Branding in the Digital Age of Amazon with Amy Stellhorn of Big Monocle
May 21, 2020
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- What branding means and what it looks like for companies
- The differences between consumers interacting with a product on a retail store shelf vs an online marketplace
- How the first impression of a product can influence purchasing on Amazon and how to increase the click-through rate
- Split testing and A/B testing practices on Amazon
- How Amy Stellhorn helps companies with their branding and finding best practices for driving brand value
- How can brands make their high priced products stand out from their competitors
- Why Amy felt burned out after working with startups in Silicon Valley and what she did to solve that
- What brands can do to increase the conversion rates of their products
In this episode…
Your business’ brand is not your logo or trademark. It is what customers feel towards you and your brand the moment they see your name. See, you are not in control of what your brand is; your customers are. But what you can do is shape your brand’s image in the eyes of your customers and make it more appealing to them.
But according to Amy Stellhorn, branding and even rebranding involves a number of steps to make sure that there’s a need for it and that it is suitable to what you need as a company, what your customers’ needs are, and how it compares to those of your competitors.
Join Eric Stopper in this episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast as he interviews Amy Stellhorn, a branding expert and founder of Big Monocle, about her thoughts on how companies should brand themselves in the digital age of Amazon. She will be talking about what branding means, the importance of first product impressions, how brands in saturated markets can stand out, and how to increase product conversion rates. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- Amy Stellhorn on LinkedIn
- Big Monocle
- Big Monocle on Instagram
- Sego Awards
- Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
- Office Depot/Office Max
Sponsor for this episode
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world
Eric Stopper 0:19
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast. This is Eric Stopper. This episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We’ve got a team of consultants and we will help you come and talk to us. We’re going to help you understand why your best sellers are the best sellers and we’re going to help you understand why your worst sellers are the worst sellers. Because Amazon is hard and annoying. And they are out to get you all the time and we’d like to help you go to buyboxexperts.com click on the free analysis button. It’s completely free. No strings attached for now. We will start charging for it just because our time is getting limited. today. I am pleased to be joined by Amy Stellhorn, Founder and CEO of Big Monocle, an award winning, socially minded creative and branding agency headquartered in Silicon Valley. She describes her team as a multi platform problem solving team. Amy is a designer, a creator, a marketing expert and a friend and I brought her on the show to give us her thoughts on branding product companies in the digital age of Amazon. Amy, welcome to the show.
Amy Stellhorn 1:27
Hey, thanks for having me here.
Eric Stopper 1:29
So lots and lots to discuss. So let me set the stage everyone listening, they’re typically selling on Amazon or they really super want to. And branding has become a hot topic in our space. Everybody is focused on brand brand brand, even like Amazon launched something called brand analytics. They’re doing attribution, which they tout brand all the time. And I would say that all of their branded prod projects and products that Amazon are releasing, they’re pretty much junk. A lot of people confuse some of these will quote unquote branding elements with their store. And with their products that they sell. I feel like people are really unclear about what branding actually means and what it looks like and and what effort and resources have to go into creating a brand for a product company. And so one of the first questions I have from you is like when I when I say that, right, like when people say they need to improve their branding, what’s the first thing that comes to mind for you?
Amy Stellhorn 2:32
Oh, can we pause and define branding, though you ran by that? And I think that’s so important. Yeah. Give a common a common definition for this conversation. Yeah, so well, and I mean, you can disagree with me, but a brand has actually not your logo. That’s a brand mark or, you know, trademark or wordmark or logo. Your brand is a gut feeling that customers have about you as a brand. So And you don’t you’re not in control of what your brand really is. Your customers are in control. So and to illustrate that, so if this What do you know? What do you know Walmart for low prices, low prices, if they start to tell you they’re high quality, do you believe them? No, no way, no way. That because their brand is low prices, their brand is like, they’re gonna have, you know, large quantities of things at very low prices. And there’s nothing that they can tell me that will change my mind about who they are in my mind. Right? They can’t say they can’t say no, we’re designing now. We’re like, cool now like, No, no, you’re not cool. You’re cheap. That’s and and sometimes I want that so sometimes I shopped there, but you know they’re not. So branding is what your customer says it is. If you think about another brand, what’s a brand new hate?
