Welcome back after a 2-year hiatus! Today’s topic is Gratitude and Authenticity. Let’s start with an updated intro, but first a little of the old intro

Hey friendly sounding ‘90s radio guy, I love you. But it’s time for something more real…

Well, that’s better.

Why the long gap between episode 4 & now? Headspace, my friend. The intent of DrewVOX Talks is to do good things, deliver great information, and build a business. A company that is of service to others, and allowed me to make a living. Simple, right?

Here’s a little background:

I owned a big SCUBA diving shop, there was a lot going on in that business. It needed 3 full-time people with complimentary skill sets. There were never more than 2 of us, so it was a real slog.

Then the pandemic came along. The perfect storm hit, and the rest is history. Tri-City SCUBA Centre slipped below the waves for it’s last time in it’s 23rd year. A traumatic loss for the local dive community, clients, and an amazing team of outstanding dive professionals.

And I felt like a complete failure.

While the shop struggled, I had to pay a mortgage, feed my kids, and keep my truck on the road. We have heard the stories, so I won’t bore you with the rest.

My education, first career, and my true love was broadcasting – making visual and audio content. So, DrewVOX Digital was born.

Back to headspace:

I was burned out, grieving the loss of the shop, and the psychological weight I created didn’t help. My friend, it’s hard to be vulnerable with you, but I have to be completely honest. Otherwise the information I am providing you would be a load of crap. I wouldn’t believe me if I was listening to this. 

DrewVOX Talks is partly about those hard lessons. Lessons I am so grateful I have learned, and continue to learn. My hope is that they can help you too.


Great question!


I have learned that I need to be completely honest with myself in order to be of service to others.

Not long after Episode 4-Online Presence and Relationships was published I had to find a job. A very important milestone in my personal growth was working with Luke Bazely and Leanne Shanks at Driverseat Inc. Working shoulder to shoulder with these amazing human beings brought out the best (and worst) in me. I will invite them to join me on future episodes, let’s hope they say yes! (I’m sure they will)

Driverseat is a shuttle transportation franchise that moves people in a very simple, but innovative way. They specialize in corporate and leisure transportation using vehicles with capacities of 7 to 24 passengers. Did I mention marketing was one of the hats I wore there? To say the environment is entrepreneurial and dynamic is the biggest understatement in history. Leanne (I like to call her Lorraine or Louise) and Luke’s leadership, plus the collaborative environment they create stands out in my experience.

Leanne’s style is the polar opposite of mine, which is why she and I worked so well together. She cuts through BS better than a hot, sharp knife through butter. And I am full of BS. She called me out on a lot of it (all of it). We had many uncomfortable moments together. Many. 

And I love her for it.

Luke and I are like 2 peas in a pod in many ways, but we are also vastly different. He personifies a true entrepreneur, real authenticity, and servant leadership. Very cynical Drew was looking for an angle for the first few months.

However, this version of Drew resolved a few years before to be open, honest, and completely vulnerable in all situations. Historically, my intelligence, charm, and humour were used to great effect for great things, but also put me in positions where I couldn’t deliver on some promises.

Luke, Leanne, and Driverseat were the best proving ground for this new me. More authentic, honest, and vulnerable. So, to Ishita, Evonne, Runar, Allan, Ralph, Sean, Sean, Bill, Leanne, Luke, Brian, and everyone else at Driverseat … thank you.


You keep asking great questions, thank you again!

As a marketer, the challenge for me was to take all of this amazing culture I experienced daily, and find a way to communicate it to potential franchise partners. As we developed and revised our marketing plan, strategies, and tactics, the goal is to truly communicate authenticity. Strip out the hyperbole, marketing speak, and all that nonsense so potential franchise partners will understand that this is truly a business model that stands out from the crowd.

How does one communicate authenticity, gratitude, and sincerity these days? How do you cut through the endless messages about amazing corporate cultures, and the rest of the touchy-feely marketing speak? It’s a show me, don’t tell me thing. Fortunately, Driverseat has visionary leaders who live and breathe the values that are the company’s guiding principals. 


Thanks again for the question. It’s like you’re reading my mind. 

Let’s make authentic organic content, then deliver it in formats, and channels where prospects will find it. Now this is completely driven by understanding our audience. We need to know:

The types of people we want to work with, who is our ideal partner? We built out several personas to describe our ideal franchise partners.

