Bradley is CEO of The Outloud Group, the leading US influencer marketing agency. A proven marketing innovator, Bradley is responsible for agency culture and strategy, building client relationships, and making new business models come to life. A former management consultant and active business builder, Bradley has been featured for his work in The USA Today, Cheddar, Forbes, and Fox News. The husband of Melissa and the father of one daughter, Bradley holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS and MS in Engineering from Michigan State University and the University of Iowa, respectively.
Where did the idea for The Outloud Group come from?
My business partner, Joel Beckett, founded a precursor to The Outloud Group back in 2007. Originally a podcast called “Outloud Opinion” the business has evolved from being a podcast to helping media publications push their content onto podcasts into the full-fledged leading influencer marketing agency in the United States that it is today.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We’re a culture-driven organization so most of my day is really built on enforcing and living the culture. Our values of True Communication, Respect for the Individual, Care, Sincerity, and Emotional Maturity all come to light in different ways. Practically speaking this means I’m meeting with the amazing team members at Outloud’, brand partners, and creators — and then doing my best to have some heads down time to help set strategy, analyze the market, and crystallize our offerings and investments that are needed to enhance our position in the market.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s pretty simple:
(1) We do what we say we’ll do when we say we’ll do it
(2) We collectively hold one another accountable
(3) We work hard every day because success comes from doing the right thing on 1.000 mornings when nobody is watching rather than one day when the lights are on”
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m really excited about the convergence of user-generated content, influencer marketing, and paid ads. While influencers will continue to have organic audiences that are very meaningful, I’m excited about influencers continuing to play a larger role in paid campaigns and developing content for brand creators. Influencers are ultimately decentralized media companies and the more brands lean into the power of these extremely creative and hard-working individuals that have an existing community — the more success they will see.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I work out and take my dog for a walk every weekday morning to allow my brain and body to perform at its best. In the evening when I’m done with my work I take my dog for another walk as a way to try and separate my work and clear my mind before I try to give my best to my best: my adoring family.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get outdoors into nature as often as you can. There’s so many lessons you can learn on your own if you take the time to look around and listen to the world around you
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Creating financial goals or targets for an organization are generally a waste of time. If you develop a strategy, execute it like mad, change it when it needs to be changed, and work your tail off the money will be there at the end.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. Accountability to yourself and your team is mission-critical. Trust comes in many forms — and part of trust is being reliable.
We’d adopted the concept of the Do:Say ratio here at The Outloud Group. If your Do:Say ratio isn’t high, we have a problem that needs to get fixed immediately.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Success doesn’t come from balance — it comes from being exceptional and particular about the parts of your work that’s most critical. For Outloud it’s always been about having the right culture in place — and making sure that we don’t just list words on a page but do the hard work to live them out. And for me — I’m obsessive about delivering high quality work to our clients and this is something that our team continues to embrace every day.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We all know that good health, in large part, comes from diet and exercise. I didn’t think there was enough emphasis on what we’re eating as a society, so I launched a program that incentivized healthy food purchases at the grocery store. These healthy purchases were incentivized by health insurance brands that benefit financially when their members eat healthy. This start-up got accepted into a respected accelerator and got some traction in the market but ultimately it failed. I overcame it by being okay with letting it go. I was going through a divorce at the time and I knew that I didn’t have the emotional energy to continue to build the business from the ground up. There’s a time to hold ’em & there’s a time to fold ’em. Good entrepreneurs know which is which.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I still believe that having health insurance companies fund incentives for people to make healthy purchases at the grocery store is a huge business opportunity, but it requires some large organizations to be on board as partners.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Athletic Greens — I honestly feel like I have more energy every day from using the product.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use all sorts of software but I’m most productive when I turn it all off & think with a blank stack of paper in front of me. Technology is great & I embrace it but there’s no substitute for thinking free of screens.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Dichotomy of Leadership — understand that navigating being pulled in different directions is not a problem but the very key to success.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ve gotta cheat and share two:
1) Meet success like a gentleman; disaster like a man. — Winston Churchill
2) The harder you work, the luckier you get. — To me, this one is from my father even if he’s not the original author! ”
- Execute, execute, execute
- A good workout or time spent outside in the fresh air may not cure all, but it’s a great start
- The difference between good and exceptional is just a little extra. Find your little extra and go at it consistently. Do this on repeat and watch your world open new opportunities because of it.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.