Episode 149 – Coffee N5 – Lessons in the Art of Authentic Branding with Rachel Roberts Mattox

Explore the true meaning of brand authenticity in this episode of Coffee N° 5 with your host Lara and beauty brand maven Rachel Roberts Mattox, founding member of THE BOARD and a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience. Dive into the discussion on staying true to your brand’s core audience and avoiding the “Whisper” trap. Discover expert insights on using tools like AI and competitor analysis to authentically strengthen your brand. Explore the crucial link between funnel nurturing and conversions, unravel the intricacies of performance marketing management, and understand the vital connection between strategy and execution. Join the conversation and elevate your brand game with actionable tips from a seasoned go-to-market strategist.

We’ll talk about:

  • The ins and outs of building a successful brand
  • Staying true to your brand’s core audience
  • The “Whisper” trap and how to escape it
  • How to utilize tools like AI, competitor analysis, and more to strengthen your brand authentically
  • The link between funnel nurturing and conversions
  • Performance marketing management
  • The link between strategy and execution

For more information, visit THE BOARD‘s website.

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Lara Schmoisman 0:05
This is Coffee Number Five. I’m your host, Lara Schmoisman. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Coffee Number Five. And New Year, new products, new adventures. And today I brought a good friend of mine. I’m so so excited because we really, really, really gonna be able to talk about brand identity. So help me to welcome Rachel Roberts Mattox. Welcome, Rachel, thank you so much for being here. I know that we’ve been talking for a while now. And we always get to talk. And we both geek out on branding.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 0:45
It is my biggest passion, honestly, like brand development, honoring a brand making sure a brand stays intact as a brand as it grows and evolves like I could, I could talk about it all day love. And we do.

Lara Schmoisman 1:02
Yes, we thought, before we started the podcast, actually, we both were talking about from the conception of the brand, that that brand is not just creating a logo.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 1:14
I can’t tell you how many, you know, clients come to me and I specialize in brand development and go-to-market strategy. So most of my clients are, you know, first-time entrepreneurs or they are, you know, seasoned entrepreneurs, but maybe they’re breaking into beauty for the first time or whatever. And even some that I haven’t really experienced, but they are building a brand, right, they’re building a brand for the first time. And brand identity logo color palette, typography. I mean, obviously incredibly important. But I have definitely have gotten to a point where I won’t even talk about that. I won’t touch that, until we’ve spent the time doing brand strategy work. And I think brand strategy is one of those things some people get, some people don’t get. But at the end of the day, like it is the that is the foundation for everything that you’re going to build as a brand in and it is your North Star, you come back to that brand strategy time and time again, on the full go-to-market path. And then once you’re in market, it definitely becomes your north star when you’re like Okay, wait, who are we? How do I make sure that we keep this narrative keep the truth and honesty of our brand, as so many different opportunities are being you know, thrown at you. And you’ve got a lot of feedback and a lot of people in the market saying things like, it’s so important to come back to this foundation of who are you? Why did you start? What is it the core of this brand? How are you different Who are you for like that is brand strategy. And that to me is ultimately what a brand is

Lara Schmoisman 2:47
Exactly, but also is who your brand is going to serve? That is very clear that you don’t need to serve everyone in this very competitive world is so much more important to go very niche and know who your core clients are going to be –

Rachel Roberts Mattox 3:06
I love that you’re saying this because I feel like this is one of the biggest push backs that a brand might get once they’re in the market from whether it’s retail buyers or investors, it almost feels like a push-pull where people think that they believe what you just said, they think, yes, you need to have a very specific target audience, you need to know exactly who you’re for being niche because it’s such a crowded space. But then you do that you build a whole brand around serving this niche. And then you get to market and a retail buyer or an investor might say, Is this big enough? Tam? total addressable market? Is this a big enough audience to serve? Maybe you should go broader. And I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. And the founder, you know, rightly so like kind of goes into a tailspin like, oh my god, I thought that I was serving this is really poor customer. But now I’m being told that I need to expand it open and make you know, broaden the aperture and make this brand for more people. In my experience from what I’ve seen, most times that ends up diluting the brand strategy and the brand DNA and it and you really lose the plot. You lose the narrative about who you are and who you’re for.

