In our latest content series featuring conversations with B2B leaders, our CEO and Co-Founder, Brendan Kamm, recently met with Story Real Studio’s Yash Patel to discuss the positive impact of incorporating gratitude and empathy in client exchanges. Listen to their conversation here!:
Editor’s Note: The transcript of their interview is below. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Brendan Kamm: Hey guys, it’s Brendan Kamm, Co-founder and CEO of Thnks. And today I’m here with Yash Patel from Story Real Studios and it’s your first podcast appearance, is that right?
Yash Patel: That is right. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t lie, I’m kinda scared, but you know, it should be a good conversation.
Brendan: We’ll try to make it easy on you for sure. But maybe a soft ball to get you started. Tell us a little bit about your background, what led you to Story Real, and really what Story Real is.
Yash: My name is Yash Patel. I’m from Connecticut, went to University of Connecticut, graduated with a finance and economics degree, not quite what the typical path is.
I met my friend, Luke Adams, who is also a co-founder of Story Real Studios. He’s been doing videos since he was 18 and I essentially fell in love with the mission statement, wanted to help scale the business, and here I am.
So essentially, at Story Real Studios, we make videos to help our clients’ brands unforgettable. So we’ve helped fashion brands, car dealerships, and anything else in the gamut right now—been more towards the real estate side, just due to the virus, kind of, taking a toll on our main branches that we help.
Brendan: One thing I really love about Story Real is, I’m not a creative. I grew up in sales and relationship building and network building. But really, what you’re doing is creating relationships and deeper relationships through video and through creativity.
In my world of Thnks, it’s all about that personal one-to-one connection—”How can I get a deeper relationship with you?”—and I feel like that’s what you guys are doing but instead of a one-to-one level, right from a brand to their customers—”Hey, get to know me!”
It’s not just this email with the 800 other ones that are in my inbox for the last five minutes. It just feels a little more personal. Even just looking at your website, it’s beautiful. How do you guys go about doing that? Do you show up at a brand’s place of work and take a lot of video or, how does it all work?
Yash: Thank you for the appreciation. So like you mentioned we aim to not be pushy because you know that’s just not going to get anyone anywhere. I’m not here trying to sell you a video, I’m here trying to help you help other brands with their problems.
That entails getting to know that brand, getting to know the people behind that brand. We try to convey that with all of our work. For example, we’re working with a non-profit, run by Big Brother, Big Sister in Connecticut. We could give them like a typical, nonprofit video, just letting them let people know about what they do.
But besides that, unfortunately no one’s going to care about that. We want to help inspire people to hop on board with what they believe and that’s done through emotion-driven videos. So we very much are about that side of empathizing with their mission statement and stuff like that.
Brendan: Love that. You hit on, obviously, two of my favorite themes, empathy being one, understanding it from the client perspective. You’re not selling Story Real Studios, you are understanding their needs and their story and putting it into a visual form, which gets way above my pay grade—I could never do that. I always get so impressed with things like this.
You know, gratitude, empathy—these things where you’re making these connections—during this time, I think are even more important when you’re connecting with your clients or your prospects.
Do you have any examples or places where you think you’ve used that? I think the nonprofit’s a great example—is that how you go about selling your product?
Yash: Right now you have to be empathetic. You know, this virus came out of nowhere and there are hardworking people out there that can’t make a living.
Because you can’t go to the restaurant, they can’t go and run their banquet hall to run weddings and stuff like that. You have to be very much understanding and see where they’re coming from.
When it comes to the virus now, we want to emphasize gratitude and empathy more than ever. No one expected us to come and we’re here to essentially listen, we’re here to listen to any of our clients.
We help anyone else who could possibly help. That also includes Big Brother, Big Sister. We want to help with their cause and help kids that are damaged by this as well.
Brendan: You touched on something that I think is maybe not as intuitive for people, but as a storyteller, it probably just comes naturally to you.
In order to be a great storyteller, you need to be a great listener first, right? How do you tell someone’s story if you can’t pull out of them, you know, everything it means to them and then communicate that through video and through making those visuals and telling a story?
