Episode 143 – Coffee N5 – Cup of Creativity: David de Nino’s Take on Brand Partnership

Welcome to Coffee N° 5, where we brew up inspiring conversations about the world of branding and marketing. In this caffeinated episode, your host Lara is joined by the brilliant David De Nino, a true guru in the realm of startups, brand partnerships, and integrated brand marketing.

With two decades of experience under his belt, David dives deep into the art of brand identity and what it takes to stand out in today’s competitive market.

Discover the power of integrated marketing and attribution models, and learn how to transform your brand’s story into profitable success. David even connects the dots between trade shows and brand growth, revealing valuable tips for navigating this ever-evolving terrain.

If you’re craving a shot of branding wisdom with your morning brew, this episode of Coffee N° 5 is the perfect blend to kickstart your day. Grab your favorite cup of coffee and join Lara and David as they unlock the secrets to brand success in an ever-changing world. 

We’ll talk about:

  • How to find the right partnership 
  • Realistic ROI for your brand
  • The role of performative marketing today
  • The benefit of integrated marketing for your brand
  • How to use attribution models
  • Converting your brand story into a profit
  • Link between trade shows and brand growth

For more information, connect with David here.

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Instagram: @laraschmoisman

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Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman

About David De Nino

David De Nino has 2 decades of work in startups, experiential & live events, strategic partnerships, sales, and integrated brand marketing. 

He was a Founding Partner and Head of Brand Partnerships of the Allure Store, a 2-year perma-popup launched with Condé Nast in 2021 that welcomed 360+ brands and 450k visitors to its Soho location

Prior to that, from 2014-2020, David was a Partner at Wallplay, a boutique placemaking and creative marketing agency responsible for operating 30+ locations in NYC and hosting 700+ events/exhibitions/pop-ups, leading sales for the groundbreaking urban revitalization project OnCanal and co-authoring a pop-up toolkit with Googles SidewalkLabs. As an ongoing passion project since 2016, David has been helping Beauty brands enter the Chinese Cross-Border Ecommerce market, leveraging specialist expertise and longstanding personal networks within Alibaba Group, Xiaohongshu, JD.com, VIP.com, and other major ecom platforms.

Lara Schmoisman 0:05
This is Coffee Number Five. I’m your host, Lara Schmoisman. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Coffee Number Five. Today, I was thinking about partnerships and how to partner with brands, because it’s not we have so many times you guys and we talk about brand awareness, and we talk about how make our brand not only being seen also, at the end of the day, what we want is to make sales. But we know that marketing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And we need to go step by step. And there are so many innovative ways to do marketing out there. And today, I want to bring to you a pioneer of innovation in marketing. Welcome, David De Nino. How are you? Dinner name? They need, they need know why I always managed to so free last name. I don’t know how I do that. It’s a talent.

David De Nino 1:02
That’s okay. I get that mistake, like frequently at restaurants or things like this. And I just let it go. I was like, sure you can you can think I’m a dinero. Benito. But Lana, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Lara Schmoisman 1:17
And well, I’m so excited. You’re here. So David, let’s talk a little bit about your tragic story. One Khatron i What’s your story? Because I know it. I want everyone to know who you are, and why I invited you here.

David De Nino 1:31
Okay, um, I guess let’s start with the most recent experience, which is probably the most relevant and interesting one to your audience. Because your audiences, presumably a lot of them are in beauty. That’s how you and I know each other. So I was a founding partner of the law store, which was a perma pop, as we called it, that was open in SoHo in New York City for 18 months from July 2021 until January of this year, which is 20.3.

Lara Schmoisman 2:07
So, but this model was super unique. I am glad that you break this because this was kind of reverse how a lot of companies were doing marketing.