Lara Schmoisman 4:23
So I do – and what makes you different from the competition. I swear I’ve seen brands because at the end of the day, this is a business and the product needs to make money. And I seen those brands that they’re authentic and they’re honest to their audience, even if it’s a smaller audience, I seen them making a lot more money that many brands that they try to be everywhere and being for everyone. And

Rachel Roberts Mattox 4:57
I mean when you say you know yes me Short to small target or to small audience. I mean, if you’re a small startup brand, you there is plenty of customer base out there for you to be successful and to grow. If your unit economics makes sense, if your margins make sense, if you’re a production pipeline can scale like if, if your operationally sound, then even if you’re serving a niche market, you there are enough customers out there for you to grow, you know, get started, grow scale and show like very meaningful proof of concept in the first few years. strategy might evolve, right? You might launch new products, new ranges, new SKUs. But at the end of the day, it does come back to that core audience, or why Yeah, honestly, I can’t I have so many examples of brands that we’ve launched that, you know, they were so packed, and are so passionate about this core audience, and they got lost. I got lost along the way.

Lara Schmoisman 6:02
This is I think this has happened so many times. I call it the Whisper.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 6:09
The Whisper. I love that.

Lara Schmoisman 6:12
Yes,because it’s like everyone likes to talk about marketing, because everyone is able to have Instagram in their phone, suddenly, they know strategy in Instagram, or it’s also looking at your neighbor. And that, that whispering in your ear that is telling you how look at this brand that they launch at the same time that me but look what they’re doing, and they’re using this platform. So why wouldn’t try to use this platform to? And instead of saying, Okay, who are we? And what platform can we use because you don’t know your neighbor? You don’t know why their grass is greener, because maybe they have better grass. Maybe they have a better gardener, maybe they have a better I have, I don’t know maybe better water, they put the different fertilizing, you don’t know their situation, maybe they pay more for the ground grass, you don’t know the situation, but you cannot try to go and do exactly the same as your neighbor, you need to do your strategy or what works for you.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 7:16
Well, I think you’re also talking about strategy and tactics, right? Like this is a tremendous overlap that I think even the best marketers, founders investors sometimes get, you know, we conflate the two, you know, the strategy for me brand strategy is who are you? Why are you who are you serving etc? Marketing strategy is, you know, what are the channels that we’re on? What are our what’s our core messaging? What are our what’s our brand narrative? What is our promotional, you know, you know, campaigns and process, but then there’s the tactics, and I think what you’re talking about is like, what channel you know, what tools are we using? Yeah, what different apps are we using? What are these new bells and whistles that we’re going to start up, you know, sort of adding in, and especially with, you know, digital brands, on E-commerce with AI, there are so many new tools all the time. So I think, you know, keeping your ear to the grindstone listening and looking and seeing what’s out there, we’ll even looking at what your competitors are doing in terms of like performance, like, fine learn, like there are best practices out there. Nothing wrong with like, pivoting, when you realize that there might be a better tool out there or a better tactic. But I think what you’re speaking to at the heart of it is, you know, you can’t lose your essence in the way of pivots and gross. And I can’t tell you how many brands come back. Either they come back after we’ve launched them several years ago, or they come to us, you know, new, but they’re coming because they’re, they’re like we’ve been in the market for five years. We had a core, you know, you know, value proposition and had a core positioning, we sort of lost our way we need a pivot, we need to get back to our truth in our essence. So I mean, this, whether you’re just starting, or you are at a critical, like gross milestone, it always comes back to this. You are at your core and your essence. And it’s never been more important because it’s never been more saturated.

