Introduction and Background

Gemma’s Journey in Design and Branding

The Importance of Brand Strategy

Remote Work and Professional Relationships

Holistic Business Approach

Branding Strategies for Hotels

The Role of Social Media in Branding

Leveraging Technology in Hospitality

Current Trends in Hospitality Branding

Case Study: Hillbrook Hotel

Personal Stories and Favourite Games

Closing Remarks and Outro


Chris Barnard: Hello, and welcome back to bear business with me, Chris Barnard, from feedback fans.com. Today we interview Gemma Johnson from emotion brands who talks to us about branding in the hospitality, leisure, and specifically in the hotel industry.

Gemma, hi, thank you ever so much for coming on the bear business podcast. You are a guest I have wanted on since the new season was announced. Not only because of our background working together many years ago, you always were one of the friendliest faces for me in the design team. You were so good at getting things done that I knew you would go on to create your own brilliant business, which you have at this point. so I wondered if you could just tell everybody on the bear business podcast a bit about your own journey to this point with emotion brands and the unique approach you take towards branding in the hospitality industry, particularly for hotels.

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, so firstly, thank you so much for having me on, Chris. I’ve been loving your work on The Bear Business podcast. So yeah, I have been a designer for 20 years and for the first part of that, for the first 10 years, I worked in corporates and agencies and then I had a two year kind of Break went traveling, worked in hotels around Canada and Australia.

And then when I came back, I was a bit of a free spirit. So, had to go freelance and then during my freelance career, I was asked a lot for just a logo. I just need a logo. And, I was asked by a boutique hotel in Dorset for, just a logo. That’s all they, that’s all they needed. And that’s all I thought that they needed at the time.

So did this logo for them and supplied it. And then, two years later, I noticed that they had unfortunately gone under. And I couldn’t help thinking to myself, could I have helped them more if I, you know, had more knowledge. Could I have helped them more where the design meets the business strategy.

So I started kind of digging more into it and, um, came across brand strategy. And so did a course in brand strategy. And that kind of just opened up a whole can of worms for me with learning more about, how branding does connect with the business strategy. So I teamed up with, people that I’ve worked with over the, over the 20 years that I’ve been a designer, yourself included.

So we now help, boutique hotels to attract more customers all year round and avoid going completely quiet in low seasons, which helps to increase the profits. Brand strategy is very much about, connecting to the human emotions and defining the customer, discovering their pain points and their fears and desires. And then mapping the brand’s strategy to resonate with the customer on a deep emotional level. There’s a lot of behavioral science, involved, which I absolutely love because if I wasn’t designer, I would have loved to be a psychologist. So there’s a lot of customer psychology that goes into it, which I find absolutely fascinating.

And, um, yeah, so that’s why we’re called Emotion Brands and we help across branding, social media and web design.

Chris Barnard: It’s one of the great things, isn’t it? And this might have been forgotten in the sort of the covid era as well. And now the kind of working from home era.

Because there’s a lot to be said about people being able to work remotely, people being able to work freely. And it’s certainly something that you and I both share. We’re pleased that things have gone that way. But actually, what’s been great for me is if you do spend your misspent youth in your twenties and thirties working in London, working in businesses that have a variety of functions is that you get to meet people such as yourself. You know, me from marketing background, yourself from a design background, you, you’re exposed to, we were exposed to people in sort of a money business.

So you’ve got kind of fund manager celebrities there. You’ve got IT back end teams, and actually you make a lot of friends in these different places. And then the beauty of that is over time. The really good people go off, make it more senior, setup their own businesses, and you come back around to find people and actually those sorts of relationships, you can forge in those environments. You can’t get, could get from a remote culture team, but I think it is much harder. Wouldn’t you agree in those situations?

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, I think so. And it’s, it’s, it’s, um, I think if you make, make a connection with somebody that they’re always going to be kind of, you know, they, they sort of come back around and like, like with you and I, we have, you know, when did we start working together? It must have been in 2012,

Chris Barnard: Yes.

Gemma Johnson: so,

Chris Barnard: think it’s hazy with COVID because you have to sort of add two years to everything these

Gemma Johnson: yeah, yeah, I think it was, it was roughly around then

Chris Barnard: 2012.

