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Jordan Rogers

After recovering from heroin addiction & incarceration,Jordan Rogers built a career at the highest levels of Sports Marketing & Social Media spanning nearly two decades. While in Brand Marketing at Nike, Inc. he held roles in Nike Football, Nike Women’s & Nike Basketball, getting to work with some of the best athletes & artists in the world like Ja Morant, Kevin Durant, Sabrina Ionescu, Odell Beckham Jr, Naomi Osaka, Virgil Abloh, & more.

Video Content

The Power of Vulnerability - With Jordan Rogers

In this episode, host Chris Do sits down with Jordan Rogers, detailing his recovery from heroin addiction and incarceration to achieving professional acclaim at Nike and becoming a significant advocate for personal branding. By leveraging his struggles to forge a connection and inspire athletes and individuals alike, Jordan highlights the essence of resilience, authenticity, and the strategic use of personal branding. The narrative further explores how personal experiences and unique stories can not only enrich one's professional growth but also inspire broad, impactful success. Jordan's work, particularly with college athletes, underscores the crucial role of embracing vulnerabilities, recognizing strengths, and the proactive pursuit of personal potential beyond waiting for opportunities. His success story, marked by growth in followers and recognition from figures like Tiger Woods, serves as a testament to the power of authentic personal branding and its pivotal role in achieving happiness, health, and wealth. The script encapsulates the intersection of personal hardships with professional triumphs, advocating for the strategic and authentic use of personal branding in navigating and leveraging one's unique journey towards broad-reaching impact and success.

The Power of Vulnerability - With Jordan Rogers

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Mar 20

The Power of Vulnerability - With Jordan Rogers

From Struggle to Strength

In this episode, host Chris Do sits down with Jordan Rogers, detailing his recovery from heroin addiction and incarceration to achieving professional acclaim at Nike and becoming a significant advocate for personal branding. By leveraging his struggles to forge a connection and inspire athletes and individuals alike, Jordan highlights the essence of resilience, authenticity, and the strategic use of personal branding. The narrative further explores how personal experiences and unique stories can not only enrich one's professional growth but also inspire broad, impactful success. Jordan's work, particularly with college athletes, underscores the crucial role of embracing vulnerabilities, recognizing strengths, and the proactive pursuit of personal potential beyond waiting for opportunities. His success story, marked by growth in followers and recognition from figures like Tiger Woods, serves as a testament to the power of authentic personal branding and its pivotal role in achieving happiness, health, and wealth. The script encapsulates the intersection of personal hardships with professional triumphs, advocating for the strategic and authentic use of personal branding in navigating and leveraging one's unique journey towards broad-reaching impact and success.

Rich Cardona Media

From Struggle to Strength

Episode Transcript

Jordan Rogers: Do something publicly and make great things and put it into the world and let the world respond to that and help you refine your process. So many creatives and people get discovered by the internet today. I mean, Instagram is probably the primary tool that people are finding great creatives.

Chris Do: I did some preliminary listening to some of your interviews and your backstory. I'm fascinated by where you've gone and what you're doing and the kinds of thoughts that you have on personal branding. I don't want to rehash too much of the background, which I think you shared with your, your audience that I think at fifteen years old you went to a party, you accidentally got hooked on some pretty hard drugs, and you went on a dark journey for a number of years and were addicted to heroin, in and out of rehab, and then was incarcerated for a period of time.

And so that's the backstory. What I'm really fascinated in talking to you about, what it's like to be, personal prominence at a company like Nike that we all love and respect and admire for all the things that they do, especially in the brand play and your thoughts on personal branding. So for those people who don't know who you are, Jordan, could you introduce yourself and give us the CliffsNotes version of your story?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah, absolutely. I, Jordan Rogers, I recovered from heroin addiction after a year of incarceration twenty years ago. So, got the opportunity around the age of twenty one to sit incarcerated for over a year and think about what I wanted my life to look like. And quite honestly, I set the bar really low. I just didn't want to stick a needle in my arm again, but God had bigger plans for me.

I had a bigger opportunity. And so I, uh, started put one foot in front of the other, got my life back together, became a personal trainer, eventually chased this dream job at Nike, spent five years trying to get into Nike Inc. and finally landed that dream job after a lot of hustle. And that's where I became really passionate about personal branding.

You know, when I didn't have the background, the traditional background that a company like Nike was looking for, how do I find what my strengths and skills are? And then how do I communicate them to a company effectively and in a short amount of time, really, to try to get them to let me come in the door and to contribute. So they finally let me in the door. And then I spent almost eleven years in brand marketing, working through the ranks across Nike football, Nike women's Nike basketball, Nike sportswear, working with some of the biggest athletes and artists in the world, traveling the globe, doing the Nike brand marketing thing.

And it was a lot of fun. And I left last year to now teach colleges and corporate teams about personal branding. NIL is a thing in the last three years where college athletes are able to make money off of their name, image, and likeness where they weren't allowed to previously so it's kind of a hot topic in that industry right now. And that's what I do travel around. I do keynote speaking. I do some consulting and branding and marketing. And then of course I create content on the internet every day through Instagram and TikTok primarily.

Chris Do: Beautiful. I think we can structure our conversation today in three parts for our audience who are listening. Not in equal lengths, but just three parts. So the first part is, I heard you describe you as a witness, as a fifteen year old boy, looking at one of your friends getting high, and you're like, the way you described that, I would be tempted to try. Now, full disclosure, I'm straight edge, I've never drank alcohol, I've never done any kind of drug, but I've always wondered, first of all, can you re describe what it was like for you to witness this, and did it live up to your expectations, or at least the first hit that you got? I'm curious.

Jordan Rogers: Well, I think the context is important, you know, I was fourteen, fifteen, I had played all sports growing up, and that was a real positive outlet for me. I tell people I was a jack of all trades, master of none. Unfortunately, if you want to continue to play in junior high and high school in Dallas, Texas, you need to be a master of at least one.

And I wasn't. So I had recently fallen out of all of my sports. And with that, a lot of my positive friends going through adolescence and breakups and trying to figure out how to get girls and be cool and try to find our identity. It's a really uncomfortable time. And so in the midst of all of that, I'm hanging out with some friends, acquaintances, really, a couple older kids as well, and, uh, I see a guy.

At this point in my life, I'm trying every drug possible, so I'm smoking weed, I'm drinking, taking pills, doing anything that anybody's got, and this dude is snorting something, and he goes down and snorts a line off of this bathroom counter at one o'clock in the morning or whatever it was and we had already been using a bunch of other drugs and he came up and looked like he had this real crazy sense of relief and stress free just kind of roll off of him like a rolling ocean and It looked like he was having a good time and feeling nice. And so I wanted to feel nice. I did not want to feel the internal angst and frustration and struggle and discomfort that I had been feeling. I would not have been able to articulate that to you at the time, but here, whatever, almost thirty years later, I can articulate that's what was happening internally.

And so I just needed to calm that storm that was going on within me internally, and it absolutely calmed that storm. It felt like a warm, a lot of people describe heroin as like being in the womb again. Not that I remember that, but it's a warm, comforting sense of relief. It is an opiate, and opiates are painkillers, and it absolutely kills pain. And so when used in the proper format, you know, my wife had surgery last year. If we go through hard things, we break a bone, or we have surgery, it's really effective for that. But also, if you're in emotional pain, it can really treat that as well.

Chris Do: What kind of emotional pain were you in? You're fifteen years old, you're an athlete, you're a jock, presumably pretty popular person. I was not a popular person, I was not into athletics, and I always looked at it from this side of the fence as a kind of a nerd into like art and comics and things like that. Those people had their lives together and they seemed to be the life of the party and the center of attention, especially in, in high school. What were you running away from? What kind of emotional pain were you dealing with?

