Like there's no way we would've just been able to say, "hey Emmett, can we grab a meeting?" In 2013ish is when a company like Dirty Lemon could pay an Instagrammer to post a photo holding the bottle. 45:52 - The costs and benefits of starting your brand through heavy promotion via influencers. And because it's so easy to make and record you can test so many different ways of how you communicate about the product. It would just come to us as content that was genuinely like people wanted to create it. David: Why would it be underrated? And I'm curious to hear what you learned from that experience. And they're pretty cool bags but I think that they were given to subscribers for free. Nik Sharma - DTC Expert on how to Market Your Product. So actually the first time I had cold emailed him was probably in 2014 or no, maybe 2015. And my example here is that take something like Lululemon leggings, right? It's kind of a mix. There's just a lot of things that you can own. It doesn't always have to come from a brand page. And so all of a sudden somebody is like, "Oh, I need to get rehydrated." Nik: Well, it's like playing the algorithm when you put up a LinkedIn or Instagram post. Some of our favorite projects. The media placement buy-in is $50 grand and we did the exact same thing at Hint to where the first set of TV commercials when we decided to launch TV, which was a huge deal, was all based off of the fact that the Sweetie article, the one that we were talking about earlier, did really well and we said, "All right guys look, we've had the most success with this story over the last year, so let's just look at the data of what works really well and turn this into a TV ad and start testing it." Nik: People are going to think we're so nutty. But, again, it's not in the context of this is coming from the brand. … And so the entire process probably took about a year and we learned by actually experiencing kind of the same way that like I still learn. I think that's also why you want to, when you do, whether you decide you want to create something for Amazon, or you want to create something for like an actual brand, there's a very clear separation as to which one you're going for. It's very much validated a few times and looking at different signals to then say, "Okay, this is something that works, let's now get creative within this realm or within this sandbox of how we should speak about something.". David: Yeah. It allowed for scale to a point where they had never seen those numbers and basically for the two months following that article going up there was this just hockey stick growth on the E-commerce business. And so, I think this is what you're beginning to talk about here is what are the most important ways for direct-to-consumer brands to differentiate? 02:01:18; My guest today is Nik Sharma, the founder of Sharma Brands and an advisor to companies like Judy and Cha Cha Matcha. What direct to consumer companies have done a good job with collaborations. And so, to get back to what we were saying here, he isn't just doing AB testing, he's thinking of an original idea, but then at a certain point, he's putting some filters out into the world, getting feedback and doubling down on what works. 35:43 - How influencers play into the big picture of marketing and why the "shaky video" effect is so successful. “The Sharma Brands team has been by our side since day one, helping us navigate the DTC industry and launch our new brand. I geek out on this. David: Amen man. And so that's what we're doing. And I'll just think, the best copywriting comes from two glasses of whiskey. David: Yeah. So for Sarah, Sarah had built a following of probably half a million followers or subscribers on YouTube because she was really good at talking to a camera when she was doing her daily vlogging. We're about to launch a brand at the end of this year with one of the most well-known basketball players in the NBA, and it's going to be a beverage brand. There's subscription growth, there is retail growth, there is B2B accounts growth. Nik: Yeah. Basically, you want to align the demographics of the publications to the demographic of the traffic coming in. Cause I know you're going to laugh, knowing me. ", So they're focused on things that really complete that story of the brand. This is the New York Times' favorite water. And so, I knew in my head that this was a product that could easily sell just from personal experience. We were basically going backwards and saying, "Okay, forget the ideation part. Things like, do we try different layouts of pages? And that's this field that has to also be carried through in a UGC ad. We started with Nik's philosophy of launching Direct-to-Consumer brands. David: Yeah. And how would you think about video testimonials and the length of a landing page as it relates to price points? But even then I was like, there's no way that he's going to see that. You might realize that to get somebody initially interested, you have to hook them differently than the way that you speak to them after they've already heard of the brand or been to the site. That's, again, why when we talked about using Facebook to launch and really refine your messaging, they might not have had those value props at the top of their list in their brand book, but through testing and through looking at customer reviews that's something that they figured out. We couldn't make changes to the site without having to go through Symphony Commerce's own customer service. If you want to get weekly DTC insights from Nik, I recommend his newsletter. And we have in many cases successfully shortened it. So somebody reading this might say, "Oh, I also struggle with drinking a ton of water. But it basically starts with the fundamentals of looking at data, then looking at the qualitative side of things and then actually testing and just iterating a bunch. And that's how you should launch. Nik is the CEO of Sharma Brands, a strategic-initiatives firm working with a wide range of brands to help grow and scale revenue across digital platforms. So, let's have some fun now for the rest of this podcast. So there's a culture in different places and that then leads to our walking speed just as there's a culture on different social media platforms and that leads into the kind of creative that you use. And so I was like, "That's a story, that's a really cool story. Talk about the strategy behind that. So for example, if you're running ads from Facebook, you may use, and in your target demographic is 24 to 40 years old. If they start with viewing a video, then you want to show them a different piece of content, maybe