The Art of Storytelling with Andrew Means


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Jun 24, 2021

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Amy Geldean

Andrew Means

Andrew Means is the Creative Director and Owner of Transom, an agency that helps businesses create new, meaningful connections with customers through branding and digital work. Transom’s design philosophy uses anthropology, story theory, and modern brand science to uncover the emotional resonance between companies and their clients. 

Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Whitworth College. Outside of work, you can find Andrew sailing, cycling, or DJing.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Andrew Means’ background in philosophy led to the development of his marketing agency
  • Andrew shares how he generates emotional resonance between companies and clients
  • Technological advancements that help create emotional connections
  • What steps should wineries take as they open back up to the public?
  • Focusing on the story—and brand—of your winery
  • Drew talks about Andrew’s remarkable business card
  • The future of the wine and craft beverage industry
  • Storytelling lessons from myths and the hero’s journey
  • What is Andrew drinking these days?

In this episode…

It takes more than just quality wine to succeed in today’s industry—especially as the number of competitors grow. You have to implement strategies to set your business apart from the rest. So, what are the steps to make your winery stand out from competitors? And how do you cultivate innovation within your company?

For Creative Director Andrew Means, your success is in your story. He says that businesses often rely on customers to tell their story; however, it won’t make your company memorable. So how do you fix this? Andrew recommends focusing on the emotional connection between your company and your customers.

In this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Hendricks talks with Andrew Means, Creative Director and Owner of Transom, about shaping your narrative to create a strong connection with your customers. Andrew shares advice on branding, redefining your virtual experience, and focusing on the why in your company’s narrative. He also offers tips on designing a story that is unique, memorable, and scalable. Stay tuned!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!

To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at hello@barrelsahead.com to schedule a strategy call.

Episode Transcript

Drew Hendricks (00:19):
Drew Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry from tech companies, such as 3×3, who use data to unlock brands’ growth to today’s guest, Andrew Means of Transom who helps wineries create meaningful connections with their customers. Today’s episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using the powerful combination of content development, search engine optimization, and paid search. At Barrels Ahead we know your business is unique and we work with you to create an actionable, one of a kind marketing strategy. One that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors. So, Andrew, in short, Barrels Ahead helps you unlock your content so that you can enjoy the results in revenue your business deserves. So what are you waiting for? Unlock your content today. Go to barrelsahead.com or email us at hello@barrelsahead.com to learn more.

Drew Hendricks (01:12):
Before introducing today’s guest, I want to give a big thank you to Duncan Alnye over at Fire Belly Marketing. Duncan and his team help beverage brands be more likable and profitable using social media. So I’m super excited to have today’s guest on the show, Andrew Means from Transom. Now I met Andrew last year at the direct to consumer wine symposium and we hit it off immediately. We found that we had both had very similar backgrounds. We both majored in philosophy and we both now run marketing agencies. And one of the things that really set Andrew apart from everyone that I met at this conference, was his unique business card. Now I’ll let him tell you a little bit more about that little bit later in our show.

Drew Hendricks (01:48):
Andrew is the creative director at Transom, a boutique creative agency that specializes in helping wineries create meaningful connections with new customers and deepen their relationships with existing ones. Transom’s design philosophy uses anthropology, story theory, and modern brain science to uncover the areas of emotional resonance between companies and those they are trying to reach. A couple of fun facts. When Andrew’s not running his agency, you can find him cycling, sailing, or deejaying, that is when there’s not a global pandemic. So welcome to the show, Andrew.

Andrew Means (02:17):
Thanks, Drew. It’s nice to be here.

Drew Hendricks (02:19):
It’s nice to have you here. So tell me a little bit more about yourself. How did this background in philosophy eventually lead to forming Transom?

Andrew Means (02:25):
Well, when I was in college, at the time, I actually wanted to be a pastor.

Drew Hendricks (02:32):
Really?

Andrew Means (02:32):
Yeah, over time I started to realize that I was getting more out of my philosophy classes and that time is just such a time of kind of growth and learning who you, what kind of an adult you’re going to be. And so over time I started to kind of think that like, “Okay, yeah, philosophy is really what I’m really jazzed about.” And at the time I kind of expected, Oh, well, I’ll be a philosophy professor then.

Drew Hendricks (03:01):
Exactly what I thought.