Eric Stopper 3:51
Oh, I mean, I love most brands. But let’s go with I mean, I am I am not a big fan of
Unknown Speaker 4:03
Amy Stellhorn 4:04
as a company as a technology company, yeah. Right. And why is that?
Eric Stopper 4:09
Um, I’ve used some of their products actually. And it’s it’s really, it’s a remark more on the quality of the product.
Amy Stellhorn 4:16
Yeah, my experience user experience quality. Do they not last very long do they not work as expected to the batteries die?
Eric Stopper 4:23
It was the unit. Yeah, it was the user interface in this specific scenario. It was like, you know, and I think about this, right, like, Oh, they should make this easy. For me this this seems like a very rote thing that I should be doing. And I remember it being very difficult several times. Yeah.
Amy Stellhorn 4:38
So if their branding is out there advertising out in the marketplace, like we’re the easiest to use. You’re like, no, you’re not Yeah, Bs, add your product. No, you’re not. They can’t tell. There’s no amount of marketing that can sell that they’re different than than they actually are in your mind as a cousin. So the good news is though, for brands is that people actually really love to buy and they like to buy tribes. So if you think about brands, I’m a Subaru owner, and Subaru owners are their own tribe, you know, they’re super proud. They like to talk to each other. They, the forums can be really, really fun and engaged. They’re proud of the lifestyle that lets them live. You know that owning a Subaru or getting into the mountains, you know, carding your, your adventure gear, you know, there’s a whole mindset, there’s a whole tribe that I belong to now that now that I’m a Subaru owner, same if you’re like, super into Nike, if you’re super into Apple, if you’re super into anything else, like you have a gut feeling about that brand. And it’s something that that really works for you. So this and so what I’m saying now is a brand. It’s a gut feeling that someone has about you, and how do you how do you? How do you shape that brand with the customer? Well, it’s really multifaceted. So if we’re going to talk about your brand, you can start with a visual piece. Certainly in today. world you gotta signal you’re on the level, right? So if you’re selling
let’s say you’re selling socks on Amazon
Well, you want to make sure that the logo, the packaging, the designs, they’re all signaling that you’re on the level like these are cool socks. This is on trend This is on brand. The sock logo itself is something that nobody would be embarrassed to be wearing around you know. So there’s visual elements like that today and in today’s world where you have a million options in Amazon where you have a million options on what you’re gonna buy, like the first the first like I feel like the table stakes are visually you have to be on the level.
Eric Stopper 6:43
Yeah, I so I want to dig into I want to there’s there’s lots of things that I want to unpack in there. So I’m gonna go back to the Walmart example because a lot of the people that listen to this they sell on walmart.com. Yeah, which has evolved into this thing that is very much a separate product from Traditional Walmart stores and that’s the point they’re trying to make it. They’re trying to compete with Amazon. That’s the whole objective. Yeah. So when I walk into Walmart, sure my my perception, my instinct gut is low prices, right? It’s on the outside of the store. It’s the little I don’t see the smiley faces so much. I understand they’re in a lawsuit over that. But when I go to the actual product, though, on the shelf, I am now in a different gut feeling, because now I’m interacting with a specific product. And so, are there are there multiple layers to a brand in terms of where you choose to sell your product being one of the first indicators that a customer has with you or, or does it really not matter? Right, like if somebody finds me it does the does the clock have the gut feeling reset? Because I’m now interacting with a product on the shelf as opposed to a marketplace or retail store?
Amy Stellhorn 7:57
Mm hmm. Um, It definitely changes your brand you know there are if you’re somebody who’s into buying more luxury brands and you saw the brand on the shelf like let’s say makeup I see the the false lashes that I’ve normally seen it Ulta are on the shelf at Walmart suddenly I think like those are lower quality. I mean, I think it I’m just anchored to lower quality from you know, because I’m at Walmart at Target I’ve kind of been fine with that I’d be fine with those same things being sold at Target because they have kind of a brand they have like a design brand aesthetic where people are pretty proud to shop it target. I feel like where you’re less, not that people I mean different people have different opinions right but some people like wouldn’t necessarily like put it all over Instagram that they just got home from Walmart that you will put all over Instagram you just come from Target
Eric Stopper 8:58
look it up. Yeah People, I’ve also seen a ton of posts that say, Hey, I got a package from Amazon, and I’m really excited about it.