David De Nino 2:19
Yeah, so the idea really was birthed from an editorial perspective, right. So this was an editorial extension. From a lore. Of course, the magazine, no longer -, but it is still of course, one of the most prominent legacy titles out there. It’s a title under, of course, the Conde Nast portfolio. And as we all know, print revenues, whether it’s Vogue or lore or traditional other print houses, print revenues have dried up. So for many, many years now, at least 5678 years, media outlets, the traditional ones that historically relied on print advertisements have looked at diversifying their product offering to advertisers. And in our case, this was an IRL retail-esque experience. But what’s important to remember is that it is a marketing exercise, it wasn’t a sale. So it’s not that these editorial outlets purport to be retail operators or retail innovators even it’s not that we’re going to, there’s going to be a wired store, although there is one in Newark Liberty airport. It’s not that there’s going to be a GQ cafe and their margins are going to be all about selling espressos. Although there also are GQ, GQ cafes, a handful of them scattered throughout the world. The idea is how do we take editorial outlets who might have declining print readership, but still have a very strong brand and audience through other channels? Namely digital, social, and how do we implant that? How do we interpret that IRL? Many media outlets have already been doing this, as I said for half dozen plus years through one off with it’s one of the earliest in this space was might remember, refinery 29, doing 29 rooms, always refinery bringing their editorial vision and what their audience in readership expects in loves about them. And selling that back to brand advertisers who normally would buy ad space on the site and say, partner with us on this experience. Right. So at the core of it is experiential marketing, which again, is not new. It’s been around it’s been in the ascendancy for two-plus decades. Yeah. So it’s can media outlets do experiential We’ll sell it to brands as a new format. But that along with the editorial authority, credibility, and existing, baked-in audience that these outlets have. And now of course,

Lara Schmoisman 5:14
Let’s explain that to the public because not everyone x had the experience to go to the alarm store. What was experienced for the brand go in they are because these first of all kind of priced out, it wasn’t. Yes, yeah, yeah. So it was important for a brand.

David De Nino 5:29
That’s right. And it’s important to understand that to a layperson, to your average beauty, consumer, they walked by the store, they walk in, it looks like a beauty store, you can go in, you can try products on, you can purchase products in a basket, which is left at the door, you swipe a credit card, you leave with products. And so it did have a base-level retail-ish experience, this is very important. But the value proposition for brands had nothing to do with sales,

Lara Schmoisman 5:59
It doesn’t mean that at the end of the day or the day of the experience, they’re going to make the return of investment.

David De Nino 6:06
No, no, they’re not even coming close to be honest with you. They’re not coming close. So it’s positioned to brands. First, of course, it is, as you mentioned, it’s a pay-to-play exercise. So welcome to traditional retail setting where, hey, we’re going to cut a brand new purchase order, we’re going to be a wholesaler of record, we’ll buy products, we’ll store them downstairs in inventory, and we’ll see what we can sell. No, it wasn’t that at all. We didn’t cut any purchase orders. Brand has provided products on consignment, which means they send in a few dozen, or a few 100. At most units, we store them downstairs, we are indeed the merchant of record, we pay retail sales tax on them. We have a resellers license in New York City. But the thrust of the exercise in the value is people consumers coming into the law store and discovering and approximating themselves with brands and brand stories. Now for brands, it’s also an opportunity to align themselves with the lore, the name, the authority, the credibility,

Lara Schmoisman 7:11
This is something that the brands do all the time as a PR exercise to get themselves featured in a magazine that Ash you should explain earlier, it’s loosened distribution.

David De Nino 7:24
So it’s also still very costly. Yeah, right. And so if your publicist or someone in-house and a brand, were to pick up the phone and say, hey, I want to buy media from Conde Nast from Hearst, from Penske, whomever, it’s very unlikely you get an entry point in the 1000s of dollars, meaning 3000, or 5000, or 7000. These media packages are nowadays mostly going to be 1015 25 50k, depending on of course, the audience and the reach, and the ad unit that you’re buying the media package that you’re buying. But our proposition was deliberately more economical, which meant it opened up the perspective brand partners, to a much wider audience, the people that can invest in a glossy magazine, whether it’s print or now online, it’s a lot smaller. And that’s why when you go to these big media outlets online or on social, you do if you pay close attention, kind of see a lot of repeat characters.

Lara Schmoisman 8:31
Because a lot of the structure in the PR world have changed. They can change and now that they’re charging for presents, the paper play became like really important player right now. It’s just not only about getting featured in a magazine, you have the opportunity to be as seen on a magazine if you pay for it.

