Thumbnail: Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy

Jason Barnard is “The Brand SERP Guy”. He is a digital marketer, folk-punk musician, and was a cartoon blue dog.

Google is your new business card What appears when someone googles your brand name (or personal name) is fundamentally important to you and your business. Make it accurate, positive, and convincing.

Presenting Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) as a Digital Marketing Consultant, Musician, and Voice Actor

[00:00:00] Mark Stinson: Hello again, everyone. It’s Mark Stinson here, and we’re unlocking your world of creativity. And as I say that, we have promised you interviews with experts from all over the world in publishing and film and animation and music. And so far, we have taken this virtual global tour. We’ve been to Cambodia, Oslo, Norway, Milan, Italy, Barbados, all sorts of cities around the US, LA, New York, Portland, and Columbus.

[00:00:28] Mark Stinson: And today, we’re punching our ticket in Paris, France. And our guest is just the kind of eclectic, creative talent that we hope to bring on. Jason Barnard, he’s a digital marketing consultant and musician. He’s even voiced and animated a blue dog in a cartoon series. And I can’t wait to talk about that. So my guest, Jason Barnard from Paris.

[00:00:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you for inviting me. I’m very pleased. Paris sounds terribly romantic and incredibly, I think Paris is such a cool place, and it sounds so cool. Reality as with all these things is not quite as good as one might have.

[00:01:12] Mark Stinson: There you go.

[00:01:16] Mark Stinson: We’ve created a special offer just for listeners of the podcast. You can get our book, A World of Creativity. Paperback is at a special price of 5.98 and the Kindle version is only 99 cents. Go to my website, The book is featured on the homepage. You can click it and go to Amazon, and enjoy the book.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Being Born in Leeds, Moving to Liverpool, and Then Moving Again to Paris

[00:01:41] Mark Stinson: My guest, Jason Barnard. Well, I can tell by your French accent that this is your adopted home. 

[00:01:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I moved here 32 years ago. I’ve been away from the UK. I’m actually English by birth, born in the north of England in Leeds. I was brought up in a tiny village and went to school in a tiny town, which was interesting, and then moved to Liverpool, where my life just exploded into life. It was like black and white to colour. And then moved to Paris, where my life exploded into life again.

[00:02:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Interestingly enough, looking back and I loved Liverpool. I really, really loved Liverpool. People are absolutely delightful and warm and loving and welcoming. And I played the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played, which was rather cool, moved to Paris. And because I moved away from what I’d grown up with, one day I woke up and I thought I can be whoever I want. And that was the moment of revelation for me. It was the moment I went, ooh, this is going to be fun.

[00:02:40] Mark Stinson: Yeah. Yeah. A complete restart button.

[00:02:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And it’s going, so what do I want to do? And I’ll put a little bit of a damper on it. In Paris, if you live here for a year, you’ll get really depressed. You don’t meet people. You don’t make friends. You feel alone. It’s a real struggle. It’s a big city. It’s difficult. People aren’t particularly friendly right off the bat. And after a year, you make your friends, and then it’s absolutely wonderful. And I’m so glad I stuck it out.

Playing in a Band Called Stanley the Counting Horse and Having a Deep Voice With a Small Body

[00:03:07] Mark Stinson: That’s great. Push through.

[00:03:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Pushing through that kind of difficult spot, sometimes it can be a waste of time because it doesn’t work out, and sometimes you go, wow, I’m glad I did that. And you said I was in a band. I played music. I played music in Liverpool. I was a singer in a band called Stanley the Counting Horse, blues band. And I was the thinnest, thinnest, actually quite small. I grew quite a lot between 18 and 19 for some reason. I don’t why, late puberty probably.

[00:03:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And my voice dropped incredibly. And I’ve got this big voice for singing like this and I had it. And I was literally two inches smaller and as thin as you can imagine. And people would just look and they go, where is that voice coming from? And they wouldn’t believe it was me because it was this enormous big voice. And the drummer in that band was Ben Gunn, who’s the guitarist who wrote the riff for Alice in The Sisters of Mercy.