Lara Schmoisman 9:21
And it’s so true. What are you saying about the tactics, I love that you name it like that, because it’s but tactics need execution, execution. First of all, you need to know that you have the support system to be able to execute, but also in that execution, you need to infuse your brand. The branding needs to be everywhere and you need to be in using the native language of whatever you do. But your brand needs to be infused. There is a same brand talking.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 9:53
It’s so true. And I feel like this is such an area of passion for me and I know it is for you to this beautiful balance between brand marketing and performance marketing, and I think a great brand, whether they’re a brand new brand or their heritage brand, like they have mastered that balance, they know how to make sure that their the truth and the essence of their brand is present and communicated in every touchpoint even performance marketing, right, where it’s really about clicks and driving that conversion. I think this is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes pros, it takes a team, it takes agencies like yours, to like, really understand that dance, because it is like an art and a science to get that right. And I have seen performance marketing go so AWOL. No, losing the plot of the brand, just have more clicks. And I’m like cool for now. But your brand is going to die like yeah, –

Lara Schmoisman 10:53
To me, performance marketing is only a draw. It’s a funnel to get people to really get to know the brand. It’s it’s, I don’t see. Yeah, I like that. Yeah, it’s like, it’s the only way that you can put ads all day that of course, you need to be branded. But if it’s not clear who your brand is, people are not going to convert. And people. I mean, there’s tons of data here that people are not going to convert the first time they see that your product. So the only thing I can add, tries to funnel them into nurture them into the brand.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 11:34
Yes. And then that’s where the funnel dynamics comes into play. Again, that’s an art and science something that you do well, I mean, I’ve never been, I’ve never been a performance marketer, when I had my agency, we did not manage performance marketing, I think it’s an incredible gift to be able to really understand the nuance of that, and the funnel dynamics, we build and I built strategies. And then you know, said this is what we need to do, and then hired and brought in agencies or execution teams like yours to do the thing. So I know the value and the importance of this. And it is all about really understanding what you’re saying. I mean, this first time that a customer sees your ad, you know, don’t expect them to buy, right oh is nurturing the journey. And it’s so funny to because it’s it’s visual, it’s copy, it’s all of it, all of it serves from a brand perspective, you know, and if there’s just a little bit of disconnect for a customer, even if they can’t sort of like verbalize like, why is it off, something’s off. They’re not they lose that sort of trust and fascination.

Lara Schmoisman 12:45
That’s, for example, the darl we do a lot of AV testing to see what performs better I love AB testing. But it’s so important from the ground up that when it first of all, I want to clarify something that people don’t know. And you mentioned, people come back to you after a few years to fix a brand, it’s a lot harder than to launch a brand -, and it’s way more expensive for them.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 13:09
That is one message that I really do try to communicate early on with the brand development, it’s like yes, it is expensive to launch a brand, make no mistake, like you have to have either funding or you have to have deeper pockets to really get a brand off the ground in the right way. But I promise it’s cheaper to do it the right way first than to come back three years from the launch and fix it because you lost all the time and money but you’ve also lost potential customers you know, like there’s so much value and opportunity lost if you rush to market in cut corners than if you just take the time do the things the right way make sure that your strategy your execution plan is airtight and stay true to your brand especially in that first year.

Lara Schmoisman 14:01
Really stay true to you when you sign up for an a strategy or your branding. This is something you’re married to it for a long time you can not change your strategy every month or every three months we can we can change things tighten realize okay your target audience is narrower here or they are we can optimize things but you cannot change your the way you communicate to your with your audience who you know you talk as a brand. That’s essential.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 14:36
It’s so true because I you know I say this to talk to all brands that are launching like it is not, you’re not going to flip a switch on launch day and suddenly you know, you just can’t stop the orders from flooding and I mean I think even celebrity brands, maybe celebrated brands, you know, have a different experience but I think most brand launches it is slow steady growth. If you’re if you’re not Keep, right? It’s slow, steady growth. And a great strategy, in my opinion, is slow, steady growth so that you can learn, okay? What’s really resonating what’s really clicking, there’s gonna be pivots that happen in that first 60 days, 90 days a year event. But to your point, you’re not changing the strategy. In fact, you’re doubling down on your conviction about what you’re doing—learning, AB testing, making slight tweaks and pivots. But you have to like, you have to like proof test your, your that conviction, that strategy, right, you have to give it time, and making a slight pivots along the way as you learn things from your, from your audience and from buyers.