Amy Stellhorn 9:04
Yeah. So, I mean, I think people have a positive association with Amazon. In fact, if I see it a bowtique product, and I like it, I’m gonna check and see if it’s on Amazon. Because they have my data already. They have my credit card already, they have my address already. I don’t want to make an account on some other thing and do it. You know, I don’t want to mess with that. So if I can buy it on Amazon, I will out of pure convenience. So it doesn’t hurt I don’t think in my this is my one opinion. This is your, you know, research demographic of one. But it’s, for me, it’s just it’s about convenience. And it doesn’t lower the brand to be on Amazon’s platform where
Walmart might be different, it might color things differently. For me,
Eric Stopper 9:50
we’ve we’ve started to see that when, when customers cannot find you at least one product of yours on Amazon and if it doesn’t look cool. unquote centralised right, where all the branding looks consistent with what they would find on a website or on a retail shelf, they’re actually less willing to pay for the product on Amazon and or just in general, they then have a negative experience with that brand. So we talk to people, that’s interesting time that they don’t list on Amazon because they don’t want to be perceived as lower quality. And the opposite effect is now true. If you don’t list on Amazon, then people are dubious. Okay, well, why not? It’s so easy. Everybody is on Amazon. Why aren’t you here? And you can, you can typically only get away with it when you’re Nike, right? Who just removed all their products from Amazon. So we’ve defined brand, right? It’s this gut feeling. So now talk to my Amazon sellers about the first interaction that people have with their product, right? There’s a there’s 150 million Amazon Prime members in the world and they’re of all creeds and tribes and shapes and sizes, and even they speak different languages, right, and they’re all on Amazon and they’re shopping The first interaction that somebody has with your product is the little picture. That’s a white background. And you get about 100 characters of the title and you get the reviews. That’s and that’s typically it. Are those micro impressions enough to steer somebody away from your product? And what what would you potentially do as a branding person to make it so that someone’s first view of your product listing gets them to actually click on it?
Amy Stellhorn 11:30
I mean, you’re gonna have the data so this is a quiz for me, right? But I think hundred percent like your thumbnail better be awesome. You better have good lighting and better look legit. It can’t look like it was taken in your your garage, this photo of the product and I think you got to be very desirable about the hundred 40 characters you have to describe what this product is and what it does, and I am sure if you were to test like low quality photos versus high For the same exact product you’ll get more clicks. Oh yeah. Has anyone done that like same same but different different photo?
Eric Stopper 12:06
Yeah, we you can do like really nice split testing there’s a couple of apps on Amazon I think split Lee is one of them that allows you to do that. And I’ve never seen a really good AB test done. But we we have seen that putting really good lifestyle photography and really great white background photography into a listing instantly enhance the the click through rate. Yeah, it’s it’s pretty remarkable, right? And a big part of that is also like which keywords you’re showing up for at the time. There’s a you know, there’s a pretty clear delineation between does your product actually match what the person searched for? And if not, then you’re not going to get any clicks or your clicks are going to be wasted. So when you are going to brand a company, when you’re when you’re helping them with a project, are you helping them with like their overall design scheme? What are some of the first steps that you take when you’re interfacing with that team? terms of getting getting to like the root of what they’re trying to accomplish and then building it out from there. what’s what’s your process that big morning?
Unknown Speaker 13:08
Amy Stellhorn 13:10
Well, we always ask what will happen if you don’t do this?
Because that, that question uncovers the value of the project, so and how much buy in the company is going to have to do it? So if somebody’s talking to me about rebranding, and I said, What will happen if you don’t do this? And they say nothing? Like our sales will continue, our competitors won’t eat our lunch. Everything will be fine, then it’s really like, okay, and do you just have 50 grand that you don’t want to give to the government this year? So you should do this project, you know, like, there’s, there’s not a huge value to the project. There’s appetite for the project for some reason. But often, if they’re like, Well, nothing, then it’s I kind of am like that maybe you shouldn’t do it. Like, you just you won’t get the buy in. You won’t get the the urgency. But if I say what happens if you don’t do this, and they’re like, we got like six competitors hot on our tails, we can not rest on our laurels, we got to stand out. We got to, you know, advertise harder, you know, then I’m like, done. Yeah, let’s do this. And what do you have to stand to lose? Well, yeah, if we don’t do this, we lose. And we lose to these three competitors. And they this percentage, it’s, you know, $10 million.
