Blog Archives


EP065 – Swag.com: Jeremy Parker, Co-Founder & CEO

Jeremy Parker bought the url swag.com to disrupt the boring and outdated promotional products industry. Swag should stand for something new, and be bought differently, and it should be stuff people actually want to keep.

 

That vision turned into reality as swag.com had 2000% growth over the last three years, made it onto Number 218 on Inc’s Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies list, and counts TikTok, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Mercedes, Starbucks, Google, and Spotify as its customers. Even during this tough past year, where events were canceled and offices shut down, the brand kept growing while most promotional product companies laid low or faltered.

 

In the end, Jeremy’s brand succeeded because he kept a razor-sharp focus on the ever-evolving customer experience. There are many brand and marketing lessons in this episode, from smart brand positioning within a commodity vertical to leading with empathy, this is an episode not to be missed.

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EP064 – Max Johnson, Co-Founder & CEO, Awe Inspired

Max Johnson built a tremendously impactful business over the course of the last 4 years through simple necklaces that celebrate female goddesses and leaders. The brand, Awe Inspired, was born out of Max’s mother’s desire to empower fellow cancer survivors. From the journey of blindly walking into brand agencies on Madison Avenue to learning how personalization and shared values are key to the future success of their jewelry brand, Awe Inspired is exactly that: Inspiring.

 

If you were wondering if taking a political stance is the right move for your brand, or how to navigate picking up the phone to call your customers to have them help you in creating the next iteration of your offering, to thinking of your brand as an actor, this episode is full of awe-inspiring – yes, I had to go there – nuggets of brand and marketing wisdom.

 

And, who knows, you may even be moved to tears when you hear the brand story.

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EP063 – Nick Ajluni & Nick Guillen, Co-Founders, TRUFF

You must have been on a social media diet to not have stumbled upon TRUFF’s masterfully designed array of truffle-infused sauces. But TRUFF is not solely a social media sensation, you can find the brand anywhere from Whole Foods to Neiman Marcus, and from the U.S. to Australia.

 

The two Co-Founders, Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen, have a knack for brand building and now that I have tried their products, which of course in true TRUFF fashion they immediately shipped my way after recording the interview, I can attest that this is not just hot marketing; it is one unbelievably addictive, tasty, and unique product.

 

I am thrilled to have had them on the show to share their branding and marketing secrets with you. We had tons of fun during this interview and it is an episode I would want no one to miss out on.

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EP062 – Edward Hartman, Co-Founder, LegalZoom

Eddie Hartman created LegalZoom 20 years ago with two friends and built it into the best-known legal brand in the United States. LegalZoom has over 4 million customers and more than half of all Americans know the brand.

 

I have been a customer for a mighty long time and having this chat with Eddie was just incredibly stimulating and rewarding. We talk about how celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro became the face of the company, we discuss the impact of assurance and how ‘brand’ is the future promise about something you can not guarantee today, how the word ‘zoom’ used to stand for LegalZoom before the pandemic hit, and Eddie shares tons of actionable brand advice for any entrepreneur, CEO and CMO alike.

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EP061 – Matthew Barnett, Papa Bear, Bonjoro

In the last episode we were in Iceland, today we are in Australia, and finally, we have a B2B brand on the show again: A tech brand that is in the business of converting, retaining, and growing your customers with delightful personal video messages sent at just the right moment.

 

But Bonjoro is not your typical tech company – it has brand and culture at its heart. It is about creating customer love, and it is a weird brand, a fun brand, a brand that is not afraid to stand out, most probably more afraid to blend in.

 

Matt and I talk about the importance of branding for B2B companies, about brand copy, about creating funnels for a brand that has multiple audiences with multiple pain points, and of course, we talk about the importance of bears to Bonjoro hence Matt’s unusual title.

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Trends in branding?

I discuss which areas of branding require continuous ‘Zeitgeist adjusting’ and which should remain timeless.

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How to create the perfect brand name

The Birth of The Perfect Name
…and why I write a brand obituary as part of that process?

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EP059 – Nicole Gibbons, Founder & CEO, Clare

Interior designer Nicole Gibbons set out to ‘take the pain out of paint’ through her brand Clare where she has pioneered an easier, faster, and more inspiring way to shop for paint.

 

Fast Company proclaimed “The Warby Parker of paint is here” and Nicole has just been named one of Inc’s 100 Women Building America’s Most Innovative and Ambitious Businesses.

 

In a fascinating conversation, we dive into sustainability, physical retail experiences versus D2C, Clare’s unique brand language, and of course, the meaning behind the brand’s name, which could have easily been Nicole, but ended up being Clare. And you will get to know the very misleading and dangerous side of the paint industry.

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The Software Mega-Vendor Branding Crisis

As a guest of the CEO and COO of Origina, we dive into the world of mega software vendors, their brand acquisitions, company culture, and brand faux-pas.

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EP058 – Shivam Punjya, Founder, behno

Shivam Punjya is the founder of the luxury handbag label behno which is designed in NYC but made in India. behno operates at the intersection of ethical thinking and luxury design, a space I have always been very interested in.

 

Further, behno’s mission is to redefine and bring awareness to the character of “Made in India”, and to set a new standard for Indian factory manufacturing that improves the quality of life and safety of women in the garment trade.

 

Shivam and I talk about how to move from exploiting cheap labor to creating a nurturing environment and community, how the company’s name encompasses the DNA of the brand even after pivots, the innovative way in which behno reacted to Blackout Tuesday last year, and much much more.

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