[00:04:04] Mark Stinson: Love it. Is it the six degrees of separation that we love?

[00:04:08] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. The guy called Ben Gunn, he played the drum. He didn’t play it for very long, but he was in Stanley the Counting Horse in Liverpool. I actually went onto a forum where they were saying what happened to Ben Gunn, because he disappeared because he hated the fame, as it turns out, in The Sisters of Mercy, who became very famous, and left and went to Liverpool University and joined our band. So I could actually tell he ended up playing blues as a really, really second rate drummer in a really awful second rate blues band, but we played the Cavern Club. 

[00:04:37] Mark Stinson: Love it. Well, listeners, I think you already know you should be buckled up by now because this is going to be a rollercoaster of an interview with stories coming at you from all angles. And as I say, digital marketing consultant, Jason, we want to get into Brand SERPs. So we’ll get into that. We’ll talk about your band, a punk folk band. And I can’t wait to talk about voiceovers and animated cartoons.

Writing an Article About Content Strategy and How to Analyse Them and Having Trouble With the Writing Process

[00:05:04] Mark Stinson: But before we do all that, we like to start our show with the lightning round. Instead of waiting at the end for this rapid fire question, I want to just jump right in. So, it’s at the end of your day in Paris now, but was there a creative project literally on your desk, on your desktop that you said required your full creative attention today? 

[00:05:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Today, it was writing an article, writing an article to explain to people. Digital marketing sounds really boring, but there’s a lot of creativity that goes into it. And I was talking about content strategies and how to analyse a content strategy and understand whether or not you’re actually reaching your audience with something that resonates with them.

[00:05:44] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s looking through a Brand SERP, which is the search engine results page for search query on your exact match brand name. So, as a person, it would be Jason Barnard. As a company, my company’s called Kalicube. It’s what appears there. And what Google shows is what’s most relevant and valuable to your audience. So it’s a really easy way to see whether you’re actually successful with your content. And I was trying to explain that in an enjoyable way.

[00:06:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I think the writing process is something I’ve had a lot of trouble with. I’m 54 years old now, and I wrote my first article three years ago, four years ago. And it turns out because my father and his wife are both writers, I was scared of the quality that I would be producing. And I had creative block, if you can call it that, just about writing up until I was 50. And now, honestly, I was talking to a friend and I still suffer a little bit that idea that my parents will judge the quality of my writing, even though they never read what I write.

Jason’s Framework or Creative Process in Starting to Write an Article 

[00:06:47] Mark Stinson: That is how the psyche works, isn’t it? Just thinking, as you say that, sometimes we stare at the blank screen or the blank page and say, how do I get started? Do you have a framework or a creative process that you say, okay, I need to write an article and here’s how I’m going to start?

[00:07:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Kind of. I just write any old stuff. I start off and I say, this is what I need to write about, or I was writing a video script. I do a lot of video. And some of them I improvise and some of them I write and then read off the teleprompter. Is it called the teleprompter?

[00:07:22] Mark Stinson: Sure.

[00:07:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, okay, jolly good. And I enjoy both. I actually prefer adlibing just in the sense that I feel more at ease.I let it flow and it’s fun. But I think when you read off a teleprompter, you get to the point much more concisely and precisely. And it’s much more understandable because you’ve actually thought through. And you get rid of all the guff. I’ve just spoken for a minute and probably half of it was useless, uninteresting guff.

Comparing Writing and Doing Videos With Playing a Gig and Playing on a Record

[00:07:50] Mark Stinson: That’s how it goes. But sometimes when you’re too scripted, when you’re reading off your notes, it can be a little stiff and impersonal too. It’s like you’re reading a book.

[00:08:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. It’s interesting. I find I get it’s more stiff and I get more nervous. And I was talking to the friend, who was actually the singer from the band we talked about earlier on, who’s still a very good friend of mine. And he was saying, between writing and doing videos, for example, I feel more that he’s doing videos. He was saying, writing seems to be more absolute, concrete, set in stone. And it’s a bit like the difference between playing a gig and playing on a record.

