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April 11, 2022

Jeff Cantalupo and Brentos Fernandez (Listen Ventures) - How to build compelling brands through the power of storytelling

Jeff Cantalupo and Brentos Fernandez (Listen Ventures) - How to build compelling brands through the power of storytelling

Thank you Erin Grant for pitching this as an episode idea and making it happen. This episode is all about storytelling. What does a good story need, what are the mechanics, and how to build a compelling brand through the power of storytelling. To tackle this topic, I’m joined by Brentos Fernandez, Head of Creative at Listen Ventures and Jeff Cantalupo who is the founder and General Partner at Listen Ventures. Listen Ventures. Backs and builds the brands of tomorrow Including Calm, Kiwi Co, Factor, Catch Co, I/D, & Slumberkins. Without further ado, here they are.

  1. How do you craft a good story? What are the elements?
  2. Is there a part to storytelling that brands or people typically miss?
  3. Point of view
  4. When you think of aspiring, young brands, what do they tend to do right vs. the incumbents?
    1. How are they able to stand out from the rest of their peers with storytelling?
  5. How do you analyze brands that have a face to the brand vs. brands that don’t?
  6. How do you shape the persona of the brand?
  7. When you invest and consult with brands, what is usually missing that you can help with the story?
  8. Story being built out of human need
  9. Story Emotional connection -
  10. Post-brand
  11. Organic growth stories
  12. How do you define community?
  13. How have brands leveraged their authentic story for growth?
  14. What’s an example of an inauthentic story?
  15. After a brand gets acquired, what must incumbents do in order for keep that brand authenticity alive?
  16. In this era where you don’t have the growth arbitrage channels do you need to have a celebrity part of the brand in order to help tell that story and be seen?
  17. When founders pitch to you, what do they usually do wrong when they are telling a story?
  18. Brand - sum of all the experiences
  19. What does brand mean to you?
  20. What’s one thing you would change about the perception of storytelling and/or branding?
  21. What’s one book that inspired each of you personally and professionally?
  22. What’s one piece of advice you have for founders?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:12.439 --> 00:00:16.920 Hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, Michael, 2 00:00:17.160 --> 00:00:21.199 and on this show we talked about the world adventure capital and innovation in both 3 00:00:21.239 --> 00:00:25.960 consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, you could subscribe 4 00:00:26.000 --> 00:00:30.679 to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT sub stackcom, to get each new 5 00:00:30.679 --> 00:00:34.799 episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. Thank you, Aaron 6 00:00:34.880 --> 00:00:38.799 Grant, for pitching this as an episode idea and for make it happen. 7 00:00:38.840 --> 00:00:42.840 This episode is all about storytelling. What does a good story need? What 8 00:00:42.920 --> 00:00:47.600 are the mechanics how to build a compelling brand through the power of a story? 9 00:00:47.679 --> 00:00:50.799 To tackle this topic, I'm joined by Jeff Kennelupo, who is a 10 00:00:50.840 --> 00:00:54.880 founder in general partner at List Adventures, and Brents Fernandez, who is the 11 00:00:54.920 --> 00:00:59.560 head of creative of this adventures. Listen Adventures backs and build the brands of 12 00:00:59.560 --> 00:01:03.599 tomorrow, including calm, Kiwi, co factor, CATCHCO ID and summer KINS. 13 00:01:03.920 --> 00:01:12.200 Without further ADO, here they are, Brent, Tos and Jeff. 14 00:01:12.239 --> 00:01:15.359 Thank you so much both for joining me. How are you great? Do 15 00:01:15.480 --> 00:01:19.040 a great mic. Thanks so much for having us on the show. Oh, 16 00:01:19.159 --> 00:01:22.920 it's an absolute pleasure. Really looking forward to collaborate and obviously here both 17 00:01:22.959 --> 00:01:26.120 your stories and talking about, speaking of stories, what makes a good story 18 00:01:26.159 --> 00:01:30.879 and storytelling, because I know that you both are storytelling an experts and really 19 00:01:30.920 --> 00:01:36.359 think about these elements relating to brands, and also found her stories very, 20 00:01:36.560 --> 00:01:40.840 very closely. My first question to you both is, how do you craft 21 00:01:40.879 --> 00:01:45.319 a really good story? What are the elements? I think what a lot 22 00:01:45.400 --> 00:01:49.599 of brands need to craft a great story is an enemy, finding something that 23 00:01:49.640 --> 00:01:53.680 you can push against, something that you can champion for. Finding that enemy 24 00:01:53.760 --> 00:01:59.079 out there in the world a lot of times is counterintuitive to a birding a 25 00:01:59.439 --> 00:02:04.120 company in a brand, but pushing against someone is really a great way to 26 00:02:04.159 --> 00:02:07.480 start to understand what you stand for, which you purpose is in the world, 27 00:02:07.519 --> 00:02:09.120 who you like, who's your friends, all of those sorts of things, 28 00:02:09.159 --> 00:02:14.719 and creating a narrative around that as to why your brand stands or something 29 00:02:14.919 --> 00:02:19.560 is incredibly important for the businesses we see. The storytelling is for a business 30 00:02:19.560 --> 00:02:23.719 in a brand has to also include the consumer and the user. How did 31 00:02:23.759 --> 00:02:27.400 they participate in that story? Every person kind of wants to be a hero, 32 00:02:27.879 --> 00:02:30.439 and so how do you, as a brand, make them that hero 33 00:02:30.759 --> 00:02:34.599 as part of that narrative and bring them into the fold for participation. Those 34 00:02:34.599 --> 00:02:38.840 are really good sentiments. I think what I particularly loved was talking about how 35 00:02:38.879 --> 00:02:40.759 you need an enemy. We