Jordan Rogers: So I don't know if I would describe myself as a jock by that point, I was a kid who really enjoyed playing a lot of sports. So yeah, maybe I would fall into that. I always prided myself in being friends with all the groups.

I didn't know it at the time, but I was really creative. And I think what I was trying to do, Chris, you and I probably should have been hanging out more, but in Dallas, Texas in the eighties and nineties, and probably still today to some degree, you know, today more kids want to be YouTubers than they want to be LeBron James.

That was not the case, I think, when you and I were growing up, especially in Texas, you were either like the quarterback of the point guard or you were nothing. You were a loser, you know, you were not cool. And now I think creative is cool. And I just didn't know that maybe it could have been then too, but at least in my little world and in my brain, it was only sports or nothing. And so the emotional pain that I was in was entering into adolescence, trying to figure out what my identity could look like. If I wasn't a great athlete, I was never the best athlete at any of the sports. I would just always contribute.

And it was more of a community thing where I was having fun with my friends. But once it became hyper specialized and you needed to like make the team and you are going to be one of twelve kids and a thousand kids school to be on the team. Like that wasn't a reality for me. So I think one, the pain I was feeling was like a loss of identity, a bit trying to find a new identity.

My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher and a real positive. He loved Jesus and golf and sports. He loved all sports. And I think I kind of got some of that from him. And. I was really close to him and he was a real positive outlet in my life. He died when I was fourteen. I went through a couple little breakup, you know, your early emotional, you know, I had a couple girlfriends at thirteen, fourteen, one of them cheated on me and the other, you know, it was like, I didn't know what to feel and all that. I was like, oh, I want to forgive her. My friends are like, no, what, you know, you, you got to move on. You, what are you, uh, wuss? You know, you're going to forgive people? What is that? And so, man, so much conflict, you know, happening there internally and just trying to find myself. So that was the emotional pain that I was in. And I certainly found relief in a temporary form from drugs and alcohol.

Chris Do: Well, you touched on something that I talk about. And that we think some pain from physical injuries, you could see the wound, you can heal, and there's a process and people can deal with. Sometimes the mental pain that you feel is a much deeper thing to recover from.

And it sounds like a confluence of a couple different things, a broken relationship, a loss of identity, a loss of somebody who mattered a lot to you all at the same time. Filtered through a hyper emotional teenage mind where everything is like the end of the world, like, I remember exactly what you're going through.

Not the age in which you went through, but when my girlfriend cheated on me, it broke me into a thousand pieces and I had to put myself back together. Looking back on it, it's kind of silly, it's just another relationship, one of many that you're gonna have in your life. But in that moment, it's like, it's such a powerful, like, my life is ending and we feel it so much. So okay, thank you very much for sharing this, this kind of, this warm wave that washes over you, that kind of inner peace. Sounds wonderful. I try to achieve that through thinking, being quiet with myself and just understanding what people would describe as a meditative process. But the part that gets real interesting for me is your tenure at Nike. I take it you moved to Beaverton?

Jordan Rogers: Yes. Well, we had territory offices. So I started in the Dallas, Texas office and then was managing the central territory, which is like Texas all the way up to Chicago and Green Bay, like worked on the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs. And so I did all that.

And then if you wanted to continue to grow before I ever started this chase, they say all roads lead to Beaverton. So you gotta be willing to go to Beaverton. So five years in here and then spent six years in Beaverton before moving back to Dallas three years ago.

Chris Do: What did you do such that Nike gave you a shot? It's not like you had this sterling resume. You've gone through some trouble in your life. It's not like you would consider like on a resume that looked perfect. What do you think they hired you or why did they choose you out of so many different people?

Jordan Rogers: Well, Chris, I may not be the most talented person. I may not have an MBA. I may not have all that, but I am a mother loving hustler. And when I get my mind fixed on something, now there's nothing going to stop me. And so I think that a sheer combination of determination and delusion a little bit, like if I had known then what I know now, I don't know if I ever would have tried.

Because I saw the qualifications and the talent level of people that were in Nike, I may not have ever even given my shot, but I was just delusional enough to think that I could get a place there. I thought I would be really good at it. I've been passionate about Nike my whole life and about sports and what I couldn't articulate then that I can now is really passionate about kind of storytelling, inspiring other people to live a better way of life to chase their dreams. That's what I really wanted to do. And I also had this sense that Nike's brand at its best and the athletes that they partner with, a lot of people miss that there's a rebellious spirit within Nike. That is what gives it its edge and what makes it so great.

And I felt like Nike would embrace that and welcome a rebel like me and my story. And I didn't tell that story publicly for about thirteen years until I was into recovery and five years into my Nike career. So halfway through my marketing career at Nike, I finally came out and told the story that I just told you in the first five minutes of talking to you.

And the lesson that I learned there, Chris, is that we admire people through our strengths. So people are like, Oh, wow, this guy's great. He's in brand marketing at Nike. He seems cool. He's very creative. I had shown those skills to this point. But they really connect with us through our struggle and our story.

And I started to connect with my teammates, my leaders, the people that I worked with day in and day out on a much deeper basis because I was willing to be vulnerable. I was willing to risk hurt or injury. I thought that I might be committing career suicide, but I had been clear on my values that I wanted to help inspire people.

And I felt like my life purpose was to help inspire people to achieve freedom out of addiction and or incarceration. And so when I was presented with an opportunity to do a film publicly, a ten minute short film telling my story with an organization called I Am Second, I had to take them up on that. And it was, a decision that I'm really glad I made.

Chris Do: So what I heard from you, and I believe this, is a good dose of determination and delusion are a pretty good recipe for success. And when I hear people who have an addictive personality, addiction is just one path of that determination and delusion, but the other part is like deep, rooted passion that you can't deter.

And it's a beautiful thing when it's applied to the betterment of yourself towards self development in a career or a skill or a trade or something like that, as opposed to sometimes what people would consider pretty self destructive behavior. And that same energy, like, I know people who used to be addicted to one thing or the other, and then now they're like gym rats.

They just apply their energy to something else, and so they build themselves up, and they're as addicted to lifting weights as they are to doing lines of coke or heroin or whatever it is. But you didn't answer my question, which was what did you say or do in that critical moment when you're just a scrub from the street into joining them. What do you think it is? Like looking back on that moment, do you have any insight as to why you think they gave you the shot?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah. Okay. You're right. Thank you for holding me accountable on that. It was the determination and delusion. So I spent five years. I am a mother loving hustler, as I told you. So I was hustling.

So I was constantly there. So I started, I met with a guy who had the job that I wanted. It's this role called the EKIN role. It's brand evangelist. People who know Nike backwards and forwards, sometimes called tech reps. You travel around, you teach people about the history and heritage of the brand at Nike and about the latest and greatest innovation that is carried in stores.

And so you're training people on that in both a story and in the latest product that's coming out. And so I started, when I first sat with them most everybody said, are you willing to move to Beaverton? Eventually I said, yes. And they said, uh, okay, are you willing to move around in your career? I said, yes.

They said, are you willing to work at retail? You need to work at retail. So I went and got a job working at retail at the Nike factory store here in Dallas. And then I started volunteering for every event that I could with these people who had these jobs. And so I would just carry boxes for them. I would set up tents for them.

And what became clear is that in these field marketing events, what was really valuable to them was getting pictures of them actually doing the event. And so a real turning point in my career was picking up a camera. And a couple of the guys I was working with, I was known as like the tech guy. The techie sort of nerdy, creative dude. And they were like, hey, we got this fancy camera here. Can you figure this out? And I was like, absolutely. And so I would raise my hand and volunteer for the things that people couldn't figure out or didn't want to do. And so one of those was building PowerPoint presentations of recaps of what the events included and insights that people wanted to know about these events.