Gemma Johnson: You’d set up your business just shortly after I’d gone freelance yeah, it’s been really good to kind of keep, keep in touch and now we’ve obviously built the emotion Brands and we work on, um, you, you bring your amazing skills to the table with your web development and, uh, and you’re very, you’re, you’re the most patient person to work with, so yeah.

Chris Barnard: That’s good to hear. That’s good. I’m going to underline that and make sure there’s a clip

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: that’s the thing is people get more senior as well. Like from that background. I think people could tell that you were a designer, who was also very capable at other things. Right. And that’s, what’s been fascinating for me to see as you’ve moved into brand.

Brand. Brand strategy, then niched into hospitality and hotels, because the story about the logo is such an interesting one, because whilst, uh, that is the nature of everything. As people come to me about websites, what people say they like about working with us is that, Oh, well, actually you’re coming, you’re finding out about my business, you are trying to help me on a strategic level, operational level, tactical level, and actually it’s not just getting a logo or. Can you change this on my website? It’s, I appreciate that you are working more as a business partner, right? Which we all are in all our businesses under the emotion brands umbrella as well, we’re doing that. So it’s very much a holistic look these days

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, that’s,

Chris Barnard: as opposed to transactional relationships. That seems to have gone.

I think, I think it’s probably gone for the best as well. That transaction relationships. It’s a, it’s a much

Gemma Johnson: yeah.

Chris Barnard: these days

Gemma Johnson: Well, it, it works, it works for us. If their business does well, then our business does well. So that’s why I’m, I’m always so invested and why I asked that question. You know, when I was freelancing, I just thought, you know what, there, there needs to be, there must be more to this. And then, you know,

you know, a couple of days later, I had this brand strategy come up. I think it was on Facebook or you know, wherever. And I just thought, Oh, I really need to find out more. And it’s, it is literally a, you know, a can of worms that has been open, massively opened my eyes to, to so much more. And it’s just and I love it because it’s so much to do with, you know, behavioral psychology.

I’m so fascinated by that. And, you know, um, by, uh, buyer psychology and, um, Yeah, so it’s, it’s really fascinating.

Chris Barnard: I remember you raving about it. Funny enough. I remember you saying I’ve been at this conference that I absolutely love it. And it’s brilliant. And from there, you’ve taken it and absolutely ran with it, uh, which is a great segue into sort of my next question for you, which is why is branding so crucial?

Why is it so fascinating for you? Um, why is it important to hotels and hospitality businesses and what impact can it have on their success and their customer loyalty?

Gemma Johnson: Well, a big part of strategy is, defining the difference. And so, for example, we specialise in, um, boutique hotels and, I’m based in Poole near Bournemouth, and there’s literally hundreds of hotels and not all of them can be the cheapest. So they have to use smart branding and marketing. They have to really know what their, what their difference is, um, and, you know, yes facilities comes into that, but, you know, if, if they, if they don’t have the best facilities, you know, it’s how, how are they actually going to differentiate themselves, market themselves, and, you know, it’s really knowing about the customer, who their, who their customer persona is, who they want to attract, and then linking, all of their messaging to attract that, the customer and, you know, thinking about the pain points and, what their situation is, what their, you know, personal situation is, whether are they a family, are they, are they a dad or are they like, you know, are they, a business person with lots of travel and, you know, tapping into their emotional state that then will influence the marketing strategy and you know how you reach out to them on social media and, um, and it’s also a lot about, setting the values as well for the brand.

And that then helps to influence the culture within the hotel as well. So, obviously in, in hospitality, there’s, normally quite a, a fast turnover of staff in some places. It’s, um, that’s quite a well known thing in, in hospitality. So if they have a really good, if they have, have set their culture that they’ve set their values and their mission and their purpose, then that kind of filters through to the staff and it sets a really good, culture. Everybody can be on the same page. And, it also helps to. attract people, like customers, guests with the same values as the, as the hotel.