Andrew Means (03:02):
Uh-huh (affirmative). At some point, I don’t remember when this was, it was far enough in advance that nobody was caught too off guard by it, but they sat all of the philosophy majors down and they said, “So you guys are all majoring in philosophy. You’re going to graduate in some amount of time.” It was like next year or something. “And a lot of you were probably thinking about going into grad school. And the only advice that we can give you is that if you can at all avoid it, don’t go.” And I was like, “Oh, huh.” Because I had just assumed, “Oh yeah, I’ll go on to grad school, I’ll become a philosophy professor.” And when they said that, I was like, “Huh,” interestingly, I don’t really have any burning philosophical questions. I felt pretty kind of, as intellectually fulfilled as anybody could feel when they’re 21 or something. But I, at that point I was like, “All right, well, I guess I’m not going to be a philosophy professor, at least not right now.”

Andrew Means (03:59):
And I had been doing a lot of design, just, I had taken a couple of design classes, but I’d been doing a lot of design for our local, our college radio station and for my band at the time. I was insanely lucky. The music editor at [inaudible 00:04:18] Weekly, who I had become friends with was like, “Hey, our art director is taking another position. Do you want to interview for that?” And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds awesome.” This is like, literally two weeks before graduation, I had no plan. He had seen some work that I had done, like this whole press pack that I’d made for the band. So I hung up the phone and I’m like, “What does an art director do exactly?”

Andrew Means (04:41):
And so I had to go and Google, what does an art director do and ended up getting that job. And then just kind of gradually over time, moved back over to the west side of the state to Seattle and was a marketing manager for a machine importer company that, again, hugely lucky. This company had no real call to have a full-time marketing manager in terms of what they actually needed. And so I had all this extra time to continue to learn how to code and continue to learn how to develop sites and eventually started my own agency, which at the time was called Reunion. I did that for a number of years and then a colleague of mine was like, “Do you want to start an agency?” And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds great.” And he left the company a couple of years later and I’ve been running it ever since.

Drew Hendricks (05:29):
Awesome, great story. I’m always surprised to find how many people in the wine industry and the agency space were philosophy majors. Why do you think that’s so?

Andrew Means (05:38):
I don’t know. I think that like, there’s a … Well, I can say why I think for me or what philosophy has given me. I think I have a definite analytical mind. And so philosophy makes a lot of sense. And I think that that innate of curiosity is really well, it suits what I do for living very well. Being creative and wanting to understand every, each of our clients, it’s always, it’s really important to feel connected to those clients. And I think that that innate curiosity analysis helps me to learn about our clients and then also helps me to actually be of value to them by actually understanding what their problem is and how to solve it.

Drew Hendricks (06:27):
And I can see that in your site. You talk about story theory, modern brand science, anthropology. That sounds like philosophy repackaged. I mean to create emotional resonance. I mean, there’s some structure behind that. Can you go into that a bit?

Andrew Means (06:43):
Yeah. Yeah. When we first started Transom, we were kind of, the original formulation of the agency was basically to be a web, just a digital agency. We were like, “We’re going to make websites.” And a lot of times what would happen is we would build, design these sites that looked cool. And then we would build the sites and then we would kind of, we would hand them off, but they wouldn’t … I’d kind of watch as they would leave the shop and I would just kind of look after it and just kind of be like, “There’s something that’s not really … The moment isn’t really being created there.” And over time we started to realize more and more that what wasn’t happening was the content. We weren’t telling a compelling story. We, we were relying on the client to tell that story.

Andrew Means (07:30):
Because most people, because most business owners are, their perspective is on the business and what is going on and what their … all of the million things that they have to deal with. I think it can be incredibly challenging. I think it’s incredibly rare for a business owner to have … to be thinking about the things that I think really matter, which are the emotional relationship that they have between their business and the customer. And so over time, we started thinking, “Okay, we should probably be writing the content for these sites and we should be part of the photography, basically so that we can make sure that there’s like a really emotionally effecting story that’s being told.” That experience overall, that’s going to help to like motivate whatever experience we want people to have and whatever action we want them to take, whether that’s putting a wine in a cart or whether that’s making a reservation or calling or something like that.