talked about out of the show, about these 36 00:02:40.879 --> 00:02:46.560 rising cold brands per se, where the customers are just so passionate about the 37 00:02:46.560 --> 00:02:49.439 particular brand of the product, of the cell. Is Part of the reason 38 00:02:49.439 --> 00:02:53.400 in order to become maybe like a coldish brand or just have that kind of 39 00:02:53.439 --> 00:02:57.759 consumer love. What is like the enemies roll in that context? I do 40 00:02:57.800 --> 00:03:02.039 you need like an enemy there and order early to have something that you're not 41 00:03:02.240 --> 00:03:06.479 right or something that that is totally ant hi what you stand for, an 42 00:03:06.599 --> 00:03:10.840 order for to kind of address that or just to have that like consumer love? 43 00:03:10.919 --> 00:03:15.120 Yeah, I think it galvanizes folks right. I think with so many 44 00:03:15.199 --> 00:03:19.039 brands to choose from out in the world today, being able to understand what 45 00:03:19.080 --> 00:03:22.840 a company really stands for and what they're all about. A good way to 46 00:03:22.879 --> 00:03:25.719 do that is to really define that enemy and kind of go in with it 47 00:03:25.719 --> 00:03:30.000 with your consumer, right, as Jeff kind of said, around keep your 48 00:03:30.000 --> 00:03:35.080 consumer top of mind. How can your customer, you consumer, get in 49 00:03:35.199 --> 00:03:38.759 on that fight against the enemy? And if that's, if that's traditional way 50 00:03:38.840 --> 00:03:42.919 of doing things, if that's sugar for like a better for you like drink 51 00:03:43.039 --> 00:03:46.560 or something right, there's novel ways to start to, you know, kind 52 00:03:46.560 --> 00:03:52.000 of think about what you're pushing against and inviting that participation with your consumer to 53 00:03:52.000 --> 00:03:55.680 really attack that and to think about a fresh narrative. It's not just the 54 00:03:55.759 --> 00:04:00.000 coke, is it right? Having a deeper narrative around why you're doing things 55 00:04:00.000 --> 00:04:04.159 differently often helps really galvanize that audience. It's kind of funny when you get 56 00:04:04.240 --> 00:04:10.000 a founder in talking with us who is a nice guy right, and they 57 00:04:10.039 --> 00:04:14.039 want to sell their product to every person in the world. But sometimes finding 58 00:04:14.039 --> 00:04:15.839 that enemy and it's sort of what you do, what you don't stand for, 59 00:04:16.040 --> 00:04:18.839 is a way to put the message out there in a different way than 60 00:04:18.839 --> 00:04:21.839 than other folks have done it. So it's funny that you have to dig 61 00:04:21.879 --> 00:04:26.199 deep sometimes to find that enemy. When it comes to what that means to 62 00:04:26.240 --> 00:04:29.279 your brand, as Brent Tho's usually likes to say, the riches are in 63 00:04:29.319 --> 00:04:32.959 the niches in the sense of focus, I think helps storytelling and it's really 64 00:04:33.000 --> 00:04:38.439 hard to have a story resonate with everybody because if you're for everyone, you're 65 00:04:38.519 --> 00:04:41.759 really not for anyone, and so you know, we like to have a 66 00:04:41.879 --> 00:04:46.040 very I guess what we're looking for when we meet entrepreneurs or listening to founder 67 00:04:46.079 --> 00:04:49.560 stories, etcetera, is just a really crisp understanding of who are they building 68 00:04:49.560 --> 00:04:53.920 the story for? WHO's our audience? Why are they buying in? Why 69 00:04:53.920 --> 00:04:57.720 our employees going to join that fight that Brentis is talking about and get up 70 00:04:57.759 --> 00:05:00.199 every day and leave a big company to come work at a scrappy start up 71 00:05:00.279 --> 00:05:02.920 and go to battle? Those are a really great point. It reminds me 72 00:05:02.959 --> 00:05:05.800 of a conversation that I had with Joe Cud love, the founder of Ori, 73 00:05:06.079 --> 00:05:10.519 when he was thinking about the ory. Brandon was very much southern California 74 00:05:10.839 --> 00:05:14.600 inspired and one of my questions was, well, how do you then capture 75 00:05:14.639 --> 00:05:18.160 that color town California feel when you're trying to appeal to you know someone in 76 00:05:18.199 --> 00:05:21.560 Minnesota, wet, that had never been to the beach right, and what 77 00:05:21.639 --> 00:05:27.600 he said was that he believes that brand's order to be successful, need to 78 00:05:27.680 --> 00:05:30.480 have a point of view, need to have a very clear point of view, 79 00:05:30.519 --> 00:05:33.920 and that I think both of your sentiments that it's not for everybody not 80 00:05:33.959 --> 00:05:38.759 to say that people in Minniesoda don't buy Vori or anything like that, but 81 00:05:38.839 --> 00:05:41.639 just in terms of like the look of the feel of the brand, needs 82 00:05:41.680 --> 00:05:46.600 to actually be very consistent and actually come from, as you say, like 83 00:05:46.639 --> 00:05:48.759 a particular niche. Just to add to that, Mike, I think it's 84 00:05:48.759 --> 00:05:54.879 got to come from an authentic place. Authenticity is what consumers respond to and 85 00:05:54.920 --> 00:05:58.680 it's also why, I think that you're seeing such a proliferation of innovation that 86 00:05:58.720 --> 00:06:02.360 are that is pushing a gainst incumbent brands, that the longer a brand has 87 00:06:02.360 --> 00:06:06.319 been out there, the harder it is to maintain authenticity around what you've started. 88 00:06:06.480 --> 00:06:11.439 And so start up brands for us are exciting places to go invest because 89 00:06:11.839 --> 00:06:15.279 they're clean slate. It's very hard for a massive food company, you know, 90 00:06:15.360 --> 00:06:19.040 let's use Nesti as an example, to say where the healthy food company 91 00:06:19.079 --> 00:06:21.800 now. They need to be the healthy food company today because that's what consumers 92 00:06:21.800 --> 00:06:25.879 are demanding, but they haven't always been the healthy food companies. So when 93 00:06:25.920 --> 00:06:30.839 you peel back the onion, that story has holes and I think what's exciting 94 00:06:30.879 --> 00:06:34.759 about innovation and startups in generals that you're starting the story from scratch. It's 95 00:06:34.759 --> 00:06:39.680 a clean slate which allows you to make every decision through that Lens, which 96 00:06:39.720 --> 00:06:43.160 hopefully means that your story as it evolves, is harder to poke holes through. 