Chris Barnard: Yeah, I think there’s two, there’s two great points there positioning positioning is one of my great obsessions as well from a branding perspective in terms of, I don’t think positioning, from a brand perspective is discussed enough. And I think if there isn’t a brand person like you in these organizations, then I think it gets left out completely.

It does become, you know, are we the cheapest? Are we going for luxury? But actually there’s a lot of subpositions you could be that will attract people, that will help you get to a certain niche of people as long as you understand with your, your audience. And as long as you connect with your audience on that emotional level, you’re talking about. And so I always find brand positioning. So interesting, but your other point I’ve not even really considered, but is a great point is that if you nail branding, for a hospitality business, you’re not just getting that uptick in, sales, customer satisfaction, greater awareness of your event or your hotel or whatever it would be in hospitality, but actually you’re probably retaining more staff, more staff of a higher caliber, more staff who share your values and get the outcomes that you want, right? Like that is a, probably not measured as much.

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: that how much your branding makes a difference for internal culture?

Gemma Johnson: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And it’s kind of, it all does come from this sort of foundational information that you set with, you know, from, from the top and it all then, you know, filters down and, um, it’s just, yeah, brand, brand substance is, is an important one for, to set culture.

Chris Barnard: Yeah. Yeah. And brand substance, quite a trendy term within the industry. So what would you say are some of the current trends in hospitality branding that you think the sort of business leaders, the business owners, the aspiring entrepreneurs who we have listen to this podcast would be interested in. And how can these trends influence a hotel’s brand strategy

Gemma Johnson: Well, social media has had a big influence on the change that’s going on in all businesses. Especially in hotels that are such that they’ve got lots of departments generally. So people are expecting more from the brands. Because they want to connect on the, on an emotional level with, with the brand and with whoever’s, you know, Behind the brand.

They want to see more inside. They want to see behind the scenes. So the branding helps to humanize the brand, first of all, and give and sets the tone of voice and the persona, how, how the brand comes across. But it also, you know, it, it will help to showcase the staff more

Also another trend is, is like the personalised outreach because people expect more, you know, personal, they expect more connection. So, a personalised outreach is, is important as well.

Chris Barnard: for all the ills of social media? And I mean, we could do a podcast just on that. I think in itself. For a hospitality business, it’s an absolute win. I’m always amazed at leisure clients who are slow on social or are still like, Well, we’re not really sure how we’d use it in the right way.

Something I hear a lot of businesses sort of say is Oh, we do that, Chris. We do that. We do a bit social. You do a bit social. Okay. Okay. I’ll have a look. So you have a look. If you go on the Tik Tok, you go on the Instagram or whatever. And it’s very mundane posts. It’s posts that are, you know, lacking inspiration, lacking. You would say, uh, positioning lacking. You would say understanding of the audience and trying to connect with them on that level. Like I’m always amazed that, Businesses particularly in hospitality, where you think this is an absolute goal for you. If you get this right, like literally this could be your whole marketing budget.

If you got, you know, if you worked out what worked for you on Tik Tok or worked out work for you on YouTube or Facebook, you could get enough sort of good marketing through this to fill your sales pipeline until the end of time. Right.

So I’m always amazed that. not enough time is spent on it. I think we still get that view that oh we give the social media accounts to the interns. I think that is actually changing. I’ll be interested to hear your view on that. But there’s always been that. That was, I suppose for any emerging technology, it’s given sort of the interns, then sort of low paid people do it. And then, we’re at a case now where social probably the highest growing marketing channel, right? So very senior people, it’s jumping to very senior people who are now running the social media on bigger budgets. So I’d be interested to hear what you think in terms of hospitality and adoption of social and the maturity of kind of the campaigns that are being used in social by hotels in particular.

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, I think you’re right. It has been, um, previously quite, a last minute, you know, bottom of the pile. Marketing kind of outreach, but, it’s actually really strategic, cause I work with Vicky, on the social, she’s our our social media specialist and her outreach is really, really strategic the way that she’s, you know, contacting, making sure that she’s, active and contacting people around the time that she’s posting.

It’s the sort of community building as well is that that’s the main part of it is, is actually not just posting. This is what we’re doing. This is what we’re doing. This is actually, you know, there’s a lot of community like, you know, come and try this.