And then capturing these events. So I became useful. I was just trying to get in where I fit in Chris, you know, and so I just proved to be a willing hustler who would be useful and get the job done, whatever that job was done. So if you needed photos from your event, cool, I'm going to be a great photographer for you.

If you need a video of your event, great, I'm going to teach myself iMovie on this computer, and I'm going to learn how to edit this video and put some cool music to it and give it to you. And you know what? Those first videos, they were terrible. They were so bad, but I was willing to learn it. And then little did I know, Chris, like probably the reason I'm talking to you, but like, the next fifteen years of social media would be dependent upon whether you could take a pretty picture or whether you could edit a video.

And so just in the process of me trying to be useful and helpful to someone, I learned these skills and it helped my life inside my career, certainly, but outside the walls of Nike as well, which have kind of given me wings and freedom in my life today as an independent consultant and a content creator.

Chris Do: There's a couple of things I need to just check in on and I want to recap because you actually gave us the lightbulb moment, which I want to circle back to, but I'm just doing a quick age check here. You said you're twenty years sober from twenty one. Are you forty one?

Jordan Rogers: I'm forty two.

Chris Do: Forty two. So okay, my math is pretty good here. So you're forty two. I'm fifty two. So I'm ten years. I'm just trying to figure out like what year you are. And when you're doing these photos, like, do you recall like what year this is?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah. 2008, 2009.

Chris Do: Like the economy's falling apart in 2008, right?

Jordan Rogers: Yes, Chris. I did not realize this at the time. I graduated in December of 2007 and started trying to get a job at Nike in 2008. Nike's going through this right now. They're reorging. They're hurting. They're struggling. They're trying to figure out the next thing. generation of the company. I was trying to get in that company when they were doing that. They were reorging the whole company. First big reorg in ten years. The economy was collapsing. So yes, I didn't realize it at the time, but yes, I had a lot of headwinds.

Chris Do: Here's what I heard. And I want to share a story with everyone that humility along with determination and delusion can take you very far. So you're saying, there's nothing I wouldn't do, including working in a retail. Like a lot of people are like, nah, I'm not going to work retail. That's stupid. I want to get to that place. And unfortunately there's a whole generation of people, not to make too broad of a statement, that they have certain expectations and what people would describe as entitlement. Like I should get the did create a position that I should just get for no reason.

And I just want to say this. There was a young man who approached me at the beginning of my service design business, and he said, I will do anything so that I can be around you. I know you need to do creative things. I will literally clean your toilets, scrub your floors, do the dishes, whatever it is, just so I can be here, so I can absorb that.

Now, his portfolio at that time didn't warrant the position, but his attitude did. I said, this could be a big mistake for me. But I've never been wrong before. When I see another hustler in front of me, I got to respect the game. Now, some people talk a good talk, and then as soon as you put them in the position, like, I'm not going to do this.

And we see that happen all the time. The fact that you worked retail, the fact that you made yourself useful. So everybody needs to listen up to this because we have a broad audience of creative people who just don't understand this concept. Look for a job that's not being done. And throw yourself at it with the humility to say, you know what?

I'm not going to be good at this at the start, but that can be useful. I can take pictures. I can document kind of pre social media. I can help to do this. And this is what the company is going to be find valuable. I can teach myself PowerPoint. I can summarize, and so you put yourself in a position where they have to, if they're smart, look at you in a different light.

And I think, to me, it's like, if I'm a manager of yours, I'm like, what is this kid doing? This kid's tearing it up. What is Bobby doing? Bobby's doing nothing. We need to give Jordan a shot here. Put him in the game. Give him a shot.

Jordan Rogers: Yeah. And they did eventually. And what I found is that if you can demonstrate competence, I had a boss one time who said work flows to the competent. And sometimes that's like in a negative sense, you know, the most competent people get all the workload. And so they, they do a good job and then they're rewarded with more work. That happens in corporations a lot. But what I found was that It was basically just showing that you can be useful and play a role.

And if you want to use a sports analogy, be a team player, like show up and figure out what is the, so when I talk to people about careers, there's timing, teams, and talent. So what is your unique talent? You know, both you and I are passionate about personal branding. What is your unique talent? What are your skills and gifts?

What are your passions and interests that you can bring to a team? But then you have to assess the team that exists there at the time. If you have that luxury and you see, okay, what is the missing role here on this team? So maybe I'm the super creative guy, but there's already a really creative gal on this team and they don't need me and those skills right now for that.

So I'm gonna be the useful guy or the, you know, objective, whatever the strategist in this role. And so there's all kinds of ways that we can kind of get in where we fit in and demonstrate competence.

Chris Do: Yes, and as a person who's worked with lots of people in my life, there are people I'm drawn to who just look for jobs to help make my life easier. And the thing that I want to impress upon everyone who's listening or watching this is the person that you're working with or for, their time is very valuable. Anytime you can save them time, you're giving them money back. And it's a powerful thing. It's a very simple concept, but not enough people execute on this.

So I'm sorry to drive this point home. I just want to make sure everybody's hearing this. If you're looking for a job, if you're looking for a client, find something that they would find to be useful and just do it. Do the best you can with what you have. It doesn't need to be perfect, but if you show that initiative, smart people recognize this immediately.

They did not get to that position without being smart most of the time. Okay, now I got to get to this part which my brain is cooking. You're at Nike, managing brand, doing marketing. I have no idea what that's like. What is it like inside the kingdom? What are the kinds of things that you're working on? Take us through what a typical meeting or day would be like so that we can understand what someone in your level and position does.

Jordan Rogers: Brand management is hard to describe, I think, to a lot of people, to a lot of people they see or hear commercials or they see the print ad. From a brand marketing standpoint, our job was to sell and steer the vision for campaigns or how the brand wanted to show up, let's say for the next quarter or this coming year or for the next three years, depending on what level you're in.

So, It's balancing a lot of things. And I think it tapped into my ADD nature, my creative nature that wanted to do a lot of things. So we would sit there and you're having to intake a ton of inputs and then synthesize that and then deliver it in outputs, right? So I'm going to sit here and listen to our CEO, to the people who report to him, to my boss, to the VP, and there are many, many layers at Nike.

But I am going to listen to, okay, what is the strategy? Right. So right now I've talked about this on social, Nike at its heart as a running company, they need to win and running and they need to win with certain audiences right? So over the last few years, they've been trying to win with women. One of my role was to be a brand director on a team of mostly women to try to help serve women because Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, New Balance, Puma, all these historic companies who serve men have figured out there's fifty one percent of the population who are women. And if they want to grow and make more billions of dollars, they're going to serve them. The Lululemons of the world and the aloes and the athletes have also figured out that there's the other forty nine percent of the population who are men, and if they want to continue to grow, they need to win with them.

So it's no coincidence that Lululemon just launched a men's shoe and is trying to win with men and bought a Super Bowl ad or NFL ad to try to win with men. So we would take in, okay, we want to win with women. Running is a priority, training is a priority, digital is a priority. We need to get people in the app or get them on boarded with us to become members so that we can serve them more specifically.

I am taking in all of those inputs, then I am working with my consumer teams in the city, consumer insights people to understand what is the culture right now, what do kids want, what do people want, what is the vibe, what is happening in this sphere of sports and culture, what is trending. What are the platforms people are using?

What is the vernacular that people are using? What is the style that's coming? What do people want more of from Nike? What are they complaining about? What are they asking for? What competitor brands are doing things well and what could we learn from them? And then within my category, whether it's American football, whether it was Nike sportswear, so like sneakers and lifestyle or Nike women's or Nike basketball, we would then put together a strategy.