David De Nino 8:59
Yeah, look, I think that brands and good publicist, which I think nowadays are more essential than ever, right? There’s, of course, always believers and cheerleaders and PR, traditional PR, I’m talking about agency driven, PR publicist driven PR. And then there’s naysayers. There’s people that either had spent a lot of money in the past and gotten limited results. Anyhow, we always were and I still remain to this day, a believer and I think it’s more central than ever because you want to have if you’ve got a holistic PR approach. You do want to have organic coverage, as much as you want paid coverage. So there’s got to be advertorials sprinkled in there. There has to be paid media packages in there, and you still want someone who can bring relationship relationships to the table and score these mentions organically, that take a lot of time and that take relationships behind them usually to get them so I think it takes both to succeed. And I know when brands join the law store, although it absolutely was not included editorial covers that we never sign. Next question. We never ever included it because, frankly, there is a wall there, there is a separation between edit, and media in sales. And so brand coming in, they’re throwing money at the wall, whatever the sum would be, doesn’t mean and we never invited. In fact, we went to great lengths to imply the opposite. There was not a direct connection, if you do this editor’s will notice, and you have a better chance of ABC, because we had to be clear on that, does it? Are the editors in the room? Often? Yes, do they pay attention to the programming that happens in the store? They absolutely do. So it’s an effective way to get in front of them. But we discerned very clearly, this is a marketing exercise where you can align yourself with an editorial outlet. You can be in the room with other active brands, and here was the big value prop. And it’s the one that really was our thesis, beauty brands, all CPG brands or beauty brands in particular I feel because they are so tactile and is such a saturated market. Community is a huge thing. I know that word that term is thrown around now by everybody. every marketer has to talk about community and CMOS have to report on it. What are you doing to build it and what’s the strategy, etc.

Lara Schmoisman 11:35
I have to tell you I do this every year I started with a keyword. And this year for me was key. The key word was community and I was like now I really don’t want to use it anymore because I seen that the last year everyone is overusing it.

David De Nino 11:50
Yeah, they are. But I’m looking at probably also indicates something of substance. That community engenders loyalty, right and of course even before it engenders, loyalty engenders a familiarity with a brand’s products, a brand’s identity, a brand’s ethos a brand’s personality? Who are these brands? Friends, what are these brands values. And these things matter when someone has consumer an opportunity to buy 50 similar products or 20 similar products or three similar products, whatever it may be? So yeah, you can differentiate on a product story. And many brands try to do that. But you also can differentiate or at least stand out through a community strategy. And at the law store. That’s what we try to focus on. Meaning how do we set up a event space, like if you strip away all the marketing jargon, from what we were, we were an event space, it was branded, it was under the lower umbrella, it had all of the touch points that hallmarks one would expect from the allure experience on other channels. So there was a continuity there. But it was an event space. And when you reach a certain momentum, like we did very, very early on, where brands are utilizing the room for events, it snowballs. And by the time that we finished the exercise in January of this year, we had hosted over 500 events, a real number over 500 events, it was just it came out to just under one event per day we were open.

Lara Schmoisman 13:31
Now of course there were no question because this sounds ideal, but when a brand will come to USA so what’s the return of investment here for the brand? How would you respond that question because I’m sure you had this conversation with and this was a great opportunity, but again, it’s not a forever brand. Yeah.

David De Nino 13:50
So the it’s important to all it’s to say to understand that this was a top of the funnel exercise okay. And brands had to approach it like they would any other top of the funnel exercise meaning attribution models, direct point to point attribution models to say if you do this on marketing X, you can see a return of a walk etc. in sales. This is very easy to do with performance marketing, as everybody knows, and brand marketers, right if we look at marketing is to kind of what should be connected pillars, but often art brand marketing and performance marketing. So performance marketing had a glorious heyday the last 1015 20 years you can even say we’re still in it. Where brilliant minds statistical minds, statistical models, technological tools made performance marketers jobs, not only easier, but more defensible, because you can create these accurate attribution models and you can show stakeholders, executives, directors, etc. Here’s what we’re doing and we sit in front have knobs all day we crank them, we turn them up, we turn them down control experience it control experiments, ab exercises, blah, blah, blah, and you can fine tune and you fine tune, of course, in perpetuity. You never stop fine-tuning. But that was a way, especially in the DTC heyday, I think we’re over the DDC.

Lara Schmoisman 15:20
Let me stop for a second and say this is something that I’m so glad that you mentioned in perpetuity, because this is something when you start doing performance marketing, and in my humble opinion, performance marketing, unbranded marketing days, obviously to be together if you will be successful, but because you need to be always very cohesive, if you have a different experience in one place or another, the transaction won’t work as well. But however, when you’re talking about these performance marketing, this is something that you’re doing continuously.