Like, can we, so one of the, for an example, on the Hillbrook, socials that we’re managing, Vicky put out a post asking for, local artisans and, it’s had, had huge interaction, huge reach and everybody, you know, cause, cause it’s a real kind of community post and she put, she put a lovely write up with it as well.

So that, you know, that helps sort of both ways because the Hillbrook will find some really, really good, suppliers that artisan local suppliers from that. but it also helps the community out more as well. so it kind of works both ways. And, yeah, I would say it’s definitely more of a strategic, thing now than it ever was.

Chris Barnard: Yeah, I love the community aspect of it. That’s something I’m really pleased has happened with social media accounts. There’s an appreciation of it is that it started obviously when everyone was first getting Twitter, Facebook, 2008 maybe businesses were starting to adopt it slowly everyone was unsure.

How do we use this safely? How do we not make it open as a new customer support channel when we Barely got enough people to answer the phones and the emails we currently get. Right. That was the, the big challenge back in 2008, 16 years ago, then it was used as kind of a, you’d have a little scrapple and a fight between the PR team and the social team and the comms team of who was going to manage it. And then depending on who won that battle. Sometimes sales, of course, if sales won that battle, it would just become a mouthpiece of, Oh, this is our offer today and, and so it didn’t engage with the community

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: did it? It was still very one way communication broadcast where of course now we’ve got to that deeper level where there is community people understand, particularly, people who were interviewing for bear business who run software, who are building, Businesses in maybe a tech niche, like what they do is, is all of their feedback and we have this with our Schedulize business is all of the feedback is basically funnelled in and then new features for the software is decided based on the community feedback.

I mean, that is, that is super charging what you’re doing as a business, right? You know that you are customer focused. It’s not just, Oh, we’re customer focused

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: It is. Uh, the customers are deciding on what’s the new features we should have

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: Do you think there’s a, there’s an opportunity in hospitality for more of that? Would you say that hospitality would be open to more sort of feedback from those levels?

Gemma Johnson: I think it would be be silly not to be open to, because that’s, that’s ultimately their audience. And they, you know, it’s, that is your, your ultimate customer research right there. You know, it’s kind of, I, I often put stuff out on the, you know, in stories because stories are only there for 24 hours. So you can just, you know, run a little poll or any kind of, decision that you need.

Sometimes it’s like, Oh, well choose to help me choose between a color or, you know, once I even run, help me with the hairstyle, what shall I, what shall I wear to the, to the launch party? You know, just funny little things like that. But it’s like, you know, that really helps to engage my audience. And, yeah, I think it’s, it’s definitely a big thing.

And, and Vicky like regularly runs polls every week on the Hillbrook socials to get that interaction, but it also, it’s again, it, it works both ways because, everybody’s benefiting from that kind of interaction.

Chris Barnard: Yeah. Vicky’s great. We’ll certainly add her in the show notes so that the listeners and the watchers can go and follow Vicky cause she’s a great person to follow

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, you should have her, you should have her on, I, I, I interviewed her, she’s, she’s so knowledgeable, you should definitely have her on

Chris Barnard: it’s definitely in the plans. I’m not giving away guests or future guests but it could be in the plans

uh and she is obviously great at hospitality social, which leads me onto my next question, which is what do you think great hospitality branding looks like? Because, it’s one of those things that you see it.

You’re like, this is brilliant. That probably don’t get the feedback, the sort of hotels that were doing it really well, because there’s a lot of people not doing it so well. So we thought it’d be great for you to give some examples of what you think great hospitality branding looks like.

Gemma Johnson: so. I’m, I’m going to use the Hillbrook again as, as an example here, they’re so aware of their audience, which hugely helps. So it’s a lovely, very well styled, like interior design hotel. Like, everybody should go and check it out it’s, really, really meticulously designed. And it’s in Sherbourne, which is a, an affluent town. And, it’s very kind of quintessential British town. It’s, it’s stylish and, um, and it’s historic because Sir Walter Raleigh, lived there. So yeah, the, the Hillbrook are very aware of their surroundings.

