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#15 GameChanging Guests: Jason Barnard – “The BRAND SERP Guy” – a GameChanger educating Google…

In this episode I’m interviewing Jason Barnard, an experienced GameChanger who throughout his life, had to change his own game a few times as well. We talk about betrayal, how it was to be a digital nomad in the 90’s on Mauritius, being a blue cartoon dog (I know, fascinating right!), climbing back up from personal and professional setbacks, depression and eventually how he is doing what is doing today: helping entrepreneurs to educate Google in a way that will benefit their business and their missions. As with every interview, we both experienced some new insights as well during our talk. Happy to inspire you as well!

Every guest on the show fills in a selection form to identify if it’s the right fit for the show. Take a look at what Jason wrote; a true GameChanger!

Background Story
I was a punk folk musician in the 1990’s and then a cartoon blue dog. Fun. And both amazing learning experiences :)

The Game you want to Change
I have built a platform and recorded video courses that empower people to educate Google.

Introducing the Guest, Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy), Who Went From Doing Cartoons to Digital Marketing

[00:00:00] Myrte Scheffer: Hi all. Thank you for listening to another episode of the GameChangers United Podcast. This week or this episode, we have a special guest living in Paris right now, going to Oxford shortly to visit his daughter, who is currently doing a PhD there. So, as a committed dad, you will follow your daughter. So, Jason is one of the guests of the GameChanger guests. Basically, what we can say about Jason before he introduces himself is that he went from a cartoon blue dog to a marketing agency that pioneers the art and science of Brand SERP.

[00:00:41] Myrte Scheffer: So, I think this is the most unique in introduction that I ever did of someone, Jason. So, I think everyone is very interested to know who you are, what you do, and how did you end up going from this blue cartoon dog to the marketing and the whole story in between. We would love to hear it. Before we dive into that, can you introduce yourself to the audience?

A Summary of Jason’s Life Story: Born in the UK, Studied in Liverpool, Moved to Paris, Created Cartoons in Mauritius, and Founded Kalicube 

[00:01:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Hi. Thank you for having me, Myrte. It’s absolutely delightful to be here. We had a little pre-chat, so we already know a little bit about what we’re going to talk about. I’m Jason Barnard, born in the UK, went to university in Liverpool, same university as John Lennon but many years later. And that can come into this story later on, if you remember to ask me about it.

[00:01:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I moved to Paris because I fell in love with a French lady. We created a cartoon with my ex-wife, Boowa and Kwala. You can see them behind me here. We went to Mauritius, a tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, to create cartoons for kids. That ended very badly, which is the black dog here. And then I created Kalicube, which is my current company, aimed at empowering brands and people to manage their brand message on Google.

[00:02:05] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. Very interesting, Jason. Thank you so much. And for the people who are only listening, if you are wondering what Jason is pointing at, we are also recording this on video. So if you are interested, Jason is showing his life roadmap behind him, where he is pointing out to the different stages of his life, basically the roadmap of his life that he went through to now today to empower all the entrepreneurs with something that is really not on my radar, to be honest, but we will deep dive on that in a bit.

The Journey of Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) From Being a Punk in the Countryside to Joining a Band in Liverpool

[00:02:42] Myrte Scheffer: So, Jason, let’s just start with how did you, because you started in the 90s as a folk musician, apparently visited my country, the Netherlands, quite often to make everyone happy with your music. So, can you take us back a little bit on this journey? Where are we when it all started?

[00:03:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah. No, I’d love to share that story because it’s quite an interesting story. I was born in Yorkshire, in the countryside, and lived with my father and my two sisters in an isolated old farm house. My mother left when I was very young. She ran away with a jazz musician, and this is in the 70s. And I spent a very lonely childhood being a punk in the middle of the countryside surrounded by sheep and cows. And being a punk in the countryside is, I can tell you, pretty pointless. Cows and sheep don’t care about my attitude.

[00:03:46] Myrte Scheffer: No, I was thinking the audience might be a little bit different than in a normal bar.

Moved to Liverpool, Joined a Blues Band Called Stanley the Counting Horse, and Studied in the Same University as John Lennon

[00:03:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Exactly. And then I moved to Liverpool and joined a blues band. And it was called Stanley the Counting Horse, which was a very silly name for a blues band, but I absolutely loved it. We played the Cavern Club. I was at the same university as John Lennon. And if you now search for alumni of Liverpool John Moores University, I appear right next to John Lennon.

[00:04:12] Myrte Scheffer: Wow. Life is cool.

[00:04:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s part of my job is that I encourage Google to understand the world from my point of view. And I wanted to be associated with John Lennon, and that was the way I found Google could associate me with John Lennon. I got my photo, I still have my photo right next to John Lenon, because I educated Google that I went to the same school and we’re both famous alumni.

Jason Barnard’s Branding Perspective: Google Is a Child and We Need to Learn to Educate It

[00:04:39] Myrte Scheffer: So, what’s interesting, Jason, is that before we have guests on, we always ask them to fill in a form, so I know a little bit more background. And one of the things that you said, Google is a child, and we are the responsible adults in the room who need to teach, let me check.

[00:05:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): We need to educate it.

[00:05:05] Myrte Scheffer: And we need to learn to educate it.

[00:05:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Brilliant.

[00:05:08] Myrte Scheffer: And that’s funny because there’s a two way street in there. So, we need to learn is one, and we need to educate. But let’s park that for now, but I want to deep dive with you on that.

[00:05:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But that’s a brilliant point, because it’s exactly what I did. I spent a few years learning to educate it that it could put me next to John Lennon in a specific context.

[00:05:30] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah, exactly.

[00:05:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it’s one trick of many tricks I play. And it’s fairly pointless in the sense that it doesn’t make any difference to anybody that I happen to be next to John Lennon, except it makes me quite happy. But from a branding message perspective, it shows you the power of educating Google. When you learn to do it well, you can get Google to jump through hoops. It’s absolutely delightful, but we will park that for now.

After Living in Liverpool, Jason Barnard Moved to Paris and Learned How to Play the Double Bass to Join Another Band

[00:05:56] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. We will park that because we’re going to do some sort of beginner course in a bit, but we’d love to hear a little bit more of your story. So, tell us about this punk boy in Liverpool. We are in Liverpool now.

[00:06:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I played the Cavern Club. We played lots of blues. It was really, really delightful. And then I moved to Paris. And in the blues band, I was a singer and I was very thin, but I had a very big, deep voice. So, people would come and see the band in Liverpool just to see this incredibly thin guy with this enormously big, deep voice because it was contradictory. It was this delightful situation. I’m not as thin as I was at the time. At the time, I was almost 5’10” or 5’11”, and I weighed 68 kg, which shows you how thin I was at the time.

[00:06:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then I moved to Paris. And a friend of mine, I used to play ping pong with him in Liverpool. And he said, oh, I’m living with some friends of mine, they’re in a band, do you want to come and see them? So, I went to see them, and they were absolutely brilliant. I loved what they were doing. And I watched the group and got a little bit drunk and loved it, and I said to them how wonderful their music was.