That said, okay, for this year, we're going to stand for, you know, Just Do It.. It's going to be the thing this year. It's the 35th anniversary. So we need to introduce Gen Z to the concept of Just Do It. That us forty and fifty year olds are very familiar with, but they have no context for the origination of that.

So it's basically in taking all of those inputs, then putting together a strategy that will then connect with the audience. So the last thing I'll tell you is in brand, we, and if this sounds egocentric from a brand marketing person, trust your instincts, but I would think most people would agree with this.

The brand role is then helping to sell and steer a vision across all of the functions, which are basically the business units that people, most people would know. So PR, so I'm working with my PR and comms team to get the right media outlets. I'm working with my creative team and the great creatives like yourself and others, Chris, to put together what does this brand identity need to look like and sound like and feel like for Nike basketball this coming year.

I'm going to work with the advertising team to say, okay, if we need to do a television commercial, what do we want to shoot? Who's the director we want to work with? And then I'm going to work with the media buying team and say, does this need to show up at the super bowl or on an NFL game? Or do we need to go to YouTube since we're trying to reach a younger audience?

And then i'm going to work with my social media team my retail team so that when a consumer Is watching a basketball game on television. They're thumbing through their social media feed. They leave the house, they see a billboard on the way to the mall. They go to the mall, they walk in a store. It all looks, feels, and sounds a similar consistent tone of voice that we want to connect with that consumer on. So that's a long winded way to tell you of what brand marketing does. Um, we can dive deeper into what a day in the life of that would look like, but that's generally what brand marketing does.

Chris Do: I got a lot of insight from that. The word that you use that I understand really well is brand evangelist, where you love everything that it is about your division or your company, and you're trying to evangelize others, whether it's new technology or whatever it is, just like, there are Apple evangelists. There are evangelists for everything, certain camera companies, etc.

I can't help but to, my mind was wandering a little bit. You were saying something about your job was to help your division or department or team find new customers. Peter Drucker said a purpose, business has a couple of purposes. Creating a customer is one of them. So when it's all men into running, you might want to think about women into running or men into basketball, men into skateboarding, and you kind of look for new customers to market to.

Now, I've seen this switch here, because I live in Pasadena now, that the Nike store, it's a small store, they're almost seemingly about yoga. And in Pasadena Old Town, there are like three or four different brands that I can see within two and a half blocks, all targeting women in yoga. I was like, I see the play now.

Lululemon's going after Nike, athletic sneakers for men. Well, Nike better not just sit there and just wait. So they're going to go into Lululemon's territory and it's like diverse shapes and forms for women who want to do yoga. And I'm like, I just want some cool sneakers. What happened to store, but I can see now the playbook somewhere.

Somebody like you exists and it says, you know what? We're gonna get our lunch eaten and we want to make sure we defend our territory and expand our market. Did I understand that correctly?

Jordan Rogers: Yes, and the fine line and the art of this, which is really hard, is like, So Nike is going through a challenge right now. They're losing market share and running because a lot of these market shares, the thing that made Nike great was that they started with core runners who were obsessed with running. I call them like nerdy runners, like people who just love running. They're shaving seconds off their mile. They run in the rain, they run in the snow, they run when times are good, they run when times are bad.

And that's how they build this like identity and that's how they build, that's how they speak to an audience who falls in love with them. Because the audience says, you get me, you understand me, you understand all my idiosyncrasies and the things that I love. The hard part is when you start then needing to grow your market share.

And now you're trying to convince people to love running and you lose your sharp edge with the people who already do love. And the other people who are kind of like, eh, I'm not sure I want to buy my running shoes to run errands in the afternoon. And you lose a bit of your edge and it becomes very hard.

It's a hard and it becomes like a pendulum. You know, you go hard in on your core consumer, you try to expand out. And then if you go too far and you lose the original, you get into a tough place. And so that's the art and the science that you're always trying to calibrate.

Chris Do: Right. As you expand your market, you will alienate your hardcore customers who are like, we're about this and now Nike's about something else now. And so it's a very delicate balancing act. I do want to ask your thoughts on this because you said you left about a year ago, and I saw that video where you announced you leaving, which was very touching and powerful and cool. It felt like a Nike commercial I was watching. Maybe it was, who knows, is that movie Air that came out last year.

Which is a dramatization, a reenactment of sorts with Matt Damon. I'm just curious, like, what the internal feeling was, especially Phil Knight. He was not presented in the best light. Like, he was cutting edge, and then he became not cutting edge. And this other person played by Matt Damon is pushing him like it's all about basketball. Put all our eggs in basketball. He's like, we're a running company, man. No one is going to want to wear basketball shoes. They wear running shoes. What is the internal feeling about that?

Jordan Rogers: Well, I happened to listen to a podcast last week where Phil Knight gave a very rare interview and he talked about it and he said he liked it. I think most people recognize that it was a good film. It was a good movie, but it was also a Hollywood interpretation of a movie. And I got a history degree and one of the quick things you learn in history is to cite sources and understand what the source is of a story. And that story, Air, is based all on Matt Damon's character, which is Sonny Vaccaro, who was working for Nike at the time, but he left and got fired really.

And then went on to work for Adidas, went on to work for Reebok. He sort of invented that whole kind of grassroots marketing and basketball, but you have to take that with a grain of salt. So he's obviously the hero, and he's going to portray the guy who fired him as this, you know, kind of, and then they need to dramatize it for Hollywood.

Chris Do: He's the villain.

Jordan Rogers: Yeah, he's the villain, you know, so Phil Knight becomes the villain and Sonny Vaccaro becomes the hero. When you really dive into the, and I actually, I've only done a couple of YouTube videos, but I interviewed Nike's official historian who also left the company last year. And he would tell you that the other character in there, I don't know why his name is escaping me right now, but he was one who really pushed a lot of this. Sonny's role was probably overstated, but there was a big team effort. And so I think everybody thought it was a great Hollywood movie, but it missed some of the more nuanced details.

Chris Do: Yeah. One of the things that blew me away, if this is in any way accurate, where they go to, I forget the shoe designer's name, but they go in like, we need to shoot. He's like, but when tomorrow, he's like, okay, I'm going to do something and go crazy with this thing. Like make a statement. And it. in the story. I know fiction. I work in Hollywood. It happens in one night. I'm like, there's just genius talent everywhere at Nike. And, and some of that has to be true, maybe not to the extent, but what is the true story about the designer who creates the Air Jordan?

Jordan Rogers: You would be amazed the amount of things that can happen. A friend of mine runs an agency called Victory and they have this big neon sign behind him that says, "there's always a way." And so, and that I do think is a spirit that lives on a Nike and sometimes it'll crush you because you're trying to create magic in a short amount of time, but almost anything is possible.

If you get together really talented people, and if you have big budgets, like Nike does, sometimes you can make things happen, you'd be amazed. And so I don't know that he actually designed a shoe overnight, but they can put together, they can piece together like Franken, we call it Frankensteining. If you had the sole of a shoe, and you had the upper of a shoe, and you had different color laces, and you had a different color panel that you could sew on on the outside, you could throw together a black and red, shoe that would be fine for display, but not fine to put on the basketball court.

And that happens often, you know, we would show athletes samples all the time and that's quite regular. And they could do something like that pretty quick, but there are a lot, a lot of overnight miracles that happen on a very regular basis at Nike. I'll tell you that much.