it's an article. ", And then now, we're moving to this time where it's like really big influencers and creators don't just want to have a sponsored post anymore. And then you sort of worked your way up through Vaynor Media. And maybe other people will identify with her story. And when we put it out, it wasn't just an article of our thoughts, it was an article of our thoughts that were validated and past examples because we had access to your second brain. Just organically. On today's episode, I am talking with Nik Sharma, the CEO of Sharma Brands, which helps operate your favorite DTC Brands. And so we literally just write down a list of these value props that people talk about. Nik: Yeah, it's a new thing, but it's also not looked at as an elevated form of marketing because it's filmed on an iPhone and because it's not overly produced. And so with these pages, the main thing you want to do is one, it actually becomes a great way to test messaging. You're absorbing the best ideas. And I mean, we could start with this idea of balancing supply and demand at launch. So I don't have any sort of flaunting of, oh, I have such good taste with that product. And from a branding standpoint, it was really important that it stuck out because for a few reasons on the branding side, which are obviously that Judy is the first brand in this space and so, the brand has to be really well done because you want that in the future. This is where, when you use quotes, you use quotes that don't just say, Oh, this is a great product. Nik is an investor, advisor, and operator to some of the fastest growing brands in CPG. There's the role of "I'm Ninja and I'm aligning myself with a streaming platform" and that's a huge deal because that's a top 1% influencer who has massive influence and they can move crowds like no other, right. How are you messaging it? It was just a free way for me to just spitball an idea, throw it up on Twitter. And so anytime we build a page, a landing page, we go through and write down all the different value props or characteristics customers talk about. Nik Sharma, the former head of DTC at VaynerMedia, featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30. And it has a whole minute long segment in her YouTube video of how Hint just out of nowhere shipped her this water that she loves. And as you go down and learn about the brand, then you get the opportunity to buy the product. Nik Sharma is the creator of Sharma Brands - a team comprised of digitally-native operators with strengths in revenue optimization and growth strategy. But there's also the aspect of, if there's an earthquake going down, you better be able to spot that Judy bag really fast, no matter where it is. Enter your email below and get my F.A.S.T. How just a deep understanding of how social media works will allow you to create these opportunities that most people who are just casual users of social media wouldn't really understand, sort of like what you're talking about with dimensions. So even with Sarah, the way I got in touch with Sarah was a mutual friend of ours basically gave me her address. And the first line of products out of Judy is a collection of emergency kits that are customized to where you live, how many people are in your home and what emergencies you might face. And so, Simon, one of the co-founders and the CEO, he basically two years ago realized that so many of his friends were, his friends, by the way, they're the Kardashians, they're the Jenners, they're the Chrissy Tiegen's of the world. Here's a deal for 20% off." Yeah, I pretty much just live it. And it ended up being like a 40 page deck. And I mean, Glossier is another great example of that, right? Why not? You want something that says, "After a week of Hint water, I was able to kick the diet soda habit." Writing Guide. But then, when I walk around, on my back, there's a big logo and people see that logo. And I've always liked that about you, you see the rules often as suggestions rather than rules themselves. In this podcast we dive into the lessons he has learned and how you can apply it to your own brand! David: Yeah. It is like, if you're selling a water, you say, this is the most refreshing drink I've ever had. Nik Sharma is the CEO and founder of Sharma Brands, a company that specializes in advising and investing in Direct to Consumer companies. Otherwise you're losing to competition. David: Yeah. If it got a good amount of engagement, we would run it in ads. But then I saw this really great knife set on a Taluk, which just had a much better set of knives. Recently featured on Forbes 2019 list of 30 under 30, Nik Sharma is an expert at DTC marketing. Then came this time of brands were really sponsoring influencers and they'll have to tag it and people hated it. This sounds like something really interesting here. They're not going to go to the store and be like, "Oh, you know, I saw David Perell on his Instagram with a bottle of Hint in his hand. Get The F.A.S.T. And then the last one is actual screen recordings of user sessions. But then there's a whole other kind of company that's really revolutionary and transformative that I think is really exciting, right? Like that super hard element. They're things where the variance between something really good and something not as good isn't very big. I think that the word that we're orbiting around here is differentiation, and differentiation is the real challenge in direct-to-consumer. Nik: Yeah. I joined Hint because the founding story was pretty incredible and the product was something that I personally used. Nik Sharma, the former head of DTC at VaynerMedia, featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30. We're so proud of you. Using text messaging “pays off immensely,” according to Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands and investor and advisor to Judy, as the click-through-rate is … And we'll host a couple of dinners. Something very 21st century and almost hyper capitalist about the actual quote standpoint, you validate... Logo and people see that logo made electric cars cool through a things. As good is n't very big and so, you do that right.. That reputation basically leveraging Kara as a by-product of it too, we were about... Ad strategy to Grow DTC companies - with Nik 's philosophy of a. When somebody is trying to buy the product totally right, consistent engagement taste with that real and. Hint or a higher value, yeah, basically an offer on the influencer,... These in person sometime soon email address and I think that 's a reason for them to convert really.. 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