Eric Stopper 14:15
Right? We’re doing Oh, you quantify it with them? Yeah, I try to I try to start there.
Amy Stellhorn 14:21
And I’m the kind of person who wants to have impact, I want to know, like, what is your what’s your challenge? What’s, what’s going on? And, you know, then we kind of know what’s at stake. And that just feels the whole project for everybody. And so that’s the first thing. The second thing is we do a competitive audit. So we want to know, where in the landscape it’s just it’s going to war, right? So where is everybody else? Where are they coming in at? What are their key messages? What color are they what, you know, how do they what emotions are they putting forward to the audience? What ads are they running, and we want to know all of that. And the reason we want to know that is people don’t buy you for the reasons that you’re the same as everybody else they buy you for the reasons you’re different. So there’s a bunch of stuff that signals you’re on the level, high quality photography, modern or cool type, you know, type ographers and graphic standards. And,
Eric Stopper 15:19
yeah, we would call that like points of parody. Yeah, there’s like, we’re on a level have to do this stuff. Yeah.
Amy Stellhorn 15:25
And then and then you got to have a reason why you’re different. So people are choosing you because of your differences. So we try to amplify those and we try to help position you in a place where it’s much more blue ocean. Mm hmm. So you’re not in there fighting to be the other blue healthcare brand. It’s blending in with everybody else. And you can’t tell you know, what’s the difference between Office Max and Office Depot? I don’t know. They’re both have office in the name. They’re both opposite by both read I think too. Yeah, like Who knows? No, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I walked into one I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one I went into. Like, I don’t know office supply store. Now staples. I actually can’t tell you if I go to staples because their name is clever. And you know they it’s just like different they have like a brand personality. It feels a little bit different it’s not also office blah blah blah. Sure. Oh, so
Eric Stopper 16:19
one one question that I have though is to the people who are selling in saturated markets, right like I mean cell phone accessories, weighted blankets. Facial care haircare all those super super saturated, everybody’s ripping each other off, right, like I’m an established brand. I’ve been around for a while or even I’m a new brand and all my competitors and even my manufacturers are starting to list products that look almost identical to mine. Yeah. Now in that in that instance, is that one of the indicators that says okay, I need to rebrand I need to look different from all these other people. Or once it’s like saturated like that is it It basically like impossible to try to separate yourself with with marks like, like you talked about colors and logo and stuff like that.
Unknown Speaker 17:09
Amy Stellhorn 17:12
I mean, it’s that’s a challenging dilemma because people like let’s say I have good friends who have brands who are being ripped off by Amazon sellers. And that what the seller is doing is leveraging everything you’re doing to look like you talk like you and photograph like you to their customer. If you pivot, they’ll probably pivot to Yeah, they’re, I don’t know, I think that I think your competitive advantage in that case is is that you’re, you’re the higher quality thing. You’re getting the good reviews because sometimes you order the knockoff handbag, off Amazon, and it’s so crappy that you’re embarrassed to carry it. And so then you go pay $160 for the real deal,
Eric Stopper 17:59
man. There’s that is such a minefield of a conversation topic because there are a lot of people who sell, you know, higher ticket items. In fact, we just we just had a weighted blanket seller on the on the show a couple weeks ago. And she has sells like $120 weighted blanket and it’s really super high quality, but it’s it’s nearly in person in perceivable, right and perceptible, like you can’t, you can’t really tell because all of our competitors are just making really sexy photos too. And their prices cheaper. So people are a little more willing to give good reviews. And so we kind of have like this dual issue where Yeah, my competitors have great reviews and they’re lower price because people had a lower expectation of the level of, of product that they’re going to have. And so this is this is something that I haven’t been able to get to the bottom of is how do we make it so that your brand really stands out at a higher price? Let’s say that the reviews are the same right? Therefore 4.5 stars five stars. Yeah,
Amy Stellhorn 19:02
well, then it’s it’s advertising and marketing. From there because you have to drive a preference for that brand. You know, when I’m standing on the shelf, looking, I mean, I’m flashing to retail, but I’m looking at all the different band aids on here. I’m even using one of the brands as as like the generic term, right, but I’m looking at band aid. And there’s generic brands and there’s other like, seemingly legit brands, and then there’s Band Aid brand. Like what do I end up buying? I pay literally $2 more for this box of Band Aid brand band aids, because I’m pretty sure they’re gonna actually stick on versus the cuter, generic one. I don’t know if it actually sticks on better than other than the generic one. You know, I’ve had some band aids that didn’t stick and so I’m kind of like, just gonna hedge my bets with band aid, right? I’m standing there, I’m willing to pay $2 more part of it because they’ve marketed to me that they’re banded stick better. You know, they’ve they’ve been gotten in front of me and said, hey, we’ve got a solution to your problem. those bandits that come off, you know, ours are different, ours are better. So then I’m standing there, should I pay 235? Or should I pay 457? And I’m like, I’m gonna pay the two extra bucks.