Chris Do: I love that. I mean, there's like a lot of parts and pieces that come together. I, in a different documentary, I think they talked to the designer who came up with the Air Force logo, which is a genius thing in itself. And just the whole idea that we need our mascot or our ambassador, this guy who could float through the air and they're like waiting for Jordan to happen. And then he appears and all the stars line up, then Nike owns the world and it's a beautiful thing.

I have another question for you. Full disclosure, I'm not a Nike sneakerhead. I do own a few pairs. I've always wanted this myself, and I was hoping that you can shed some insight on this. Nike as a design company isn't as progressive as I would love it to be. But their most progressive designs are typically their collaborations, Fear of God with Off White. With a bunch of other smaller known designers, and I was thinking, why can't that just be part of the Nike DNA? Why is it always a very mainstream looking shoe? Whereas Adidas has more contemporary, interesting, fashionable shoes that I'm like, I'm drawn to the design. Can you explain the culture and why that isn't more like the internal DNA?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah, I can. And I think that's a great observation. The role of the collaborator is to push the bounds of design. There's a reason they collaborate. You say Virgil from Off White, you would say, what would you like to do for this Air Force One? We want to celebrate it. What would you do with this? And Jerry Lorenzo comes in and we would say, how would you make a basketball shoe if you wanted it to be really style forward, but also have the performance elements that we feel are really important?

And I think the performance elements is really important to look at. Nike's DNA is in serving athletes on the court and on the field of play. And so Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight was a runner at Oregon and Bill Bowerman was a legendary track coach. And so they were always tinkering trying to get a product that would help them run faster, that would help them win more races, give them more traction.

And so at its best, Nike's DNA is in making products that help athletes win better. Sometimes that looks really cool and people like yourself and others find that to be interesting design. Something like maybe the Flyknit, which was developed about ten years ago is kind of what most people would think is their last real innovative push design that they've made.

But a lot of times that doesn't line up with what the culture thinks is novel or interesting. And so Adidas, you look at somebody like Adidas, their German roots and they kind of have that German engineering, like architectural feeling. And so a lot of their new products have a bit of that DNA. They also brought in a collaborator now infamous, but Kanye West who is a visionary and pushes the bounds.

And then what they do them more than I think a lot of these other people, And you see it in Nike, like Virgil Abloh had incredible lasting effects that we still see today on Nike's design language, maybe more in their graphics, and in some of the way they treat the outside, less about the internal components of a shoe, but Kanye really pushed the bounds of what Adidas has adopted as that kind of design ethos, so I think about their, I have this AE1, I did a story on this on my social media platform and they sent me one of these, but this to me is a really interesting design and it feels very architectural. It feels like Zaha Hadid or, um, you know, someone like that, a really contemporary design. And they sort of adopt that design language and then put it into their more general releases and performance shoes like basketball.

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The Futur Podcast: And we're back. Welcome back to our conversation.

Chris Do: Well, I visited New York recently. I see people carrying around these tote bags with the Nike logo, but it's like a grid and it's like really cool. As a person who loves design, I'm like, where did they get these bags from? And then I'm taken to the Nike store. I forget what it's called, but there are specialty stores that show like Innovation Lab or something. What is it called again? It's called Nike Innovation Lab.

Jordan Rogers: It changes names all the time. So like the one you saw in Pasadena is now called the Nike Well Collective, but it's essentially a Nike DTC store, direct to the Nike consumer store.

Chris Do: Yes, but the one in New York, there's only a handful of these locations. I think one is in Dubai as well, where they're selling shoes that are pretty pricey for a Nike shoe, like 250 dollars, I think. But the design, the presentation of it is like what I hope is the normal DNA, but instead it's kind of like this rogue operation that's pushing the boundaries.

When you said they bring in external forces to disrupt, my question is, why isn't that the internal language? Like, we should be disrupting fashion, we should be disrupting performance apparel, and all these things. And I hate to say this, with all the resources and the market share and the profits, why can't the design be cooler? I want it to be cooler because I want to buy it, but it's hard for me.

Jordan Rogers: Well, Chris, how long do we have? I mean, dude, look, this is the challenge. I believe, so the primary reason I left Nike, I needed to live back home in Dallas, Texas. I had two children. My wife is from here, all of our friends and family for here.

So this, I would relate to, I was trying to push the boundaries on innovation in terms of remote work and asynchronous work and all these kinds of things. I believe that obviously, magic can happen in Beaverton. I also think Beaverton becomes a fishbowl. And when you only drink your own Kool Aid and when you only just look around, because believe me, every presentation starts with how we're going to change the culture and we're pushing innovation and we're pushing design.

But when you're just judging yourself constantly and you're not looking externally, you think that you're changing the game when really you're making one percent progress on something from last year. And so it's like, well, we've got really cushy foam, you know, and sometimes you like, well, we've had cushy foam for thirty years, you know, what's the new thing?

And so I would say that's one is hard when you don't have the context, when you're not out in the market, when you're just kind of all drinking the same Kool Aid. The other is, you are on the bleeding edge of design, you know, just in your cool, your fashion forward. The fact of the matter is most people who are buying are do not want a 250 dollar shoe that looks like a spaceship.

So we all kind of think that we do, but in reality, a lot of times people just want a white and black Pegasus for a hundred dollars that they can wear. And it's even better if they can get it on sale for 85 dollars. And so people are looking for function. They think they want fashion. But a lot of times people want function, and if it looks fashionable, it's a bonus, but they also want it in a financially, you know, they want to be prudent with their finances as well. They only have so many dollars, and so they have to factor all of those things, and that's where you kind of land in the middle, and you end up unsatisfying people like yourself, and a lot of times myself.

Chris Do: You said one of the things as an evangelist or at least a person on the ground managing the brand is to be on top, you didn't use the word, but trends, to see what culture is doing, what are the young people talking about, what are they excited over, what is the language that they use, so we reflect the culture, sometimes we make the culture and it kind of influences one or the other, like how life imitates art and art imitates life.

So I noticed something here. So part of it is, if you're in Beaverton, in the fishbowl, the chances that you're going to reflect the rest of America and the world is going to be pretty small, especially if that's the only source of information that you're gathering. You need to be in the streets, you need to be in the inner city, you need to be all kinds of places.

And I just realized something, and I don't want to make this an issue of diversity, but You have Virgil Abloh, who's an African American. You have Jerry Lorenzo from Fear of God. I believe he's African American. And you have Kanye West, African American. And there's one other person I want to just mention you have Errolson hugh, who's an Asian Canadian. That's acronym for people who don't know. Doing these really cool things with all the technology and the resources that Nike already has, but they bring in this other voice and it just makes it so freaking cool. I just want them to design everything so that I don't have to walk in and feel like I'm at Walmart looking at the Nike selection.

But that's just me. Is that a part of it? That they're part of different cultures and subgroups? That they can bring in these ideas about typography, patterns, and spaceship design? I mean, I don't love spaceship design either, but you know, they're kind of infusing with this, this breath of fresh air, and I love it.

Jordan Rogers: Absolutely. And the industry is going through a massive reckoning with that. To the credit of John Donahue, who's the Nike CEO, who may or may not be there for much longer, he was brought in, he did a tour of 90 Days of Listening, and I will give him credit, this was prior to George Floyd, prior to 2020, when all of that got accelerated massively for most of these companies.

You know, he said, hey, I've, here's what I've heard. And then what I see is that our external partners, the internal representation in the company does not reflect the external representation of athletes that we have signed or the collaborators that we're using. So they're trying to get more diversity within the company and within leadership.

But I'll tell you this, this is a well known secret within, it's not a secret internally. If you were to open your ears for two minutes, you would see that a lot of black people don't want to live in Portland, Oregon, Chris. You know, you could miss any people of color.