[00:08:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): When you’re playing on a record, you actually suddenly get nervous about something you know how to do and you’ve been doing thousands of times in gigs, because you have this idea in your head and your head just goes, oh, this is set in stone. And it panics. And you go, actually, it should be the other way around. Because when you’re doing a record, you can keep playing until you get it right. In a gig, you get it wrong.

[00:08:49] Mark Stinson: The live note is it. Yeah.

[00:08:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. But coming back to your question, yes, what I do is just start to write and start to create something because it’s much easier saying that’s rubbish and making it better. So, when somebody sends me something, if somebody I’m working with and they send me something, my first thing is before I start talking, before I start saying what’s wrong with it, I do appreciate that actually writing the first chunk or doing the first chunk or creating that first, making that first step is by far the hardest part. And it’s really easy once somebody’s done that to say that’s rubbish, we can do better.

To Overcome Writer’s Block, Where Does Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Get His Source of Refueling? 

[00:09:32] Mark Stinson: And when it’s time to get over that creative block or that writer’s block, wherever you find yourself, is there a source of re-energising or reigniting? Where do you go to get that refueling?

[00:09:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Actually, it’s really, really boring. I just force myself. And what I find is when I force myself, it’s a barrier. And once you get through it, I suddenly go, oh, what about that, what about that, oh, blah, blah, blah. And my natural enthusiasm and positive attitude comes to the fore. It really is forcing yourself through that barrier. It’s like coming to Paris. Force yourself through that sticky period, and it will flow, if it’s going to flow, because some things just don’t. Some things are not going to live. Some things are not going to flourish. And maybe part of the art as well is to know when you’re going down the wrong path.

More About Brand SERPs, Why It Matters Right Now, and What Is Jason Currently Working on With It

[00:10:20] Mark Stinson: Very good. All right, Jason. Well, let’s get back to the digital marketing. And you teased us a little bit with what a Brand SERP is, but why don’t you back up and define it again for us and tell us why it matters right now and what you’re working on with it. 

[00:10:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, yeah, no. I can actually turn this around and say I’m being creative here. Because within the digital marketing space, nobody else is looking at this. I’m the only one. I call myself The Brand SERP Guy, because I’m trying to brand myself with that.

[00:10:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But what was interesting is I started talking about it five years ago and nobody would listen. People in the industry were just saying, but that’s obvious. It’s easy. I rank number one. When you search my brand name or my personal name, I rank number one. It’s easy. There’s no problem. And I was saying, but there’s lots more to it than that. It’s more difficult and more intricate. And there’s more to think about, and there’s more information than you realise.

[00:11:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And what’s been very interesting is the more I look at it, the more interesting it has become. But at first sight, it just seems so boring. So sticking with it, I would say, if I throw myself a flower, as we say in French, I think I’ve been creative and smart by realising that this isn’t a boring dead end that everybody else thought it was going to be. And what’s been nice this year is I actually set out to say, right, okay, 2020, year of the Brand SERP. It’s the year of the search engine results page for your exact match brand name search, what appears when somebody googles your brand name.

[00:11:53]Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And what I like to say is it’s your new business card. That speaks to people. People go, I get that. Because at some point in their journey with you, you probably googled my brand name, my personal brand name to find out who I am, to find out who the company is, if you’re working with a company. So, the example would be, if I’m doing an interview with you, I’ll look you up on Google. And I trust what Google says. And what Google shows me about you is what Google thinks is the most valuable pertinent and interesting information about you that it can show you to give me an overview of who you are, what you do in an instant.

It’s up to me to create that message, who I am and what I do. It’s me who decides. And Google is just there to reflect it.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:12:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And if you look, if you take a step back, you say, actually, it’s up to me to create that message, who I am and what I do. It’s me who decides. And Google is just there to reflect it. And it’s up to me to make sure that Google’s reflecting accurately.