David De Nino 15:58
In case this was one time, these are discrete moments. That’s exactly right. The reason I’m banging on about performance marketing is because we were this is not to disparage performance marketing at all. But we were not performance marketing at all, we even had on our materials. And we talked about this with prospective brands, it’s brand marketing, it’s top of the funnel, if you aren’t doing top of the funnel, this quarter this year, this cycle, this budget, then this is not the exercise for you, if you are investing in brand marketing top, which of course when we, when we say top of funnel, we’re talking about awareness, well,

Lara Schmoisman 16:32
I always tell my clients is in your blood, you always need to do top of the funnel, because you always want to create brand awareness and bring in new love new clients. Otherwise, you’re always going to try to sell the products to the same people.

David De Nino 16:47
That’s right. And your which of course is like what a lot of brands, especially if you’re working on limited budgets, and you have limited expectation thresholds, meaning if you’re if you’re an employee, if the C level executive, you still are working to defend where your spend goes, where your efforts are quarter after quarter. And sometimes that doesn’t lend itself to long tail projects, I say long tail I just mean a year or two years. So we had to tell brands that the return on investment is first and foremost, it’s not going to be tied to sales tomorrow or next week. So we want people to dispel themselves of that of that notion. But the return rather, is on building experiences and moments that grow your community.

Lara Schmoisman 17:45
Now, the value, and this needs to be part of your whole strategy on your brand strategy should be.

David De Nino 17:50
It’s not all the time because brand marketers, I think we’re a bit thrown to the wilderness. Again, over the D to C golden era, where performance marketing drove high enough returns. And your advertising row class was really attractive, there wasn’t a compelling reason to spend a ton of money on brand marketing, if you can make a ton of money off of

Lara Schmoisman 18:19
That’s the same thing about having a beauty brand or any kind of brand. You either create a brand, and you create products that will last or you create a collection of shots. Things that yourself. Yeah, that makes a difference. I mean, I believe that you yes in performance marketing to put a lot of money you’re going to sell if you do it well. But how long are you going to last? Are you creating a brand awareness?

David De Nino 18:46
And what happens when you turn that spigot off? Yeah, happens when you turn that hose on, you have no loyalty. That’s right, and it becomes a declining return. And that was also part of our story. You know, from a business like perspective, when we reached our partnership deal with Conde Nast, part of the story we were telling, and it was a real story we played off it was a the obvious one COVID So what’s going to happen at the exit of COVID? Well, there’s gonna be pent up demand for live events. There’s a pent-up demand for community and human-to-human interaction. I mean, anybody could see that. But another part of the story maybe more important than the post-COVID spike in a desire for people to do human IRL stuff brands to do IRL moments, was that the DTC playbook where you could pump money into online channels and marketplaces, aka performance marketing, broadly speaking, that was declining very rapidly through everyone knows through iOS 14 And you know, cookies in the new. So yes, so – rants I do with brands had to adjust. So if you’re a CMO Oh, and your marketing budget remains constant, we’ll say for argument’s sake, but you’re getting less and less return in some cases, much significantly less return or even negative return on certain performance marketing activities. You do have money that frees open in your budget to do other things. And it allows people the creativity, brand marketers to get back into the conversation and say, Okay, well, you’re not getting three or four or 7x Ro s anymore. Heck, you might not even be getting 1x Ro s, uncertain channels. So why don’t we take this opportunity, and invest in other things and community and IRL moments. And also partnerships is a big part of the story, as well all add, that’s why the Lord’s store one of the first things that brands discovered, this wasn’t even us. This was brands within the first two, three weeks of opening brands were like, Oh, can I do an event with them, with him with her with this, so became a bit of a of a sandbox, which was intentional, like any brand can invest 10, or 20, or 50, or $100,000, and do their own ice cream truck, or do their own moment at the Grove, or in Union Square at wherever. But we created almost inadvertently, an environment where brands got into the sandbox, and our program was quarterly. And at the beginning of the quarter, in fact, a few weeks before the quarter would commence, we would say, Hey, guys, welcome to q3 cohort, here are the other 7080 90 100 brands in the room with you, we would open a Slack channel and say, have dialogue, communicate exchange ideas. And so brands would look through that list and say, You know what, I’m in the club with So wouldn’t it be cool if we pooled resources, and audiences, this is not a new story, collaboration brands do it all the time. But instead of collaborating on a product front, which is the usual thing that brands do collaborate on the experiential front, and co-host an event, or try host an event, right, we had events in the store that sometimes had as many as five or six brands, who all felt an affinity for one another, who all saw cross pollination opportunities. And each of them would throw in a otherwise very low dollar investment, and say, Wow, I can get an event that looks like $100,000 event by merely putting in 5k. Because I have six other brands that are all pulling their weight as well.