The hero’s journey is what everyone, you know, resonates with, right? So I’m very jealous you’ve got a company in a workflow revolving around storytelling. Even at Thnks, of course it’s about relationships and connections for us, but ultimately you can’t sell that value without telling a good story.
It’s never about features—everyone’s got features on features, especially these days. You can find something to do whatever you want. So, how do you create a brand and a story that you can tell that gets people like inline, right? Once you make that connection and you’re telling their story, I would imagine your clients as you get them are probably just so tight.
You guys probably have such great NPS scores and things because who doesn’t love someone who fully understands their story and that’s literally your job at the end of the day.
Yash: Exactly. It’s beyond fulfilling too. Once we sit down and talk to the client, get to know what even started their journey, where it’s come to, and where they plan on going—it’s amazing.
The best part is when they see the final products, it puts a smile on their face ear to ear. There’s nothing better to it. I just want to help other people and do this for the rest of my life.
Brendan: Whether it’s gratitude, like we talk about, storytelling that’s core to you, ultimately it all comes back to, “How do you make connections?”
Especially in this time, you mentioned during COVID, you’ve got people losing jobs, people stuck at home. It’s a lot harder when you can’t walk in and smile and shake someone’s hand. You’re kind of just like, “What do I do from afar to make that connection?” and it’s stories that get us there. It’s showing gratitude and it’s that empathy of, “I gotta get out of my head and really think about them.”
It can’t be about me and selling me. It’s gotta be, “What are their needs? How can I help them?” and then it becomes less about the sale. It becomes truly about gratitude and empathy. It becomes about, “How can I actually help?” Once you have that, it’s good for your own mindset.
It’s great for your client’s mindset, and it gets you out of this, “I’ve got a goal quota of things I need to hit,” and it just becomes a day-to-day system. “I’m just going to do the right thing and make these connections and it’s all gonna happen.” That’s what you guys are all about. I know it’s really what we strive to be.
Yash: For sure. You mentioned doing the right thing, I don’t know how much simpler it gets than that—just do the right thing. It’s always going to go well. So that’s what we try to do, and for your brand as well, Thnks, you guys stand for that as well.
Do the right thing to deliver what you say you’re going to deliver and put a smile on a client’s face—simple as that.
Brendan: You’re not going to go wrong if your clients are smiling. That’s for sure.
Brendan: Let me shift gears a little bit here and talk about you more specifically. I’d love to hear any advice you’d have for someone who’s out there—think about yourself a few years back. You’re at UConn. You’re thinking about what you want to do with your life. Someone who wants to get into storytelling, creative strategy, video production—and these are fun things.
I remember doing digital video classes when I was in college, which was a very long time ago, but it was like the hot new thing. And I’m like, “Man, this is awesome!” I had no connections. I had nowhere to go with it, so it became a fun thing, but I didn’t really pursue it because I didn’t know what to do next.
So what kind of advice would you give to somebody who wanted to get into your shoes?
Yash: I came from a finance background. I came from a small business background even before that. My parents were—I’m first generation—so they came here to this country to work a hundred hour work weeks and essentially build something from the ground up.
And for some reason it’s still in my blood. I went to school for finance and I kept an open mind the whole time—I did various positions throughout the state and my partner, Luke Adams, him and I just jived and we had the same mindset.
Getting into this industry, one of the biggest things I could say is repetitions—and that’s something he’s done since he was 18 until now—you can’t become anywhere near where you want to be without helping people consistently find new problems to solve and just providing value every single day that you are living on this earth.
On top of that, like I mentioned, learning, having a thirst of knowledge, has been a key attribute in many successful people. I want to learn and get my hands dirty with as many things as possible.
I’m reading a book right now about the life of the elderly. I’m not in that field, but just getting a grasp, more knowledge about just many various things about this world. I’m just thirsty to know more. I’m still in my early twenties, so I’ve got so much more to do.
Brendan: I got a few of my favorite sort of things here, which is, I love that you’re a finance major who got into video production and storytelling.
