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Welcome to episode #40 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this episode I spoke with Dave Bernardino, Partner, Chief Client Officer and Head of Research & Planning at Ammunition. He enjoys the unseen, complicated tasks behind Marketing. For fun, he enjoys watching his children play sports.

Top Talking Points

  • Creating a schedule with times to complete tasks rather than using a simple list of to-do’s.
  • Having a key understanding of what is important to you and focusing on those things will increase your happiness.
  • The importance of mentors in guiding you throughout your career.

Resources & Links

Share Link for this episode

Connect With Dave on LinkedIn and via ammunition.agency

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Episode Transcript

Ryan 

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the morning upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that have also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development upgrades for your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morning upgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share. And now on to the show.

Announcer  

Welcome to the Morning upgrade podcast with Ryan cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan 

Hey, everyone, this is Ryan Cote with the morning upgrade podcast. And today I’m excited to be speaking with Dave Bernardino. Hey, Dave, Hey, how’s it going? 

Dave

Ryan? Going well. You know, can’t complain. Another week in the books and looking forward to a good conversation. And then the weekend. Likewise, I should have a birthday this weekend. FYI, a little FYI, there. And my daughter also one of my daughters has a first soccer game of this new league she’s part of so it’s gonna be a good weekend. 

Ryan

Nice. So why don’t you tell everyone what you do, what your interests are? 

Dave

So yeah, I’m the Chief client officer and Head of Research and Planning at ammunition. We’re a full-service digital agency that focuses on complicated businesses. So businesses that are in industries, like home building materials, medical devices, higher education, the like, and I lead all new business development, but also developing strategies and insights for our clients. And it’s something that I love to do each and every day. I’ve been a marketer for almost 20 years. And I feel like it’s one of those things that has grown on me. And it’s something that I truly love enjoying, and it’s something that I continue to hone in on as far as the craftsmanship and the art of marketing. So it’s what I do. What do you like about it? What attracts you to it? You know, I think at the end of the day, if you strip it down to its core marketing is all about trying to change behavior. And, you know, if you imagine, you know, consumers behaving in a certain way today for as relates to your brand, you obviously if you’re, say the brand manager of like Duncan Hines cake mixes, you want that consumer to buy more Duncan Hines to make more cakes, but for whatever reason, Something’s getting in the way. And so as a marketer, your job is to solve that problem to figure out how you can change that consumer’s behavior, such that you can get them to use your products more often, which then ultimately leads to more products sold more market share more sales and more profit. And so just that challenge of trying to solve those problems through the power of marketing is something that has intrigued me since I discovered this more than 20 years ago. Sort of like a puzzle, right? Putting the puzzle together getting the PCMH spot. Absolutely. And it encompasses a mix of like, you know, psychology, you know, consumer behavior, just general business acumen sort of all wrapped up into one little puzzle that can be complex, but intellectually stimulating. 

Ryan

Yeah, yeah. So you said marketing is an interest of yours? But what about hobbies? What do you do for fun, you know, I’m the quintessential sports dad on the weekends. 

Dave

So you know, my kids are doing all types of sports. So tomorrow, I’ll be you know, sitting in the parking lot as my kids playing travel basketball, which is amazing amid COVID-19. But then, you know, love to travel, love to enjoy, you know, a glass of wine here there and you know, enjoy fine dining, skiing, golf, whole slow things. But you know, at this point in my life, it’s really about my kids.

Ryan

Excellent. Get on the same boat. So let’s dive into morning your morning routine. Let’s start there. Why don’t you Why don’t you tell us how you start your day for the maximum impact? 