Lara Schmoisman 15:41
Absolutely. And I was given a conference a few weeks ago, and I started talking about the funnel. And these were students that of course, look at me, like we talk about the funnels so many times with all their professors. Okay, but today, we’re gonna talk about something a little different. We’re gonna talk about the pre-funnel, pre-funnel, pre-funnel, and I think it’s like very branding. There’s a pre-area, like before you start your branding, you start your funnel, you need to get data, you need to get the information of who is your market.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 16:14
Yeah, and I think a lot of that, especially pre-launch is, you know, you’re using Consumer Reports, you’re using all of your industry insights, all of the industry data, you’re not going to know, as we talked about earlier, until you, you know, go live, and you start seeing who’s resonating who’s buying, who’s clicking who’s repurchasing, you might have made a lot of great guesses, and very educated guesses about who that customer is, you’re going to learn who your customer is, what’s your life, right. But I think to your point, like the pre-funnel, the research, the market analysis, and what I love to do is create a customer journey, right? The customer journey, how are they first discovering you? What is their journey to purchase, really mapping that out so that at every touch point, we know, as a brand, we have a we have a narrative for them, we’re capturing their attention, we’re taking them deeper into the brand. I mean, these are just the best things that you can do as a brand, as a marketer before you go to market to really arm yourself with the best strategy. And then once you’re live, you learn and you pivot.

Lara Schmoisman 17:26
Yep. And it’s all about storytelling and telling who is your product and why your product was created. It’s not really about, again, the logo or printed picture.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 17:38
You know, I think it’s I love to think about like, you know, I was reading something recently, and it was a great book called, I think, The Compass and the Nail, I think is the name of the book. And it was written by a CMO of the old CMO of Patagonia. And they had this incredible diagram, where he spoke about the levels of brand loyalty. And on the outer ring of the brand loyalty and I don’t know all the rings off the top of my head, but on the outer ring, it’s like promotion, right? It’s like, you know, how cheap can you get this, you know, these flash sale? Like how are you like promoting it and and the closest ring to the to the center, which is like your course, like the essence of the brand is values, like ethics values, when you are able to connect to your customer, at the level of shared values, they will be a customer for life. Yep. Life, they are going to come back to you, they’re going to follow you they’re going to want to hear what you have to say. And then there’s like thought leadership, and there’s, you know, there’s other layers in there that I think a brand should always be sort of pulling in. But it really is about that essence of what does your brand stand for, and finding that loyal tribe of people who align with what your brand stands for? Because they themselves stamp it up?

Lara Schmoisman 19:04
Yep, I agree. 100% with you, I have something a little controversial that I want to discuss with you because I’ve been looking to talk with someone about this for a long, long time. Maybe I’m old school. Okay, but I’ve been seen a lot of country spatial that the pillars are in marketing or that those are forming anymore.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 19:30
I think this is such a great point. So from from my process, and you know, I love my process. I think that the process of brand development is so much about that storytelling and we start sort of like really it with the essence right but then you have to kind of build out you build a brand out right from from its course. And then brand pillars are definitely for me a really huge part of building that building that extra ring, right that that ring on the outside of, of, of the brand. Everything for me from a storytelling perspective comes back to the pillars like, Oh, yeah. And I mean, granted, I get today’s social media so much as UGC, so much as influencer whitelisting, you know, leveraging other content creators. But if you can still align all of that with your brand pillars, right, not everything.