Lara Schmoisman 22:33
David, let me ask you a question. Because I see this as a very successful experience. If it’s done well. What happened? Because I know as a matter of fact that brands that are smaller, and they make a huge investment, believing that they have they pull this budget must say I want to be the unique brand doing this thinking that this experience will change your life.

David De Nino 22:59
Yeah. So I think if the question you’re getting at is what why, why do brands exit? And why does the why is the model not? Why are we not still open the store? And although it was designed to be a perma pop up? I think the answer to that is, and we heard this a lot on our exit surveys or exit interviews, is that brands came to the law store to achieve an objective around a certain campaign, or in some instances, two or three campaigns. For example, maybe a brand is doing something in New York, at some other location, maybe the founder is talking on a panel, maybe there’s a product launch at a target. Maybe you’re doing a subway or digital campaign, or geo targeting or bus shelters, whatever. But brands would look at their calendars 12 months out and say, Hey, when are we in New York, we as humans as team members? And also when is the brand? When do we have moments that are sparking in New York, and they would tie it in with the law store. So they’d say bolted on? Or the corollary, they would join the law store, they say, Hey, if we’re going to be here for six months, and we’re going to commit resources to this, let’s leverage it and set off a few other fireworks in New York City. Okay, at the end of that quarter, or two quarters or three quarters. So we were quarterly programs, some brands would book a year full, which is four quarters, some brands will book one quarter, but they would come in achieve what they want to achieve, which is a specific marketing campaign or moment,

Lara Schmoisman 24:29
But again, you’re talking about something that it was a strategize what happened to those brands that says, Hey, can I just host an event?

David De Nino 24:40
Because I’ve seen that happen in too many brands see that but we have quite a few mean, hey, we just want to host an event and leave. That’s something that didn’t fit within our model. We would say okay, book a quarter. You can you can host zero events, you can host five events. We put a very flexible cap. You almost couldn’t even call it a cap. It was only a cap and so much as we’re open, you know, 12 hours a day seven days a week. But brands that came there and this was many brands, said, Look, I’m coming here for six months. All that matters to me are the four hours of my two events. So I’m going to do one event on a Thursday afternoon, I’m gonna do another event on a Sunday morning, whatever it may be. And brands, that’s where their return was analyzed, they didn’t so much concern themselves with the other 178 days, if they’re happy to be on a shelf, they’re happy to be present, while 150 253 50 Other events are occurring. But for them, it was a pay-to-play model that was worth it, because they got use of a venue that was recognized by the beauty community and talking to fans. And of course, was closely linked was under the law umbrella. And they said, You know what, if I were to do an IRA moment in New York, for example, in Nolita at a blank white space that I’d have to read, what would be the cost benefit analysis? How much does it cost me to do a product launch with blowouts and makeup sessions and sidewalk Manny’s whatever it may be? What does it cost for me to do that as a singular brand? versus me doing it any law store that already has all of these, not only event DNA built within the walls from all the brands that preceded you in that room? But of course, had the hard resources, production, film, video teams at cetera, staffing? already part of the package? So it became a question, I think, for a lot of marketers of convenience. Are we doing something new? Like a lot of marketers, I think, would very quickly reach a conclusion when they join the law store? Are we going to be in New York City over the next 12 months? In some way, shape or fashion? Yes, we are. We’re going to be maybe at I don’t know, a trade show. Okay, how do we tie in a moment at the last store there? Is it worth US adding this incrementally to our budget? Yes, it is. And other brands would look at it. The smaller brands, I think the medium sized brands would say whoa, I can actually build a new york campaign around this around if you’re looking to brand and just throw one out there like vacation, I know that they had a ton of marketing dollars they were spending when they launched the sunscreen brand, of course, and it’s now it’s seen tremendous growth. But they booked the law store and afterwards. Meaning after they booked it but of course before it goes live, they start planning all these other things around New York. And the events keep pinging back to the law store or around it within a certain radius, five mile radius, 10 mile radius, whatever they have the trucks gone, et cetera. So brands can either use it as a hub for marketing activities, they use the kind of wheel metaphor, or they could use it as a spoke, which a lot of brands they’ll use in a brand that did it as a minor spoke Carol’s Daughter right they had a monster six figure campaign running in Time Square. And every that all these moments around New York 345 moments with the founder around New York City and they say why don’t we just tack on as a spoke to our existing tentpole which is this big campaign launching in Times Square, and we’ll do something at the Lord’s store as well. So it functioned either as a hub of activity where you can build things on or as a spoke off plans, campaigns that were already mapped out.