97 00:06:43.199 --> 00:06:47.560 With that being said, what makes to you as an investors, and 98 00:06:47.560 --> 00:06:53.079 when you're seeing so many brands in the market right there's so much maybe noise 99 00:06:53.120 --> 00:06:56.639 out there, because it's never easier than ever to start a company, never 100 00:06:56.720 --> 00:07:00.399 harder than ever to build a brand just because there's so much competition out there, 101 00:07:00.519 --> 00:07:03.839 what actually is authenticity to you, because it seems like when I look 102 00:07:03.879 --> 00:07:06.720 at brands like Oh, like, that's authentic, that's authentic, and you 103 00:07:06.759 --> 00:07:09.519 know, some of the make it, some of the don't make it, 104 00:07:09.519 --> 00:07:11.879 and so I'd love to hear kind of in your eyes, how you can 105 00:07:11.959 --> 00:07:15.959 kind of peel back the onion and really get a sense of, in your 106 00:07:15.000 --> 00:07:18.680 own view, if a brand is is truly authentic. I think there's a 107 00:07:18.720 --> 00:07:24.839 lot of manufactured authenticity through story and I think what it really comes down to 108 00:07:25.040 --> 00:07:28.920 is like just getting at the the truth to how the company was started, 109 00:07:29.040 --> 00:07:31.920 who started it, what was the reason for starting it? And I think 110 00:07:32.000 --> 00:07:35.519 authenticity is really about meaning. We see a lot of companies. We often 111 00:07:35.560 --> 00:07:40.319 get pitched by people that say, Hey, Hey, I've looked at sixty 112 00:07:40.360 --> 00:07:44.079 categories that haven't had a good d to see model and I picked one and 113 00:07:44.120 --> 00:07:46.560 I'm going to go build a big company and I you know what, some 114 00:07:46.639 --> 00:07:50.079 of them are really successful with that model. But it's very inauthentic versus somebody 115 00:07:50.120 --> 00:07:54.920 saying, Hey, I'd launched this company because I believe that the world needs 116 00:07:54.959 --> 00:07:59.639 this product or that the service or it should be looked at differently, and 117 00:07:59.879 --> 00:08:03.000 here's why and here's all the people that I've talked to that also believed that 118 00:08:03.120 --> 00:08:07.439 it should look this way. And I built the community around it and we 119 00:08:07.519 --> 00:08:09.959 started to have some movement and a lot of times some of the brands were 120 00:08:09.959 --> 00:08:18.600 looking for it's it's almost like a movement versus just a product or an innovation. 121 00:08:18.879 --> 00:08:22.360 And listen, we'd like to say we back founders that are consumer obsessed. 122 00:08:22.480 --> 00:08:28.240 Right, they go deep on understanding who their core brand champion is and 123 00:08:28.319 --> 00:08:31.679 really understand that psychographic to enable for the brand to grow. Right. So 124 00:08:31.759 --> 00:08:37.759 like being able to have that court consumer in mind who might share the message, 125 00:08:37.799 --> 00:08:41.000 who might really add to that story of authenticity, versus a brand just 126 00:08:41.000 --> 00:08:45.720 broadcasting out into the world, Hey, where the best of the best or 127 00:08:45.879 --> 00:08:50.000 the truest of the true having a little bit of the truth in the consumer 128 00:08:50.039 --> 00:08:54.759 really helps to elevate authenticity and make sure it's resonant beyond the brand. Telling 129 00:08:54.799 --> 00:09:01.879 you where an authentic brand. How do you also think about out brands that 130 00:09:01.360 --> 00:09:07.039 where there is a face to the brands, like the founder, is very 131 00:09:07.039 --> 00:09:09.840 maybe the founder might not be like a celebrity before, but very much like 132 00:09:09.879 --> 00:09:15.480 the founder. It's very founder driven versus brands that maybe aren't kind of in 133 00:09:15.559 --> 00:09:18.600 the picture, like right on the center cover. Is that more risky investing 134 00:09:18.600 --> 00:09:22.360 in brand whether actually is a face the brand? Yeah, you know, 135 00:09:22.399 --> 00:09:26.000 I mean I think it's certainly an opportunity. We're always looking for a brand 136 00:09:26.120 --> 00:09:28.720 to have more than just a product, right, like a brand is more 137 00:09:28.720 --> 00:09:31.600 than just a product. Brand is a collection of experiences, right. So 138 00:09:33.039 --> 00:09:37.320 having a face to the brand or a person connected to it automatically means there 139 00:09:37.440 --> 00:09:41.879 is content in the world. There's something for the consumer to latch onto and 140 00:09:43.000 --> 00:09:46.120 say this is more than just this products you're trying to sell me. This 141 00:09:46.200 --> 00:09:48.759 is a real human being and they got into it for these reasons and you 142 00:09:48.759 --> 00:09:52.919 get into sort of some of that pitch or the you know, the cell 143 00:09:52.960 --> 00:09:56.360 they're but it's certainly an opportunity when couch to the right way. You have 144 00:09:56.399 --> 00:10:00.320 to be a good editor of those founders personal brands, but certainly can be 145 00:10:00.360 --> 00:10:05.480 positioned in a way that helps the company build story and content outside of the 146 00:10:05.480 --> 00:10:07.840 product. Those are really great point. Yeah, if need to add, 147 00:10:07.840 --> 00:10:11.039 it's interesting. Right, we're living kind of through what I like to call 148 00:10:11.159 --> 00:10:16.320 is like a a convergence, right, social media and everybody having a supercomputer 149 00:10:16.440 --> 00:10:20.159 in their pocket kind of becoming ubiquitous in two thousand and eight, nine and 150 00:10:20.200 --> 00:10:24.000 ten, right, like those two converging trends created what I like to call 151 00:10:24.039 --> 00:10:28.600 like the movement towards where every brand needed to started to act more human. 