Andrew Means (08:33):
And then over time, maybe over the past three, four years, I’ve just really been getting more and more into what we’re learning about the way the brain works and how little of it we really have control over in the classical sense, in the sense that in the person riding on the horse sense. I think most of the time we kind of give our logical brain that kind of role. We think, “I’m in control and I’m the one making the decisions.” But the more that we learn about the way the brain works, it’s much more like a monkey riding on the back of a wild boar. I have an article on the Transom site that goes into that.

Andrew Means (09:24):
But we think, “Oh, we’re in control.” But actually the reasoning part of our brain is immensely over, we vastly overestimate its ability to make decisions. And the vast majority of our decisions are made purely on an emotional level. Or majority on an emotional level. And so anytime you’re marketing something that needs to be the place to start in terms of how are we, what kind of feelings are we generating or are we trying to generate? And those feelings then are the ones that actually result in real action. Car companies have known this forever. I mean the bikini clad model doesn’t make the car go any faster, but it does, it makes that the mammalian part of your brain think like, “Oh, I’m going to … These are the kind of ladies that are just going to flock to me once I get this Mustang.”

Drew Hendricks (10:20):
I get it, I get it. So, you know what, that leads right into something that you and I have both talked about quite a bit in the past. And that technology has actually changed in the last year, year and a half to allow companies, both of our companies, to actually help instill more emotion onto the websites and into that buying process. And there’s a company that I know, and I’m going to mention it, it’s Commerce 7 and the work that they have been doing to actually detach the sales process from the actual website, it has been very liberating. You might want to … and I know you’ve been using it and you’re a big fan of it.

Andrew Means (10:52):
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve been really pleased with our experience with them. I think for a long time, most of the legacy systems that have been available to wineries have been kind of backend systems, right. They’re kind of the equivalent of, all the processing power is all on a server. And so they’ll end up, you’ll … All of the experience that you have, has to be kind of generated there and has to be kind of like … and so what a lot of times you’ll have, is either a site that has a very distinct commerce component and then that storytelling component, which a lot of times ends up, I don’t know, there’s a lot of very kind of legacy code based systems that I think are still kind of trying, but because they were built … Their code bases were built so long ago, they’re not able to take advantage of the modern way of building functionality like this, which is we use it all on the front end through JavaScript and stuff. And so it’s been really cool to see how Commerce 7 and I expect other companies are going to … right behind in terms of their functionality here pretty soon. But to see how they’ve … The thing that we love is that they’ve enabled us to merge the two experiences and to have that whole experience be seamless front to back. Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (12:16):
And there’s, I mean, there’s a lot of good POS systems out there, and there’s a lot that have tried to do everything and those fit certain use cases, but a lot of times you want the freedom to be able to create that synergy, create that kind of emotional connection.

Andrew Means (12:30):
Exactly.

Drew Hendricks (12:31):
And they’re doing it.

Andrew Means (12:32):
Yeah. Yeah. A lot of times we’ll, we just had somebody ask us about, or send us an RFP and the budget that they had was very, very low. And I think that there’s an expectation now, there’s an expectation now that I think has kind of artificially lowered … or there’s a reality now that has, I think, artificially lowered the expectations of what web design costs. And I think a lot of that is Squarespace and other kinds of places where it’s like, “Hey, you can do it. It’s easy.” And they’re charging very small amounts of money to do that. But I think that there’s this kind of expectation. It’s like, “Oh, isn’t it all just like templates. And can you just make, just customize a template, right? Isn’t that all that is?”

Andrew Means (13:20):
And for us, it’s never been about a template because we’re starting with the content and rather than shoehorn in somebody’s content into a template that doesn’t really fit it, for us it’s always been about designing from scratch. And so Commerce 7 has been really cool because we can build whatever narrative and whatever experience we want to have so that it has the right touch points at the right moments, and there’s no constraints along those lines. It’s a cool system. And I’m excited for these other e-commerce systems to catch up.

Drew Hendricks (13:56):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). What I always tell people to try to set the expectations on … because there’s cheap design, cheap websites, it’s really easy to get 90% of the way there, but it’s that emotional connection that’s in the last 10%, that’s actually what you’re paying for.

Andrew Means (14:13):
Yeah. Yeah. That consideration takes a lot of time.

Drew Hendricks (14:17):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Going into 2021 when the vaccinations are ramping up, society’s opening back up, tasting rooms are opening back up. What should wineries be doing right now coming into this new era now that we’ve all been locked down for a year?