I just think there’s such tremendous value in a broad set of skill stack. You don’t have to go super deep if you can keep layering on these skills where you’re almost good enough, if you will. You’ve got a good base in finance. You don’t need to know everything about finance, but each time you add a skill stack to that, you’re just multiplying your value.
So it’s one more skill stack, but your value to society, and to someone you’re working for or with, just reacts each time. There’s a lot of value in people who are, you know, you call them spikes, right? So they go deep and hard. That’s a lot of value too, but you know, if you’re curious and you have this intellectual curiosity, like you do, you can really add to your talent stack and you have to be careful, especially as you get into your career, not to lose that, because I think a lot of times people start to get more of a spike. Then you’re kind of in the middle, right? You’re not really like, “I know more than anyone in the world, top 1% of the world on this subject,” but “I don’t really have a broad set,” and that’ll hurt you.
I think it’s great that you keep that open mind and just keep adding to those skills—you can’t have anything better—and that can help you in that goal of empathizing. You can understand the person you’re talking to is in finance and you’re selling that person on your product.
There’s a different way to speak to that person than the person in marketing. You understand that and it’s just going to help you so much. So it’s really good to hear that.
Yash: Thank you. If you’re not very complacent where you are right now, like you see multiple basketball players, especially in the early 2000s where they made millions of dollars. They won when they were probably young, early twenties, and they’re fine with that.
They ended up dropping out of the league, then they got another job, and they’d go bankrupt. So there’s plenty of case studies out there to show that you always gotta be moving, you always gotta be thirsting for knowledge.
That goes with where I’m standing: know more about the world, learn more stories, help more people, going day-in and day-out and just keeping the system going.
Brendan: Love it, Yash.
Alright, we’re going to move into our last piece here. This is very important. When I do these three rapid fire questions for you, don’t think too hard about them. Just answer and move to the next. We’ll see what comes top of mind for Yash Patel, alright.
First question: Who wins—one horse sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
Yash: Oh, okay. I would say a hundred ducks. Because if you manage them correctly, I think that’s probably one of the scariest things you could even dream of.
Brendan: An infantry of duck-sized horses or horse-sized ducks is going to be very scary indeed.
Second question: Is a hotdog a sandwich?
Yash: I would say so. I personally don’t eat any red meat, but if I were to have a hot dog, you’d have to put some sort of condiment on it and some sort of vegetables on it too. That’s just how I roll. That’s just how it should be done. And that’s a sandwich in my book.
Brendan: I tend to agree with you, but we will get comments on this podcast of people who vehemently disagree with you.
Last one: Tell me a brand, a person—someone that more people should know about or deserves more attention?
Yash: Oh man. So good. It’s just so good. I’m a basketball guy. So I’m always just going to say LeBron James.
He has been in the league and has done like pretty much nothing wrong. He’s been in class actions they won, put a team on his back, won a three-one championship.
Brendan: I have to tell you, I’m actually impressed with your answer. Although I would disagree with this one that LeBron James needs any more attention or praise, although he does get the other side of it.
But I asked you specifically about a brand, a person, a leader, and he really is all those things at once. I think you really kind of nailed it with someone who encompasses all of that. How do you differentiate LeBron the man from LeBron the brand? They’re sort of one in the same and sort of different at the same time.
Yash: And when he retires, that man’s already worth a billion dollars. He has his own VC firm.
Brendan: You know what, it’s a good point. Because you brought up earlier some of the younger generation guys, maybe one of the guys closer to my age who’ve kind of just gone bankrupt, like out of life almost. These guys learn from that. That’s awesome to see too. They’re taking control of their own brands.
They’re not selling them off to the big companies. They’re investing back in young people and you can’t ask for more than that.
Yash: For sure. He’s also giving back to the community. That’s one of the biggest things too. When you do have some level of success, you have to train the next generation with the wisdom you’ve obtained, with the capital you obtained. So I praise that and I hope to get to that point one day as well.
Brendan: Well, Yash, you brought it full circle for us. Because that’s all about being empathetic and showing gratitude.
So I end on that note and I just want to say thank you for joining us today. It was fun to do. And now you’ve got a podcast under your belt. You’re an expert.
Yash: I appreciate your time, Brendan.
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