The Mechanics of How You Make Sure Google Reflects Your Brand Message on Your Brand SERP

[00:12:42] Mark Stinson: And give us a little of the mechanics then of how you do that. And I think about it in context of storytelling. Brand storytelling is our focus these days in branding. You want to create the persona. You want to create the story of you, your customer, that relationship. But now you’re getting into the nuts and bolts of how do you make sure that shows up on your Google search page.

[00:13:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That is the boring bit. You’re right. Up until there, it was philosophically very interesting.

[00:13:10] Mark Stinson: Exactly. And now we’re going to get down into it.

[00:13:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Just really quickly, in fact, I realised the other day, in fact, what’s happened is if you look at my Brand SERP, you search for Jason Barnard. You’ll see on the right hand side there’s what we call a Knowledge Panel, which is the information that Google considers to be factual about me. And that contains the blue dog, the band, my mother, my daughter, photo of me, that I’m a British French musician, and the songs I’ve written and my social accounts. And so that’s basically my life story in 400 pixels, which is very strange.

[00:13:44] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And on the left hand side, what I’ve done is convince Google to show only things about my current job. So it’s all digital marketing. And that’s basically what Google thinks is relevant to the search today. And before, it was full of the blue dog and the band. And I had to get rid of that in order to make my career or my digital marketing career better. And the mechanics of that is simple, really simple SEO.

What It Comes Down to Is Simply Good SEO Strategy for Yourself or Your Brand

[00:14:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So I’ve been doing SEO for years, search engine optimisation, trying to get to the top of Google. And what’s interesting here is you’re trying to get to the top of a search that is your name or your brand name. That’s very limited in scope and that you should be able to get to the top of pretty easily. And that’s the fact is you can.

[00:14:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so what I’ve also found, which has been interesting, is it’s a really easy entry into SEO. It’s a really way, easy way to understand these techniques, which are changing meta titles, changing meta descriptions, what Google shows, the blue link and the little description underneath, creating great videos, making sure that Google understands that your audience is engaging with them is another way to get videos on there, for example. And what it comes down to is simply good SEO strategy for yourself or your brand.

[00:15:02] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And because it’s a controlled environment, because there isn’t actually any competition, it’s a really nice way to get people to learn SEO without getting frightened by it because you can win pretty much every time.

Jason’s Research Project in Kalicube Pro’s Database and the Story of How His Wikipedia Page Got Deleted

[00:15:17] Mark Stinson: Yeah. Because it can be overwhelming sometimes, especially I think about our listeners are more maybe the creative types. And I think about the artists, the sculptures, the authors who say, I need some way to show up more in search, and I don’t want my old boring stuff from 15 years ago to show up. Just what you say, I want to start tweaking to my current work. 

[00:15:40] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I want to appear in search, which is great. But actually the other thing is I also want to talk to people like yourself or interact with people by email or on social media or in person in the bar that’s behind you. People who are listening can’t see that, but there’s a bar behind him. And I want, when they look up my name, when they look me up on Google, that they see what I want them to see. They see the brand message that I want to get across.

[00:16:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And actually, I have a collection of 70,000 brands and people in my database on So if you want to track what appears across the world, you can put it in there for free, because it’s a research project, because I’m just trying to understand what Google shows about whom or what type of people, what type of brands, and why and how we can learn to control it, how we can influence what Google shows. And I just added 2,400 music groups that I found on it in a database somewhere.

[00:16:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s been really interesting about how much information Google is willing to show on that right hand side and how well groups do in terms of ranking, how much Wikipedia dominates. Wikipedia obviously is this it’s both glorious and awful, because glorious in the sense that it makes you feel good. It’s great for your ego.

[00:16:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I had a Wikipedia page until they deleted it. And my ego was having a great time. They deleted it. My ego took a big hit. But the truth be told is now that the Wikipedia article is gone, I control the message more. Because it isn’t Wikipedia editors who don’t know me or don’t know about me who are controlling what’s being said about me. And Wikipedia does tend to dominate when it’s present, of course.