Andrew Means (14:30):
Well, I think there’s not going to be a silver bullet, I don’t think. There are the same kind of strategic or the same kind of tidal forces that have been in play for the last five years are going to continue to be in play. We tend to focus more on the strategy versus the marketing side. But I do know that … and what I think we’re seeing, what we will see this summer is a lot of pent up, God willing, what we will see this summer is a lot of people are going to be like, “Let’s go and let’s experience all this stuff.” So there is-

Drew Hendricks (15:10):
And that’s what they said after the 1918 Spanish flu, that’s where the roaring 20s started. People could go out again. Hit the bars.

Andrew Means (15:19):
Wow. We might, it might be really [inaudible 00:15:21] I’m ready to roar. Boy.

Drew Hendricks (15:24):
Get back on the deejaying gig?

Andrew Means (15:26):
Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. Yeah, that’ll be good.

Drew Hendricks (15:29):
Have you done any virtual DJs on-

Andrew Means (15:32):
Yeah. Actually one of our clients, Matthew’s Estate Winery in Woodinville had me do a couple of virtual DJ things. They had a greenhouse this past spring and summer. So they had a, I can’t remember what they called it, something in the greenhouse. It was fun. So we just streamed on Instagram and played enough like obscure music to not get shut down by Instagram.

Drew Hendricks (15:54):
Oh, that’s fun.

Andrew Means (15:55):
Yeah. It was really cool. As far as what’s what’s happening now, I think there are huge opportunities, but in the same way that in the ’90s, you could start a winery. And just by virtue of the fact of there not being that many wineries, you could kind of skimp on brand story and you could skimp on, or you didn’t really have to think about it. Because people would come in, they would have a great experience and provided you’re making the experience good, and if your wine is good enough, then there will be some segment of the population, they’ll be like, you know what? They were having a great day that day, or they genuinely just really connected with the wine or whatever. And so you could build a following that way. I think there’s a lot of wineries out there that have kind of been skating on that for a long time. In the right market, that’s totally doable. And I would very much expect that all wineries who were able to take advantage of this summer or next summer or whatever, this kind of ebullience that we’re going to be hopefully experiencing, I think there’s a lot of opportunity there and I think a lot of people will be like, “This is fantastic.”

Andrew Means (17:07):
But a lot of that isn’t really scalable and over time, once these immediate waves start to settle down, we’re still, wineries are still facing, a younger generations. You’ve got the … The Boomers are aging out. Gen X is going to be the generation to be buying the most wine with millennials right behind, who are experiencing a lot more increased purchasing power, but they’re also, they have so much more things competing for their attention than the boomers did. So, I mean, you’ve got craft beer, you’ve got craft spirits, you’ve got non-alcoholic drinks and I mean, legal marijuana. There’s all kinds of other kinds of pressures that are going to be playing into a wine market that I think is going to be increasingly competitive in the coming years.

Andrew Means (18:03):
And the way to, from a strategic standpoint, there’s a million kind of marketing things that obviously, that you need to take into account, but from a strategic standpoint, like your brand, I think it’s going to be really, really critical that if your brand is, “We are a family run, small winery and people like us,” because for us, there’s a million of those wineries out there and they are all working hard and they’re all … For them, that story is compelling. And for their people maybe who are already their fans, that story is compelling. But in order to create new fans, you have to tell them a story that has some amount of novelty to it. And that story has to resonate with people so that when they’re pouring that wine for their friends, they are telling their friends a story. And that story will literally make the wine tastes better. Literally. [crosstalk 00:18:59] I think we’ve probably talked about, yeah, we probably talk about this [crosstalk 00:19:02]

Drew Hendricks (19:02):
I sold wine on the retail floor for 10 years and-

Andrew Means (19:05):
Yeah, yeah. [crosstalk 00:19:08].

Drew Hendricks (19:08):
… story.

Andrew Means (19:09):
Yeah, yeah. You need a story. And that story, when they put people in the MRI machine and they tell the person, “This wine, we got it at 7-11 and it costs $3.” And the person’s like, “Oh, this wine’s all right.” And then they feed the people the exact same one, but they tell them this is from [foreign language 00:19:29] and it’s this amazing producer and whatever. And the person’s like, “This wine is amazing. And with the MRI machine, they can see that the pleasure centers of their brain literally lit up more than with a bad story. It’s the exact same chemicals that are happening in the mouth. But it’s all about the narrative that is told in the brain. And I think that there’s a lot of people who, wineries that are probably thinking, “Boy, I wish I could get, I wish I had the budget to buy like all new French Oak. That would just make the wine so much better,” but you could take that budget and you could spend it on professional photography and messaging and you may very well make your wine, literally again, tastes better to the people who are drinking it than if you had actually … The narrative is part of the wine making process. It should be at least.