Eric Stopper 20:15
Right? So, I mean, that tells me that the, the experience that somebody has buying your product, which is a huge part of it, right, like people want to be sold to the right way. They want to feel warm and cozy and validated and all this stuff. It starts Well, before they are on Amazon. We’re talking about Instagram and Facebook, and you get them to follow you and you capture their email and you’re sending them all kinds of stuff. So it almost seems like if you aren’t doing those things, and you’re in a saturated category, you are doomed. You’re only hitting the points of parody.
Amy Stellhorn 20:50
Yeah, you’re gonna have to like compete on price. You know you because you have nothing else to compete on. You could say your higher quality but
Eric Stopper 20:58
that’s a four letter word. That’s five letters, compete, competing on price. Nobody wants to lose. You
Amy Stellhorn 21:04
don’t want to be there. You don’t want to be there. Right? And worst place, it’s the worst place to be lowest. lowest cost is a. It’s, it’s a, what’s the word I’m looking for? I’m like, it’s like a cowbell. It’s a place you can hold in the market in the mind of the customer. It’s not the best one. You could be the best. You can be the cheapest, you can be the most expensive. You can be the funnest. You can be the you know,
Eric Stopper 21:29
sure. But cheapest really, is not the
Amy Stellhorn 21:32
no and unless you’re like really positioned to like just crank out stuff and have lower margin and lots of Volume Volume. Yeah, I mean, you have sellers who are probably winning big on that position. Definitely not the worst position, but it’s definitely not a strong one. So
Eric Stopper 21:48
I mean, I’m getting contacted by manufacturers every day. Every single day, someone clicks on our free listing analysis, and they’re like, oh, I’ve manufacturing products for 25 years. I’m like, Man, you’re about to make a lot of people really upset. But hey, It is it is what it is. It’s it’s the
Amy Stellhorn 22:02
it’s this manufacturers are going direct to consumer. Oh, absolutely.
Eric Stopper 22:06
Yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see some sort of like legislative action against that kind of stuff. But I don’t know. We’ll see. So that all makes really, that makes really good sense. But I still don’t know what to tell my saturated people, you just go market somewhere else have your products on Amazon and have them go drive,
Amy Stellhorn 22:26
go drive some brand value. So here’s some things you could do to to, if we’re thinking about brand value is people’s willingness to pay for your product to pay a premium for your brand specifically, you have to be out there letting me know that you solve my problem harder than everybody else to it. And there’s ways to do this that aren’t just like AdWords, right? There’s you. One of the most powerful tools a brand can have is a sense of humor. So if you’re out making funny videos and they start getting shared because they’re funny, And then people start becoming aware of your brand that way that’s a super strong, super cool position to be in. Could you spin up your own influencers or really partner with influencers who have audiences who can talk passionately about your brand? Yeah, that’s another good, good way to get in front of people. And I can think of brands that you would never think that I would follow on the social medias like KFC Why do I follow KFC? They’re so funny.
Eric Stopper 23:28
Really think about Wendy’s?