Lara Schmoisman 20:29
I’m such a big fan of the pillars. And I’ve been getting a lot of pushback lately. And again, maybe because I’m old school, but I think you went mostly when you do integrated marketing, like I do, if you don’t have those pillars that are what interconnect everything with everything in the brand.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 20:51
There’s so much. There’s so much nuance that’s possible when you start working with pillars, because you do see that it’s an ecosystem, right? No pillar is siloed. No, there’s a lot of content, a lot of narrative, brand narrative, even promotions, that can kind of live within multiple pillars. If you’re running a big campaign, everything should ladder up to at least one of your main pillars, right? I mean, I just I’m surprised that you get pushed back only because I’m like, Well, what else would you do? I mean, how do you build a cohesive brand that is cohesive across every single touchpoint? How do you scale a global brand without having these like anchor points?

Lara Schmoisman 21:34
Because I lately been seeing this separation from brand marketing and performance marketing?

Rachel Roberts Mattox 21:43
Yeah. Performance marketers are like, Screw your pillars, we’re just gonna, we know where to get clicks.

Lara Schmoisman 21:50
Exactly. Exactly. And I’ve been getting a lot of brands, and I’ve been talking to a lot of people and brand owners that are just working set in performance and try to get such a performance that they don’t care about their brand story, or their pillars. And that’s how to me brands are going to die. And being deluded.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 22:12
I mean, I do agree that there you cannot have longevity with a brand if you’re not anchored and rooted in your core DNA, right? Your Brand pillars, your mission, your values, etc.

Lara Schmoisman 22:23
Hold on eBay for you. Yeah, go ahead. I want you to explain to people what are pillars and give them an example of tailors just in case we have some newbies out there.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 22:33
So my process is I do consider your brand, your brand pillars as part of your brand DNA. So – brand DNA for me is like your mission, your vision, your values, then we get into pillars, this is also sort of like overlapping storytelling architecture, right? What are the narrative pillars? Generally, there’s like, four or five, that are sort of major themes for your brand, that no matter what you’re always talking about, what are those pillars, whether it’s a social media post, or it’s a campaign or you’re doing any product launching, you’re talking about, you know, the products, the everything that you’re saying about the brand, everything that you’re ever sharing about the brand is always going to ladder up to one of those pillars so and then they should range right like there, it should sort of wreck it should cover things like the science and the benefits and the and the innovative ingredients, right. But then on the other side, it should, you know, you should have a pillar that really is more emotional, right, that resonates more emotionally with your customers around, you know, the experience that you might feel or the sort of the aspirational elements of the brand. You might have a pillar that’s all about the brand founder and the founder story and how the brand came to be. So it’s like, basically, you would never really like talk about anything as a brand that’s outside of the pillars.

Lara Schmoisman 23:59
And to me, that makes things so much easier, because if it’s not getting with the – is a brand.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 24:05
It’s just a brand. I mean, how do you know what’s on-brand or off-brand if you don’t have these guardrails? exactly are we just old school? Are we just like too structured? I don’t know. I think that in this day and age, especially with social and with content creators either brands are leveraging influencers and content creators or whitelisting there’s so many strategies now where we’re leveraging the influence of people outside of our brand to grow our brand. And it’s can be challenging, I think, to negotiate Hey, we need you to stay on brand even though you are your own brand and we like your brand and we are entrusting you with our brand. So go you know you did it you and do it in a way that your audience loves and resonates with but talk about our brand. Well of course. We are now opening up the floodgates like there’s so much gray area there for us.

Lara Schmoisman 25:00
– I’ll interrupt you there for a second because you open up the discussion of another difficult conversation I want to come here. It’s about influencers and love-hate relationship with this matter, because I feel like having influencers Is it love one brands, big brands, we know Chanel, that they choose one person and that’s the face of the brand for so many years. They’re aligning with that person in so many regards. And I’ve seen brands using so many influencers, that they’re losing their personality and mixing their self with the personality of the influencer. I’m a big fan of content creation. That’s a completely different story than influencer. Let’s make it separate there. So how do you feel about that? That’s a juicy topic.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 25:58
Well, the way that I see the evolution of influencers is like back in the day, you know, maybe like the 90s or early knots, we were really in the world of celebrity marketing, right. So like Estee Lauder, whatever would have, you know, Julianne Moore, and you know, I’m making this up, but it would be like, you know, and they’d have a two to three-year contract, and they couldn’t get any of us. And we just got really, like used to seeing, like celebrity endorsement in that way. And then it moved to the, you know, the sort of the, the influence or what we think of as the influencer, where it’s sponsored content. There’s still that level of endorsement, but they’re doing it in their own sort of their way. Right? We’re partnering with influencers as a brand, because we like their brand, and we’re saying represent this product through the lens of your brand. And, and, you know, talk to your audience, right.