Adding Your Brand in Kalicube Pro and Understanding Google by Looking at it From the Outside in a Tiny Niche

[00:17:21] Mark Stinson: Yes. And tell me that website again.

[00:17:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): You just go and there you see add my brand. And you can add yourself as a person, a music group, a brand, a local business, and invent basically entities. And that’s a whole different ballgame, as you would say. Basically, it’s tracking what appears when you search for something identifiable, such as a music group, a person, or a brand or a local business or an event.

[00:17:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I’m phenomenally, phenomenally interested. I love this stuff. I’ve had an exciting life being in a punk folk band, and I’ve been a blue dog in a cartoon, as we’re going to talk about in a bit. Both of those are passionately interesting for different reasons.

[00:17:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And this is passionately interesting for another different reason. The data, the information, understanding, Google is this machine. It’s the most intelligent, quick, massive machine that mankind, humankind has ever created. And the people at Google don’t understand how it works. And my job is to look at it from the outside in this tiny niche, which is just personal brand names and brand names and say, how does it decide and how can we influence it?

Google as a Machine Is Writing Its Own Code; All the People Have to Do Is Decide What Goes in and Correct It if What Comes Out Is Wrong

[00:18:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I think people fail to realise that since 2017, human beings at Google have gradually stopped actually controlling what the machine does. The machine writes itself. The machine is writing its own code. It’s machine learning. And that means all the humans do is decide what goes in, and if what comes out is actually what they wanted. And if it’s not, they correct what they push in.

[00:18:54] Mark Stinson: Keep working on it. Yeah.

[00:18:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And so the machine is rewriting its own code every single time it runs, which is mind blowing and nuts. It makes me both frightened and excited and incredibly interested all at the same time.

[00:19:09] Mark Stinson: I’m imagining you’re the gearhead, the car mechanic, who knows everything about what’s going on under the hood. And I’m asking you how to get better gas mileage. It’s so simple sometimes.

[00:19:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah.

The First Thing You Need to Do to Improve Your Search Results Is Give Your Entity a Home

[00:19:20] Mark Stinson: What we’re talking about, but I feel like is there a tip, a tool where you say, hey, if you do one thing, at least do this to improve your search results? Is there anything like that that you would suggest to us?

[00:19:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s a double whammy. 

[00:19:36] Mark Stinson: Obviously, this is your whole business. So I’m not asking you to give us your secret sauce. If you say, give us an example of something that we could do today to improve.

[00:19:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Whatever you are, a person, a music group, an event, a podcast, your podcast, same thing, it’s an entity. It’s a thing that we can identify or a brand. You need to give that entity, the thing you can identify, a home that Google recognises as the go-to place for that entity.

[00:20:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, for example, your podcast needs a homepage. It doesn’t need a site necessarily. It needs a page that tells Google what it is, what it does, who it’s for. As a brand, Kalicube, my company, I have a site and a page on that site. And it’s one page that says who I am, who the company is, what the company does, and who the audience is. I personally have a site and I have one page on that site, which happens to be the homepage, that says who I am, what I do, and who my audience is, once again.

After Recognising the Entity Home, You Have to Find Corroborative Information Around the Web and Prove It for Google to Understand

[00:20:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so if you have that home, Google will say, okay, I recognise that that is the go-to place. That place is the place that this thing, entity, identifiable thing controls and can inform me about who they are, what they do, and who their audience is. Then once I’ve done that, I listen to what they’ve got to say. I don’t believe them because you don’t believe somebody on their pure word. I then go and corroborate. I find corroborative information all around the web until it’s proven. And once it’s proven, I understand. Once I understand, I can start to think about presenting this brand, person, group, podcast as a potential solution to the problem my users are asking me.

[00:21:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Because we have to remember that every time we search in Google, we’re asking a question or presenting a problem to which we’re looking for the solution. And Google’s job is to recommend the best solution to your problem or the best answer to your question. So in order to do that, it needs to understand today at least who you are, what you do, who your audience is. And it’s as simple as that.