Drew Hendricks (20:29):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And now, really, so what I’m seeing on this pandemic really highlighted the fact that your online presence has to be on the forefront and with gen Z coming up most of the time, they’re only going to experience you for the first time online. Your online story has to be perfect, because they may never walk into your room.

Andrew Means (20:48):
Exactly.

Drew Hendricks (20:48):
The last year proved it. What my hypothesis now is that some of these wineries need to actually step up their tasting room experience, because some of them have done such a good job doing an online experience when the people eventually visit the winery, they’re like, “What? This isn’t anything like I thought online.”

Andrew Means (21:06):
Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (21:06):
So you need to keep that synergy and almost the script’s been flipped and that you’ve got to keep both things going. And maybe in the last year, a lot of the wineries did step up, but a lot didn’t, but it’s not going away. We’ve kind of redefined how we interact online and that’s not going to go away in the next couple of years.

Andrew Means (21:23):
Yeah. There’s been a lot of room, I think, in the industry for not very customer centric business practices and marketing and websites that aren’t super friendly or whatever. People were very motivated and so they would just find you, or they would be tours or whatever, and wine clubs that didn’t let you customize things and just a lot of shipping costs that are astronomical and all this other kind of stuff, that wasn’t very accommodating to the customer. And I think those days are well and I’m gone. And if you’re not making, if you’re not giving people the ability to customize their wine club shipments, or at least having some other way that they, like some sort of option for people who want to do that and if you’re not making it easy for them to find you and all that kind of stuff, you’re toast.

Drew Hendricks (22:17):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And then speaking about those wine club shipments, a lot of those shipments need to … I spent a lot of time talking with about custom boxes and the actual unpacking of the wine club shipping, and how important that is, especially if someone’s never been at the winery. You get your delivery. And oftentimes it’s just in a plain brown box, you open it and you’ve got an invoice and you’ve got your bottles. With no, there’s no pizazz in it at all. I mean, with Empathy Wines and Naked Wines, people have really stepped that up. And I was talking to Kim over at Sandbox, she’s runs Loop Graphics, and she’s got a custom boxing solution that helps them with the packaging. It makes a lot of sense, especially if some of these people never visit the winery. That’s their one tangible experience.

Andrew Means (23:00):
Yeah. Yeah. And you think about every month or every couple of months, that decision has to be made. Do I want to still be part of this? And if every month you’re getting a box that’s all drab and you just open it up and you’re like, “Well, now I’ve got these three bottles. I guess I’ll just set them over here,” then that’s just kind of coasting. It’s like you’re a glider. And all you can do is ever just maintain altitude or just continue to lose it. And by creating a really delightful experience when they open that box and showing them how much you care about them by investing in that experience, that’s a massive opportunity for people to show that, “Hey, you’re really valuable to us whether or not you ever step foot in a tasting room.” And if somebody is on multiple clubs and they’ve got one club that has some sort of rad thing inside, or like cool tape on the box or something like that, the other clubs are going to be the ones to get the boot.

Drew Hendricks (24:08):
Oh, absolutely. Just include a recipe card and your tasting notes, something to make it seem that this is a special shipment. Taste this wine with this card, follow it up with a virtual tasting, or maybe the chef cooks the recipe or the wine maker.

Andrew Means (24:22):
Totally.

Drew Hendricks (24:23):
I was part of one of those the other day.

Andrew Means (24:25):
That’s awesome. That’s rad. Yeah. For our client Lobo Hills in Woodinville, we created a whole tasting note card for people to kind of write their things on that link to a virtual tasting. And yeah, there’s so many opportunities of just little details that you can do that don’t even have to be expensive. I mean, that’s something you can just print off.

Drew Hendricks (24:44):
Speaking of details. I know people are waiting to hear about your business card. Now, I got to say, in theory, it seems simple, but man, it made an impression. And I tell that story all the time. So when I met Andrew, he’s like, “I got a business card for you.” And he handed me a bottle of wine that was his business card that had all his information on the back. Talk about creating an emotional connection. Suddenly I see this wine and suddenly [inaudible 00:25:07] Andrew. Wine. Bottle. Never forgot about it. How did you come up with that?