Chris Do: Hold on. I mean, Anderson Cooper's calling in. This is, uh, breaking news, everybody.

Jordan Rogers: Breaking news. One of the least diverse cities in America, African American population in America is thirteen to sixteen percent and way higher. Like, I live in Dallas, Texas, thirty percent. It's four percent. in Portland, Oregon. Beaverton is two point eight percent, Chris. Many of the black people who live in Portland, Oregon either work for Nike or Adidas, you know, it's like well known.

And so they have a real issue. You know, there's a lot of issues with remote work and I'm not going to pretend to try to have all the answers. But one of the reasons that I couldn't work in corporate America anymore was I just couldn't like literally to the top, all the way to the top of Nike in marketing. Everyone knew that there was no reason marketing needed to be in the office for five days a week. In fact, marketing would do better if they were out in places like New York, LA, Canada, Paris, you know, wherever, just being in the market. But guess what? Corporate logic is such that everybody falls to the mean.

And so they say, Oh, well, account, that wouldn't be fair to accounting or to whoever, you know, the, well, guess what does that have to do with me? Nothing. You know, like I have a job to do. We're not all equal and fair. And so they have a lot of challenges. And a lot of these corporations have these challenges.

They think that the culture is in the office and that you need to be in the office five days a week. And so they will struggle because of that. So to answer your question, though, they do have city teams. They do have people who travel outside of that. They are working with agencies who are bringing them consumer insights, but none of it is the same as being able to live, breathe, eat with different cultures constantly. So they're trying to address that. They're trying to beef up their city teams in LA, New York. A lot of these companies are, and they're trying to figure out what that right balance is between home base and having people in the market so that they can get those insights that the collaborators bring.

Chris Do: As an outsider, you want Nike to Nike themselves, which is to be the rebel punk people that they are the pirates and there's change the structure. It's not necessary It's just because it's the way it was done and so many other companies have embraced remote working with satellite offices and to really reflect the culture and not just speaking to it, but internally, the culture is what we are presenting to the outside world.

And I have another question for you on this, and then we'll move on, which is, our audience, I think the demographic is mostly self identifies as creative designers, visual artists, those kinds of people. And one of my dreams is to put myself in a position where I'm a person who sought after for creative direction and input to be able to work with the Nikes of the world. And if there's a creative here who's like, you know, give me a shot. Let me help you guys design a new pattern or a shoe or a colorway or something. Give us a shot because you have so many resources. How does one begin that process? How does one get on the radar of Nike that they're like, you know what? Give them a shot. Let's, let's see what they can come up with. And we'll see if we like it, we'll use it. If we don't, we won't. How does one get into that position?

Jordan Rogers: I'm so glad you asked Chris and I get asked this question multiple times a day. So much so that I bought the domain name, [email protected].

So I have a lot of resources that I've put there. Please feel free to go there. A lot of those resources are directed at people who are trying to get in that door, but there's multiple ways to do that, and one of them, to answer your question very directly is to work with agencies. Well, so there's two sides I'll say, find agencies, whether they're creative agencies, production agencies, ad agencies, there are so many, as you know, there's social media agency. There's so many. I think a lot of people and I, I was ignorant of how companies worked, especially companies like Nike. So many of us get tunnel vision on the brand.

And so we just go to like their website and look at what careers are available on their site and go, okay, if I wanted to work with Nike or do a, shoe, or have any of my input to them. I have to get inside there. And oftentimes, as you pointed out with collaborators, you can have a bigger effect sometimes outside of it, working hand in hand with them.

And so one of the best ways to do that is to find the agencies that Nike is hiring regularly. There are tons of them. You know, my job as a marketer was to come up with the ideas, the strategy, the ways that we should implement this. And of course, I was working with a lot of my internal team, but tons of my relationships all so much of the amazing work that we do is from external agencies.

So one of the most famous ones is Wieden+Kennedy, who created Just Do It. They created every one of your favorite Nike commercials or Air Jordan commercials. I guarantee you was done by Wieden+Kennedy, and still to this day. So I got the privilege of working with them regularly. They are the best in the business.

I love them so much and um, kisses and hugs to all the Wieden+Kennedy people, but so you could get a job there. You could freelance with them. You could outsource with them. There are all kinds of agencies who do that. Even some that I even put in one of my career workshops, but just find whatever realm you are trying to get in and then find the agency who is doing that type of work.

And you could work with them and have some input and. perhaps influence the brand that you're so passionate about.

Chris Do: That's awesome. And I'm glad that you have that domain. We'll share it in the notes. It's, it's a [email protected]. Is that right?

Jordan Rogers: Yes, sir.

Chris Do: Okay. My question was though, I don't want a job at Nike. I want to collaborate. I want to be able to design or be brought in to give input on certain things. Is there an easier path than to be super famous yourself? How does one begin that relationship as a collaborator, not as an employee?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah, so to answer that question, I think if you're wanting to get a job internally at Nike, getting in with agencies is super helpful, but you could never want to get a job at Nike and you get in with agencies who do the work.

So if you want to affect anything at Nike, whatever realm you were mentioning in the audience is creative. So some of those are going to be graphic designers. Some of those are going to be directors. Some of those are going to be photographers, videographers, creative directors, the people who are doing that type of work, like doing the work are creatives at agencies hired out by the Nike creative team or the Nike creative direction team. So that is one path, I think, mostly for your audience who's going to be listening to this, who would be able to work with Nike. The second thing, which while get to as a collaborator is the biggest thing that I don't think enough people take advantage of today with the democratization of tools that you and I are using right now.

Do something publicly and make great things and put it into the world and let the world respond to that and help you refine your process. And so many creatives and people get discovered by the internet today. I mean, Instagram is probably the primary tool that people are finding great creatives. And so you know, artists like Virgil Abloh were starting in Chicago doing great work there. He was an architecture student and went on to collaborate. He jumped on with, you know, Kanye to do his album artwork. And then Kanye makes clothes. They make clothes together. Him and Harem Preston and Matthew Williams are getting together and collaborate.

They are making things. And I think to your point earlier about this next generation or maybe youth sometimes, we are waiting for someone to come and say, hey, you. I would want to give you a shot to do that. No, no, no. Don't wait on them. Go do the thing. Go make the thing that you want to see. And I think not enough people understand that Nike, I would see creatives on Instagram, do some really cool Nike bag.

And then we would DM them or get our agency and go, hey, go get this person. We want them to come do those bags for our consumers at NBA All Star Game, or we want to bring them to the Super Bowl or we're going to do a seating kit for a bunch of influencers. We want them to do the kit. And so make things, do things, and you will get the attention of people.

And if you're not getting the attention, then make better things and put it into the world and figure out that iteration process of what do people respond to? Because chances are, if your Instagram audience is responding to it, that's all Nike needs to know is the people love this. And now we want to be a part of this.

So, not enough people are taking advantage of the tools that are readily available to them. Make things, put it in public, and continue to refine that process, and you will get on the radar of brands. I promise you.

Chris Do: There it is. Jordan just dropped the blueprint, everybody. So, he's saying, don't sit around and wait for someone to anoint you as worthy of having an opportunity. Create your own future. Manifest it into being by doing work, creating things, using social platforms to share, and hopefully if there's enough buzz and excitement, he's saying Nike's looking at you right now. They are, and they'll tap you if they think it's hot and it's interesting and you're the person.

You can manifest this into reality. I love that. Thank you very much. Okay. I think the real reason why I want to talk to you, despite us spending the last hour talking, is about you working with athletes. I was unfamiliar with the term, name, image, and likeness. I know a big thing had changed within amateur sports, that they're allowed to make money off this now.

