the best practices. If any of my clients happened to draw the short straw and get a random on it, I will be more than happy to see the IRS agent at the conference table, go get him breakfast and give him the books and tell him to knock himself out. Because that’s the way these organizations have to be run. They’re held not only to the same standards as other non-profits, but they’re held the higher standards because more people are looking. It’s easier these days to be able to pull up the tax return for non-profit or to be able to look into these publicly disclosed documents. It may not be the case that a soup kitchen in Pascagoula is having watchdog groups look into their tax returns, but I promise you, people are looking at coach Ditka, people are looking at Kareem, people are looking at Julia. And they want to make sure that these aren’t sham organizations, that they are true non-profits and they are following the law while they’re doing tis good work.
James Fried: Well, we’ve got to go. But I will tell you this. I really appreciate you looking at… one of the star athletes that I worked with sent me a charity event and I’m so thrilled you’re going to take a look at it. Andrew Morton, philanthropy attorney to gosh, really important people doing great things. High five for the great stuff you do every day, Andrew!
Andrew Morton: Always good talking to you. I’ll talk to you soon, Jim.
James Fried: You got it. Thanks so much! I want to thank Handler Thayer for bringing us Andrew Morton. I want to thank Bruce Turkel. I want to thank the South Florida Business and Wealth Magazine, the CCIMs, Terek Maddox, Warren Henry Automotive, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Dolphins, Social Media 305, the Aztec Group, Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, UHealth and of course I want to thank you because it’s Bruce Turkel says ‘every single time it’s all about you’! So join our community, gives feedback, comments, tell us who you want to hear from, tweet me @JimFried, tweet at the show @FriedonBusiness. Hit me on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, website. Gosh, thank you so much! The hits keep growing! Remember, this isn’t a rehearsal, this is your life. The person that wants to do something, finds a way. The other finds an excuse. Now go out there and make it happen!