Andrew Means (25:12):
How did we come up with that? I think, I don’t know. I think it was just like, “Well, we’ve got winery clients who,” I was like, “I bet we could get some shiners from some of our winery clients.” And we decided to just design … It was one of those things where, like you said, it’s kind of a simple idea. As soon as we came up with the idea, we were like, “Oh, okay. Yeah. We know what we need to do.” And yeah. So we just, we put together a little … It’s kind of a bummer, because we have a bunch of them because after COVID hit, which was very shortly after we met, it was like, “Well, there’s not a lot of opportunities to continue to distribute these.” So the next, so basically whoever we end up giving the rest of them to, it’ll have aged beautifully. It’s a really nice cab, actually.

Drew Hendricks (26:00):
That’s the key. If you had handed me the bottle and it was like, kind of crap. So if you guys do this, you want to make sure that you do it with a good bottle of wine that reemphasizes the person that you’re trying to remember.

Andrew Means (26:13):
Yeah, exactly.

Drew Hendricks (26:13):
No, that was a great idea.

Andrew Means (26:16):
Thank you. Yeah, it was fun. It was a fun project.

Drew Hendricks (26:19):
Oh man. So what are some of these action steps that wineries should take going down the road today, moving in in the next few months?

Andrew Means (26:26):
I think in the next few months, especially if you feel like you have the bandwidth to do it, I would, I always think … I mean, they say that what’s the old proverb? The time to plant a tree was 20 years ago or today. So brand is something that is long term. It’s strategic, but it’s an investment that pays off. And so I think if you haven’t spent some real time thinking about what story do my fans … Because most wineries, of course, will have some fans, even the worst bar, cover band, dive bar cover band is going to have some groupies, right?

Drew Hendricks (27:10):
Oh, yeah.

Andrew Means (27:10):
They’re going to have some people who show up. And so there’s some resonance that’s happening there that is important. And I think I would start out by asking yourself, “What story do my fans, do the people who are fans of my winery, what do they tell their friends when they’re pouring a bottle or pouring a glass for them?” And is that story unique? Is it memorable? And is it scalable? Those are really important questions because if it’s not unique, then it’s not really memorable. And by memorable, I would say it needs to be concise enough for it to be memorable. We talk a lot with our clients about myths. This kind of goes back to the philosophy stuff, but a myth-

Drew Hendricks (27:54):
Is this the monkey riding a boar?

Andrew Means (27:55):
Yeah. You could say there’s this. Yeah, it is to a degree in the sense that I could get into the brain stuff later, but a myth is not … Most people think of a myth as like, “Oh, this is just a story that’s not true.” And many, many myths are not true, but a myth is really just a story that is shaped for the way that our brain learns and the way that our brain remembers. And so it fits into our brain and it becomes, yeah, it just fits into the way that our brain learns and remembers because it has some sort of emotional resonance to it. It’s simple enough that it’s easy to remember. It doesn’t have a ton of facts and stuff like that.

Andrew Means (28:36):
That’s why a lot of stories kind of become mythologized, maybe even it started out true, but the facts get kind of rubbed off because they get put into and taken out of our brains so much. And so when you’re thinking about a brand, when we’re talking with our clients about how do we create a brand, our goal really is to create a myth. And hopefully that’s a true myth. We really think that any … you can’t, maybe some … I’m sure there are some brands out there or agencies out there that don’t care about that. For us, that’s really important. We really believe that whatever is, that all of our clients, or at least we’ve never met a client that we didn’t feel like there was some sort of real, kind of central je ne sais quoi for about them that you could build a story that was compelling off of there. So I feel like I’m getting off track here because you asked me what people could do in near term.

Drew Hendricks (29:31):
[crosstalk 00:29:31] figuring out your myth is huge.

Andrew Means (29:33):
Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (29:33):
I mean, I remember a book by Patrick Hanlon, I believe Brand DNA where he goes into the deep core of a brand is that myth it’s that just undefinable formula, is it, you might say. It’s been awhile since I’ve read the book.