[00:07:08] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And they asked my friend to ask me if I wanted to join the band. And I said, absolutely, I’m a singer, I’ll join your band, I’ll be your singer, no problem at all. We don’t need a singer at all. I play a bit of guitar, but I’m not very good. They said, we don’t need a guitarist either, we need a double bass player. I said, oh, I don’t play double bass at all. And they said, if you get a double bass, you learn to play it. We’ve got a gig in 30 days. If you can learn the double bass in 30 days, you can join our band.

During the Late 80s, Jason Barnard Joined the Band After Learning How to Play the Double Bass in 30 Days and Being Comfortable With the Instrument

[00:07:36] Myrte Scheffer: And just for the story, are we still in the 70s?

[00:07:40] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No, now we’re in the late 80s. 

[00:07:43] Myrte Scheffer: Late 80s. Okay. Yeah.

[00:07:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I went and bought a double bass, came back. They gave me 30 days to learn the double bass. I don’t think I played particularly well, but I played well enough to get into the band. And it turns out that I’m a very bad guitarist. I’m a very bad harmonica player. I’m a decent singer, not particularly brilliant, but I’m a very good double bass player. And I was so lucky that they asked me to play that and not something else.

[00:08:09] Myrte Scheffer: Wow. That’s not coincidence.

Jason’s Band Toured Europe to Perform and Experienced Playing a Concert in the Same Night as His Mother

[00:08:12] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Absolutely amazing. It’s absolutely the instrument that I feel most comfortable. I still play it today. I love playing the double bass. It’s one of the great pleasures in life. And we, as you said, we played quite a lot in Holland. We played a lot in France, in Germany, in Holland, in Belgium, played once in Denmark. A nice story there is that we drove into Copenhagen to play a gig. And as we drove into Copenhagen, I saw a massive poster for a gig, a concert that my mother was playing in.

[00:08:45] Myrte Scheffer: No.

[00:08:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And we played the same night as my mother in Copenhagen.

[00:08:49] Myrte Scheffer: No, the mother who left you? And were you in contact with her?

[00:08:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, no, I was in contact with her. I just didn’t know she was playing in Copenhagen, and she didn’t know I was playing in Copenhagen.

[00:08:58] Myrte Scheffer: It’s so weird.

[00:09:02] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s such a lovely story. And of course, we didn’t get to meet because we were playing at the same time. And we didn’t compete for audiences because we were playing punk folk and she was playing modern jazz. So, obviously, the people who were going to go and see her were not going to come and see us and vice versa.

[00:09:18] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah.

Playing the Same Hit Song Over and Over in Gigs Because the Audience Wants to Hear It 

[00:09:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that was amazing. We played 660 gigs over 6-7 years.

[00:09:25] Myrte Scheffer: Wow. Amazing.

[00:09:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Played 5-6,000 times in the street. Some of the songs, and that’s the thing is if you imagine a band like the Rolling Stones, they have songs that they play every time. I’ll use the Stray Cats instead. The Stray Cats, I love the Stray Cats. Brian Setzer is one of my great heroes. The song Stray Cat Strut, he wrote that when he was 17, and he’s now 70 or 65. He’s been playing that song every single gig for 50 years. And so, he’s probably played it, I don’t know, in gigs at least, 10,000 times.

[00:10:12] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And when you start a band, you don’t think the song I write, if I do get a hit, I’m going to have to play it every single time because the audience wants it. And they won’t let me go off stage until I played it. So, whatever the hit song is, I’m going to have to play it for the rest of my life.

[00:10:28] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah.

[00:10:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, one of the songs I wrote, which I actually luckily really liked, we played every single gig for 6 years and every single time we played in the street. So, I’ve probably played that song 7,000 times.

Stuck With the Repetition of Playing the Same Song Over and Over Just to Satisfy the Audience

[00:10:43] Myrte Scheffer: Wow. Yeah. That’s always something that I’m, when I see artists, that’s always the thing that I think about. How can you still like playing this song after 20-30 years? Don’t you get tired of it? And this is really from an entrepreneurial perspective, where we just all the time go from here to the next and next and next. It’s very difficult.

[00:11:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It is a strange situation, because what I have seen and what we sometimes did is we would adapt a song to make it more interesting, but the audience doesn’t want that. They want to hear exactly what they heard on the record.

[00:11:21] Myrte Scheffer: Oh, yeah.

[00:11:22] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so, even when I go and see a band, if the Stray Cats played Stray Cat Strut in a different way, I would be disappointed. So at the end of the day, you are stuck with this repetition that you can’t get out of.

Even With the Belief That His Band May Make It Big One Day, Jason Barnard’s Band Split Up After 6 Years

[00:11:37] Myrte Scheffer: So, you couldn’t educate the audience, so you thought instead I educate Google. 

[00:11:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Exactly. Oh, how lovely. That was a beautiful segue, but we’re not there yet. Because after the band, what happened, of course, is the band split up. That’s the classic thing that rock musicians say. You spend 6 years. You believe from the bottom of your heart that you’re going to be this huge superstar filling up stadiums and selling millions of records. And of course, it doesn’t happen. And then one day, somebody in the band says I’ve had enough. I’m going to go and get a job to actually make some money and live a normal life.

[00:12:14] Myrte Scheffer: Jason, can I ask you a question? So, were you guys driven by this dream, by this perspective of something that might happen in the future or could potentially happen?

[00:12:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. A hundred percent. I was totally driven by the idea I can make a life, a living, playing music that I love and play in front of a hundred thousand people in, I was going to say Shea Stadium, but it would be the park they pass in France. And the thing is when you’re doing it, you believe so much that it will happen. And it’s so unlikely to happen.

How Did Jason Barnard Believe in the Things He Believes in and Decide If It’s Going to Work or Not?

[00:12:52] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. I really want to make the comparison with entrepreneurship here and mainly entrepreneurs, like you and me, who are on a mission to make the world a better place. I really believe that it’s possible for everyone with a painful story or with a gift to bring something to the world to make a good living from it, to build a sustainable business in a way that is fulfilling, but it’s also profitable. And there’s a lot more behind that.

[00:13:24] Myrte Scheffer: But sometimes, and mainly in the beginning, I got also triggered, tested if I really believed in it. Before you have everything up and running, it can take quite some time. And how do you keep believing in the things that you believe in? And when is the moment that you decide this isn’t going to work? How did you do that in the music? 

[00:13:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah. A couple of answers there. The first of which is when I got up in the morning, I actually want to do what it is I’m doing. And I’ve never, ever done anything, not never, ever, that’s not quite true. I’ve had jobs I didn’t want to do. But all of these different careers, the blue dog, the punk folk, what I’m doing now with Kalicube, it’s things that I truly want to do and things that I truly, as you said, believe make the world a better place.

[00:14:24] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the other thing is how do you decide when to stop? The answer is I’ve never decided to stop. I’ve always been stopped by something outside of my control. So in the case of the punk folk band, everybody left the band, and I was left on my own with a double bass. And you can’t have a group with just a double bass. So, I ended up with no group, and I had to figure out what to do next. And I do admit that for a little while, I was fairly lost. And then we created the blue dog and yellow koala with my ex-wife. She did the illustrations. I wrote the songs, played the music, and it was songs for children.