152 00:10:28.639 --> 00:10:33.080 And guess what, humans started to act a lot more like brands. And 153 00:10:33.120 --> 00:10:37.559 so we're living in this really interesting time and I think you've seen it through 154 00:10:37.600 --> 00:10:41.519 the rise of celebrity brands and through the rise of Kim Kardashian. Right, 155 00:10:41.559 --> 00:10:45.960 she is a force of a brand herself and she's also built business on top 156 00:10:46.000 --> 00:10:48.200 of that personal brand, and so it's a really interesting time. And the 157 00:10:48.200 --> 00:10:52.759 reality is is that everyone's their own media network, right. We all have 158 00:10:52.799 --> 00:10:56.559 many ESPN's, right, because my instagram following even though it's tiny, is 159 00:10:56.600 --> 00:11:01.120 an audience set wants to know what Jeff's up to, and so in this 160 00:11:01.159 --> 00:11:05.080 new world, it's hard to separate personal brand and brand. How much you 161 00:11:05.120 --> 00:11:09.639 play into that, I think, is determined. It based on the founder 162 00:11:09.679 --> 00:11:13.279 and and you know how much their voice matters to the topic they're trying to 163 00:11:13.320 --> 00:11:18.919 help change. What entrepreneurs come to pitch you, what is usually missing when 164 00:11:18.960 --> 00:11:24.000 they story tell about their journey? What have you seen that maybe are I 165 00:11:24.039 --> 00:11:28.519 want to say mistake, but more so like elements that you think that entrepreneurs 166 00:11:28.600 --> 00:11:33.960 might be missing? I think sometimes missing the mark starts with just talking about 167 00:11:33.120 --> 00:11:37.440 the product and all the work that you've done around getting it built or getting 168 00:11:37.440 --> 00:11:43.559 it developed or getting it manufactured, versus the story really being born out of 169 00:11:43.679 --> 00:11:48.360 the consumer need and the human side of it. And so I think you 170 00:11:48.360 --> 00:11:50.679 know, at the end of the day, like brands, are built through 171 00:11:50.679 --> 00:11:56.200 emotional connection and I think you have to understand what's going to create believers and 172 00:11:56.240 --> 00:12:00.879 I think that you know the story needs to be the the insights that allowed 173 00:12:00.919 --> 00:12:05.679 you to articulate why you've come up with this solution or product and how you're 174 00:12:05.679 --> 00:12:09.639 going to emotionally connect with your audience and I think sometimes it misses the mark 175 00:12:09.720 --> 00:12:13.320 if you come in and all your talking about is the innovation that you created 176 00:12:13.360 --> 00:12:15.759 and you know it's the product, product, product, feature, feature, 177 00:12:15.799 --> 00:12:18.879 feature. That's a really, really good point. Like over emphasis may be 178 00:12:18.960 --> 00:12:24.159 on the product but actually not on the actual emotional connection or, you know, 179 00:12:24.200 --> 00:12:28.039 be able to actually stories tell how that product could actually impact and really 180 00:12:28.039 --> 00:12:30.600 solve like a true pain point of for you. But is that also like 181 00:12:30.639 --> 00:12:33.960 an opportunity, since you are both branding people, is that also opportunity where 182 00:12:33.960 --> 00:12:37.759 it's like hey, like you guys have like an awesome product, we love 183 00:12:37.799 --> 00:12:39.440 the vision, we love that. We think this has all been a real 184 00:12:39.480 --> 00:12:43.639 problem, harder with us because we're the ones that actually understand that can help 185 00:12:43.720 --> 00:12:50.840 you drive and really appeal or show through your messaging that like emotional connection to 186 00:12:50.879 --> 00:12:54.919 audiences. Yeah, I mean I think there's a lot of awareness around what 187 00:12:54.960 --> 00:13:00.080 branding is, what the logo is or what colors I'm picking for my company. 188 00:13:00.120 --> 00:13:03.399 I think it's really eye opening to think about the brand as a collection 189 00:13:03.440 --> 00:13:11.039 of experiences and to go deeper with a entrepreneur and like understanding how we might 190 00:13:11.080 --> 00:13:16.120 build an experience beyond the product that's really eye opening for them to understand. 191 00:13:16.200 --> 00:13:18.519 It takes a purpose, right. It takes a purpose for the company in 192 00:13:18.559 --> 00:13:24.000 the world and it takes a personality out there in the world that helps you 193 00:13:24.000 --> 00:13:26.759 break through the clutter and advertise that purpose right. I think it's a journey 194 00:13:26.879 --> 00:13:33.159 with every entrepreneur and sort of understanding the language around how we think about strategic 195 00:13:33.200 --> 00:13:37.000 brands and purposeful brands in order to help them grow into not just a product 196 00:13:37.039 --> 00:13:43.279 but a platform that allows folks to participate. And you know, there's new 197 00:13:43.279 --> 00:13:46.080 products that come down the line, but it all really centers around this idea 198 00:13:46.120 --> 00:13:52.200 of purpose and a human at the center of that purpose for the brand to 199 00:13:52.240 --> 00:13:54.919 exist in the world. Do you mind breaking down a little bit what you 200 00:13:54.960 --> 00:13:58.639 mean by collection of experiences? It could be examples or just like kind of 201 00:13:58.679 --> 00:14:01.200 like go a little bit deeper. I think that so much of what brand 202 00:14:01.240 --> 00:14:07.960 means is those collection experiences, whether that's customer experience, whether that's an advertising 203 00:14:07.000 --> 00:14:11.600 message, whether that's the culture inside of a company. Brand is a sum 204 00:14:11.639 --> 00:14:18.519 of all of those different elements and there's ways to kind of create consistency and 205 00:14:18.559 --> 00:14:22.240 I think that so many of our young entrepreneurs