Lara Schmoisman 28:29
They obviously this thought and these, the store was brilliant. But what happened white clothes and the opportunities now and we didn’t get to talk about your background that it comes from the pop up world. Yeah. And so now what can brands do? And what are the opportunities because I see smaller brands, oh, opting in for trade shows is trade shows the right wait for them to go. Because for very new brands that you put that amount of money in a trade show is the right thing to do is the right thing to go smaller pop-ups. You are the experts in that. So tell us what you think.

David De Nino 29:09
Well, let’s address the first question first, which is why even though the concept was hard-wired to end, the Franklin app because it was not a retail exercise. So if you’re not making profits, if you’re not a retail operator, then there’s no reason to believe you can run a 10-year marketing campaign with the same objectives and on the same dirt, talked about the plot 191 Lafayette Street and so it wasn’t hard wire to last forever. But I think the reason that we concluded it when we did is because the majority of the brands that came into the last store, maybe it’s 60% or so would come in achieve what they want to achieve. Leave I would do an exit survey interview phone call zoom with them. And they say, look, David, we’re happy with our investment here. This was we got, we did what we wanted to do here. We had our moment we captured our content, we brought in our partners, we found new partners that we didn’t expect to have. We got good media legs from of it from it, some of the Evergreen, most of it not. But still, we achieve what we came here. Goodbye. Thank you. We will come back to you when we’re doing something next. That could utilize this tool in New York. In other words, it became or it was for CMOS, not a question of at least the way our offering was laid out. That wasn’t something that made sense quarter after quarter after quarter

Lara Schmoisman 30:47
Like we were talking before, it’s before we start a podcast about the timing of a brand.

David De Nino 30:53
They come in. They do what they wanted to in this was almost like we talked about this a lot internally and with all of our kind of partners at Conde was this satisfaction that we knew brands, the great majority of brands left satisfied and confident that their investment was well spent, particularly because our price points were not aggressive. But you didn’t get them to come back. I mean it Well, excuse me, let me let me change that. Not that you couldn’t get them to come back, you couldn’t get them to as a recurring partner state quarter after quarter after quarter. So we saw a lot of brands that would come in for a quarter by did they come back two quarters later, they come back three quarters later. So they would take this pause. So kind of written into the model is that you come in, you do what you need to do. And you use the tool again, down the road, if in when you need it. But it’s not the model where you must continually

Lara Schmoisman 31:52
It’s not that performance marketing that you need to continue and continue.

David De Nino 31:56
Because look how many, and this is a silly metaphor. But imagine you take you know, we both have young kids youngest kids, imagine you take your kids to Six Flags, or whatever Universal Studios Disney and you understand it’s going to be $1,000 Day or $600 day or whatever you go in, you have a great time you spend what is probably a lot of money for one day. And you leave really satisfied even though you know maybe certain things are overpriced or or whatever, you don’t go back to Six Flags next week. You don’t go back to Disney a month later, you wait, you might go once a year, you might go once a year. So it’s not something that you necessarily feel Six Flags or Disney has,

Lara Schmoisman 32:45
Unless you have the past but you do it in increments, you don’t go and do everything all day.

David De Nino 32:51
Right? And what we had at, you know, when at our conclusion, our product offerings, so to speak, meaning the law stores offering to brands was the facility, the eventing opportunities, the community building opportunities that were very consolidated mean, you could never find a forum to talk to 90 brands in a sandbox all at once, unless you had an army of PR people reaching out for you doing it. And then of course, the editorial aligned the alignment with a respected outlet, like law. So that was the value prop

Lara Schmoisman 33:28
But really, that there was a value prop but what now for the brands, what’s available for them now?

