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The Answer's in the Room

Alabama-born, Virginia-raised, and Iranian-made, Borzou Azabdaftari isn’t just another CEO; he’s a college dropout turned serial entrepreneur, speaker, and the brains behind the award-winning digital agency NickelBronx. Known for his prowess in branding and digital marketing, Borzou’s work has garnered Hermes Creative, Clutch, and Marcom Awards. Beyond the boardroom, he’s a connoisseur of design and anything aesthetically driven, embodying style with substance. Borzou’s philosophy? Embrace what makes you unique; that’s how you find your tribe.

In this episode of TechTalk Podcast, Brad Cost, Dr. Jay Greenstein, and Borzou Azabdaftari sit down to discuss:


  • The guiding light behind NickelBronx.

  • The importance behind consistent branding for scaling.

  • Dr. Jay's experience with NickelBronx while building Embodi.


10:29 – Purpose-based brand strategy. "A lot of places do brand strategy through mission and vision, but we do purpose-based branding. What is the reason you exist and what makes you separate from your competitors? The answers are in the room. Our purpose is to inspire organizations to be bold. That's like our guiding light. Mission, vision, tactics - that all can change with leadership or market trends, but why you're doing what you're doing is especially true for you. Jay, with Kaizenovate and Embodi, you're still making people feel better, move better, live better lives. That's the guiding light, so you really want to nail why you're doing what you're doing and why people should come to you. This is an even bigger challenge in chiropractic because you're dealing with other doctors talking down on your profession. Everyone's got options, so you really need to take the time to ask your staff and patients why they picked you instead of someone else. Purpose doesn't change positioning. If you try something that doesn't work, you can play with it until you nail your purpose and values, right? That always drives the naming exercise."

20:54 – Similarities between NickelBronx & Arnold Schwarzenegger! "A brand name needs to be unique and easily identifiable, but it also has to be something easy to own. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a quote where they were trying to get him to change his name because it was hard to remember. He responded with, hard to remember, but hard to forget. Nickle is my wife's nickname and Bronx is one of my nicknames - all my friends from New York call me Bronx -u. We had the URL from our wedding website, so all the social handles were easily available. We did our own market research on it and everyone said it sounded expensive, cool and high end. Those are the three things we wanted it to be, so was born."

24:07 – Jay’s experience with NickelBronx shaping Embodi. "We ran through setting their purpose, which is to empower everyone to make better health choices. Their positioning is using technology and behavioral science to remove barriers and enable patient ownership of their own health. We did a huge whiteboard brain session with their whole team and dumped every possible name idea anyone could come up with. We took all those names, put them into buckets of similarly typed names, and let everyone vote. It's funny because in our strategy deck, one of our core values is we get it right almost every time. Jay asked us, “what if you don’t?” and I was responded, “well, that's what the round of versions are for.” For Embodi, we had a ton of names to start with, but we presented Jay with about five recommendations that we really liked. Jay, like in the nicest way possible, told us he wasn’t feeling any of them, so we narrowed it down to what he liked most, and we tried to find things that were going to work with that framework. During the workshop, we must have pulled out 50-60 options originally, but we nailed Embody for the last one."

33:32 - Why branding is so important for scaling a business. "Figure out why you're doing what you do, what makes you different, and what the content themes are for when you're talking to your customers for why they should use you. Make sure everything you put out on social, on your website, and on phone call conversations addresses those points. Having that consistency is going to get your employees to say what you would say even when you're not there. It’s the answer to why some brands scale so easily. It’s why people spend triple for Lululemon when the same thing is at Target. Spend the time and get it together. The answers are in the room."




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