come in they might have a 206 00:14:22.240 --> 00:14:28.159 great ad campaign or a way to really find that consumer, but are having 207 00:14:28.159 --> 00:14:33.159 troubles scaling the company. That's why they want VC investment right, is to 208 00:14:33.200 --> 00:14:35.879 scale the company and scale the message. So so much of these things are 209 00:14:35.960 --> 00:14:39.879 to give. So much of what we do is to you know, that 210 00:14:39.960 --> 00:14:43.799 really that that playbook as to how do I scale consistently? How do I 211 00:14:43.879 --> 00:14:46.080 keep the message consistent? What are those? How do I talk about this 212 00:14:46.200 --> 00:14:52.720 in a way that others aren't and provide a path forward for that consistent, 213 00:14:52.759 --> 00:14:56.480 you know, relevant experience for consumers. They really think of it as brand 214 00:14:56.519 --> 00:15:00.399 moments. Right, every touch point that you have with company can be a 215 00:15:00.399 --> 00:15:03.559 brand moment and you need to think of it that way. So even if 216 00:15:03.600 --> 00:15:09.679 it's just transactionally, if it's confirming purchase or email that it's shipping like, 217 00:15:09.879 --> 00:15:15.639 those are all potential brand moment for you to insert your voice and to create 218 00:15:15.720 --> 00:15:20.039 some affinity around what you stand for and making that Tope of mind. As 219 00:15:20.039 --> 00:15:22.279 far as compassion and rand equity, that's so true. It's so true. 220 00:15:22.279 --> 00:15:24.279 I don't know, Jeff Vive, anything to add as well of that. 221 00:15:24.399 --> 00:15:26.679 I think bred to's covered a lot of it at the end of the day. 222 00:15:26.720 --> 00:15:31.080 It's just every brand is work in progress. It's another rent tos, 223 00:15:31.159 --> 00:15:33.960 famous is mm, and what that means is what that means is that if 224 00:15:33.960 --> 00:15:37.200 you don't have the right lens to make sure that as you're coming up with 225 00:15:37.279 --> 00:15:43.480 new experiences or new touch points or new media strategies or new communication and if 226 00:15:43.480 --> 00:15:46.440 it's not going through the same lens and it's not going to leave the consumer 227 00:15:46.480 --> 00:15:50.000 with the ultimate experience that you want them to and it's the aggregate of all 228 00:15:50.000 --> 00:15:54.360 those experiences that allow somebody to have a relationship, every bands work in progress. 229 00:15:54.399 --> 00:15:58.200 I really that statement because wondering, like how you think about it as 230 00:15:58.240 --> 00:16:00.840 well. If every bands work in progress. I know it's a constant kind 231 00:16:00.879 --> 00:16:07.399 of evolution or iteration based off kind of Constomer, which is why DDC channel 232 00:16:07.519 --> 00:16:10.440 is so great, because you can get like that feedback loop is just so 233 00:16:10.519 --> 00:16:15.039 powerful and magnetic and really quick. But if every brand is work in progress, 234 00:16:15.039 --> 00:16:17.879 what are the elements, like Chech boxes, that you have to see 235 00:16:17.919 --> 00:16:21.159 in order to get your both excited about a brand? And then maybe one 236 00:16:21.159 --> 00:16:23.799 of the some of the elements where you know it's not there yet, and 237 00:16:23.840 --> 00:16:29.200 that's okay, if that makes sense. A lot of our work is even 238 00:16:29.240 --> 00:16:33.480 prebrand. How are we finding new categories to go after, and not even 239 00:16:33.480 --> 00:16:37.720 categories so much as cultural tensions. What is happening in the world? What 240 00:16:37.879 --> 00:16:42.039 is the fuel for a company to Exist? And going deeper on that allows 241 00:16:42.159 --> 00:16:47.840 us to, you know, when we see a pitch, to reframe certain 242 00:16:47.840 --> 00:16:52.320 categories even like right like. thinking of a sex toy business as as a 243 00:16:52.360 --> 00:16:56.360 holistic wellness business is something that is as, for instance, right like, 244 00:16:56.399 --> 00:17:00.600 allowing us to really kind of think differently about some of these problems and align 245 00:17:00.720 --> 00:17:04.839 with why some of our founders are passionate about the solutions that they're finding, 246 00:17:04.880 --> 00:17:10.519 really tapping into those that momentum and culture and points of tension. Every business 247 00:17:10.559 --> 00:17:12.160 kind of has that at their core if they're going to be a great brand, 248 00:17:12.319 --> 00:17:17.559 and we really hope to find that when entrepreneurs pitching us. That's really 249 00:17:17.599 --> 00:17:19.319 good point and I think that what I appreciate by your example is that it 250 00:17:19.440 --> 00:17:22.480 started off in the niche, even though sex toys is like actually a massive 251 00:17:22.519 --> 00:17:26.240 category, but you're starting off all like a niece per se if you talk 252 00:17:26.279 --> 00:17:30.920 about that specific category and then look at it from like the actual broader sense 253 00:17:30.960 --> 00:17:34.839 of how can we actually expand or how is our messaging in our brand overall? 254 00:17:34.880 --> 00:17:40.079 Could actually are maybe use cases for solving other problems that maybe you might 255 00:17:40.200 --> 00:17:45.000 not associate with sex toys, which is might not be what you maybe want 256 00:17:45.039 --> 00:17:48.119 to like align yourself with it, if that makes sense. Yeah, absolutely, 257 00:17:48.160 --> 00:17:51.440 and you know, I think that we work with all of our founders 258 00:17:51.440 --> 00:17:56.480 to elevate that vision to fresh communication. It's all part of that personality. 259 00:17:56.559 --> 00:18:00.279 How do you start to shape a message around something that maybe a tried and 260 00:18:00.359 --> 00:18:06.160 true way to communicate something? How do you come up with a fresh way 261 00:18:06.200 --> 00:18:08.839 to communicate that to your audience and plug into a cultural movement? It's, 262 00:18:08.880 --> 00:18:12.480 you know, that's how you align with consumer but also, you know, 263 00:18:12.559 --> 00:18:17.599 use that passion to really create a strong personality and brand voice in the world. 