Unknown Speaker 23:31
Wendy’s Wendy’s is
Eric Stopper 23:32
hilarious Twitter, I think is the funny one. Yeah, give that internees
Amy Stellhorn 23:37
boring blends in. So you know, having a sense of humor, putting some content out there, it doesn’t have to be like really high production values to have a lot of value to your, your customer. So if you can think like, how can I? How can I genuinely help my customer and like maybe it’s a weighted blanket, right. Let’s take this as an example. I have to weigh two blankets in my son’s bedroom. He likes them but They both suck. One of them doesn’t have any, like interior stitching. So the heavy part is moving around. Yeah, it’s terrible. So then that was our first one, we bought a Costco. The second one my mom gave my son for Christmas. And it has, it has it’s partitioned in pieces, but they’re kind of, in my opinion, they’re too big of pieces. So like the end, it has beads, this one instead of I don’t know what the other one has. So they fall down. So I’m also and it smelled weird when we got it. So like, my son is like, you can’t put this in my room. Like we had to like let it air out for a week. Wow. Um, so also not very happy with that blanket. But there’s some major health benefits to weighted blankets I just saw a I don’t know if I heard it on a podcast or saw a video or something that like one of the easiest things you can do to increase the quality of sleep which is one of the best things you can do to increase the quality of your life is to have a weighted blanket. So if they are out like okay, this is this is legitimately beneficial to everyone. What in the world? Let’s start putting out more content about not just that our blanket is superior because it has interior stitching, whatever, yes, talk about that. But this is actually this solves your life problem. This is going to give you a better quality of life and you could start to have a whole movement around people who are like super into sleeping with weighted blankets and you know, it’s it becomes like a movement in this tribe and all these people who believe that like, you’re doing life wrong if you’re not sleeping with a weighted blanket and you know, like to score really create, yeah, and you’re solving my problem, my problem of bad sleep, which is interfering with the quality of my relationships, so you can start to market and talk down to what what is the problem I’m having, oh, I’m actually like, a terrible mom right now, because I’m not actually sleeping. Or, you know, my teenager isn’t sleeping. So they’re getting bad grades and falling asleep in school, you know, like talking about that.
Eric Stopper 25:52
I’m thinking about this in practice, right. So we create infographics as a company very frequently and it’s a it’s a hot industry. Right making graphics for Amazon sellers. So in my in my third image, right I have I have a picture of a kid falling asleep in school and like with an F on his on his test and it’s it’s him without a weighted blanket right like, is that the type of conversation that you would suggest these Amazon sellers start trying to bake into their into their listings
Amy Stellhorn 26:22
or show me me with my problems solved. Like, you know, whatever that looks like it’s like I’m able to Yeah, I’m able to do this because of this product that solves my problem that I didn’t maybe I didn’t even know that you could solve my problem like that.
Eric Stopper 26:37
That That sounds like feature benefit, right? Very simple like hey, it has this and it does this for you. But what you’re talking about is more is more conversational is more, right like you’re being witty and funny inside of the listing. I wonder if are people who are laughing and smiling when they’re on a listing or on a website? Are they more likely to buy a product?
Amy Stellhorn 26:58
I don’t know. Let’s ask your listing Can you guys please email Eric and let him know? Like, have you AB tested this?
Eric Stopper 27:05
We I think we certainly should. It’s hard. So we’re working on a on a research study right now that looks at people’s faces while they’re shopping on Amazon. Use the front camera of your phone. You have to opt into it but we’ll find out.
Amy Stellhorn 27:18
Yes. Test humor as a powerful tool because I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all humans, right? Maybe don’t use humor depending on if it’s not a fit for your product. You’re very serious like plastic sleeves.
Unknown Speaker 27:32
Yeah, for binders.
Amy Stellhorn 27:33
Yeah, you I mean? Well, there’s holes aren’t our whole tumblers dedicated to funny Amazon reviews like i’ve i’ve legit read through. So this I don’t think this has made it up into the listing level. But the reviews, I’ll send you an offline I can’t it’s unmentionable right now but it is the funniest thing I’ve ever read. I think I think most people if you get a great review from somebody on Amazon, there is nothing prohibiting you from copying and paste pacing that review into one of your pictures. Yeah, right. Like, make make everyone’s lives easier. Don’t make them click twice to go and find the review. Put it in your listing, you know, show them tell the story in your listing I did in your put it in your social media.
Eric Stopper 28:15
I think that’s that’s absolutely excellent, excellent advice. So, you come from Silicon Valley, you started an agency there. You started working there when you were when you were 19. Yeah. And my understanding is that you were working and kicking butt and and working for all these silicone. I want to say silicon slopes, because that’s here in Silicon Valley. startups. Yeah. And eventually you started getting kind of burned out of the whole day, it became less fun. Tell me, tell me what happened and then tell our sellers like, how, how is this kind of realization that you came to pretty recently in your life? Can I help them run their business?