The Reason Jason Barnard Felt Lost After His Band Split Up and the Next Step He Did

[00:15:05] Myrte Scheffer: Can I ask, Jason, what was the reason you were lost in that moment?

[00:15:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I didn’t know what to do. I thought what can I do now? I’m a double bass player. I had a degree in economics from Liverpool. I don’t want to become an economist. I don’t want to become an accountant. I don’t want to do a 9-5 job. What job can I create for myself that I will enjoy doing? Now the answer to that question turned out to be playing a blue dog in a cartoon. So, I created my job.

Where Did Jason Barnard’s Idea of Creating a Cartoon and Writing Songs for Kids Came From? 

[00:15:35] Myrte Scheffer: Because that’s the obvious answer to that question, right? Just this morning, I woke up and I was like, you know what? I’m going to be a blue cartoon. So, can you take us with you on this decision process? How did you end up doing it? 

[00:15:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Well, in fact, it was when I was in the punk folk group, one of the jokes we had, as we drove around in this van. You can imagine we did 100,000 km a year for 6 years. You get very bored sitting in a van for 600,000 km. And we would talk and talk about absolutely nothing. It was astonishing. You had these long periods of silence and then long conversations that didn’t go anywhere. And one of them was what is our nightmare audience. And we would go through all these different scenarios of nightmare audience.

[00:16:32] Myrte Scheffer: Nightmare audiences. Okay.

[00:16:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And one of the nightmare audiences that somebody suggested was children. And there was this big discussion. Everyone was talking about it. I didn’t say a word because I didn’t think that was a nightmare audience. I thought that would be quite a fun audience. And when the group ended, I thought actually I remember that conversation about the nightmare audience. And I thought, as they were talking about it, I actually liked that idea.

Because No Record Companies Sign Jason Barnard, He Created His Own for His Previous Band and His Children’s Songs for the Cartoon

[00:16:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I wrote some songs for children. And I pitched it to record companies thinking, I know the record company bosses, they’ll sign me. I’ll become, instead of a punk folk star playing to stadiums, I’ll become a kids’ music star playing to stadiums of children. So, that would be fine too. And none of them would sign me. They say, you’re a punk folk musician, we don’t want anything to do with your children’s music. And it turns out, children’s music and children’s entertainment in general is in a very separate box. And the children’s entertainment industry doesn’t mix very much with the rest of its equivalent industries.

[00:17:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so, in fact, just one step back for The Barking Dogs, who were the punk folk group, we didn’t get signed either by a record company. So, my first entrepreneurship was I created a record company and a tour company so that we could tour and play gigs and release records. And we released four records. So, my first company was that. Then with the blue dog and yellow koala, I tried to get signed to a record company with the kids’ songs. They wouldn’t sign us. So, I created another company to release the record for children.

After Creating His Company for Kids Music, Jason Barnard Decided to Build a Website and Games With the Songs

[00:18:13] Myrte Scheffer: What’s interesting, Jason, sorry to interrupt, because I want to ask the listeners to think back of a moment in their life where a random question or conversation turned out to be the accelerator for a transformation in your life and business. Because this question, when you were sitting in the back of that van and when you were having these conversations, what would’ve happened if someone didn’t mention this audience? Sometimes it still strikes me that one sentence, one word can completely shift your perspective and therefore your path. So, I want to ask the listeners to think about that for themselves. 

[00:18:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah. That’s a brilliant point. I hadn’t really thought about that. And literally, there were 4 years between the moment that conversation happened and the moment I started writing the songs. Yeah, so I created a new company for kids music. And I couldn’t get the record into a record company. And I decided that I would build a website and build games for children with the songs incorporated. That was my next idea because I won a competition. This is really silly.

With a Free Magazine Subscription and Macromedia Flash, Jason Barnard Learned Web Development and Created a Website for Children 

[00:19:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I won a competition for one of those fantasy leagues in football in 1998. And I played once and lost. And then I entered 4 times the next year or the next cycle. And I figured out what their algorithm was doing, and so I won all four. And the prize for winning the league was a year subscription to a magazine. And so I chose, first of all, the football magazine, then I chose some other techy magazine, then I chose something that my ex-wife wanted. And then I thought, I’ve got a full subscription. I’ve got no idea what to choose.

[00:20:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I chose web development magazine. And then that arrives. And I got a free copy of Flash, which is Macromedia’s animation tool from 1998. And I installed it on my Mac and I thought, oh, I’ll learn to do this and make games. That was why I decided to make games out of the songs. And I thought, if my wife can draw the characters, I can animate them, add the songs, put them online, and have a website for children. How delightful.

[00:20:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And she had a great job and paid the bills. And we had a very young daughter. So, we agreed that I would stay at home and look after our daughter for the first year. It ended up being the first 2 and a half years. She went to work and made a decent living. And I stayed at home, looked after my daughter, and learned to make websites for children using animation software into which I integrated myself.

[00:21:11] Myrte Scheffer: And this was in 2000, right, around that year?

[00:21:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): 1998. We launched the first website 2 months after Google incorporated.

A Story of Myrte Scheffer When She Was Young, Where She Ignored the Idea of Making an Email Address 

[00:21:22] Myrte Scheffer: Because that’s already quite early. It’s quite innovative in that sense. Because I remember now when I was, this is a really silly story, but I’m going to share it anyway.

[00:21:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Lots of silly stories.

[00:21:33] Myrte Scheffer: I remember when I was, I think I was 12 or 13 years old. So, I’m from 85, so it was around that time, which you’re saying in 98. I remember that my niece, we were sitting behind the computer there. And I didn’t ever use the computer very much. And she made an email address, like a Hotmail email address. And she was like, do you want one as well? And I was like, no, I’m probably never going to use that so, no, nevermind.

[00:22:01] Myrte Scheffer: And this was really, now looking back, I was like I didn’t know, of course. I was really young. But the thing that I do know is in that time, that wasn’t as much as there is today of course. But the thing, specifically the thing that you are doing, so creating games in this industry was I think very underdeveloped still.

Before, There Are Only Few Web Developers, Same as Double Bass Players, That’s Why It Is Easy for Jason Barnard to Excel

[00:22:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And that’s a very good point. In an industry or in a world where not very many people are doing it, you actually don’t have to be very good to be one of the top. And at that time, I got invited by Macromedia to San Francisco for their conference as one of the best developers in the world.

[00:22:49] Myrte Scheffer: No, really?

[00:22:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But the answer was there are hardly any developers in the world, so it really isn’t very difficult to be one the best. But alongside us was Disney and the Prince of Egypt cartoon, so it wasn’t nothing. But at the same time, it wasn’t like today where you’ve got hundreds of thousands and millions of people working on websites. The competition was maybe 150-200 people.

[00:23:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So from that perspective, the double bass was the same. There are so few double bass players about that the band, The Barking Dogs, couldn’t find a double bass player, so they had to ask me to learn it because there aren’t any. So, it was very easy for me to be good enough to play for them. Not because I was particularly good at the double bass, but because there was so little competition.