Dave

Yeah, that’s a good question. And I’ve gone back and forth as far as the routines concerned over the years, but where I’ve netted out now is usually I’ll wake up and whilst still lying in bed, I’ll start to visualize what my day is going to look like, you know, what are the things I want to accomplish in a particular day? If there’s a major client meeting or a major presentation going on all are they start to visualize how that’s gonna go in my mind. Just to get a sense of how do I want things to go but then to also help me focus where I need to place my efforts because as you can imagine, the days can go in all different directions and without grounding myself as far as what I need to accomplish in that particular day, without that grounding and things get off-kilter pretty quickly. So I use that time to really just think and just sort of set the stage for what the rest of the day is going to look like. Visualization is huge and just having a plan for the day as well, you know, yeah. And then that plan jives with a to-do list that’s literally on my desk at all times. And you know, it’s all about during the week, crossing off things off that to-do list, and it’s, you know, major stuff that I need to get accomplished. It’s not like, you know, ticky tacky stuff, that’s, hey, got to get this client deliverable down, or, you know, we got to work on this new business pitch, or we got to work on the strategy document. So it’s all you know, the visualization helps me better understand how do I use that particular day to accomplish major goals.

Ryan 

Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. And I read something you mentioned, your to-do list, I was listening to a podcast the other day where the guy was recommending that not to create a to-do list, but instead, like, think about what you want to get done. But then put those to-dos in your calendar, like actually schedule time with yourself to get up, get that to-do list done. I thought that was an interesting approach. I don’t do that way. But I hadn’t heard anyone mention it that it just, it’s interesting, actually do that at times, particularly when I’m at crunch time. So five to head down, working on a major deliverable, I will, you know, my team will complain about the fact that my calendar is blocked. A lot of times, it’ll be just, you know, me blocking out time just to accomplish that particular item. Because as you said, you know, you sort of lose focus. And a lot of times, things get scheduled, and when you run out of time to get the important stuff done. So yeah, I think that that’s a really good tip, let’s say on the topic of business, then we’ll go back to personal development with your agency, you know, let’s talk about like mindset, getting over challenges, things along that line. What’s the hardest thing about your business right now? And you can take it like, if it’s a past challenge, you overcame to that’s fine. But let’s talk about something hard. That is hard. And then how do you get over what you did? 

Dave

Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. And I think one of the things that we’ve been trying to do is, how do we continue to stay focused amid everything that’s going on? Right? You know, I think, you know, you got to be cognizant of how your team’s feeling. You got to be cognizant of how your clients are feeling. But also, you got to be cognizant of why you’re together, why you’re in business in the first place. And so, yeah, I think one of the things that we did as an agency, when we, when things started to go crazy with respect to COVID, and remote working and all that stuff, as he said, you know, at the end of the day, it’s all about our clients if we can just deliver value for our clients deliver the best work possible, each and every day, the rest will take care of itself. Because at the end of the day, if you strip it down to its core, at least for our business, clients are paying us to help them grow their businesses, and so whatever we could do to be that resource for them to enable that growth, in spite of everything else that’s going on, we were gonna sign up for, and volunteer and be part of that conversation. And so I think having that mindset of, you know, we got to double down on client service, we got to double down on adding value has a kept, you know, all of us and kept me really focused on what’s really important. But B also kept us really focused on, you know, our, our clients and adding value, because, you know, again, at the end of the day, if we’re not adding value, you know, what, you know, clients then have a reason to say, you know, why are we here for? And so it goes back to just some basic fundamentals, as far as to adding value for your clients if you do that seat at the table gets bigger. And if you don’t add value for your clients, the seat at the table starts to decline. And so I think just staying focused on that has been really instrumental to us blocking out all the noise that has been out there in the marketplace, and just out there in the world in general. Yeah, yeah, definitely an interesting time right now. I mean, we’re in similar businesses, agencies. And so I get what you’re saying, we’re in a very people-focused business, you know, the team and the clients. And, you know, going through the current pandemic, and all the fluctuations and everything with the numbers and the economy and all that stuff. It’s definitely an interesting time. But I think your device there is, is I think it’s true at any time, really, but especially now is taking care of the people around you. Clients. Yes. And also the team. Yeah. And it’s something that I learned very early in my career when I was at Procter and Gamble like we were taught at P & G where they would say, you could burn the company down all the buildings because of p&g people, you could actually rebuild the company in six months. And it’s something that has stuck with me throughout my career and really just over emphasizing, you know, the development of your people and making sure that your people have what they need to be successful, I think is the most important thing you can do as a leader, you know, because, out others, it’s tough to get a lot of stuff accomplished. And so I think, you know, more than ever before that, that has become really quarter my mission, at least, you know, as part of the team, but it’s something that, you know, we try to do it each and every day. But you know, as you said, it’s become more important, given everything that’s going on right now.