Unknown Speaker 29:01
Unknown Speaker 29:04
Amy Stellhorn 29:06
let’s see 19 year old Amy moved to Silicon Valley, the height of the first.com boom. And I mean, just like things are things are so exciting things are so fun. I’m digging into every meeting, I the way that we worked back then was so slow and it was just the way things were done like you know, I rebranded a fortune 100 company and it was the slowest project it took like nine months and it was it was for sure death by 1000 cuts we we did it was very important project so we were taking our time and I went into it that assumption that like important things should take a ton of time. And they should be really painful. You should go through a lot of meetings and there’s got to be a point in time which somebody’s boss, like comes in and like changes the all the rules and you have to like start again and you’re throwing months of work away and you know, just This is how these things kind of go. And at the end of this brand project, we ended up with, like 120 page brand guideline. And that was also like, best standard practice. You know, that’s how we knew we had really done the project, it was really hard, it took forever we have this huge document of the outcome. And, you know, that was really cool when I was when I was younger and was really into all of it. And then it starts to suck and you realize like, it’s still possible for people to do something for this company that’s off brand, despite this hundred and 20 page brand guideline. And, and, for me, it was just kind of this whole disillusionment with with the process of branding with the mystique of branding with like the with the time it takes, and I started to question like, Hey, does this really have to suck? Just because it’s important does it really have to take forever just because it’s important and we really have to do all these things, because it’s It’s important. And the answer is really? No, if you look at the parado principle that 20% of the things we do, are responsible for 80% of the result. Like, how about we only do those 20% then because we don’t need 100% this probably, even if we tried to hundred percent that we wouldn’t be hundred percent in it. So I started to really get obsessed with like, Okay, what are the the 20% of things we can do as part of this initiative? Whether it’s like a brand launch a rebrand marketing campaign, you know, mission, creating mission vision values for a company, changing a listing on Amazon, changing it, what’s the 20%? Yeah, what? We can literally drive ourselves crazy with every pixel and doing everything but like, Okay, what are it let’s get real, what are the things that are actually going to matter? And then how can we do those in a really fun way that gives us data as we go. So we we kind of have a three step process that, you know, companies will pay us 30 grand for three days to run through a little sprint with us. But I’ll tell you it’s it avoids death by 1000 paper cuts, dragging on projects that make all of our teams grouchy and lethargic. They give our competition a chance to eat our lunch before we can get into the market on ourselves, or ourselves and, and like we’re annoying ourselves to no end in the process. Right, right.
Unknown Speaker 32:20
Misery the whole time. Yeah,
Amy Stellhorn 32:21
let’s just at 20 our way to the summit of this. So we try to accomplish the first three months of a project in three days while everyone’s still excited into the project. While life is still fun, and we try to summit so if you think of like pushing a boulder to the top of the mountain, we try to get the boulder to the peak so that the rest of the project can roll downhill. And now there will still be a lot of meetings, but we’re going to do the bulk of the hard work while everybody’s fresh, so we’re going to escape so one of the things we make people do is get out of the office so you can’t do really important work. You can’t do rebrand you can’t do deep work. Like if you’re trying to get into like what is your Company stand for and so therefore, what does it need to look like, you know, you’re getting into all this stuff. You can do this in the conference room an hour at a time, like you do everything else. Because let’s be honest, like you switch from one meeting to the next meeting it I think literal literal science says it takes 20 minutes for our brains to really switch modes. So you lose the first 20 minutes and then you have 40 minutes of a meeting. But then right when your meetings gone, are over, people go into the next meeting for something else. So you really can’t do important work this way. You just can’t you have to escape the hurricane of office life, dinging text messages, people stopping by your cube meeting after meeting one quick second, a quick emergency you know, so we get out of the office. I think it’s really important and I try to get into a place that’s as much nature as possible, just healthy for you. And then we we are have escaped all the Gremlins that are draining our battery in a million ways and we turn off our phones so that you can get to some deep work. And then
you know, we get really real about
what we’re trying to get done in three days and we plan it out and do deep sprints on it so that at the end of these three days we have you have you have literal mock ups of photography you have mock ups of headlines for your Amazon listing you have different write ups you have what would be the like marketing campaign on on Facebook that would drive people to click on our thing you know, you you’ve really like prototyped out as much stuff as you can in as much as many directions as you can. And then you have content to test coming right out of this like three days you’re you’re like good to go. You’re not like still talking about the strategy behind something you’re like, actually, right. Yeah, and we do it with with the players who are who we need buy in from so that they can’t in three months change the direction and cause swirl. Like Be sure to have everybody there. That’s gonna be a part of the project. Yeah. So they make their fingerprints around the beginning, and you get buy in. So much easier later. And with rounding, obviously, it’s it’s pretty hard to do because you got to get the CEO there, it’s his company, or her company, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s something that like you, you have to actually fight for that kind of attention because you can’t have that kind of swirl later.