Andrew Means (29:48):
I mean, an easy thing to do is to look at your about page on your site. [crosstalk 00:29:53] And does it say what you do or does it say why you do what you do? Because what you do is almost certainly not news to anybody, but why you do what you do is compelling-

Drew Hendricks (30:05):
That’s a great point.

Andrew Means (30:06):
… almost to just in and of itself. It’s very often is the most compelling part of the story. And it’s very often where we start.

Drew Hendricks (30:14):
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrew Means (30:15):
Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (30:15):
Well, that’s great. With wine suppliers we’ve been working with them for that same deal, because too often wineries, they get the idea that it’s the vineyard, it’s the story of the family and all the … We all know that story too often on the supply side, it’s like, “Here’s our widget. You should buy our widget. That will help you make the wine. Here’s our barrel.” And if they don’t show what went into making that widget? Why did they make that widget? How does that widget actually make that process better, faster? So, yeah, it’s entirely, what you’re saying is entirely the first step that even we take. It’s a good reminder. Why have an about us page? Why even have the website?

Andrew Means (30:55):
Yeah. There’s, I mean, the Hero’s Journey has that section of there’s the call to adventure, there’s the refusal of the call, there’s the acceptance of the call. And then there … I might be bleeding out sections, it’s been awhile for my Joseph Campbell, but then there’s the meeting of the friends or the meeting of the allies. And so companies like that are perfectly placed to be those allies and introducing those characters into, because everybody’s the hero of their own story. And so these wineries are like, “Well, we’re fighting our fight,” and you’re like … but then introducing these characters who were there to assist them in their struggle and that are motivated, uniquely motivated and are invested in their success is a fantastic way to frame that.

Drew Hendricks (31:47):
Oh, absolutely. That’s a great point. And you know what, as we’re kind of wrapping down here, I always kind of ask kind of one question, what are you drinking these days?

Andrew Means (31:55):
Let’s see, it’s not wine, but it’s this amazing armagnac that-

Drew Hendricks (32:01):
Yum.

Andrew Means (32:02):
Yeah, oh gosh. Yeah. I developed a taste for armagnac and I’m terrible. I can’t remember exactly the brand. There’s a French restaurant here in Seattle called L’Oursin that, it means the urchin in French, and they had to turn into a little French market with COVID. And so they have like all this amazing French wine and armagnac and other kinds of just really obscure French booze in addition to cheese and all this other kind of stuff. And the last time my wife Amy and I were there, they were doing [foreign language 00:32:40] fondue outside. They had these two little tables set up outside. And so we were dipping cheese in the fondue and stuff like that and drinking this warm or this hot wine, vin chaud, I guess. Translation’s literally hot wine. And we went back inside and I think that they intentionally kind of get you a little bit liquored up, and then you just-

Drew Hendricks (33:05):
Good tactic.

Andrew Means (33:05):
… you see all of this amazing array and you’re like, “Let’s add that to the basket and that and that.” And so that’s been the thing lately that’s been really … My go-to is a boiler maker. It’s like a Rainier and a bourbon.

Drew Hendricks (33:16):
Nice.

Andrew Means (33:17):
It’s hard to beat.

Drew Hendricks (33:18):
Keep it old school.

Andrew Means (33:19):
Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (33:19):
Keep it old school.

Andrew Means (33:21):
Yeah.

Drew Hendricks (33:21):
So yeah. Yeah, I do have to say though, I do prefer armagnac over cognac. Little richer, fuller body.

Andrew Means (33:28):
Yeah. It’s incredible. It’s just so good.

Drew Hendricks (33:33):
[inaudible 00:33:33] Well, Andrew, thank you so much for being on the show today. Today we’ve been talking with-

Andrew Means (33:37):
Yeah, it’s been a blast.

Drew Hendricks (33:38):
Yeah. Today we’ve been talking with Andrew Means he’s the creative director at Transom and Andrew, where can people learn more about you and more specifically figure out how a monkey rides a wild boar?

Andrew Means (33:49):
You can go to just transom.design, is our … That’s our home on the web.

Drew Hendricks (33:54):
Great. So if you’re looking to connect your story with your winery, or even across the board in the food and beverage industry or food and beverage space, Transom Design is really one of the go-to places for me. I refer people there all the time. So thank you very much, Andrew.

Andrew Means (34:08):
Yeah. Thanks a lot, Drew. It’s been really great chatting with you.

Drew Hendricks (34:11):
Great chatting with you.