264 00:18:17.880 --> 00:18:19.799 It's a really, really, really really good point. I'm ject if 265 00:18:19.799 --> 00:18:23.799 any to add as well. That's exactly what we look for pre brand. 266 00:18:23.880 --> 00:18:29.400 We're trying to identify, you know, what are the conversations happening in culture 267 00:18:29.400 --> 00:18:33.440 that are shifting. Those are always good places to mine, right like creativity 268 00:18:33.519 --> 00:18:37.039 lives intention. That's when you can kind of have a craft a unique point 269 00:18:37.039 --> 00:18:41.440 of view about something that needs to change, and so that's kind of where 270 00:18:41.480 --> 00:18:44.400 it starts. When you meet an entrepreneur, regardless of where they're out in 271 00:18:44.400 --> 00:18:47.680 the maturity of the business or the brand, you get a sense for why 272 00:18:47.720 --> 00:18:51.680 they're pushing against at tension, why they're doing it and how they're thinking about 273 00:18:51.680 --> 00:18:57.000 solving it. How do you define community? Does every brand also need a 274 00:18:57.000 --> 00:19:03.559 community in order to be successful? In Days of past it's been community equals 275 00:19:03.640 --> 00:19:07.400 social media. That's not what it means right like it's not just who's following 276 00:19:07.440 --> 00:19:11.400 you or who's linking a picture, it's really those folks that have come together 277 00:19:11.599 --> 00:19:17.880 to champion the brand and talk about the brand in a way that you maybe 278 00:19:18.039 --> 00:19:21.960 haven't even dreamed about. As you create those those opportunities for folks to get 279 00:19:22.000 --> 00:19:26.640 together, you know, how do you, as a brand, connect consumers 280 00:19:26.680 --> 00:19:29.680 together? What channels are they? You know, is it a piece of 281 00:19:29.720 --> 00:19:34.759 con tent? We're always looking for brands that are on the cusp of having 282 00:19:34.839 --> 00:19:40.359 a great community. I think that that's always where you're going to find innovative 283 00:19:40.359 --> 00:19:45.039 brands being built, is when there's some buzz around a particular company or an 284 00:19:45.039 --> 00:19:51.519 offering and finding which channels says are are aren't necessarily the social channels. Humans 285 00:19:51.519 --> 00:19:53.599 want to be a part of something, right, like we're, you know, 286 00:19:53.640 --> 00:19:57.240 our nature is to be part of a tribe. A brand that allows 287 00:19:57.240 --> 00:20:03.720 a platform for people that are like minded to come together and experience things or 288 00:20:03.799 --> 00:20:08.839 discuss things and converse about things. Is really what kind of the catalyst of 289 00:20:08.880 --> 00:20:12.440 community is around a brand. And so, you know, does every brand 290 00:20:12.480 --> 00:20:15.519 need a community? I mean, I don't know. I think there's a 291 00:20:15.599 --> 00:20:18.960 lot of product companies out there that have been super successful sounding a bunch of 292 00:20:18.960 --> 00:20:23.000 product to people but, you know, haven't facilitated any deeper relationship or any 293 00:20:23.039 --> 00:20:27.039 conversation around something meaningful. Can that be a good business? Sure. Is 294 00:20:27.039 --> 00:20:32.279 it a brand that we're going to likely back? Probably not. And so, 295 00:20:32.440 --> 00:20:33.960 you know, tell us it's a little bit more about the ingredients we 296 00:20:34.000 --> 00:20:38.400 see and what we want to build and meaningful brands that that that we're excited 297 00:20:38.440 --> 00:20:42.279 to back and built. I think that sometimes I feel like what maybe some 298 00:20:42.319 --> 00:20:45.920 of the confusion is around community. I would love like to know your thoughts 299 00:20:45.920 --> 00:20:51.680 about this as well. Whereas I feel like this like one camp where community 300 00:20:51.759 --> 00:20:55.920 is engagement with the brand. So it's like customers talk with the brand. 301 00:20:55.920 --> 00:20:59.000 Directly and the kind of measuring that and saying we the community here because we 302 00:20:59.279 --> 00:21:02.480 have strong, you know, engagement metrics and like all these things are happening 303 00:21:02.480 --> 00:21:06.839 and people love us. Or is it one level deeper where you actually have 304 00:21:06.880 --> 00:21:11.119 the brand as like a vessel almost to actually meet other people and actually be 305 00:21:11.240 --> 00:21:15.759 people that you wouldn't have particular maybe you wouldn't have matter or new existed if 306 00:21:15.799 --> 00:21:18.599 it wasn't for the brands. Doesn't have to mean like they're all your best 307 00:21:18.599 --> 00:21:22.079 friend orthing like that, but just like being at being like a death will, 308 00:21:22.119 --> 00:21:26.480 to actually mean badging a brand. Is Why people feel galvanized around Patagonia, 309 00:21:26.640 --> 00:21:30.200 right, like people can get in on a mission, you know, 310 00:21:30.480 --> 00:21:34.440 or fill a part of a group because they see that logo on a jacket, 311 00:21:34.559 --> 00:21:37.400 right, and so it's an excuse to have a deeper conversation. Oh 312 00:21:37.519 --> 00:21:41.279 you like that brand, I do too. Have you gun climbing, whatever, 313 00:21:41.319 --> 00:21:42.279 whatever, right. So, like, I think there's a lot of 314 00:21:42.319 --> 00:21:48.880 that, even just with food and beverage and restaurants, like everybody is saying 315 00:21:48.920 --> 00:21:52.720 something about themselves with the brands that they choose. You know, you're kind 316 00:21:52.720 --> 00:21:57.640 of aligning yourself with modern consumers. Aligning themselves with the values of modern brands. 