The Idea of Being Able to Master a Topic or Skill Within 10,000 Hours, But You Can Still Learn Something New Everyday  

[00:23:39] Myrte Scheffer: And because you are very eager to learn, maybe. That’s also the thing, I think, in general with entrepreneurs and Google and everything. You need to be eager to learn. And there are skills that you can learn, but the eagerness to learn is something that you have inside you or not. That’s not something I can teach you. 

[00:24:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And that comes back to this whole story that I often hear about 10,000 hours. I think 10,000 hours is a good number. 10,000 hours is enough to master a topic or whatever it is you’re doing, but 10,000 hours is not enough if you have no skill for it and if you have no enthusiasm for it. So, look at that 10,000 hours and say, if I’ve been enthusiastic and I have a skill for this, after 10,000 hours, I can consider that I have probably pretty much mastered the foundation of it. But then you have to remember, I don’t know what I don’t know. And so, that 10,000 hours is going to turn to 20,000 hours and you still don’t know enough.

[00:24:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And a really good example of that is I’ve been now doing Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels, which is my thing, for 10 years. And I calculated the other day, I have worked 20,000 hours on what appears when somebody googles your brand name or your personal name. And I still learn something new every day. And so, that’s never going to end. And so, I’ve done my 10,000, I’ve now done my 20,000, and I’m still not there. And I look over at what’s coming and I’ve got no idea because I don’t know what I don’t know.

SEO Is Now Seen as Much More of a Marketing Industry Than a Technical Industry 

[00:25:24] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. And this is very interesting for a game changer in your industry. Let’s say that, can I say the technical industry?

[00:25:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I will explain later on that it’s now much more of a marketing industry. SEO is very much seen as a technical industry, and that has changed. Sorry, go ahead. 

[00:25:45] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah, no, it’s fine. Let’s park it. It’s fine.

[00:25:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. I didn’t want everyone to switch off because you said this is a technical topic. Everyone goes, oh, I don’t understand technical. They switch off. Please stay with us. It’s marketing. 

[00:25:57] Myrte Scheffer: Stay with us. It is marketing, it is storytelling, it is branding. And actually, Jason and I, we were talking before, and we came to the conclusion that both our businesses and both our brands have much more in common and our link to each other than you would think upfront. And if there’s anyone switching off from tech, by the way, it’s me. But I’m getting more and more enthusiastic about it, mainly because I have all these conversations with people like you who really invested so much of their time to gain so much knowledge there. But again, let’s park it. So, back to the story.

The Astonishing Experience of Living in Mauritius While Working With the Cartoon Website for Children

[00:26:42] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah, the blue dog and yellow koala. And at the time, this is delightful, because in 1998-1999, the internet was new. And the idea that you could connect and work with people on the other side of the world was this completely bonkers idea. And of course, me and my wife said we could be anywhere in the world doing this. And we spun the globe and we said Mauritius, which is a tiny, tiny tropical island just off the coast of Madagascar.

[00:27:16] Myrte Scheffer: So, you were sort of a digital nomad or something. 

[00:27:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. We actually lived there for 13 years, but we were working from the other side of the world, from a tiny tropical island. And we would walk out our house and onto the beach with palm trees and coconuts and, what are they called, pineapples. And it’s sunny every day, and everybody’s cheerful. It’s astonishing. It’s this mad world of cheerfulness and kindness and warm weather and beaches. It was stunning.

[00:27:54] Myrte Scheffer: Love it.

The Story of How Jason Barnard’s Address in Mauritius Was Called Between the Sea and the Post Office

[00:27:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A really delightful story about that, and I’ve told it a few times, but it does well worth telling again and again. When we first moved in, the postman walked past. And I said to him, oh, could you tell me what the address is? Because we wanted the children to send us their drawings of Boowa and Kwala, so we could create galleries, because Boowa and Kwala, the blue dog and yellow koala, at this point were becoming quite famous. And at that time, it was about a million page views a month. And we ended up with a hundred million page views a month and 5 million kids visiting the site every single month. It was massive.

[00:28:32] Myrte Scheffer: In 1999?

[00:28:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No, that was in 2007. In 1998-2000, we were still at about a million page views a month. We were still relatively small. But at the time, that was massive. But the point to the story wasn’t how many people were watching it. It was that I wanted the kids to send in their drawings of Boowa and Kwala for the gallery so that we could put it up in the gallery as this really fun, interactive idea.

[00:28:58] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I said to the postman, what’s the address? He said, Chez Monsieur de Mondeville, which was the name of the person who owned the house, who was renting it to us. And I said, well, that’s not a very good address. And basically, it’s so small that the postman knew everybody, so they didn’t need addresses. They just put the name on it, and that was it. And I said, can I make my own address up? And he said, yep, fine. And I said, okay, between the sea and the post office. And he said, okay, fine. And that was it.

Drawings to Be Put in the Gallery From Children Were Received by Jason Barnard in Mauritius Even With Their Obscure Address

[00:29:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so I told him, could we possibly just have between the sea and the post office, Mauritius without the town name? And he said, yeah, I’ll ring up Central Postal Services and just tell them anything addressed to Boowa and Kwala comes to the little post office in this tiny little village at the bottom of Mauritius. And so, the parents were sending drawings, their precious drawings that their children had done to Boowa and Kwala, between the sea and the post office, Mauritius. And that reminds me of the idea of sending a letter to Father Christmas, the North Pole.

[00:30:06] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah.

[00:30:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And parents would write to us and say, I can’t believe you got the letter. I can’t believe you got my child’s drawing to put it in the gallery. So, we had this delightfully naive existence that really helped us, I think, create these incredibly delightful characters for small children, age between 3 and 6. So, we lived in a naive environment with a naive attitude. It was a company. We made money. It was entrepreneurial. We had employees, but the whole spirit was naive and childish. And that was delightful, and Mauritius gave us that. And I’m so grateful.

Because of His Family’s Beautiful Situation in Mauritius, Jason Barnard Didn’t Feel Stressed With His Work

[00:30:45] Myrte Scheffer: Is it also a little bit oblivious? Is that the word? You don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the world. You just are in your own space. And I think, going back to the modern entrepreneurship, for me, I do it every year, a few months if I can, because I can do it with my work. In this naive and oblivious state of just being with myself and not many triggers that is normally the whole day. Because then you can start creating the things that are really inside you. You allow yourself to let it become what it has to be. It’s like a child. It needs time to grow, and this is same with ideas. It needs time and rest and peace to grow. 

[00:31:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. No, I agree a hundred percent. And it is delightful to think. I worked very hard. I put in a lot of hours. In the end, we made over a thousand games, songs, and activities. I wrote 90 songs for children. And I didn’t feel stressed, and I had a life alongside it. And yet we developed both a great deal of creativity and a great deal of great content, but also a business that functioned. And it was making money.

[00:32:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And yeah, you’re right. You wake up every day and, oh, yet another sunny day. So, of course, I wrote a song which goes, hooray, another sunny day, hooray, another day to play. And you wake up and you think, yeah, that’s the kind of song I should be writing. And all of the songs were incredibly joyful and fun and delightful. And I think my attitude, because of where I was living and because of our family situation and the beautiful country, made it easy.