Eric Stopper 35:21
So so if I can distill that down for those of us who are who are selling, you know, everyday on Amazon, we’re trying to, we’re trying to get to the cutting edge. First of all, yeah, go for a walk, right, like escape escape from the Office for a bit. And if you’re, if you’re trying to launch a new product, right, I think that there’s, there’s there’s a lot of power in just going and thinking of ideas related to your brand, right? So start with a mark on the page and then draw a picture, you know, and then you come up with some ideas. But then when you’re actually you’re saying, look, our conversion rate is lower than we’d like it to be. How can we fix that? Right? Like what listings, what is our situation right now and then like, draft up what you think your customers want to see inside of your listings, and build a plan. And then instead of coming to like folks like me, and saying, hey, what should we do you have an idea of what you think that you need to do based off of your customer base. And then my team can come in and actually, like, execute these things for you. And if it’s off of Amazon, right, you go to you go to Amy, and she and she revamped everything for your brand. Yeah.
Amy Stellhorn 36:27
And so yeah, I mean, yeah, I think that’s people should create stuff, like quick, lots of directions. I don’t know how easy it is to test all these things on Amazon. But get it so that you can be testing your, your hypothesis, like okay, our conversion rates, not good. What’s something we could do? Well, we could lower the price. Okay, there’s one test, but we could change the picture. There’s another test we could. Maybe you come up with themes, like what happens, what’s the role of humor? Like what happens if we infuse this with humor and what does that look like? And what happens is If we if we you know change the color dominantly of all
Eric Stopper 37:06
of our products I would say I would say to these are overarching things don’t view Amazon as a as just a box that is going to undergo these these activities right like we should be thinking about these from high level brand and then Amazon is the specific channel that is going to undergo most of the actual fine tuning once the project is executed, right. Okay, that makes a lot of sense.
Amy Stellhorn 37:29
And but when you fire those little they call fire bullets first and then Cannonball so you fire bullets like really inexpensive quick, fast test. When you hit something then you can double down on that and then you when you’re sure you’ve had it then you throw a cannonball at it. So that’s when you put that paid adspend behind it. It’s like okay, now we know
Unknown Speaker 37:49
you know, a lifestyle photo does a
Amy Stellhorn 37:52
lifestyle photo over a product photo increased our conversion rate by 10%. Oh my gosh. Let’s just double check. You know, tweak, tweak. Yep, yep, it’s working. Now we throw now we throw other stuff. You
Eric Stopper 38:04
have a little fire and then gasoline is on the way.
Amy Stellhorn 38:07
Yeah, but you don’t go like build a big fire without testing something like don’t go build a bonfire in the total wrong spot. You know, don’t go shooting bullets off and you know or cannonballs before you fire the bullet to see if there’s even something over there.
Eric Stopper 38:20
That makes a lot of sense. So I and we’re running out of time here and so I want to be able to direct people to you. The people who listen who need branding help, how do they How do they get in touch with me?
Amy Stellhorn 38:32
Bigmonocle.com. You can email me personally [email protected] You can follow us on the Instagram. We’re most active on Instagram. Ah, don’t try us on Twitter.
Yeah, but we’re on all the things but Yeah,
Eric Stopper 38:54
perfect. Amy, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Amy Stellhorn 38:57
Thanks for having me here. Appreciate it.
Thanks for listening to the Buy Box Experts podcast, be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web and we’ll see you next time.