317 00:21:57.640 --> 00:22:03.799 And so I think it's a great opportunity to be that conversation starter and 318 00:22:03.839 --> 00:22:07.480 that wedge to meet other people, and I think that some of our companies 319 00:22:07.599 --> 00:22:11.599 have that Opportunity and have leveraged that. Company like slumber kants are social emotional 320 00:22:11.680 --> 00:22:17.480 learning for kids, right, like the stuffed animals and the mantras teach kids 321 00:22:17.559 --> 00:22:22.200 better awareness of social emotional learning and their emotions and that sort of thing. 322 00:22:22.240 --> 00:22:26.519 But the community of MOMS and parents that and caregivers that have gotten together to 323 00:22:26.559 --> 00:22:30.200 talk about their lives, that's the brand. That's a that's part of that 324 00:22:30.240 --> 00:22:33.920 experience because it's focused on this idea of slimmerton's connecting folks, right. So, 325 00:22:34.039 --> 00:22:37.599 like that's a perfect example of, at a young stage, having almost 326 00:22:37.720 --> 00:22:41.079 Pedagonia, like passion around a brand. I also think, Mike, in 327 00:22:41.160 --> 00:22:44.960 terms of like going back to like looking for. You know, what do 328 00:22:45.000 --> 00:22:47.759 we look for? How do we start? The name of our firm is 329 00:22:47.799 --> 00:22:51.000 listen for a reason, right. It's like how do you go listen to 330 00:22:51.039 --> 00:22:53.960 the conversations that we believe are going to start to gain momentum and you know, 331 00:22:55.240 --> 00:22:57.920 it's interesting, but like things that start really small, niche right, 332 00:22:59.000 --> 00:23:02.839 like you want to talk about community, the Crypto community, right, it 333 00:23:03.119 --> 00:23:08.119 ten years ago was like ten people on twitter and now, like I would 334 00:23:08.119 --> 00:23:11.720 say it's seventy five percent of my feed is people talking about crypto. You 335 00:23:11.720 --> 00:23:17.319 know, that is a community that was born out of likeminded people believing in 336 00:23:17.359 --> 00:23:22.359 this shift in decentralization that you know, this new technology was going to enable. 337 00:23:22.440 --> 00:23:26.920 And then you look at what started the surface in terms of real interesting 338 00:23:26.000 --> 00:23:30.240 kind of worlds around blockchain, and you thinks, see things like board a 339 00:23:30.359 --> 00:23:34.440 yacht club, right like that is that is a community, a deep community 340 00:23:34.440 --> 00:23:38.920 in and of itself, where people are badging their profiles with their ape and 341 00:23:40.000 --> 00:23:42.160 it's a limited number of them. So there's only a certain amount of people 342 00:23:42.160 --> 00:23:45.240 that can be in that community. And guess what, like they're all proud 343 00:23:45.319 --> 00:23:48.880 to be part of it and they're talking about it every day, and so 344 00:23:48.200 --> 00:23:52.240 I think it's a great modern example of what it means to kind of build 345 00:23:52.279 --> 00:23:56.200 community into a business model. Now, those are all great points in Jeff, 346 00:23:56.279 --> 00:24:00.480 Crypto did rebrand to web three. I totally hear you say. I 347 00:24:00.519 --> 00:24:04.319 also what I really love, Brentos, about what you said is it's a 348 00:24:04.319 --> 00:24:08.680 reason to engage it, which I love. How like soft touch that is 349 00:24:08.720 --> 00:24:12.920 almost like hey, you're wearing Patagonia, I'm wearing Patagonia. I mean I'm 350 00:24:12.920 --> 00:24:18.359 actually wearing Patagonia, but but like you have this like connectivity and like almost 351 00:24:18.400 --> 00:24:22.160 like awareness that the person is like. So they might have, you know, 352 00:24:22.359 --> 00:24:26.000 maybe similar values or, you know, enjoy simply my enjoy like the 353 00:24:26.039 --> 00:24:30.720 outdoors or or to hike. I really like how it's almost like a reason 354 00:24:30.759 --> 00:24:34.319 to engage a recently start a conversation or or so like that is. I 355 00:24:34.319 --> 00:24:38.240 think that's a great way to just think about what community is in a very 356 00:24:38.240 --> 00:24:41.920 simplistic term. Yeah, shared values. I mean that's spot on right there. 357 00:24:41.960 --> 00:24:45.839 You know, if I could put point to one thing, totally, 358 00:24:45.880 --> 00:24:51.599 totally so, once a brand gets acquired right, and I know you talked 359 00:24:51.599 --> 00:24:56.160 about nestly little bit earlier, just like a lot of the incumbent players have 360 00:24:56.279 --> 00:24:59.559 like a long history of, you know, producing. It's they're trying to 361 00:24:59.599 --> 00:25:02.279 get into bettter for you, producing products that aren't better for you, for 362 00:25:02.319 --> 00:25:06.000 example, and I know obviously the DC's, you guys love exits, but 363 00:25:06.279 --> 00:25:11.480 when have you seen the brands thrive under you know new ownership and where do 364 00:25:11.519 --> 00:25:14.759 you think of there's like oftentimes, name like a mismatch. Maybe the brand 365 00:25:14.839 --> 00:25:21.519 has been really hard to be authentic per se when you're under incumbent large company. 366 00:25:21.640 --> 00:25:23.200 I would say I was just jumping at right and say I think our 367 00:25:23.359 --> 00:25:29.880 Xbar was an interesting one, because that's that's kind of the idea of been 368 00:25:30.119 --> 00:25:33.839 or for you in a whole new way to think about eating healthy or supplemental 369 00:25:33.960 --> 00:25:37.200 eating. But when they required it's one of those things where the message was 370 00:25:37.240 --> 00:25:41.440 able to be scaled and the sharp elbows, they were able to keep the 371 00:25:41.440 --> 00:25:45.880 sharp elbows, like the nobs campaign of nobs and these bars and and you 372 00:25:45.880 --> 00:25:49.039 know, nobs in our commercials. So I think that's an example of something 373 00:25:49.079 --> 00:25:53.319 that was, you know, pretty successful and keeping true to the reason the 374 00:25:53.319 --> 00:25:59.720 product existed versus changing the message because it's, you know, part of a 375 00:25:59.720 --> 00:26:03.039 bigger conglomerate now. Right. I think that's a great example. I think 376 00:26:03.119 --> 00:26:06.160 Brenz's is touching