The Dark Stage in Jason Barnard’s Life When He Lost His Company and Got Separated From His Blue Dog Character

[00:32:52] Myrte Scheffer: So, because I know what we’re going to talk about next, so that’s why I’m introducing it a little bit. Sometimes, I use this metaphor, when a flower dies, you don’t change the flower, but you start nurturing the environment around the flower. And, oh, Jason.

[00:33:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, I like that.

[00:33:16] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. I really like that too, because sometimes in the next stage of your life is a more dark stage, where you didn’t feel like the person you were just describing. The environment has a lot of impact on you. And the environment can be a physical environment. It can be an emotional environment. It can be a financial environment. It can be a combination of those things that sometimes make us stop blooming.

After His Business Partner Took Advantage of the System in Mauritius, Jason Barnard Lost His Company 

[00:33:48] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, no, a hundred percent. Stop blooming, for me, would be an understatement about what happened to me. It wasn’t just sitting down one day and thinking, oh, I can’t be bothered anymore or I’m bored. What happened is we had a business partner who used the system in Mauritius, which is perhaps not the fairest legal system in the world, to take the company away from us.

[00:34:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the characters belonged to the company. So, he now has the rights to the characters. I was the blue dog. I am the blue dog in many respects still. My wife was the yellow koala. But we have no rights to them anymore, because the rights belong to the company. The company belongs to somebody else today.

[00:34:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And when that happened, for me at the time, I felt deep in my soul that I was the blue dog. I couldn’t see the difference anymore, which means I was going a little bit mad anyway, so it might turn out to have been a good thing. Because if you wake up in the morning and you think I’m a blue dog, I need to be blue to work.

Jason Barnard Felt Like His Soul Was Ripped Out When He Got Separated From His Blue Dog Identity and He Fell Into Depression

[00:34:57] Myrte Scheffer: I’m a blue dog, lovely. Something else is wrong anyway.

[00:34:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. But it felt like, and this is how I describe it, it felt like somebody had ripped out my soul. 

[00:35:08] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. Because you identified yourself. The identities were intertwined so much during the years that you felt like this is a big part of me that’s been ripped out 

[00:35:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And it wasn’t just a big part of me. It was all of me.

[00:35:26] Myrte Scheffer: All of you.

[00:35:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Literally, all of me. And I remember I basically fell into depression. It took a day and a half from totally normal to being in hospital, which is a phenomenally fast fall from sanity.

[00:35:43] Myrte Scheffer: I get goosebumps now all over when you say that. That must have been horrible.

The Frightening Feeling of Loss and Hopelessness That Jason Barnard Experienced

[00:35:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It was very, very, very, very, very, very frightening. And I actually admitted myself to hospital because I couldn’t even handle getting out of bed. I couldn’t handle looking after my daughter. And when you can’t handle looking after your daughter, you think there is a huge problem. And it was much more than that in terms of what happened.

[00:36:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But through that period, it lasted about four months. I would spend all day just waiting for the night so that I could go to sleep. And I couldn’t spend more than a second without thinking about my loss, that I was empty, that life was hopeless, that there was nothing for me. And then I would go to bed, and I couldn’t sleep. Because every time I fell asleep, I would wake up 20 seconds later, and it was like all of my veins were full of ice.

[00:36:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I would be scared at night. I couldn’t sleep. And during the day, I would be scared. I couldn’t function. So, neither the day nor the night brought me any solace at all. And that is a situation that I would wish on nobody, not even my worst enemy. It’s an astonishingly difficult thing to deal with. And especially, obviously, the people around you have to try to deal with it as well. That’s incredibly difficult for them too.

A Moment in Jason Barnard’s Dark Stage in Life When He Felt Like He Was on His Way Back to His Old Self

[00:37:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I’ll tell you the moment when I knew I was on my way out, on my way back. I was watching a film called Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, which is a British film. It’s for teenagers. And I watched it for some obscure reason. I can’t remember why, probably because I was desperately looking for something cheerful. And I watched the film. And I remember thinking about halfway through, oh, my daughter would love this. And as soon as I thought that, I thought I’ve stopped thinking just about myself.

[00:37:53] Myrte Scheffer: Oh, wow.

[00:37:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I suddenly got an appreciation and a feeling of empathy or sympathy for somebody else who is my daughter. She would love this film, and I can’t wait to share it with her. That was the moment I thought I’m back.

[00:38:08] Myrte Scheffer: I’m back.

[00:38:09] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I wasn’t obviously back. It took a couple hours.

[00:38:11] Myrte Scheffer: No, but I can really imagine that you felt like, oh. 

[00:38:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But that was the light bulb moment when you think…

[00:38:17] Myrte Scheffer: Exactly, the light bulb moment. Yeah.

At the end of the day, there is always at least one good moment, so focus on that.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:38:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): You’re fine. And in terms of depression, I think it’s a huge, huge question, and everybody’s experience is very, very different. My experience was that at the end of the day, there is always at least one good moment, so focus on that. Whatever has happened in the day, however bad you felt in the day, there’s always at least one thing. And it might be just seeing a nice flower.

[00:38:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And these days, I actually take a photo of myself or something, every day, that’s cheerful and fun and makes me think happy thoughts. Because on my Google pixel phone, a bit of advertising for Google, in a year’s time, that will pop up as a message. And I will look at it. And if I’m feeling unhappy or depressed or unmotivated, that makes me smile. I think, oh, a year ago, I was having a good time, even though the rest of the day might have been rubbish. I take that one photo that will nail it in my brain, that good moment. And that was incredibly helpful to me, to say, find a moment every day. In this case, take a photo of it, and focus on that. Focus on the successes and not on the failures.

Myrte Scheffer’s Experience With Burnout and How She Found Her Way Out of It

[00:39:26] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. Mental health and, in your case, clinical depression is something that is so big and, what you said, different for everyone. I myself had a burnout when I was 21. 

[00:39:40] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, right, that’s early.

[00:39:41] Myrte Scheffer: I was very young. Yeah. And I still remember the moment that I couldn’t get out of bed anymore, and literally, I just couldn’t. And when I could, it took me two and a half hours to get down. And then I would eat something, and then I would go back. So, in my first episode, From Tesla to Tanzania, you can hear a little bit of the background of that story. And also, one of my coaches and someone who I work with in the UK, I’m actually going to the UK tomorrow. So, I’m going to meet her as well, Chloe. I’m going to record a podcast with her. She is my public speaker coach in the UK.

[00:40:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant.

[00:40:27] Myrte Scheffer: And she also had severe clinical depression for years. And the doctors were telling her she could never go back to work. And now she’s one of the best entrepreneurs in the UK. And for you as well, finding yourself back and getting out of that situation by. It might sound simple, like finding this one thing that made you happy that day and then from the next day. I did it myself as well. I was like, okay, if I survive this day, I can survive another day. If I survive this day, I survive another day.

When Myrte Scheffer Didn’t Feel the Need to Tell Herself in the Morning to Survive the Day, It Was Her Sign That She’s Getting Better

[00:41:01] Myrte Scheffer: So, this went on for months and months until I felt like, oh, I think I’m feeling, I don’t need to tell myself that in the morning again or anymore. So, that was my sign, okay, I think I’m getting out of it. But when you are in it, as someone who is already, the entrepreneurial spirit, the game changer in you, you are being stopped immediately. It’s like you hit a wall. And it’s not that that part of you died. It’s still there. So you want to go, but you can’t.