They’re aware of, of the, of the locals, and cause it’s a restaurant as well and a spa. So it’s not just for the hotel guests, the stay over guests. That then heavily influenced the brand strategy and the brand identity as well off the back of that. They’ve got international schools I think two international schools in Sherbourne.

So they will have, you know, international, families coming to stay at the Hillbrook. And, so yeah, all of that. Then, um, dictated the, the strategy and the, and the identity. From the strategy work that we did to find out all of this, then we were able to then, create a really, good identity that would resonate with, the audience and the, and the guests.

They’re big on community. We had the launch event and loads of the community came. There was like 150 people there and, various businesses and everybody’s, you know, it’s a really good thing for the community to have this hotel there.

So they’re big on community, which is a great value to have. And, you know, it makes, it makes our job easier for. for the socials as well. And also the rooms were designed especially to be accessible. So it’s very inclusive hotel. So a good portion of the rooms are wheelchair accessible and they’ve all been designed with, inclusivity in mind, which I think is really, really great for, you know, for a new hotel to be so inclusive, it’s good, it’s definitely a good thing.

Chris Barnard: This is certainly something that’s been a good thing that’s happened over the last few years, the focus on accessibility and inclusion. I think knowing, knowing your community, I think that’s a great point as a hotel. You’re always going to get outsized benefits by being in your community. Knowing your community.

I think it’s, it’s something again, coming back to positioning, differentiation and positioning, that is something that you can do that your competitors might not be doing because it’s hard to do, right? It’s hard work. You have to show up. You can’t phone it in. You can’t, make excuses and get out of it because the community, if you want to be part of that community, you’ve got to show up and you’ve got to do things and you’ve got to, Say your going to do things and you’ve got to use the action to back that up.

But I think that the return you must get being a hotel, even I would say it gets further than hospitality. We have a care home near us who have been very good at getting out into the community, spreading the message, seeing how they can help people from an accessibility and inclusion from a vulnerability standpoint. And I think when you see a business doing that and going the extra mile, Relationships are warmer. People will come back. We’ll stay more. We’ll spend more. We’ll tell more people about how good the experience is because they know you personally, don’t they? On that level in that. And that’s really how you are taking your branding and, and spreading it throughout your community. I think the, uh, very interesting if you, if you’re near international schools, obviously that part of the coast known well as well for international students. So Bournemouth used to be, uh, heavily well known for it. I’m sure they still are. Don’t want Bournemouth uni coming. We are still well known for it, Chris.

I’m sure they are. Uh, but, but that, those sort of extra benefits of, of understanding your location and how you can really personalise it just seems a great way to stand out in terms of branding.

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think especially for a new hotel, it’s very important, they had three, three launch nights just so that they could, accommodate everybody.

So the staff kind of, you know, I was there for the first launch night and I was exhausted after that. So they had another two nights of that to, uh, you know, it was sort of different, different formats each night, just so that they could accommodate everybody.

So, Yeah, it’s

Chris Barnard: everyone  loves a brand new can throw a great party,

Gemma Johnson: yeah. Yeah. And it was great. It was really good.

Chris Barnard: I just to bring it because we have a lot of technology listeners, software users, obviously part of the bear business. I’m interviewing a lot of businesses that are creating sort of tools with AI and bits that are helping leisure along, helping retail along.

So I just thought it’d be great to sort of just get your, your take on how important technology is for hotels to enhance their brand presence with and engage with their guests more effectively. If there’s anything you’re seeing, the top hotels, what, what sort of approach they’re using in terms of technology.

Gemma Johnson: So, I would say again, social media is really, really important. The reels, what I’ve seen a lot of is just the stills and it’s just of what the, the hotel has to offer just, you know, offers and, and, um, they’re kind of just designed little squares and that’s all they’re using.

I would really, really strongly recommend and Vicky, you know, would definitely, strongly recommend that they use reels videos they’re so much more interactive and to encourage the other staff members from other, areas to get involved as well with, with making little snapshots.