on this a little bit and I think it the stories yet 377 00:26:06.200 --> 00:26:10.880 to fully unfold there for our rex. But you know, it's about giving 378 00:26:11.119 --> 00:26:14.880 the company you acquired the space to continue being who they are. Where I've 379 00:26:14.920 --> 00:26:19.039 seen it go awry, as when the acquisition closes and immediately you know the 380 00:26:19.079 --> 00:26:23.200 conglomerate that bottom is starting to put in, you know new leaders and and 381 00:26:23.240 --> 00:26:27.119 what it does is it changes the culture. And so much about a lot 382 00:26:27.160 --> 00:26:30.480 of these brands is the culture, and that culture could be but the speed 383 00:26:30.519 --> 00:26:34.079 at which they operate, the sharp elbows in which they feel comfortable communicating, 384 00:26:34.079 --> 00:26:37.599 etcetera, etcetera, etc. Once you mess with the culture, the Lens 385 00:26:37.640 --> 00:26:41.799 to make decisions at the company changes and therefore you start to get off track. 386 00:26:41.880 --> 00:26:47.720 And so consumers consense that right and it might be oh, changing the 387 00:26:47.799 --> 00:26:51.960 formula because we know we can get five percent more better margins. And guess 388 00:26:52.000 --> 00:26:55.640 what? The consumers backlash because it tastes like Shit. So like these are 389 00:26:55.680 --> 00:27:02.440 delicate situations and I think the company is that easy their way into allowing the 390 00:27:02.480 --> 00:27:06.720 existing team to maintain the kind of operating cadence and culture that got the brand 391 00:27:06.759 --> 00:27:08.640 to where was are going to fare a lot better than those that come in 392 00:27:08.680 --> 00:27:11.680 and think that we know better because we're the bigger, bigger guy that just 393 00:27:11.759 --> 00:27:15.759 bought you at such a gay boy. I found a question to you both 394 00:27:15.880 --> 00:27:18.519 is maybe what's one book that inspired each of you personally and professionally. I 395 00:27:18.519 --> 00:27:23.519 guess I would point to a book that early in my career, a book 396 00:27:23.519 --> 00:27:27.680 by Leo Burnett called Star reachers. That is a great story about advertising, 397 00:27:27.759 --> 00:27:33.640 but a really good story around thinking about the consumer and bringing a message in 398 00:27:33.680 --> 00:27:37.759 a fresh and creative way and the systems that are kind of used in marketing, 399 00:27:37.799 --> 00:27:40.680 and that's everything. I think there's some timeless lessons in there. And 400 00:27:40.680 --> 00:27:42.759 then if I would point to maybe a newer book, there's a book called 401 00:27:42.799 --> 00:27:48.000 scratch by Tim Gallis that I really love for contemporary whole brand. I would 402 00:27:48.079 --> 00:27:52.839 totally recommend it to all the listeners. I'll take brandchos his quere and give 403 00:27:52.920 --> 00:27:56.359 too as well. My first one is is a book called abundance by Peter 404 00:27:56.480 --> 00:28:00.920 Dumonti's which is I guess it was probably written in two thousand and eleven or 405 00:28:00.960 --> 00:28:06.920 so, but it was about a pretty optimistic view in a pretty pessimistic world, 406 00:28:07.039 --> 00:28:10.599 which is that you know this idea that, given the innovation economy, 407 00:28:10.640 --> 00:28:12.400 we're going to be living in a world of abundance, not a world of 408 00:28:12.799 --> 00:28:17.680 dire straits, which is what we all kind of sit and think through every 409 00:28:17.759 --> 00:28:21.200 day. And as we approach climate change, etc. And so what I 410 00:28:21.240 --> 00:28:25.000 liked about the book is that it's it's not just this kind of rosy picture. 411 00:28:25.000 --> 00:28:27.920 It's actually a playbook for how we can get there from through entrepreneurship and 412 00:28:29.000 --> 00:28:32.400 through really big thing king. And then he followed it up with another book 413 00:28:32.440 --> 00:28:37.359 called bold, which is actually kind of in entrepreneurs playbook to take advantage of 414 00:28:37.359 --> 00:28:41.880 those abundance opportunities and gold build companies that can scale these opportunities. So very 415 00:28:41.920 --> 00:28:45.839 good. And then the other one I'll throw out there, just more culturally 416 00:28:45.880 --> 00:28:49.000 relevant, is the book called Three Kings, which is a book about kind 417 00:28:49.039 --> 00:28:52.680 of like the emergence of hip hop. That kind of talks about Diddy, 418 00:28:52.799 --> 00:29:00.160 Jay Z and Dre and Brent does and I have a longstanding passion for kind 419 00:29:00.200 --> 00:29:03.759 of hiphop as it relates to actual brand we think that the hip hop movement 420 00:29:03.799 --> 00:29:07.759 is actually kind of the start of the revolution of how you think about modern 421 00:29:07.799 --> 00:29:12.880 branding. And and so that one is is just billed with incredible history about 422 00:29:12.880 --> 00:29:18.480 how that, I'll hiphop kind of evolved so much, so much bad authenticity 423 00:29:18.519 --> 00:29:21.559 in hip hop and what we're talking about today. For sure it's amazing. 424 00:29:21.640 --> 00:29:23.519 That's amazing really excited to add all these in the book list. This is 425 00:29:23.720 --> 00:29:26.480 great, well bred, doesn't Jeff? Thanks again for your time's it been 426 00:29:26.480 --> 00:30:22.000 a lot of fun. Thanks, Mike. Take so much. And there 427 00:30:22.000 --> 00:30:25.799 you have it. It was so much fun chatting with Brent Tos and Jab 428 00:30:26.640 --> 00:30:29.200 and there you have it. It was so much fun chatting with Brentos and 429 00:30:29.279 --> 00:30:32.200 Jeff. I hope you all enjoyed it. If you enjoyed this episode, 430 00:30:32.319 --> 00:30:34.279 I love it if you'd read a review on the apple podcast. You're also 431 00:30:34.319 --> 00:30:37.519 welcome to follow me your host, Mike, on twitter at Mike Gelb, 432 00:30:37.599 --> 00:31:03.079 and also follow for episode announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks for listening, everyone, 433 -->