Account-Based Mindset

Teammate Spotlight - Hiromi Matsumoto, Digital Experience Director

Riley Smith
Content Contributor
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Hiromi Matsumoto

Key Takeaway: If you want to be adaptable, you need humility.

Hiromi Matsumoto is the newest UviaUs teammate, brought on especially to help launch the REACH podcast. 

We caught up with him to ask about his first impressions of UviaUs, how he learned to be adaptable, and his next “Everest.” 

What’s your role at UviaUs?

I’m producing a podcast for UviaUs, meant to inspire marketers to extend their reach. We’re looking at real-world biographical success stories, not necessarily within the world of marketing, to find principles that could be applied to account-based marketing or B2B marketing.

What drew you to UviaUs and led to you joining the team?

I had known these guys before, through some mutual friends, but I didn’t think of joining the team until Jaycen approached me. He listened to a podcast I had worked on in the past and let me know what they were planning to do with REACH.

It’s been nearly a decade since I last worked with marketers. My most recent role was in product design, working with software developers. It sounded like a fun opportunity to get back into the creative side of things.

What’s different about UviaUs from other marketing companies?

I started in early January, so I’m still pretty new!

But I have worked with larger agencies in the past that took a more “traditional” approach to marketing. In order for that model to succeed, you have to be good at One Thing, and then sell that One Thing, that process, over and over. 

It can start to feel like a factory at times! And that can have its place, but so far, it seems like UviaUs treats each project as an unique opportunity. They don’t feel burdened by scale. They don’t feel the need to rely on a pre-packaged approach. 

The first episode of REACH is about adaptability. What does “adaptability” mean to you?

I think it’s the only way you can really accomplish anything! The world is changing around us all the time.

It’s as simple as this: let’s say you need milk. You decide, “I’m going to take this particular road to go to Whole Foods.” But there’s construction blocking the road. Your options can’t be, “I’m going to blow through these roadblocks and make it to Whole Foods the way I planned, or I’m going to go home and never drink milk again.”

You have to adapt. You have to find another route to Whole Foods, or go to Trader Joe’s instead. 

We can’t afford to have a rigid plan all the time. That’s what adaptability means to me.

How do you use this idea of adaptability, the ability to “switch roads,” in your work?

With the podcast, we’re telling other people’s stories. If you’re telling your own story, you can have an idea of a theme in mind beforehand and develop your story from there. When you’re telling others’ stories, you don’t know what the theme of the conversation is until they tell it to you!

They take you there by the hand, so you can’t come to the table with a rigid agenda, if you’re telling their story and learning from it. 

Why do UviaUs and their clients need to be adaptable? What is it about marketing in particular that makes this so important?

Everyone is unique. Each client is unique. And in the case of UviaUs, their clients’ clients are unique. In B2B, that’s what we’re doing, we’re making connections even with our clients’ clients. 

And we know from our own personal experience that our attention is oversaturated. We don’t have time for impersonal communication. It’s an annoyance when you get that kind of communication. Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on a campaign, just to be an annoyance?

One-size-fits-all is not the marketing position of the future. That’s why adaptability is important for UviaUs and their clients.

What in your life taught you to be adaptable?

Life in general is full of those types of lessons, but I had the privilege of traveling a lot as a kid. 

My parents took me around with them, and I noticed in some countries a certain way of interacting, a certain sense of etiquette was polite, or certain foods were considered delicacies… but then you cross a border into another country, and those same behaviors and customs are considered vulgar or disgusting!

That taught me early on that the only thing that separates a crazy person from a respected person is their ability to adapt to their environment. 

Is there any lesson from that time that sticks out to you?

There are certain cultures where looking someone in the eye while you speak is considered a sign of respect, and in other cultures it’s considered aggressive and disrespectful. 

Similarly, there are certain cultures where an informal manner of speech marks you as sincere, and others where it marks you as irreverent. 

Even within the US, you go to the South, and people cannot call you by your first name. It’s always Mr. Matsumoto. Then in the North, if someone called me Mr. Matsumoto, I’d be like… What’s wrong? Can’t we just be casual? Do you have some kind of agenda? I don’t trust you because you won’t call me by my first name.

There’s a lot of little examples like that. The way you dress is another big one. In certain contexts, you have to wear a necktie and a suit. It’s a sign of respect and the only way you’ll be taken seriously. In other places and situations, it marks you as insincere, or even crazy!

Even within one culture, you have to adapt to context. For instance, if you wore a bathing suit to a business meeting, it would be shocking. Likewise, if you wear a suit to the beach, people are going to wonder, “What’s wrong with that guy?”

It’s so important to recognize the cues of context and realize when you need to adapt. UviaUs does this with our clients. Are we going to the beach, or are we going to a board room? You need to know your context and modify your plan accordingly. 

If someone wants to become more adaptable, how can they build up this skill? Where should they start? 

I took some time before we talked to think about this, and it makes me think of an ancient proverb: “Do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but, with humility, consider others superior to you.”

That specific phrase has been drilled into my head, but I think humility is key. You have to be open to the fact that there are other ways of doing things, and then have the ability to observe and react accordingly. 

What are you most excited about for UviaUs and your role in the near future?

I don’t know if I should admit this, but I really like getting paid to learn! 

Every time we interview someone or talk to someone, and you digest their experience, especially the incredible people we’re interviewing for REACH, you can take that and internalize that knowledge and experience for yourself. 

That’s a lot of fun for me.

What is the significance of the name REACH for the podcast?

There were a lot of options thrown on the table, but I liked this one. Jaycen came up with it. I liked the idea of REACH because of the double meaning. 

The purpose of the podcast is to inspire people to extend themselves beyond their comfort zone, and feel empowered to explore non-traditional methods of human communication and outreach in marketing. 

But also, of course, in marketing “reach” refers to your level of influence. It felt like a nice, succinct, appropriate name for that effort. 

The first series of REACH is about climbing Mount Everest. What was a moment in that story that really stood out to you?

To me, what’s really impactful is that Bob reached the summit basically by accident. He was so consumed by the task at hand, by his love for the climb itself. 

His whole approach to mountain climbing was loving what he was doing, not necessarily touching the top. 

He was totally engrossed in his problem solving, and then he hits this moment where he’s just like, “I’m… I’m at the top of Everest. I didn’t think I would make it, but I’m here!”

I choked up at that, because I thought, wow. That moment is what we all crave. That moment of success. We’re so in it all the time, so focused, but to have that moment sneak up on you and achieve something like that would be really wonderful.

What was the biggest lesson you took away from the Everest story?

What I took away was the importance of Bob’s humility. He was not egotistical or self-serving in his approach to climbing that mountain. 

He had assumed he would be in a support role, and that he wouldn’t be the star or the one to summit the top. But he made it there because he had those humble qualities.

That was inspiring to me.

What is your Everest? At least at the moment?

I thought about this question a lot. I think there isn’t a singular peak. We’re created with the possibility of infinite ambitions that may never be fully satisfied, and honestly, that’s probably what keeps us climbing. 

The peak that I’m climbing right now is to get this first season of REACH published. As a bonus peak to reach, I’d like to make it successful right out of the gate. 

If I get to the top of that mountain, I’ll look out and see another mountain I want to climb!

Want to boost your adaptability and summit your Everest?

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