Lara Schmoisman 26:55
I think a lot, but at the same time, they’re not brand ambassadors.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 26:58
They’re not brand ambassadors and what’s happened, I think, over time, is that customers and they even the influencers following has turned that off. They say, Look, I don’t want any respond con, I don’t, I don’t trust it, I don’t believe that you actually love this product, I think you’re getting paid a lot of money to do a post or a real about this product. So brands are throwing tons of money at these influencers. And there’s really no guarantee that they’re going to see a return the influencers are making money hand over fist, but the brand is not. And so this model to me is dead, I probably completely on the other side of it. Now we’re in the realm of content creation. And what I would like to see more of and I think is actually coming is culture creators. Like it’s going to be the people who it’s like the next-gen influencer, who it’s really about art, how are they? How are they affecting culture? How are they uniquely viewing and driving and shifting and molding and shaping culture as we know it? And how are they really authentically weaving the brands that they love into their universe, and for a brand to see that I understand that and create really unique and authentic partnerships that are maybe more like long term that are more interesting, where it doesn’t feel like you’re just talking a product. I think that’s the future of these collaborations. And I find

Lara Schmoisman 28:36
I have one more for you. To me it right now. Because I’ve been seen how it’s evolving as we do performance marketing as brand marketing, chill, I see how important it became the previous part. Everyone wants to see what other consumers are saying about the brand. So yeah, I think for me, a big one is getting videos, reviews, social media proof we I want social proof, regular individuals who are trying the products, but tied down with reviews somehow.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 29:13
Yeah, and there’s some great platforms there’s some great platforms right now I think oh my gosh, I hope that this one is that I think kale is the name of the platform

Lara Schmoisman 29:23
What was your call for reviews which is fantastic or and you have – is interconnected, you have to do all sorts for rubbish.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 29:36
But there are these platforms that are emerging where they’re saying look, let’s leverage your authentic audience like let’s get away from influencers. Let’s get away from this like pay to play you know, spawn con, let’s actually incentivize the brand’s actual followers and customers and ordinary people by saying if you talk about this on your channel, even if you don’t you know, I have 700 followers or something like nothing right? But if I talk about this brand that I love to my audience that I might get a kickback from that brand. It is these are just like interesting strategies to just leverage your actual customer. And you’re kind of like, you know, it’s a lot more of a direct way to engage with your true audience without kind of meeting to pull in that other layer of influencer and brand collaboration. I think all of that has a place, quite frankly. But this is where strategy comes in. And this is where strategic spending comes in. Because you can blow your wad on like one influencer, when

Lara Schmoisman 30:39
clients come to me, I always talk about something that I call sustainable marketing strategies, that you need to be able to spend only what you can sustain for a long period of time or x period of time, if you’re going to be and this happened to me, and this is a story, I got a client that I didn’t know that you want a grant that only had her to pay me for x months, three months. Okay. And there was a lot to fix. And in three months, you will in the even be done with the fixing.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 31:15
Now, I mean, generally not if there’s a lot of facts, right?