[00:41:38] Myrte Scheffer: And finding your way out of that is something that is really powerful. But if you are in that moment right now, then feel free to reach out to anyone in our community or somewhere next to you to help you with that. But yeah, all my respect for that, Jason.

How Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Rebuilt Himself One Step at a Time and Kalicube Is the Proof of That

[00:42:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Honestly, anybody who moves forwards in terms of being able to function normally, that’s a huge success. Every day, as you said, you move a tiny step forward. You might move two steps forward, one step back, but you’re still moving forward.

[00:42:18] Myrte Scheffer: Definitely.

[00:42:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And from my perspective, what I actually did, once again, very personal experience rather than something I would suggest to anybody else, is that I thought, for me, that person, my business partner, had ripped out my soul. He was the responsible person. So, first thing I had to do is let go of making him responsible for that. Whether he was or not doesn’t actually matter.

[00:42:44] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Then I thought, I’m going to rebuild my soul. And I’m not going to rebuild it as a blue dog this time. But what is interesting is that I rebuilt it little by little. It took me 10 years. And over 10 years, little by little, I built what I would call my soul. It’s not a religious soul. It’s just who I am. And I think that I have ended up in a place where, as you said, the entrepreneurial spark, the drive, the desire to move forwards, the desire to build things that make a difference. That all stayed somewhere deep down. And now it’s there again. And Kalicube is the proof that, as it were, I’m back.

Don’t Wait for the Stepping Stones to Appear in Front of You; You Have to Put It Yourself

[00:43:39] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah, exactly. And this is like the tangible proof. And this was something that I wanted to give you as something that I noticed in the conversation that we have. I hear you talk about building. You are a builder by heart. And one of the things that you said, I build it up, I build everything up myself, I build up from the experiences, and I build new. I gain knowledge, and I build up again.

[00:44:10] Myrte Scheffer: And for the people who are only listening, I’m just making all these hand moves right now. You are creating the stepping stones yourself. So, you took all the things that happen for you in the end, you created stepping stones out of it or from it, and you stepped on to the next level and the next one. 

[00:44:29] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s a really, really nice way of putting it. I think it’s saying, yeah, I put in place the stepping stones that I’m going to use, and I don’t wait for them to appear in front of me. I don’t believe that the world is full of stepping stones I can use. That’s a really nice analogy. And I appreciate that a great deal because I’m now going to use it, shamelessly.

[00:44:51] Myrte Scheffer: I know. Shamelessly, did you say that?

[00:44:54] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yes, shamelessly.

[00:44:55] Myrte Scheffer: Perfect. I love it. Well, do it. And you’re welcome. And I think this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs, that are listening right now, can also benefit from. The last few weeks, I’ve been working with some new clients. And some of them are in the early stages of their mission of their business. They’re really grasping their head around what is it that I have to do here. And this is one of the things that I try to teach them and to show them and help them with. No matter what life is throwing at you, it’s not happening to you. It’s happening for you. So, you can either use it as your anchor or you can transform it into your accelerator. And the last thing, that’s what you did. So, yeah, really respect for that.

The Transition From Making Cartoons to Getting a Job in Search Engine Optimisation 

[00:45:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you. Yes. And in fact, the whole experience with the blue dog ended very suddenly. And we came back to France, and I had to rebuild a career. And I thought, well, we got 5 million kids a month coming to the website. A million of them came from Google, because we were ranking number one in Google. And if I need a new job, the job I can get is to do search engine optimisation for clients.

[00:46:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, basically, I just went and saw clients. I said, this is what I did for UpToTen, Boowa and Kwala. UpToTen was the name of the company. I can do this for your company. And that’s how I built the new career within the SEO industry, which has now become digital marketing as I’ve moved away from SEO or out from SEO. And so, I then basically specialised in helping companies get to the top of Google with offers. And I did that for a few years.

[00:46:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But what I noticed is that I went into a meeting, talked to the potential client. They were on board. I gave them my business card, and I walked out the door. And let’s say 50% of them didn’t sign. And I was wondering why 50% didn’t sign, because I was quite convincing and I thought this is a shoo-in.

Jason Barnard’s Realisation of the Importance of What Google Shows When Somebody Searches for Your Name

[00:47:09] Myrte Scheffer: By the way, for the people who are listening, visit the website,, and watch the video where Jason is explaining this. I was laughing so hard when you showed me why are people not following up on me? And I was like, really, okay, what can happen now? So, sorry to interrupt, but continue.

[00:47:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Go to and watch this story again.

[00:47:34] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. It’s really funny.

[00:47:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): One of my clients told me, you know what we did as soon as you walked out the door? We looked up Jason Barnard on Google and what appeared, it said Jason Barnard is a blue dog. And they said, we like the idea, we’re fun people, but most companies are not going to hand over their digital marketing strategy to a cartoon blue dog. So, that was when I decided or I realised Google was showing what it understood about me, which was the blue dog aspect, because we made a TV series, we had a Wikipedia page. So, Google had understood Jason Barnard is a blue dog, and that’s what it showed.

Building a Career Out of Educating Google About What It Should Show Your Audience When They Search Your Personal Name or Brand Name

[00:48:11] Myrte Scheffer: It makes sense that Google was showing that, because it was the only thing that it knew about you.

[00:48:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Exactly. So what I then did is said, okay, I can educate Google, I can demonstrate to Google that I am now a digital marketer. So, I then spent three months creating the content that explained to Google, educated Google, if you like, that I’m now a digital marketer. And the blue dog, although part of my life and should be presented, isn’t the principal main piece of information that my current audience are looking for.

[00:48:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that is now the basis of my entire career. And since then, I have focused within the digital marketing space only on what does Google show your audience when they google your brand name or your personal name. And I’m the only person, as far as I know, in the world who specialises in this from that perspective of educating Google.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Is on a Mission to Inform Everybody About Brand SERPs

[00:49:10] Myrte Scheffer: Oh, that’s so interesting, super interesting. And because I didn’t know it. So, I had told you in my one-to-one programs, what I do is I deep dive with my clients on their positioning. Who are they, why are they who they are, and all kinds of other questions that eventually lead to a positioning, a unique positioning really aligned with you. But then it’s like, okay, the next steps are we create programs, we create a good business around that. And that’s where you come in. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised actually when we were talking before. Because this is the part where, to be honest, I never thought about it. I didn’t even know what a Brand SERP was. Maybe that’s not really smart thing to say, but I didn’t know.

[00:50:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No. In fact, the reason you don’t know what a Brand SERP, search engine results page, SERP means search engine results page. The reason you don’t know what it is because I invented the term.

[00:50:20] Myrte Scheffer: Oh, okay. That makes sense.

[00:50:22] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I’m the only person who talks about it. So, I am now on a mission to get everybody in the world to use the term Brand SERP to represent the search result on Google or Bing or Yahoo for your name.

Learning to Educate Google and Making It Understand to Be Able to Craft Your Brand Message Perfectly

[00:50:40] Myrte Scheffer: Yes, the thing that you really want to be known for and the thing that you really want to be known for today. You don’t want to be known as the blue dog anymore, right? 