For example, with the Hillbrook, their chefs are taking, little videos, There was some fish being burnt with a, um, a blowtorch the other day that I thought was really cool to see. And, um,

Chris Barnard: Very Gordon Ramsey

Gemma Johnson: yeah, that had really, really good, interaction on social media. So I would definitely recommend, you know, using, using social media, using video reels, and also, get a CRM platform, customer relationship management platform, to help to, keep the, keep the relationship going, nurture relationship even after the guests have stayed and to personalize the outreach because that’s, you know, that’s a big thing for 2024 is personalized outreach.

There’s so many different, CRMs, especially for hotels. So there’s, there’s actually a blog post that I’m going to share because there’s like the top 10 CRM, platforms for hotels in 2024. So I’ll share that on my LinkedIn because I think that’s really, really interesting to have a read.

Chris Barnard: I had a great experience at a hotel in Brighton, and it’d be very rare for me to get excited about experiences at hotels at this sort of stage in my career slash life, I rarely stay at hotels, so I am one of those people who, because thankfully I’ve never had to sort of live at hotels, and I understand the frustration for those people, the old traveling salesman back in the day, for example, but it’s still quite an adventure for me, sort of like now that I don’t work in London every day, that’s a bit of an adventure for me when I go back to Lincoln, so I don’t live there anymore.

It’s been an adventure for me. And so we went on this adventure to Brighton. But what I was so impressed with was how the Queen’s Hotel Talking from a branding perspective, messaging and technology platform perspective made an effort to, reach out to me before I stayed. I used a well known, booking app, shall I say, without mentioning them to book this hotel, right?

So using me, me or I won’t even call what the discounts called else I’m absolutely gonna get rumbled, but myself and a friend were staying at the Queen’s hotel in Brighton, right? And they sent me a message. I thought it was quite funny because it was one of those that I imagine this booking website.

The reason they do it like this is to make sure that they’re not trying to the hotels trying to agree a direct Price and take you away from their application Right? So all the messaging has to go through the official communication channel. Uh, but it all comes in like a, a very squashed one column email.

Right. And, and I presume it’s a copy, copy and paste. I think the young people call it copy pasta, uh, of like. Oh, have a great time in Brighton. This is our loyalty scheme. I’m like, all right, I’m only staying for like one time. Like, you know, you don’t need to tell me about all this upfront, but I love the fact that they’d made that effort, right?

Actually very few times. Do you get a message before you stay? And then we got there easy to find. It’s on the seafront. It’s beautiful. Good weather for it always makes it a bit better. Right. And, they were very courteous. They were very friendly at the desk. One thing that I thought was a great use of technology was they emailed us before time and asked if we wanted to Effectively, Auction or be in a bet for an upgrade of room, right?

So I didn’t partake in it being a tight Northerner. My good friend, Adam, who’s a bit more looser with the purse strings, happily got a Seaview upgrade that he sort of, you, you could sort of Put how much forward you wanted to pay for the upgrade. And then the hotel would be the ultimate arbiter and choose whether you could get it or not, which I thought I loved that.

I love the gamification of that, which is something that I used to talk about a lot. I should probably bring back and talk about more because actually it makes it an experience, right? Adam saying to me, did you get this email about an upgrade? I was like, yeah, no, I’m not paying for an upgrade. mate i’m spending enough on our, our time to Brighton, right?

But he’s taken the upgrade.

And then after we left, they said, yeah, If you want to book direct next time. Great. Love that as well. Right. Leveraging that so that you’re not paying the fees. You could have late checkout and you could also have a free bottle of red wine. I thought, well, you know, actually, let me go back to that first email about the loyalty scheme.

Maybe I will sign up and come back. Actually, it’s quite easy for me to get to Brighton from where I am.

So I thought that was That was I think I was part surprised that they had used so many great tactics on

Gemma Johnson: Hmm.

Chris Barnard: um, to upsell me to also be very friendly. I think my whole experience in Brighton, I was incredibly impressed at how professional everywhere was, at taking my money in the bars, etcetera,

Gemma Johnson: Hmm.

Chris Barnard: uh, they were very good at sort of selling me the beer, sell me the beer upgrades in the crafty bars. Um, and I think there’s a lot to be said about that, right? Like, Sometimes you can do an upsell in a way that will put people off. But I think in a lot of ways, if you do it with a bit of humor, a bit of personality, a bit, dare we say, of a brand behind you to say it, then actually I think it works really well.