Lara Schmoisman 31:19
Yes. And so you really need to be transparent to whoever and this is something we were discussing today. If you are, you need to be aligned with whoever you choose to work. And this has to be a transparency choose. Yes, I see him so many brands coming to me and showing me a report from previous providers that each report every month is different. Because only show the wins. And in this ever-revolving, unchanging ecosystem, it’s really important to understand what stopped working because it’s changing. So we need to understand, so this is not working. And then okay, well, you’re gonna tweak it this way.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 32:07
I mean, the losses and the things that aren’t working are maybe more valuable than knowing the things that are working. I mean, especially if you’re throwing money at tactics that are underperforming. And we have to have sort of this full open kimono relationship with the client both ways, no, where we’re like, this is a strategy, this is what we think is going to work. Let’s test it, let’s get really granular with our with our you know, and vigilant on, you know, daily, like tracking isn’t working, what’s working, what’s not working, and doing a post mortem on the things that aren’t working? Why didn’t they work? Was it brand? Was it messaging? Was it imagery? Was it that promotion? Did we target the wrong audience, like, if you don’t analyze your failures, then you’ve not learned anything, and that failure is truly a loss. But if you can learn, I sound like a free, you know, like I’m preaching something. But if you can take those losses, yeah. Learn why did they fail? Oh, my gosh, like, How valuable is that for the next go round?

Lara Schmoisman 33:12
And also, because from the learnings, you learn how to narrow your audience, because maybe your are not your target to be. Or maybe you’re learning that you’re the people that you’re targeting these people were the people that they’re converting are these other, so let’s look which converts and then.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 33:33
But, yeah, going back to we’re talking about like strategy and tactics and staying true to your strategy and not pivot not, you know, I see this happen a lot with early founders, like, you launch, you launch just, you know, a plan, and you have in the market for 3060 90 days, and maybe they’re not seeing the results they expected. And they want to abort mission. Well, aborting mission may be the worst thing you could do. This is where the analysis of getting granular going in and saying what’s working, what’s not. And understanding why it’s not working, is the work and you’re not changing your strategy when you get those learnings. But you might be changing tactics, and you might be tweaking some of those little levers. The strategy on a whole may be perfect, but it’s the execution and the little tiny details like audience targeting is like incredibly important. Yep, that could be the one thing that’s kind of throwing it all off you know, so I think

Lara Schmoisman 34:39
The truth is that Will you always start guessing who is your target audience that they’ll you start implementing, you’re not going to know if your target audience is really the one that is converting. So you started you need to start broad and identify who is going to be your target audience, right

Rachel Roberts Mattox 34:57
and re sort of redraw those maps right? Do we segment based on our best guesses, educated guesses, market analysis, etc. But the the proof is in the pudding. Right? The proof is in who is actually buying, and who’s repeat buying. And then you start looking at that data over time and you create new segments, new, new profiles, right. But it’s all learning, I think launching a brand in this way is one of the hardest things because it is educated guesses that are then put in real time we’re road testing them. And we’re pivoting right and it I love it, I think it you know, but you’d have, I think you have to be really wired for that journey, especially that first year of vigilance and pivots and not getting too attached to anything and just saying what’s gonna work what’s not, let’s, let’s continue to refine and, and I don’t know any brand, and I’ve been at this for a really long time, I don’t know, any brand that hasn’t had to go through that process without learning at launch.

Lara Schmoisman 36:00
And before we go, I there’s something really, really important that I want to discuss that as a new brand, you need to this is a slow process. And you even if you hire someone who will create the whole strategy, like you are an agency, or like we do, too, and then we also execute the strategy, it takes time, things are not done from one day to the next. Because when things are done, right, there’s a lot of work in each email that you send out. It’s a process, it’s not that I’m, if you, I mean, I wish I could do that, but I cannot go strategize it, right it, proofread it, design it, then I been analysis of the emails and see what times is better, or the SMS being also there are so many regulations now that we need to be compliant. So you cannot send so many texts at the same time. So everything is part of the strategy. So you need to be aware, and don’t expect to hire anyone. And they say, I wish it happened that in three months, you’re making so much money that you can scale need to be prepared that it won’t happen.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 37:20
I couldn’t agree more. And I think, you know, this is the thing that nobody wants to hear, certainly people that are positioned don’t want to say. But I have, you know, I say it always at the you know, throughout the process. And as we near launch, and it helps when you start, you start really building the budget, right? And you start really forecasting and you start forecasting, you know, channel, your channel grows, and what is your spend and certain channels, etc. And you start to really look at those numbers before you launch. I think that is one way to you know, sort of mitigate that, you know, that first year of, you know, expectations and disappointments around. And I don’t mean to say they’re, you know, I think it’s about setting realistic expectations, because someone’s disappointment could be somebody else’s celebration, if the expectations are set correctly out of the gate. But I think what, you know, you’re so right, we are in the most saturated market, the highest costs of marketing and advertising. You know, no one has really cracked the code really on performance marketing today, and 2024 going into 2024, there’s so many shifts and changes.