[00:50:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A hundred percent. And as you said, you’ve crafted your brand message. You’ve decided who I am, you’ve decided what you do, and you’ve decided which audience you serve and what you want to communicate to them. And then people stop. And that’s where I, as you said, that’s where I pick up. And I say, now how do we show Google, educate Google to show that same message that you want to your audience when they search a brand name?

[00:51:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And so, it is truly a question of learning to educate Google, because Google wants to show your audience a fair, balanced view of who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, and what they might be interested in. It has no reason to show a different message, if it can understand the correct message. And it’s up to you to educate it.

A Perfect Brand SERP Shows Your Social Voice, Brand Image, Brand Message, Products, and Social Channels to Interact With Your Audience

[00:51:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A lot of people say, but Google understands. Google is a small child. It’s trying to understand, but it’s got a massive web of gazillions, and I’m not saying billions, I’m saying gazillions of trillions of zillions of gazillions of pieces of information around the web that are incredibly badly organised. We have the impression it’s quite well organised because we use Google, and Google organises it for us. But in fact, it’s a total mess.

[00:52:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Our job is to clean up our little corner of the internet so that it sends a clear signal to Google, to educate Google about what our brand is all about and what our audience is looking for around our brand. So, the perfect Brand SERP shows your social voice, your brand image, your brand message, your product, the social channels that people might want to interact with you on so that they then get the choice. Your audience, when they’re googling your brand name, they get the choice of how they want to interact with you, what it is they want to do with you.

Your Audience Should Have the Choice of How They Want to Interact With You Through Your Brand SERP

[00:52:58] Myrte Scheffer: So they, for example, if they want to have only functional information or they want to have more background story, they want to hear your blue dog story, or they want just your products or services. Is that what you mean?

[00:53:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, exactly. If they want to interact with me on Twitter, because they like Twitter, or LinkedIn, because they like LinkedIn. On my Brand SERP, if you search my name, Jason Barnard, you will see my site, my company site, my Twitter profile, my LinkedIn profile, my podcast. You will see a description of me from Google Books. You will see my book. You will see as well who my wife is, who my mother is, my rock group from the 90s, and you will see three of my songs with a link through to see all the other 96.

Analysing the Brand SERP of Myrte Scheffer and the Ambiguity of Her Name 

[00:53:49] Myrte Scheffer: So, Jason, of course, before we went on this interview, I did a little research on my own name. 

[00:53:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. No. I always say uh-oh when people do that as well, because they’re always disappointed. 

[00:54:03] Myrte Scheffer: Well, I was actually happy, surprised.

[00:54:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, right.

[00:54:08] Myrte Scheffer: Because I remember 2 years ago, I think no, 2 or 3 years ago, because the thing that I’m doing today, the GameChangers United, I launched it this year in 2022. I’ve been working on it for a little bit longer, and I went on this whole journey myself, of course, to get there. But 2 or 3 years ago, I remember googling myself. And I saw these old pictures when I was still working for a football club here in the Netherlands. I’m pointing here because it’s literally there. I’m back in my hometown now. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

[00:54:48] Myrte Scheffer: And I was like, ah, these old pictures, this doesn’t represent me anymore, but I forgot about it. So now, today, I was actually googling, and I found the interviews that I’ve been published in a New York journal as one of the top 30 entrepreneurs, the podcast. And everything showed up, but I didn’t do it.

For an Uncommon Name, Like Myrte Scheffer, It’s Very Easy for Google to Show the Correct Information in the Brand SERP

[00:55:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No. There are a couple of questions there. Number one is how unique is your name? 

[00:55:19] Myrte Scheffer: My personal name?

[00:55:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah, your name. 

[00:55:24] Myrte Scheffer: I think very unique. I’m not John Smith.

[00:55:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Myrte, is it Scheffer?

[00:55:31] Myrte Scheffer: Scheffer, yeah.

[00:55:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Scheffer. If you have an uncommon name, it’s very easy for Google to do that, because there isn’t any ambiguity. There aren’t very many other people with the same name. If you’re called Julie Smith, then Google has a huge problem of a) understanding which piece of content is about which Julie Smith, but also which Julie Smith were looking for. Whereas with a unique name like yours, not only does it have a very good idea that the articles you mentioned were talking about you because there aren’t too many others with the same name, but also the likelihood is people are searching for you when they type your name because there’s only you, so it doesn’t have a different choice.

[00:56:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And if you take a name Jason Barnard, it seems reasonably uncommon, but there are 300 Jason Barnards. In order to get what I want to show and for me to dominate requires that I actually organise myself. So for an individual person, your trick is easy to play when you’ve got an uncommon name and very difficult to play when you’ve got a common name.

Google Is Getting More Enthusiastic on Putting Multimedia Content Like Videos and Podcasts; It Is Moving Forwards in Its Understanding of the World

[00:56:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the other thing I would suggest is you mentioned podcasts and videos that would appear is that three years ago Google was less multimedia. And it’s getting more and more enthusiastic about putting up the multimedia content. It can analyse videos and podcast audio to understand what’s being said. It’s got more opportunities to understand because its technology has advanced. Image analysis, it can understand who’s in an image very easily now.

[00:57:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, the fact that Google is actually moving forwards very quickly with its capacity to understand the world and most importantly to disambiguate between different entities, different people with the same name, different companies with the same name is very, very, very important. So, you could imagine that if you have an uncommon name, you could just sit back and let Google get on with it. But I would suggest, whatever you have seen when you search your name could be better. Then I would say, you are sitting in the Netherlands. If your audience is in the US, you need to look in the US. What are they seeing? 

[00:57:52] Myrte Scheffer: Exactly. That’s what I wanted to ask you. Because I was like, yeah, but it’s showing me probably the thing that I want to see, because I’m in the Netherlands. So, this was my other question because my audience is worldwide. And a lot of people are actually in the US. Yeah, let’s use that as an example.

How Can You Get in Touch With Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and Access His Services?

[00:58:08] Myrte Scheffer: And I’m aware of the time, Jason. So, we are already talking for an hour. We can keep talking, but I think what would be really interesting for the audience to know is because you have a lot of free resources that they can see. So, they can already get to know the product that you’re doing, that you’ve invested so much time in. They can access it there. Is there any way that they can get in touch with you directly or how does it work? 

[00:58:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. If you want to get in contact with me directly for work purposes, you come to the site. We offer a done-for-you service, where we help you with your brand on Google.

[00:58:54] Myrte Scheffer: Okay. Yeah. I’m going to do that, because I’m curious. You triggered something for me, and I hope for a lot of entrepreneurs as well. It can always be better. And in a time where everything happens online, you need experts. You need people, game changers in the tech industry, for example, like Jason yourself, to help us entrepreneurs to improve in those areas of your business. You need to continuously, wow, that’s a pretty difficult word for me to say. 

[00:59:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Continuously.

[00:59:29] Myrte Scheffer: Continuously.

[00:59:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant.

[00:59:31] Myrte Scheffer: Move in all areas of your business. And especially when you are an entrepreneur on a social mission, we tend to forget about all these things that can really help manifest our business in a way that we really want it to be. So, that’s the one thing that I would say for everyone. Yeah.