And so now all these young prospects aren't getting, taken advantage of by colleges, but now they can start to do this. So now a whole new market exists for people who could be the next Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. How do you help young athletes who could be the next superstars in their field cultivate their own personal brand and to leverage that so that other people aren't making the money and they are?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah. So I teach college athletes about personal branding, whether they want to go on to be Michael Jordan or whether they just want to figure out how to craft their career in life after sports. I think I developed a passion for personal branding when I was trying to develop a career. It is what are my strengths and skills?

What can I bring to a team? How do I want to show that to people? How are people perceiving me? And if I like that, then cool. I want to feed into that. But if there's things that they're perceiving about me that I don't want or that they don't know about me, how do I show that to them so that they start to know me for that element?

And really my appeal to college athletes is there's more to you than your sport. So many of them just reinforce that athlete mentality, which is great. And there's nothing wrong with that, but people find real interest in an athlete who is also something else. And so to very tactically answer your question, I travel around and I do workshops much like yourself, but I do workshops with

college athletics teams. So, I was in Georgia last week at the University of Georgia doing workshops with all of their sports teams. They have twenty one sports teams. I did two seminars back to back of about two hundred athletes each. And then I went and spoke to their football team directly. And then I did a smaller workshop with their women's basketball team based on scheduling.

And so in that I teach them about what is a brand? What is a personal brand? How do we start to know what these terminologies are? I tell them what it's not, hey, this is not, TikTok or Instagram, they are usually told right now with this new opportunity that they have, most people just come to them and go, you need to be on TikTok more.

You need to post trending audio. You need to post more to your social feed and all that's well and good, but that's not what a personal brand is. So I try to go to the ten thousand foot view with them and figure out who they are, what strengths and skills they have, what they bring to the table. And then the element that I'm really passionate about based on my story, going through addiction, getting into recovery, and spending the last twenty years mentoring people and being a freedom advocate of helping people get out of addiction and incarceration, that's I believe that each of these athletes, I've worked with enough athletes now over my career, that I know a lot of them have really interesting stories.

They've overcome a lot of real hard things, and they have an opportunity to inspire people with the platform that they've been given and the platform they've earned, quite frankly. And so I know that they can have a deeper impact on people, and my workshops are trying to help pull that out of them so that they can have a bigger impact with the platform that they have.

Chris Do: Could you give us a little preview because I don't know what your stance on branding or personal branding, I know what mine is, but when you're pulling these athletes in, they're dealing with lots of things in life, probably the last thing they're thinking about is this, what are some of the big things that you do to kind of help to align them, like what is the value that you're giving to them such that they can start to develop this and put intention behind it?

Jordan Rogers: Yeah, so I use a formula of about three things. I tell my story and I plant Easter eggs throughout my story. We've touched on some of them today, right? So what I thought was my struggle going through addiction and incarceration turned out to be one of my biggest strengths. And so I plant a bit of a seed there. I plant a seed that, hey, I had to do a lot of work, whether it was packing up boxes or laying out when I'm trying to chase a career, it doesn't just happen overnight. Sometimes we need to work through and try a lot of things and be bad at things so that we can figure out what our strengths and skills are.

And so I share with them my story and I plant Easter eggs throughout them. And then I teach a bit about like a college professor and it's kind of what I do on my social media a lot of teaching people about sports marketing and branding a lot of what you do, by the way, which is amazing. And I really appreciate your resources.

And so I'm teaching them and then we do writing. So I've created a workbook that I have with them. So we'll either do worksheets or a workbook where I want them writing in this process, because as you know, and as you shared, we learn much better by putting pen to paper. And so I teach and then I give them examples and then I give them time to write.

And one of the biggest principles that I think I've learned with a college athlete schedule, a lot of people don't know this, but. Their schedule is jam packed for like sixteen hours a day across studying, strength training, rehab, nutrition, training, practice, games, travel. They have very, very little time. So I am in just the sixty or ninety minutes that I have with them.

I want to create ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes that they're just thinking about who am I? And what do I want out of this whole experience? I don't think they stop enough and think about what is it that I actually want to do with all of this? What do I want my life to look like in the future? And so while I had a full year to do that at twenty one years old, I'm just trying to create a little bit of space for them to think about what they might want and then to reflect on themselves when they're not busy or distracted. And so that's a lot of the elements I'm using pen to paper and then trying to get them to make a commitment to get to know themselves a little bit better and maybe that there's a cause that they want to serve in that connects with their story.

Chris Do: Thanks for sharing that. Could you give me a little taste of one example that you might talk about and what the writing prompt might sound like? Because a lot of our people are not in college anymore, they're definitely not athletes, so this is probably not right for them, but I think they can learn a lot about your approach on, on how you teach athletes to build a personal brand.

Jordan Rogers: I believe that there's three elements that make a successful personal brand: to be distinct, to be defined, and to be real. And I use real because most people just say authentic, be your authentic self, and I think we sometimes lose the verbiage in that. I try to use the most plain English that I can. But in order to be distinct, you know, we're trying to figure out how do we stand out, what makes us unique and individual?

And I think the first exercise that we do to that, the way that we figure out how we're distinct and how we stand out is to then define what our strengths and skills are. What our passions and interests are. But before we do that, I start with, what are you not? And so my version of what am I not, when I was chasing my job at Nike, the archetype that Nike wants to hire is oftentimes a former college athlete who didn't go pro, who double majored, you know, marketing, or entrepreneurship or sports management who probably got their MBA because they had an extra year of eligibility.

They probably had a 4.0. They were volunteering at orphanages in their off season. They had three internships with every cool company you could think of. Like, this is the archetype that is getting a job at Nike. And so sometimes we get in the trap of we keep looking at who are the successful people? And we go, I'm not that, I'm not that, I'm not that. Well, that's cool.

And so I give them a moment. I think when I stand on stage for the first time, a lot of times people hear personal brand, they go, oh, you know what? I don't have a big social media following. This is not for me. Oh, I'm not famous like the Kardashians. This is not for me. Oh, I'm not the star point guard. This is not for me.

And so what I want to do is take those insecurities and those. objections and put them on paper. And I even actually include a dotted line. We can do one of two things with that. We can cut it out. I actually put it in my workbook. There's a dotted line. We can cut that out or rip that out and throw it in the trash when we're done with it.

And you can say, oh, I'm not tall enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not a good dancer enough, whatever they think is in their brain about personal branding. And then I want them to be rid of that. And then we turn the page. And so you can either keep it there to define, okay, I'm very clear on what I'm not because now we're about to turn the page about what I am.

And so I'm doing like a one on one exercise, Chris. So then a prompt on that is what are your strengths and skills? You can start with an athlete is usually speaking a language of sports. So I would say, what are you good at on the court or on the field? You can start there, but I bet you that that translates to your daily personal life.

So are you a good communicator? You're a point guard. So you're in charge of seeing what everyone is doing. Or if you're the quarterback, your job is not only to know your job, it's to know everyone else's job. So maybe you're a great organizer. You're an understander of people and you're a good communicator.

You need to call out the plays and you need to tell people where to be. I bet you that you're a good communicator. And so I'll give them some ideas and prompt them, but then I want to hear what theirs are. And those are two examples of prompts that I might give them that then they might be able to grasp and start to write and start to refine.

Chris Do: There's a couple different things that you're saying. So I'll go backwards in order of what you just most recently said, which is you think you have a finite skill set on the field. But those skill sets translate to other things. You need to zoom out a little bit and see that. So the quarterback has a lot of skills, leadership, management, team building, communicator, sometimes an a hole, you know, they're usually the alpha dog, but whatever.

