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Scott Markman is the Founder and President of MonogramGroup, a global brand consulting and creative agency. MonogramGroup specializes in serving middle-market B2B companies and private equity firms. With over 30 years of experience, Scott has managed clients in consumer, B2B, and NFP sectors including consumer products, industrial and tech products, retail, financial and professional services, and the arts. He has lectured about brands and marketing worldwide, and his work has been featured in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, ARD German TV, Chicago Tribune, and more. 

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

  • [03:47] Scott Markman talks about MonogramGroup and the services they offer 
  • [10:14] MonogramGroup rebranding process 
  • [14:33] Researching and branding 
  • [17:07] Scott explains the importance of being creative in the branding process
  • [21:39] MonogramGroup’s customer success stories
  • [28:55] Why do companies rebrand? 
  • [32:43] The evolution of MonogramGroup’s services niching down to private equity
  • [41:34] Scott shares the value of having mentors as an entrepreneur

In this episode…

Running a private equity firm is challenging. It could be wise for entrepreneurs in this sector to think about rebranding. This way, they can communicate who they are and what they stand for to their customers. But how do they go about creating a great brand?

Scott Markman, a market leader in rebranding for the private equity sector, says that a great brand can inspire loyalty, trust, and even love. However, a bad brand can be a major turn-off for potential customers. It’s the same case for entrepreneurs in the private equity sector. That’s why companies need to pay attention to their branding and ensure that it’s aligned with their business goals and values. Rebranding can also be a powerful tool for companies looking to refresh their image or pivot their strategy. He shares how he helps private equity firms with rebranding to understand their target audience, identify their unique value proposition, create a compelling brand message, and develop a visual identity that resonates with customers. 

On this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with Scott Markman, Founder and President of MonogramGroup, to discuss branding in the private equity sector. Scott talks about MonogramGroup, its rebranding process, the importance of being creative in the branding process, and the reasons for rebranding a company.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments: 

  • “There’s a certain skill set to a brand evolution, repositioning, as opposed to blowing stuff up or invention.”
  • “The mission of brand work is focus and clarity and consistency.”
  • “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz  0:22 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have Scott Markman of the And Scott has been doing this agency and business thing for I’m not going to ask you too much Scott, but like decades and decades. So he’s got a lot of experience to share, and a lot of exciting stories. And before we dig into it, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast, Scott and Rod Holmes, we wouldn’t have met without Rod Holmes, even though we probably at one point lived a mile from each other in Chicago, Rod Holmes runs Pilot Digital, and he actually talked about niching and growing your agency by using cash flow, and we’re going to talk about niching, too with Scott. I’ve added on Jason Swenk, who Scott also knows, he built up his agency to over eight figures and sold it and then recently has been buying up agencies. He also runs the agency group. I had Todd Taskey. He has a Second Bite Podcast. This is actually in Scotts world. They help a lot of private equity companies. So Todd pairs an agency with private equity and helps agencies sell to private equity and he calls a second bite because sometimes those agencies when the private equity sells the group the second time they make more on the second bite than they do on the first. So his is really interesting talking about agency valuations and M&A stuff. That was really cool. So check more of those out on This episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and how do we do that, we actually help you run your podcasts. We’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do the strategy, the full accountability and execution. Scott, we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background to make it look easy for the hosts in the company so they can just focus on the relationship around their business. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past 15 years to profile the people and companies I most admire and share what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should, Scott actually has a podcast, you can check it out a the podcast page, you should. If you have questions, go to and [email protected]. We’re happy to answer them. We have many episodes on our podcast to actually answer the most frequently asked questions you can get those for free on the podcast. So without further ado, Scott Markman is the founder and president of MonogramGroup. They’re a global brand consultancy and creative branding agency based in Chicago with over 40 years of experience. He’s led clients across diverse sectors, consumer products, b2b nonprofits, but they are the leaders in rebranding for the private equity sector. They have served over 80 Private Equity clients over 30 portfolio companies in the past almost 30 years. And you can check them out Scott, thanks for joining me.

Scott Markman  3:37 

This such a pleasure to be here, Jeremy. Thank you very much. So

Jeremy Weisz  3:41 

just tell people a little bit more about MonogramGroup and what you do.