If Your Brand SERP Is Great, Your Digital Marketing Strategy Is Almost Certainly Great Too

[00:59:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And if you google your name or your brand name for a company, and you look at what Google is presenting to you, Google is presenting to you what it thinks your audience is going to find valuable, helpful, and useful. And if it isn’t what you think is helpful, valuable, and interesting to your audience, then you have one of two problems. Either the content you’re creating isn’t actually helpful to your audience at all, you’re getting it wrong, or you haven’t explained it properly to Google. And Google hasn’t understood that your content is in fact useful to your audience.

[01:00:26] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, your Brand SERP is actually a critique by Google of your digital marketing strategy and the quality of the content that you are creating for your audience. So, look at it, take a step back, and think how can I make this better? The more I make it better, the better I will be serving my audience, the better my digital marketing strategy would be.

[01:00:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I say to any business and any person, build your digital marketing strategy from the Brand SERP outwards. If your Brand SERP is great, your digital marketing strategy is almost certainly great too. If your Brand SERP is bad or less than perfect, your digital marketing strategy is bad or less than perfect.

[01:01:12] Myrte Scheffer: That should waken us up.

[01:01:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I hope so, yes. We’ll come here.

What Will Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Do to Fulfill His Mission of Informing Everybody About Brand SERPs?

[01:01:16] Myrte Scheffer: Jason, can I ask you one last question?

[01:01:18] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yes, you certainly can. 

[01:01:20] Myrte Scheffer: So, you are on this mission now to inform everyone in the world about it.

[01:01:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Huge mission. 

[01:01:29] Myrte Scheffer: That’s quite a big mission. So, my question is how are you going to make that happen?

[01:01:35] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Step by step, little by little. Today I took a little stepping stone called Myrte. I placed it in front of me, and I stood on it, and I shouted my message. Later on today, I’m going to take another little stepping stone, I’m going to put it in front of me, and I’m going to shout my message, step by step, little by little. And then at some point, other people will start talking about it. And as they start talking about it, they will talk about it to other people, and it will amplify.

[01:02:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I think there are multiple things. Number one, it’s incredibly important, and everybody needs to know about it. And every time I talk about it, people say, oh, I’ve never thought about it, but now I do think about it, I definitely need this. And the other is my drive and desire to make it happen. If nothing external stops me, I know I’m going to make this happen. So, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

Hoping That Everyone Learns Their Own Lessons to Stay as a Game Changer and Believe in Oneself

[01:02:36] Myrte Scheffer: And this is a game changer’s mindset. I love it. I love it, Jason. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable information and your story with us. Yeah, it’s really inspirational.

[01:02:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. Thank you.

[01:02:52] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. I hope that everyone gets their own lessons out of it in the end. For me, the biggest lesson and insight and confirmation is to never give up and to always keep believing in the thing that you see, even though other people don’t see it. And that’s the thing with game changers and visionary people. We see things that other people don’t see, and we get tested in life a lot of times. Do you really still believe in that? So, the universe is shaking you up. A clinical depressor is getting you, losing your sister or losing your babies or whatever it is. And it takes a lot of courage to stay the game changer, to keep believing in yourself, even though there’s nothing to visibly believe in.

Jason Barnard Can’t Optimise Eveybody’s Brand SERP, But He Can Get People to Pay Attention to Their Own Brand SERPs

[01:03:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. No. And it’s every day getting up for the last 10 years when nobody cares, nobody’s listening to me. And keep moving forward. And again, I’m going to learn this, I’m going to get it right, I’m going to master the art and science of educating Google, and then I’m going to teach everybody else to do it. And so, what I now have done is written the book here, the courses. I got the SaaS platform going.

[01:04:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the whole aim for me is I can’t optimise everybody’s Brand SERP in the whole world, because there are billions of them. But what I can do is get people to pay attention to the idea that Brand SERPs are important, and then educate the world to optimise their own. And it is something sufficiently simple that any marketer can do. It’s good common sense marketing. It isn’t geeky technical stuff. And so, from that perspective, I’ve got two impossible missions. Number one is to get everybody to use the term Brand SERP. Number two is to teach the entire world to optimise theirs.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Accepting Inputs and Suggestions to Improve and Be Better

[01:04:44] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah. And it’s like the salt in a dish. This is something that is so obvious. And that’s being missed when it’s not there. So, yeah, so how to get it on the market. And I have some ideas on that. I think it would be very interesting as well to look at the strategies, how are you going to manifest this mission other than only from the educational perspective. 

[01:05:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. No, absolutely. I would love to have your input on that. Because from my perspective, I’m a game changer. I change my industry, but I’m a rubbish business person. And I’m so obsessed by the educational perspective that I actually have somebody on my team who will watch this and will go through the whole thing and say, from a business perspective, you missed this, you missed that, you should have said this, you should have said that.

[01:05:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s great, because she’s teaching me to get a little bit better, Mary-Ann is her name, to get me a little bit better each time, inserting those little business attitudes, whilst retaining my enthusiasm and my desire to educate and my desire to have a delightful, enjoyable conversation, which today absolutely was. So, thank you so much.

Being an Expert and Professional in Your Field Is Different From Building a Sustainable Business Model 

[01:06:09] Myrte Scheffer: Thank you so much. And I think this is another valuable tip to close with.

[01:06:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. Absolutely. Perfect. Your English is better than mine. 

[01:06:20] Myrte Scheffer: Every game changer is amazingly good in what he or she does already. You are the expert. You are the professional in your field. However, building a sustainable business and a sustainable business model and strategy and concept around that that will enable you to really manifest this mission until the level that you really want it to be, that is something different.

[01:06:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And hugely difficult.

Learning From Other Experts From Different Fields Through a Platform Where You Can Talk With Like-Minded People

[01:06:50] Myrte Scheffer: Yeah, it’s really difficult. For me, that’s my expertise. And that’s why I love this platform and I love this concept so much. The thing that is your expertise, I can really use in my business but also for my clients. I’m already thinking I’m going to create. So, this is one thing that I’m actually going to start this year is to create game changers online network. So, four pre-selected game changers that I think should be in one digital room together. And I’m going to facilitate three conversations with the four of us. And there will be a lot of commercial chances, but also supporting and talking to like-minded people.

[01:07:36] Myrte Scheffer: But also what I want to do, and this conversation confirms that for me, is to create game changing teams, just teams like mobile teams, let’s say, that you can just tap into whenever you need it. So, I might need your expertise, you might need my expertise, or whatever, however it’s going to work out. But put all these game changers in one community, and then the game will change. I’m positive. 

[01:08:08] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s absolutely delightful. I definitely need your expertise, because I’m struggling with making some money out of this genius idea.

[01:08:15] Myrte Scheffer: Ah, really? Well, let’s stop the recording and let’s talk about it. 

[01:08:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Thank you so much for having me. Thank you so much for this delightful conversation, Myrte.

[01:08:25] Myrte Scheffer: You too. Thank you so much, Jason.

Video by: GameChangers United Podcast. Host: Myrte Scheffer. Guest: Jason Barnard. October 6, 2022.

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