Lara Schmoisman 38:38
And it’s gonna be more like now. Now we’re going to be losing the cookies. So we’re going to be losing a lot of opportunities for data. So I don’t know what Google is going to come with. But we’re going to meet to rely more in other kinds of data. So it’s, we’re going to be interesting years to come and OPC is changing. So you need to be prepared for that.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 39:00
Well, I love this comes full circle, because with those types of changes, which you’re talking about access and visibility to data as marketers and as brand brand owners, we have to come back to the roots of brand, in order to really survive in those first years of launching a brand. You cannot rely solely on data. You never really could. But I think that there was an era, you know, like this sort of the de to see unicorn boom, where data was a drug performance marketing was a drug. And it was really working right? We’re not there anymore. And I think that we can and should absolutely, like leverage data and use data, but you should not. Nobody should prioritize data over their own intuition over their own instinct over the creative nuance that a great brand builder has leading human Elon Back to branding you and building a brand and making sure that a brand survives. It is really, it’s a human experience. It’s not just a technical and a data-driven experience. And we, I think that we’re going to be forced to come back to that, in order for a brand to really sort of like make it

Lara Schmoisman 40:18
I’m also going back to the basics, remember that when we talking about all these ecosystem, not only digital, but now you have, you can do television, there’s so many ways to go, and going traditional, but you need to be very careful, first of all, who you align with, if they want to have your product everywhere, or just find places that your line and your ideal customer will come. I seen also brands trying to be everywhere. And because there is a big store name is very attractive, but you’re maybe it’s not the target audience that you want for your product.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 40:56
It’s partnering with the right retailer, is a marriage, and it is as vital to the success and the health of your brand as a marriage is to you. I mean, you know, it’s like it can really make or break you and you do have to you do have to be really values aligned, but also like, What is the vision of growth? What is the vision for the customer? Do we really understand the core customer of you know, that retail shopper and the target audience for the brand. And I think that’s another thing a lot of brands founders get lost within the very beginning, if they don’t have great guidance is, you know, they just want to have, they want to have the prestige of saying that they’re in a certain retailer without really thinking deeply about, well, is this the right thing for my brand, and then the target audience that I’m serving the spread,

Lara Schmoisman 41:45
show me even with a brand or with a personal brand is all about your reputation? Yeah, so who you associate with, and it tells you a lot about who you are. So you need to be very careful with those associations or the company we keep. Now. That’s why I love to keep in company with you. All right. Well,

Rachel Roberts Mattox 42:08
Thank you, Lara, this has been so great. I think that the that like that the company we keep this, I think never been truer. And it’s true as a brand. It’s true in our professional world. And it is it’s just like, you have to make sure you’re surrounded by great people from day one in this in this industry. And as you’re building your brand and shout out to the board, right, because the board is one of the ways that we connected and just an incredible community of like minded people.

Lara Schmoisman 42:41
Yeah, absolutely. And well, thank you so much for being with me here today. This was I mean, I can keep talking to you for hours. We should do a run to cut my coffee dot empty. So another one soon,

Rachel Roberts Mattox 42:58
Over coffee when we’re together in person next month.

Lara Schmoisman 43:01
Okay, we’ll do that. All right. So you guys, thank you so much for having coffee with us. And I will see you next week with more Coffee Number Five.

Rachel Roberts Mattox 43:09
Thank you.

Lara Schmoisman 43:41
Find everything you need at LaraSchmoisman.com Or in the Episode Notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. It was so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao ciao.


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