[00:21:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, give your entity a home, number one. And once that home has been identified, make sure it ranks number one. Once it ranks number one, you’ve nailed both Google’s understanding, where it’s going to get that information, and the fact that you are controlling the message right at the top of that Brand SERP.

There Are Two Things Google Cannot Deal With: Contradiction and Inconsistency

[00:22:05] Mark Stinson: Yeah. Great advice. 

[00:22:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): You should know that.

[00:22:08] Mark Stinson: No, it is. And you’re right. It sounds like, well, oh, okay, then that’s what I’ll do, but ultimately very simple in concept and a little more difficult in execution, which we need experts like you to help.

[00:22:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. But interestingly enough, as human beings, we think, yeah, but that’s obvious. And then you look at it and you say, well, it’s not half as obvious as you think, because you’re putting information all over the place.

[00:22:31] Mark Stinson: That’s right.

[00:22:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it’s not obvious, which is the principle source. And so as human beings, we aren’t very structured and we tend to contradict ourselves. And those are two problems for Google, two things Google cannot deal with, contradiction and inconsistency.

The Journey of Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Into Animating and Becoming a Voice Actor for a Cartoon Blue Dog

[00:22:47] Mark Stinson: Good insights. Let’s turn the page to some other fun, creative explorations and experiences you’ve had. Let’s talk about the animated series and the voiceover and the persona of your blue dog.

[00:23:00] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Well, in fact, that’s time. Because when the punk folk band ended, I played the double bass. That was awesome. And I was a rock and roll star. And we didn’t make it big. But what was great about that is when you’re in a rock band, you are absolutely convinced to the bottom of your little toes that you’re going to be a star and play stadiums like U2 do. And what’s weird is it’s so obviously not going to happen, but you are so convinced that it is. And when it all stops, you stand there and you’re going, crumbs, and your whole life falls apart.

[00:23:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I decided after folk punk, I would do children’s music. And I thought, I’m in the record industry, I can get a record deal for this, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. And it turns out that the children’s music industry is separate from the rest of it. It’s this kind of mafia going on, at least in France. So that failed. I wrote the songs. I made the album, recorded it myself. It was okay. It was good enough. They refused it.

[00:23:54] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, my wife and I created a story around the songs and created a website for it. And that was a big success very quickly. So I learned to code Flash, which was Adobe Flash, Macromedia Flash and made cartoons and games and songs and ended up eight years later with a thousand games, songs, and animations on this website.

Adjusting Their Voices in Singing for Boowa and Kwala and Trying to Sound Out of Tune for the Yellow Koala

[00:24:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the good thing, basically, I was the blue dog. And I was the big brother reassuring to my wife’s yellow koala, who was the child figure who would get it all a bit wrong. And I would sing, Boowa and Kwala, Boowa and Kwala, we are, Boowa and Kwala, we are, which is their theme tune, with this big baritone voice, where perfectly in time and perfectly singing in all the right notes. And then she would come along and sing it slightly out of key and slightly out of time, which was like to reassure the child, but also because that’s how she sang.

[00:25:02] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): There were a couple of things that happened. One of which is my voice wasn’t quite low enough at the time, and I was 30 years old. And so I took it down two semitones to try and make it bigger and deeper. And her voice was a little bit too low, so I pushed it up two semitones. And after a few years, we realised that my voice had actually dropped two semitones, so I didn’t need to do that anymore. And her voice had gone up.

[00:25:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The other thing that she had was that she learned to sing despite herself. And we had this great thing in the recording studio, because I would record it all in the little home studio. And I would have to say to her, look, can you do that again? Can you sing a little bit more out of tune and a little bit more out of time because you’re singing too well? So it’s probably the only time in studios where somebody’s been telling somebody else, can you sing worse please?

[00:25:49] Mark Stinson: Take it off a little bit.

[00:25:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Please sing worse. This is too good. And that was wonderful.