And I was, I was incredibly impressed at that actually. Gemma,

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: I’d love to see, and again, maybe, maybe it’s ’cause I don’t go to enough hotels where I have to up my, emotion brands, hotel stays, on the way forward. But I was just so impressed with that. I wonder if you’d had any. any experiences like that, they’ve just blown you away in sort of hospitality or with any brands really, I suppose

Gemma Johnson: I think it’s just, that, that is the perfect, consumer psychology with the, with the gamification, because it then makes you think, Oh, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna lose. I don’t wanna, you know, lose out. And, you know, you kind of think, you’ve got a really good chance of winning.

And, I think that’s a really, really smart, smart way of doing that, that, that, um, kind of upsell. It’s, you know, gamifying it and, um, yeah, I think it’s great.

Chris Barnard: And talking about games, we’ve come to the end now. So I just thought we’d just end on the usual bear business last question, which I think tells a lot about people. And I think your answers certainly tell a lot about what your life’s like these days. But could you just tell us a bit more about your favorite game can be a card game, video game, dice game, dominoes game, any sort of game that you like and why you like to play it.

Gemma Johnson: Well, I’ve got a six year old, so I don’t get to play any, um, grown up games. So, um, our favourite game in the house at the moment is Peppa Pig Monopoly, which is such a fun game and, um, and she’s, she’s good. She beats me all the time.

Chris Barnard: Does she fairly beat you? Because there’s always that thing with Monopoly, isn’t it? Uh, you know, well, sometimes I’ve got to win else you’re not learning all the right lessons, right? Or is she just that good

Gemma Johnson: She’s that good. Yeah, I try, I really try, I try hard. Um, yeah, she’s, she’s at the age where she’s getting better at losing. So, um, but no, she’s, she’s pretty good.

Chris Barnard: Yeah, my nephew’s got a great way of going. He’s called Ted. He goes, Ted’s the winner and even if he’s not one, he’ll end the game with Ted’s the winner. But yeah, Peppa Pig Monopoly is an interesting one. So obviously that Peppa Pig’s a brand that just keeps on building right?

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, It’s huge. I actually, I sent that the other night to Winnie. Um, we were at the pub and, she got out these, all these books that, that were, left there and um, there was literally at least six of them were different stories of Peppa Pig and I was like, God, they have, they, this, this franchise is amazing.

Like they’ve, you know, the licensing is just, they just keep churning out more and more stuff. Like, yeah, well, what else can we put our brand on? Yep, that’ll do. And um, yeah, there, there were loads of books and I just thought that’s a, they can, they can just, it’s a license to print money, isn’t it really?

Peppa Pig.

Chris Barnard: A monopoly coupled up with monopoly, right? Standing the test of time. I used to, my uncle used to back in Lincoln used to run a charity monopoly every Christmas and that was great. So I would be the banker from the age of 10 to 20. And it used to fascinate me that all the great and good business people of Lincoln who turn up for this charity event, you know, obviously lots of smiles and laughter and handshakes to begin with.

But as soon as someone’s rolling a dice and, uh, the accountants, they’re shiftedly jumping two spots and getting called out by the lawyers and the, uh, the property agents. Look, I’ve seen you just jump that to make sure that you get onto Mayfair or free parking or wherever they were trying to get to gets quite competitive, the monopoly, but it’s,

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: they built. They did one for Lincoln as well, which was all sort of, I think this is kind of, they localized it, I imagine, in lots of regions, um, and so we always used to like playing the Lincoln one, because obviously you see the, the street names that you know, right, and it means more to you when you’re little

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, definitely, I think that’s, that’s

Chris Barnard: be pretty handy

Gemma Johnson: very, really good, good branding there. Um, but what’s, what is your, what’s your favourite game?

Chris Barnard: So there’s a game called Skyrim that I used to love to play. Um, but I do have a lot of different games.

I have, I’m the sort of person who has favourite games in sort of dice and dominoes and video and card. I was very fortunate. I was given kind of a lots of strategic card games as I was growing up. I think it was a way my next door neighbor had found he could detain me. He could sort of sit me down and I would sit there sort of thinking, playing solitaire and he’d probably have 15 minutes to make a cup of tea, right?