Next we interviewed some of our current franchisees that fit that persona. We listened to what they said. Especially the comments we didn’t like to hear. That’s great starting point.

We spoke to other franchisors, used research and information from various franchise associations.

We also learn a lot during conversations with potential franchise partners.

These personas are living documents, and will continually evolve. It’s important to regularly review this information as it informs our marketing and advertising KPIs.

Did I mention another hat I wore was franchise development? I spoke with prospects from a variety of cultures, experiences, and locations around the world, which really helped the marketer in me. Driverseat is a North American franchise, but we spoke with prospects from as far as Nairobi, the Caribbean, and India.

What I learned from those conversations is authenticity opens doors. By asking appropriate, and specific questions, people will share their wants. I also was able to quickly determine their suitability for purchasing a franchise. From the moment they said hello, our goal was to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship. By thinking of them as a partner, we were able to be of service to them.

One example is a woman I spoke with who didn’t have the funding, and frankly the skill set to run a transportation franchise. So I sent her a bunch of information on applying for grants, funding, resources for starting a business, and some government programs.

Maybe the opportunity to become a franchise partner was not in the cards. That’s OK, we can provide information so they could benefit anyway. Maybe they will be a future partner or send someone our way because of their experience.

The old saying that rising waters lift all ships is true. We all need to be of service to others. A little kindness goes a long way, and it eventually comes back.


You are asking some pretty direct questions, aren’t you?

This is how your culture is communicated. When everyone in your organization is like-minded, shares common values, and lives them, it spreads like a virus. People talk about it when the experience is consistent across the organization. It’s a slow process at the start, but it becomes an unstoppable force that builds strong, and sustainable momentum.

When you have top-to-bottom consistency in an organization, those experiences stand out above the crowd. You are already familiar with brands who deliver great experiences, and enjoy a reputation that makes them the gol   d standard.


What about the gratitude thing? You said the episode is Authenticity and Gratitude.

Now we’re working together, Mr. Externalized internal voice!

Expressing true gratitude is the grease that makes the entire machine operate.

Countless studies demonstrate that two words make a huge difference, they are “thank you”. When tell a team member you appreciate the way they do their job, that they helped you out, or even how they make the work environment better, your environment changes almost instantly. The same goes for clients.

Remember when I mentioned feedback from our Franchise partners? An open and honest internal culture means they are comfortable sharing all aspects of their experience. So we asked them about their process of making the decision to invest in a franchise, what their experience was like from inquiry to completed purchase, and onboarding. We also asked about their training and first year in business.

The meaty part was the areas they were not satisfied with. It identified gaps in the process and procedures, of course. More importantly for me was their take on our messaging, consistency in experiences, and how we communicated with them. What were their impressions of the company, and how would they describe it as if it were a person?

Did they feel like a partner, or someone who bought a product?

Our happiest franchise partners feel appreciated for what they bring into the organization. Not just by “head office”, but by the community of other franchisees.

Here’s an excerpt from a December 2023 article in Forbes entitled, ‘Top 3 Reasons Gratitude Is Important In Leadership.’

“In the simplest terms, expressing gratitude impacts both the giver and the receiver while concurrently increasing engagement and an authentic sense of belonging in the workplace.”

So why should that be any different with dealing with prospects and clients? The premise here is that gratitude includes our audience into the community right away. We start building an authentic relationship with them immediately. Our messaging instantly changes from a sales pitch to an authentic conversion about their needs, and how we as businesses can satisfy them. It becomes a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties are better off for it.

Authenticity and gratitude

That my friend is a true differentiator in a sea of competitors. Let’s take the time to be authentic and vulnerable, plus say thank you, and express our gratitude more. As a result, all of our relationships will be stronger and richer for it.

So what did you think about this episode? I’d love your feedback, and stories about how gratitude and authenticity have affected you. And don’t forget to share this with your friends and anyone who may like it.

I’m giving away my Podcast Starter Package. I used to charge 30 bucks for it, but changed my mind. It’s more important to  have more great shows out there. Visit DrewVOX.me for a copy. Share it with someone too!

Join me next time on DrewVOX Talks for Episode 7: the Power Of Great Content.

My name’s Drew. Thank you for joining me. Talk to you next time.

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