Ryan 

Yeah, I agree. Let’s talk about happiness. Yes. Let’s go to the other side now to personal development. So my happiness, I’m in your world, too. So I know, like the stress of meeting client expectations, and, and everything in between there. And then being a father, and you know, a fan of having a family and all that. How do you protect your happiness? How do you feed your happiness? What’s your approach to that? 

Dave

Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think it’s a multitude of things. It’s a continued evolution. Let’s just put it that way. I think the answer to this question when I was a 25-year-old coming out of business school is fundamentally different from the answer I’m about to give you. But I think what it boils down to is first and foremost, having an understanding of what’s really important to you, you know, whether it’s family, friends, your business, this data, the other, having a clear sense of what’s really important to you, and then making priority choices to ensure that you’re able to do that, you know, again, I go back to a training that I got, when I was a proctor, that work-life balance. And the thing that struck me was this notion that you can only do three to five things really well, at any given moment in your life. And as a result, you got to pick them. And so you know, the things that I tend to focus my time on, you know, both at work and outside of work are fundamentally different now than, say, five or 10 years ago, and that’s okay. But it’s what gives me joy. So as I said, before, you know, being a father and sort of being that soccer, or basketball or cross dead, yeah, that’s where a lot of my time spent on the weekends, but then, you know, I tend to do a lot of reading, and then exercise and stuff like that. So there are things that I tried to do, which I viewed to be really important to me. And I tried to find ways to schedule that in because if I don’t do it, I start to notice that I’m starting to get a little bit more irritable, or I’m not as focused or whatnot. So I think being really mindful and being really choice for as far as, where I spend my time, is really critical to ensuring that, you know, I try to stay as upbeat, as happy as possible. And I like the point you made there that, first of all, you know, taking care of yourself, and having your priorities and, and being conscious of where you’re spending your time. But also the fact that yeah, you’re right, things are gonna be what makes you happy. What made you happy 20 years ago, is gonna be different, you know, 20 years out, because your life changes, and there are new people in your life and new things. And so I that was a good point you made. Let’s wrap up with, I know you, you. Before we were for your recording, you were talking about how mentors have played a big role in your life and in your career. I think that’s an important topic. I’m in a mastermind, which is basically a collection of mentors, I suppose. So I definitely want to talk a little bit more about that. So why don’t you want to wrap us up with how important mentors have been for you, and maybe some tips, and then we can end with you telling everyone how they can connect with you to learn more about you. I think mentorship is instrumental. I honestly say I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it weren’t for a bunch of mentors that have guided me throughout my career. And it’s something that I try to do pretty regularly. So I have regular calls with a bunch of folks who I’ve known for years, and some instances 20 plus years and other instances, you know, six months, but I consider to be mentors. And I always find it useful and informative, fun to just talk shop with someone who’s been in your shoes before, and trying to just resolve and go through various challenges or opportunities or things of that nature, in a safe environment where you’re just having a one on one conversation with a peer. And, you know, I think of various moments or pivot points throughout my career, and throughout my life, having those mentoring conversations have really helped me see multiple perspectives, but also helped me make choices that have been beneficial down the road. And so I can’t stress that enough, you know, finding a group of mentors to have those conversations with, and then maintaining those relationships, because, you know, we’re all busy. But being able to carve out the time to have those regular conversations, for me at least has been super, super helpful, but also a lot of fun at the same time. 

Ryan

That’s great advice. And it’s you know, if you find the right mentor, it can be life-changing advice. So it’s a good, good note to end on. 

Dave

Absolutely. 

Ryan

Really appreciate your time. Thanks for being on the show. What is the best way people can connect with you to learn more? 

Dave

Yeah, no, thanks, Ryan, again for having me on the podcast. Best way to reach me? You can find me on LinkedIn at David Bernardino, B-e-r-n-a-r-d-i-n-o. And yeah, looking forward to continuing this conversation at some point. 

Ryan

Awesome. Thanks, Dave, and thanks to everyone for listening. Appreciate it. Thanks.

Ryan 

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade Podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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