David De Nino 33:37
Well, since the concept, we closed down in January, what we wanted to offer and indeed we’re going to offer as the next version, next evolution of the lower store was going to be just was going to be the event narrative writ large. In other words, orders of magnitude larger. So while every one 500 Plus events 360 Plus brands in total, over 18 months, took advantage of this awesome corner real estate we had on Lafayette in Rome, 2200 square feet, that has its natural limitations. Even if you have queues down the block that Canal Street, which we had all the time, there’s still natural limitations on how many people can fit in one room. And so how big of an experience you can do and how wide that reaches. So our next step was we were going to do a large format festival like a proper festival 10,000 plus people on the street. It was going to be on Lafayette Street on the block in fact covering two blocks so from Lafayette to canal from Broome to canal, so two blocks, and that was going to be the idea that if brands loved the eventing opportunities, and we saw them investing in these IRL experiences that they would want to do the same and are We are inside our hunch notion whatever was correct because we went back right and said, Hey, we’re thinking about doing a huge festival, which, of course has been done by BeautyCon. Entirely different conversation. But when you look at large format, beauty consumer ticketed experiences, where consumers can come in, they can try products, they can buy products, they can sample products, they can win stuff, they can get services administered, there’s contests, they can meet people they want to meet, that means vloggers, that means influencers. That means founders, that means makeup artists, hairstylists, et cetera, they can learn, they can attend panels, all of these things, so that you would expect at a beauty con or Pop Sugar playground, or 29 rooms, even though that’s not specific to beauty. So that’s what we were going to do and it was going to be very, it was going to be specific to beauty. And that’s actually the idea that is you could say survives, or that is the successor concept to the law store. Because that’s what we are building now to bring to Los Angeles next summer, next spring, summer.

Lara Schmoisman 36:10
Amazing. So how can we learn more about this?

David De Nino 36:14
And the coming weeks, months, we’re going to be sharing with a lot of our former Brand Partners. That means media, that means retailers. And that means most importantly, brands, what this festival is going to look like,

Lara Schmoisman 36:33
Well, this is super exciting for the very community and to have a new space to be able to share. And I hope, David that when you have that information, you share it with us or we can share it with everyone. We would love to I would love to we would love. So David, before we go on, because I know that we already took a lot of your time and your wisdom. But for brands that are starting out there, we talk about creating cohesive strategies about the brand, the pillar of branding and performance that they need to be together. I personally love the collaborations into with brands and stores and all kinds of collaboration. But what’s your recommendation for a brand that’s starting? They don’t they have a limited budget? Because I see that we can get lost? There’s so much Oh, they are? Yeah.

David De Nino 37:23
Well, they’re I mean, there’s a ton of noise and beauty. And we all know why there’s a ton of noise because there’s it’s the market is saturated with products of all kinds. And most people in the industry know why that is is because it’s an industry that has tremendous margins, has tremendous margin. So it attracts a lot of people. And it also is an industry that relies in ordinate. Ly, least relative to other industries on marketing, right? I mean, let’s face it, it is beauty, you’re selling beauty. Okay, there’s also something to be said about functional products. And there ought to be there always is. And there’s more each day than there was previously in terms of selling imagery selling an actual result. Thankfully, we’re moving more towards the latter selling actual results. But still, to cut through the noise. I think, you know, this was young brands or indie brands that are not working with huge budgets that are not backed by startup capital or investment rounds, et cetera. I really think it’s about building community and brand marketing. First, I really do I mean, like, I’m gonna make an obvious like, it’s insights, of course not unique to me. But integrated marketing, as a discipline is something that a lot of marketers and brand builders and founders find challenging. How do we take that

Lara Schmoisman 38:46
that’s what got me in as an agency with because we can offer that and that’s what I saw. So so many small brands failing, because they weren’t able to integrate their market.

David De Nino 38:58
That’s right, or they kind of pick marketing exercises, which is fine. It’s by necessity, you pick marketing channels and marketing strategies, and you kind of run them and think about them all cart. Okay. And if one struggles because unless you deliberately find a way to connect these nodes, you end up splashing marketing dollars and energy and time and brains on these lightning rods that are all supposed to drive to the bottom of the funnel, but they come in from different points. Integrated Marketing does the opposite it thinks of things and how you’re supposed to connect these nodes from the beginning. So someone at the bottom of the funnel, although yes, they inevitably came in through one specific input. Ideally, they’ve seen and been exposed to other touch points that have gradually pushed them down the funnel and it becomes irrelevant.

Lara Schmoisman 39:54
I love David how I aligned we are on an – talking to your face.