Building a Family for Boowa and Kwala and Having a Hard Time Finding Voice Talents in Mauritius

[00:25:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And we had these two characters. And after a couple of years, we realised that you can’t create games and songs and animations for kids forever with just two characters. It’s too limited. So we created these families. But by this time, we had moved to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. And in Mauritius, it’s an African country just off Madagascar. And there are relatively few qualified people there at the time, at least this was in 2000, so it’s quite a long time ago.

[00:26:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And we created these families. And so for a year, they had families, but the families never said anything because we didn’t have the voices. And then after a year, we thought, okay, we create the families, but they can’t not say anything, they can’t be mute. So I went off looking for voice talent on the island, and there wasn’t any. And so I ended up doing five voices. And that’s, we were talking about that earlier on, the creativity comes in. You’re saying, I don’t have a choice. I have to come up with something, and I can’t find somebody who does the voices that I would expect.

[00:26:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, we got our daughter to do one voice. And I was the blue dog and I was my own father, my own mother and my wife’s father and my wife’s grandfather, which makes for, you can understand now why we got divorced.

[00:27:16] Mark Stinson: Yeah. Too many people in your head.

Taking the Form of the Different Characters in Doing Their Different Voices 

[00:27:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. What was nice is when we had the character, her father, the Daddy Koala, and I would have to do this voice. Hello, everybody. Lovely to see you. This is really sweet. I love talking to you. And it sounds like somebody else. And then I had to do the grandfather. Oh, hello. I don’t really know what to do with you today, Kwala. Can we paint some pictures? And you get away with it. And you’re saying your daughter does voiceover.

[00:27:48] Mark Stinson: Absolutely. You separate yourself from reality and take on this character as you’ve been describing. 

[00:27:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And I would call that forced creation, being in a situation where I have to come up with a solution. And what was interesting about it I realise very quickly is you have to take, I take on the form of the character. So when I do the grandpa, I crumple myself up a bit.

[00:28:10] Mark Stinson: Yes, it’s very physical.

[00:28:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, it is. And you look at somebody like Mel Blanc, who did all the cartoon voices for the Warner Brothers cartoon. I would so much have loved to talk to him, because I managed to do five voices of which two were pretty rubbish and one of them was my own. So I can actually only say I did two voices, and I’ve just done them today. And they’re not that brilliant. And he did 100 voices, 200 voices. I don’t know, nuts, insane.

Connect With Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Through Kalicube Pro and His Podcast 

[00:28:40] Mark Stinson: Well, this had been a great conversation, Jason. We could go on for hours here, I’m sure. And people who like to hear these stories, now you have your own podcast too. Tell us where to connect with that so we can hear some more of your experiences and stories. 

[00:28:54] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah. That’s on, same as the site I mentioned earlier on. There’s a podcast section. There’s a tool section where you can look into all this digital marketing stuff. The podcast is actually about digital marketing, which is why I wanted to come on this show because I wanted to talk about creativity.

[00:29:09] Mark Stinson: And creative process.

[00:29:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And you can see, I think my cheeks have gone red and my smile’s gone right up to my ears.

[00:29:15] Mark Stinson: That’s right. That’s what we hope to offer folks. My guest has been Jason Barnard in Paris and just well rounded, creative energy coming from a lot of different places. So, be sure to connect with Jason, 

[00:29:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thanks, man.

[00:29:31] Mark Stinson: So I just want to thank all your listeners for stopping by. We’ve been unlocking your world of creativity with Jason Barnard from Paris. Join us again next time, where we’re going to tap into your original thinking, get inspiration from the experts. And really, I think what’s helpful. I’ve been getting feedback from you. These specific tools and exercises and formulas and approaches that our guests have been sharing, not unlike what Jason told us about Brand SERPs, that we can really apply to elevate our work and get it out into the world even more. So thanks for coming by and we’ll see you again next time. Take care.

[00:30:10] Mark Stinson: Unlocking Your World of Creativity with Mark Stinson. Copyright 2020.

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Published by Unlocking Your World of Creativity. December 21, 2020. Host: Mark Stinson. Guest: Jason Barnard, founder and CEO at Kalicube.

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