Without me charging around his house. So I think it was used very strategically against me card games. Uh, but yeah, me and my brother love a card game. like to play a lot of card games. It’s the sort of thing that I’m trying to get, try get more people locally to play card games. So it’s a wonderful thing to do, I think, and particularly in sort of business circles, I think it’s underutilized as a great way for networking instead of.

Gemma Johnson: yeah.

Chris Barnard: Everyone being stood there like, you know, feeling like a lemon with a drink. I think if you sit down you’re playing a game of

Gemma Johnson: Yeah.

Chris Barnard: quite naturally get talking.

Gemma Johnson: Yeah, get chatting.

Chris Barnard: you.

Gemma Johnson: I’d be, I’d be good at, um, Yeah.

Chris Barnard: through five episodes without getting asked what my favorite game was I should have shut that down earlier maybe but yeah, i’m gonna have to every time i’m asked now i’m just gonna have to say a different game really But I think i’ve got enough games that it would be

Gemma Johnson: I’ve heard that you’ve got, um, was it, is it, um, new, new forest ponies? Did you?

Chris Barnard: New Forest Ponies?

You want me to talk about New Forest Ponies?

Well we’ve Google’d it before the podcast

of course, because I couldn’t quite

remember what it was called

But the thing I remember, my brother was very good

at that game, he used to like playing that game. I don’t know if there was, you know, he had sort of, uh, hidden ponies in his pocket or something, but I remember it did have something that, you know, for a game for, for young children.

And of course, on our holidays to, Near you on the South Coast. You couldn’t guarantee the weather, sadly. As beautiful as it is on the South Coast near you. So often in our caravan, when it was raining, that was the game we would play. New forest ponies. And there was some horrendous thing that could happen to your pony.

Like, you know, bust a blood vessel and had to be put down. That’s the only thing I remember about the game. The mechanics. It was kind of a Monopoly type game, right? You went around the board, but one of the chance cards was like Busted blood vessel of your pony, like crikey. My mom trying to explain that to me after a bottle of wine.

You know, when I’m seven years old, like, oh, what’s a bust blood vessel Mother?? Like, you know, I’ll definitely have to cut that out. She won’t like me saying that, but yeah. thank you very much Gemma. It’s been amazing. I knew you’d be such a great guest. This is definitely not the only time we’re going to have you on bear business.

Cause I think there’s a lot of, we’re talking about sort of the software aspects, obviously we’re getting subject matter experts like yourself in, but also we’re doing a lot for, uh, the aspiring entrepreneurs and young people who, who want to get into and very popular hospitality branding. What a great sector to work in. So I think certainly will will get under the hood of of how we think people aspire to work in the same sort of with the companies you work with, how we can help them along and bring on that next generation. So

Gemma Johnson: That sounds great.

Chris Barnard: Thank you so much for your time today. Really appreciate it. Um, and I look forward to working with you probably next week as soon as that.

So I don’t have to miss you for too long.

Gemma Johnson: Thanks so much for having me on, Chris. I’ve really enjoyed our chat. And enjoy the football later on

Chris Barnard: Yes, and what I’ll do for everybody is in the show notes will link to Vicky will link to motion brands. You can find out more about that. We’ll also link to Hillbrook so you can find out more about them. And then any other bits that that Gemma has spoken about today will link to so that you can have a look at them and see those sources. Thanks very much Gemma.

Gemma Johnson: Thank you.

FeedbackFans.com Managing Director - Chris Barnard

Chris Barnard has spent over 15 years delivering exceptional digital marketing performance for leading businesses in the UK, Europe and North America through his marketing technology business, FeedbackFans.com and as an independent business consultant.

FeedbackFans provides a unique next-generation managed technology and marketing platform that delivers outstanding and out-sized results for businesses in sectors such as finance, retail, leisure, and professional services.

With our unparalleled expertise in creating cutting-edge solutions and environments, we empower our clients and users to thrive in the digital age.

Chris Barnard is Managing Director of FeedbackFans.com