Maury Rogow on Powerful Storytelling That Sells
It's not just about the product you sell, but the story you tell.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Maury Rogow, CEO of Rip Media Group, a multimedia marketing agency that uses video storytelling to build brand awareness and profits. It was conducted and condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Maury Rogow: I’m a storyteller. I create marketing stories and videos that help entrepreneurs and companies increase revenue and build brand awareness. I wasn’t always a natural storyteller, though.
Throughout college, my classes often felt like a list of dull bullet points. Then, my history professor, Mr. Oskey, taught a lesson on the Revolutionary War. I retained the information because he painted such a vivid picture in my head. To this day, I still have a mental image of George Washington crossing the icy Delaware River.
Years later, I started using those storytelling techniques to simplify information into bite-sized, memorable chunks in a jargon-heavy B2B world. Along the way, I learned the power of simplicity. Before launching any product or brand, I always ask myself, “How would I capture the attention of a student in a lecture hall?”
What were one or two of your proudest moments?
Maury Rogow: The birth of my daughter was one of the best moments of my life. Now she’s 13 months old and learning four languages. Seeing her learn sign language has been particularly incredible—kids’ motor skills are far beyond their verbal skills. When she signed to me what she wanted for breakfast, I was so proud, I almost cried.
Another proud moment happened when we won a bid against five global agencies to represent a $16 billion company. We were less established than our competitors, but my contact assured me that the best idea would move forward. My team and I followed our normal creative process, called "The Idea Factory"; we created distinct, brand-building ideas for their company. After the review, we heard that one of our ideas was the clear winner, and another of ours came in second! It was very humbling and a pivotal moment that moved us into the “big leagues.”
What is the core value that guides your business, and why did you pick it?
Maury Rogow: One of my core values is “OGP,” which means, “Only Good People.” I only want to work with people who have a passion for what they do and come to work because they love doing it.
“OGP” also applies to companies we work with. I try not to work with companies that approach us like they’re our boss and we’re their vendor. That’s not a productive relationship. We each bring value to the table, so I prefer to look at working relationships as partnerships. That’s how you get results and a win-win.
What’s your favorite quote?
Maury Rogow: My favorite quote is from Maya Angelou: "There's no greater agony than holding an untold story inside of you."
An untold story doesn’t have to be a fictional story that’s not yet written on the page. An untold story can be an unrealized dream or unexpressed idea. Someone’s untold tale could be a product; for others, it’s a brand. All people and companies have stories. My goal is to help them tell the best version of that to the world.
Is there advice you would give your younger self?
Maury Rogow: Don't sweat it so much; keep working on what you love and the money will follow.
Also, “FOCUS”: Follow One Course Until Successful. Entrepreneurs like shiny objects. As a creator, it can be hard to zero in on one thing because that gets boring. But if you want to see results, you need to put all your energy in one direction. Similarly, don’t get distracted when exciting things happen. Keep doing what made you successful and you'll be more successful.
How do you define great leadership?
Maury Rogow: There are a lot of leadership styles out there. Some lead with fear, but millennials don’t really respond to that. They seek work that is rewarding and meaningful. Great leaders are genuinely supportive of their team.
A great leader also has a bigger vision. Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. His team is focused because they're going to do something that humanity hasn’t achieved before: Establish a colony on a different planet! Huge, audacious goals galvanize people.
Finally, you have to make the tough decisions. At times, I've taken too long to let go of weak links in our company. Hire slow and fire fast.
How do you identify a good business partner?
Maury Rogow: There needs to be mutual respect and a balanced give and take. Ideal business partners complement each other by filling in each other’s skill gaps. They also “stay in their lane.” If someone’s better at something than you, do your part and let them do what they do best. When that happens, one plus one equals three.
Do you have a daily routine for success that helps prevent burnout?
Maury Rogow: I do four things daily to maximize my energy. They don’t have to happen in a particular order, they just have to happen. One, I work out. That doesn't always mean I'm lifting weights. Sometimes, I take a long bike ride or long walk with my daughter in her stroller. Two, I eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.
Three, I spend time with my family; your close relationships keep you balanced. Finally, I take breaks. I'm using an app called Timeout to help with this. After a certain amount of time, it shuts down my computer for 15 seconds. This forces me to stand up and stretch or go for a walk. You have to take breaks to sustain output!
What are you working on right now?
Maury Rogow: At Rip Media Group, we help people with high-quality video storytelling. Every business needs to tell a better story. Every business also needs more sales. Quality video IS a sales team that never sleeps, complains, or needs time off.
But I don’t want to stop there, so I’m sharing my knowledge. I released a book, “Rise of the Entrepreneur,” to help entrepreneurs gain visibility and build their brands. I’m now teaching classes to share what I’ve learned with more people. My class, “Story2Sales,” is entirely focused on how to use a great story to generate more sales revenue.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Maury Rogow: My goal is to directly help 10,000 people turn their products into stories that sell so they can have the income to take care of their families and live full lives.
There have been many ups and downs on the road to building my business. I learned a lot from the peaks, but more from the valleys. I want to share everything I’ve learned with others. To give back and spread the knowledge I've gained would make me tremendously happy. Providing others the tools they need to share their own stories—that’s what I call a creative life.
Connect with Maury Rogow on LinkedIn.