David De Nino 40:02
Yeah, I want to just one note, because I omitted it. Your question your your thoughts on trade shows, there are so many trade shows out there. It’s funny, running through uni matter publishes a wonderful list of all of them annually. But there are hundreds, I mean, literally hundreds,

Lara Schmoisman 40:22
They can choose and it costs a lot of money. And if you can, traveling-

David De Nino 40:27
That’s right, and what we see, you know, even when I saw you, you know, recently in Vegas, a Cosmo prof I think that the plethora of trade shows, and the declining retailer interest in either a outright attending, or be sending actual decision makers who go with an intent or desire to pick up and learn about and sign new brands. I mean, right purchase orders. Ultimately, you want to go to a trade show, you want to exchange a conversation, have a meeting, business card, dinner, whatever you want to meet retailers and hope within 30 days after, or whatever it may be, you get a purchase order, if that’s not happening like it used to.

Lara Schmoisman 41:15
And it’s not any one, not two brands after we met in Las Vegas, and I talked to brands, and it’s been a while they, they had talks, but nothing really happened.

David De Nino 41:27
Right. And I think that that’s why you see the trade shows, both in the industry, landscape consolidating, you see different trade show organizers globally that are buying offers a lot of m&a activity in other trade shows because they’re trying to find a way to find trying to find efficiencies and ways to it emphasize what works about trade shows or redefine the value prop. Because the days of 1020 years ago, Premier or Cosmo prof the Makeup Show whatever and saying, Look, come here, spend 10,020k 30k all in because you’re right, it’s flights and hotels, etc. And you’re going to meet buyers that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to meet. Well, that still needs to lead to something. And if brands aren’t getting that I do think that brands are evaluating the wisdom of going attrition. That’s not to see to total waste and cause a profit going away. It’s not a love cost or profit. But I think brands that don’t operate on huge budgets are looking out there and saying if I’m going to do a trade show once a year or twice a year, what are the alternatives for me to do something else that could capture the attention of the b2b community talking about buyers and media, but also get me in front of my consumer marketing goals. And as well, I leave this as a final teaser to the concept that we’re bringing to La next summer, and then two other markets in subsequent years. We’re trying to marry those two things, which is brilliant. We’re trying to get an exercise where Chief Commercial officers and chief marketing officers can say yes, this is an exercise worth defending from a sales in bizdev perspective, a lot cosmoprof. And the CMOS can say alternatively, would their teams, this is something we would invest in for a consumer marketing slash experiential moment. And then it becomes a matter of for brands and decisions for executives and founders, et cetera, of efficiency. I mean, imagine if you could go you have so many brands that you work with Laura, imagine if you could suggest, hey, I think you should do Cosmo prof in Vegas or upcoming Miami, January Bologna, wherever I think you should do this trade show want to know why? Because the day after the trade show ends, just just a silly example. But it’s not true. But imagine if Cosmoprof Miami started or ended immediately before after Art Basel, Miami Art week. Yes. And you’ll see lots of brands down there. I know that there’s a lot of huge consumer brands and luxury brands, so forth. But imagine if you had a major cultural moment on the calendar, like art week, Miami, and it was immediately before after a large format. value driven.

Lara Schmoisman 44:27
Yeah, it’s too much. It’s a lot.

David De Nino 44:31
Well, that’s what we’re trying to do. So brands don’t have to segment it and say, Okay, we need to send our sales team to Dubai, there’s big trade show. But we also need to send them to Coachella to do this little thing or South by to do this. So we’re trying to merge it together. Even though of course it’s different audiences and you have a summit, an industry summit day, that does not allow entry to your consumers for X dollars. And then you have another day but the point is you build them under the same roof under the same calendar moment. So The marketing budgets in the sales bizdev budgets can ultimately be synchronized.

Lara Schmoisman 45:06
Yeah. Well, David, thank you so much for sharing all of that. And I wish we had more time to keep talking but you’ll come back and we’ll talk more.

David De Nino 45:17
I’d be happy to.

Lara Schmoisman 45:18
Okay. And to you guys. Thank you for being here. And I will see you next week with coffee number five.

David De Nino 45:26
Big big thank you to Lara and all the audience and Lori, I know that we’ll be chatting soon. Congrats with the podcast. Congrats with your wealthy consulting agency business. You’ve got an also amazing new product. Share that yet with your audience. So I’ll keep it a bit of everything.

Lara Schmoisman 45:43
Laraschmoisman.com or in the Episode Notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. We’re so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao, ciao. What I love about the beauty industry is that there is always room to grow. I love to learn more about innovation, possibilities of investment, and partnerships across the industries. If you want to learn more, join me at Beauty Connect these November 6 to eighth in Los Angeles.


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