So you can see like, okay, where does that skill translate into other things off the field? I love that. A lot of times we kind of get myopic. We see we're good at this one thing because we're not really good at recognizing our own true strengths. It takes an outsider like yourself to look like, don't you also do this, this and that?

And then you get them on that train of thought, like, oh my god, you're right. I can do these other things. Now we can apply that. The other thing, and I love that you used the word insecurity. It stings true to my heart because when I teach people about personal branding, it's about embracing the darkness that's in you and coming to peace with it.

I don't allow them to throw it away. I want them to put it in their front. It's the eight mile B Rabbit rule, where if you say to the world, Yes, I'm white trash. I live in a trailer park. My mom is, XYZ, my girlfriend just cheated on me. What can the world do now to hurt you? There's no left, there's no chinks left in the armor. It's like, what can they do? And you've owned it. And I love that part. So there's definitely overlap in the way that we think for sure.

Jordan Rogers: I really appreciate that. And that would make sense, Chris, that I have your book right here. And I really appreciate that, man. In fact, you did an interview with the department, Omar, I believe his name was.

And you talked about how The first thing I just, man, I just, it was music to my ears. I even re shared it and basically didn't add any of my own commentary because I'm very rarely at a loss for words, Chris, but you summed it up beautifully. You said, hey man, you're front, go to therapy. And Chris, the way that I describe my workshops is marketing class meets group therapy.

We are basically trying to let's put our insecurities on the table in the what am I not? In fact, man, I have kumbaya. So sometimes the college athletes on a smaller, I love doing a workshop with women's basketball team. Women are just more reflective. They're more willing to be vulnerable. And in a basketball team, there's only about twelve of them.

So I've had some of my best sessions with like that intimate group, but with corporate groups, they're older. Like I did a high impact leadership group at Southwest Airlines. Chris, we were, this was a kumbaya man. We had tears. People were crying, shedding in the part where we ripped out our insecurities.

This woman raised her hand and was bawling. And, and I, I often, I want to do in my workshops call and respond, like, tell me what you wrote and then let's dive a little bit deeper into that. She said, for my whole career, I've been so insecure that I did not have a college degree. All these other people around me have MBAs, they were 4.0's, they have this cool alma mater, and I've just always felt less than because I didn't have this degree. And she's just like, weeping, letting this stuff out. And it's so beautiful because when we can just put that up, that can now be one of your strengths. Hey, I'm here despite the fact that I didn't have a college degree and I bring something different to this table.

That might be her distinction that she can bring to the table. And then we bring it all full circle and we go real. What is your story? What are your rabbit insecurities? How do we put those on the table, but then use it to distinctly and specifically serve people in a manner that's connected with your story?

So what I see with athletes a lot of times is I think they get kind of infantilized and they go, and there's nothing wrong with a generic approach, but they're like, hey, we're going to do the turkey pass out for Thanksgiving, or we're going to do the soup kitchen line. And we're going to take a picture of you.

I think all of that as well. And good, there is no service that we should ever pass up, but they have ways and audiences that they can serve uniquely. A lot of football players that I have worked with grew up in a single parent household, often a single mother. They have a unique gift and understanding to be able to serve other young men who have grown up without a father.

and they have some deep, deep impact that they can have on other people that is far beyond being able to run or catch a football, that will last far beyond when the final whistle is blown on the field. And that's what I'm trying to get out of them so that they can have a bigger impact in their lives and in the lives of the people who look up to them.

Chris Do: You know, so much of who we are is we long for the things we don't have. While we have all these gifts that we can't acknowledge. So the classic example is this, the brand strategist who didn't study branding, but has worked with great clients and has done great work. And then the academic who spent all their time studying brands, talking about it, teaching it.

So what the academic wants is real world experience and admires that and feels insecure for not having that real world experience. While the real world person longs for the academic pedigree of someone who's credentialed and well spoken and has eight dollar words within their disposal, they both want to be each other and nobody wants to be themselves.

So there's just this really massive, like, kind of disconnect, cognitive dissonance that happens. And I was thinking, as you and I can clearly see it because we've had our own journey, If we could just lean into who we are, we'd be happier, healthier, and wealthier. And so I love that you're doing this work with athletes, and it sounds like you're doing it with corporations now, too.

I'm curious, because I'm almost out of time here with you, which is, if somebody was not an athlete, how do they get into one of your programs if they're tickled by what you're saying, and they want to lean into the things that you've developed for athletes? How can they participate in this?

Jordan Rogers: They can go to my website,

and I have resources that I'm putting there. I have a career workshop. I'm about to launch my first personal brand workshop publicly digitally next week. I believe so by the time this gets posted it should be there. I just came off an insane trip. I'm just fully living I'm, just practicing what I preach Chirs.

I just got back from Los Angeles I'll just give this example, but I give people I say that i'm interested in three things, you know in a busy and distracted world we can't be known for all the ten things that we're interested in. So for purposes of social media I share about three things. One sports business. That's primary the thing I'm teaching people about sports marketing .Two criminal justice. I'm passionate about it. It's never going to get good engagement, but it's important to me. And it's what I believe God put me here to do. And three golf, because I can't not talk about it. And I often said it doesn't get good engagement.

No one cares. And I don't care because I love it. In the last three months, people have finally started to care about sports business and golf because Tiger Woods left Nike and all people wanted to hear about was why Tiger Woods was leaving Nike. So for once, Chris, my following now has grown by 30,000 people in the last like sixty days, because people want to hear about the Tiger Woods Nike event.

And because I was putting that content on the internet, because I was practicing what I preach, guess who invited me to the unveiling of their brand new brand after they left Nike? Tiger Woods. So I went to this ceremony, and when they brought Tiger Woods on stage, the literal first words that Aaron Andrews said to Tiger Woods was, Jordan Rogers is right over there, Tiger.

And like, I just had this crazy moment this week. And so I'm finally like, I'm going to make my workshop now available publicly because I'm just living that right now. And it's, I feel free. I feel happy. I'm having fun and I really want other people to do the same.

Chris Do: Hey, what a way to end our story, our conversation together, that it comes full circle, we're kind of bookending it. So, first it was a personal story, then there were some lessons and things packed in there, and then you living, like you eating your own dog food, as Blair Enns would like to say, and reaping the rewards of it. You said earlier, just a few minutes ago, you said, hey, don't wait for opportunities to happen. Go create them.

If you want something to happen, go do it. And you did it for all the right reasons, because it aligns with what makes you happy, what gives you joy, and you put it out into the universe. And then the universe aligns itself to your interests. And then everything is just perfectly like, it's like one shot that shoots through like eighteen car windows and hits its target. You're able to nail that to get that kind of recognition from someone of Tiger Woods stature. You're doing it. All right. Congratulations to you. So everybody I want you to do this if you're interested in the kinds of ideas the philosophy the ethos That Jordan has by the time this is out, the site will be up and you can go look it up and hopefully you can take his course or do whatever it is you want to do to dive or to go down that rabbit hole.

It's, correct?

Jordan Rogers: Or at Jordan Rogers on Instagram, where I'm also very active.

Chris Do: Wonderful. Okay. Thank you so much for doing this with me. I want to say this. If you're doing something in LA, I'd love to just have a coffee or a drink with you or to be a fly on the wall as you're doing your magic with athletes or corporations because I'm fascinated by people who are passionate about teaching, especially when it comes to personal branding. If it makes sense, if it's not too weird, I'd love to dip in and say hello and just check out what you're doing.

Jordan Rogers: Chris, I would love to collaborate with you. I send your resources to someone at least every other day you're doing God's work. I appreciate you and I would love to collaborate with you anytime.

Chris Do: Thank you so much.

Jordan Rogers: My name is Jordan Rogers and you are listening to The Futur.

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