Scott Markman  3:47 

Sure. So, if you ask 100 people, what’s the brand you get 100 answers. And that’s both an opportunity to challenge because if people understood brands, how to develop brands, how to launch brands, how to curate brands, I wouldn’t have a job. But there’s a huge market for what we do. So a lot of times you get an answer well, a brand’s a logo, Starbucks, Nike, Apple, blah, blah, blah. And it’s not wrong. It’s just a quarter of a percent or brand is it’s the visual manifestation like little symbolic piece of it, that you need to use proactively, but a brand is so much more than that. I tend to use an easy example of metaphor to frame up how we describe brand and what work hard to work on. So the example of Starbucks, we all buy Starbucks, we all stand in line we all have one at 10,000 drinks options we give to the barista and then you pay your money and your walk down to the end of the aisle and you wait two minutes or minute and a half to get your drink back or much. So everything around that company their products, their store environment, the training of their baristas, their price point, their selection of sandwiches, everything that you can humanly think of is a part of that brand. But if you think about the internal and external audiences of that company, and how they need to interact with them, and deliver value to them, that’s really where brand becomes robust and diverse and deep and interesting. So if you think about consumers, Jeremy, you and I go to Starbucks all the time. But guess what, they have consumers in places like China, and I’ve been there, I did business there for nine years. And there’s a lot that’s very similar to walk into a Starbucks in Beijing, or Shanghai, and some things that are wildly different. So consumers are all over the place, the second of which is their employees. We all know baristas. But there are guys in the warehouse. And there are people that drive trucks and all of that stuff, the third of which would be their suppliers. So coffee growers and Guatemala, and people who supply the paper cups and all of it. The fourth you might imagine would be Wall Street, because they’re a public company. And if you own shares, or you’re an analyst, you interact with a company in a certain way. And the fifth I would tell you is social media. Because to that company, the social media universe is incredibly important and huge part of a brand. Now, if you think about these audiences, they all interact with a brand every single day, and they have wildly different self-interest, meaning, who are you? What are you going to do for me? And why should I care? And what are my options? Because we could all walk down the street and go to Dunkin, and a bunch of people do? Not my thing, but a lot of people do. So you have to be able to think about how to answer those questions from a brand perspective, every day, all the time into the definite future. And understand that the self-interest and those answers wildly differ from market or audience or segment to each other employees, consumers, suppliers, Wall Street and the social media, they all only care about their own self-interest were going to do for me, because as consumers with all due respect to the baristas, we don’t care. We just want them to be there, deliver smile, take my order, move on. We don’t care about the health benefits. But you know what, that’s why a lot of people work there. I mean, not today, but historically, was because they offered health benefits or part-time workers. So that’s self-interest is wildly diverse, but you only get one brand, right? You only get one brand. So the challenge and a complexity of brand work and brand strategy and advisory work and execution and creative and messaging is how can you make all that work foundationally the metaphor I use is you grab a flag and planted the hill, and then you defend it. That’s a brand. And this complexity is there all the time. And so the work that we do is mostly evolutionary, we don’t blow stuff up that often happens occasionally. But you know, the word rebranding, blow it up and build, Humpty Dumpty build back together again, we do some of that work, we do some brand creation work, corporate carve-out, somebody has an idea for a company, they need a brand. We were working on one of those gigs this summer, most of the work that we do is evolutionary, and what I describe it as taking the Queen Mary and moving his seven degrees to the left in the horizon, it doesn’t seem very big, but during a big ship in a different direction is hard. But once you get to the horizon, that seven degrees becomes pretty important. And it’s future looking, that’s most of the work that our agency does. So again, there’s a certain skill set to a brand evolution, repositioning, as opposed to blowing stuff up or invention. Again, we do it all, but two thirds, our work is in the evolutionary stage. And so that’s maybe, I hope, a pretty good overview for you and your listeners and watcher says to kind of the work we do.

Jeremy Weisz  9:14 

I’m wondering the process, what does that look like? Because when you say this to me, it seems really complicated. I don’t say that in a negative way. But like there’s so many different directions you can go. There’s so many places you could start so I like to learn when someone comes to you what does that process look like? Because like you said, and we’re going to talk about niching, you have gone into different sectors in niche and we talked about private equity, even if you look at consumer goods, so anyone’s listening to this, whatever company you have, like, I remember when I have the founder of Rx Bar on and originally they niched to CrossFit people, right, anyone can eat the bar, obviously, but they niched, so and this kind of goes in to the broader scope of what is their brand look like? Who are they speaking to? So a company comes to you what does that process look like? Where do you even start when you’re talking about branding or rebranding?