- Whether slow fashion and current supply chains can find harmony (11:29)
- Why customer sophistication is creating a brand identity crisis (15:40)
- How to prioritise purpose (18:35)
- Investing in and the challenges of circular-commerce (22:01)
- Engaging their community to help product development (27:30)
- Why personalisation is the holy grail of brand marketing (33:50)
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Tim Richardson 1:55
Wow. Okay, well, we might be able to break into some ad synthpop towards the end of the podcast, but we'll get through some questions. First. I want to stop by a bit of a rewind. I'd love to understand a little bit about your journey before you came to girlfriend collective.
Yes, absolutely. So I was obviously you know, as you can hear and primelocation you understand by now I'm French. And I spent most of my early career here in Europe, mostly working on some very fun project, but already working on brand strategy. So I'm a one trick pony. I've been doing brand strategy for the past 16 years this, you know, like, I like to say that the only thing I can do? Well,
Tim Richardson 2:38
I'm sure that's not true.
that's definitely you know what, I love to do that for sure. And, yeah, I've been I've been a consultant for about 10 years, in a great agency here in Paris called psychism partners. And what they do is kind of like, I mean, they were they were pioneers at the time, because they had this idea of like design is a global thing. It's not just your logo. So they had very early on integrated the idea of you know, strategizing around the brand, before you even you know, lift your pen to draw a new a new logo. So this is where I learned everything. And I worked out, you know, I worked my way up to the ladder there from intern all the way to, you know, to consultants. So that was great. I learned the ropes on cool projects from you know, commercial real estate to even some heavy industrial project, like hydraulic pumps, things like that. So in everything in between, so there was tonnes of fun. And after, after 10 years of that I knew that I didn't want necessarily to work on, you know, on a more executive level yet, at least not in an agency context. Because, you know, you don't get actually to do at that point. You just kind of like, you know, get get clients and have like meetings with plans and things I think about brand strategy all day long, which is still what I like to do. So I decided to get an MBA and specialise in fashion because I've noticed throughout all my projects, that fashion was the industry that had the most challenge. It was the most challenging, and it was set to have the most challenges in the future. And the time, you know, ecommerce was it was a thing, but it wasn't so so democratise as it is right now. And it was still very scary for brands and especially luxury brands. So I definitely you know, I was I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do when I embarked on that MBA and I knew I wanted to work for a while I wanted to be this this is so precise, that it's actually scary. But I knew I wanted to be a director of brand strategy in an econ platform that was selling luxury brands and preferably abroad. So it was very precise, the objective that I had when I enrolled. So went through the whole MBA thing and it was great and literally, I think six months after I graduated, I was the director of brand strategy at essence which is a luxury comm retailer. I'm based in Canada. So it worked really well for me.
Tim Richardson 5:02
And were they were they on your horizon, like, before you started was that a place specifically, or it could have been anyone within that space.
So it could not have been anyone, because I was very clear on the kind of, you know, of brand that I wanted to help and support. And I was not interested in working for a legacy brand as not, because I don't like them, I love them. But just because I wanted a challenge. So I needed a little bit of disruption in the way the, you know, the company wanted to approach brand strategy. So it was very deliberate, actually, for me to apply in essence, and I didn't apply, I didn't apply to a tonne of pay off, you know, places. But when I sold the job description, which was literally exactly what I had in mind, I knew this was my job already. And this is this is going to sound so pretentious, but it's actually not, it's more on the woowoo side of things where I just felt, you know, really cold to that to that position. And it was, it was not out of ego, it was really out of, you know, oh, this is the brand I'm supposed to help. This is them, it's them. So that's how it happened. After a sense, I spent three years at Essence, which was great. And my job there was really to set up the whole brand and marketing department. Because when I joined essence has been around for I think about 12 years, was a great platform in terms of technology. And in terms of logistics, they really really had that down to a science. But they had no brand per se, content wasn't really a thing. The in they were they had no brand recognition. And people didn't really know exactly what or who was behind this brand. I was just kind of like a handy platform basically. And so my deal with my work was really to build all of that and to build that brand awareness and that brand equity and you know, and develop this, this point of view, which I did for three years. So I went from department was barely me to about 60 people. Yeah, it was a great adventure. You know, probably like, you know, it's still to this day, it's my favourite project. Because it was just I had cattle Blanche, the leaders really trusted me. And they were super open to crazy ideas, which I had tonnes of. And yeah, it was just so fun. And after three years, I basically, you know, looked around, and you know, everything was set up, and everything was, you know, kind of like purring like a like a little cat. So I decided that it was time for me to move on. Because I was not super interested in maintaining something yet. And so I was ready for new challenges. I moved to New York, where I oversaw Tokyo, and its supply and both those brands belong to the same group. And my amended there was a little bit different because those brands actually had a very strong identity, but they were becoming a little bit would say, not obsolete, because that's, that's a little bit too extreme. But they were becoming a little bit old, basically. And they they have this. Yeah, they used to be like leaders, and they were not leaders anymore. So my role was really to make them relevant again, which is in you're in fashion, that's critical. And so I worked there for about two years. And then moved on to the Webster, which is another luxury retailer based out of New York. I said over I mean a little bit under a year, because by the end, you know, I like in the middle of my 10 of my tenure over there, the pandemic arrived. And I had some personal, you know, challenges, pretending to shoot the pandemic, my son was stuck in France, and I was stuck in New York, and it was not convenient at all. So yeah, I left my job, and then came back to France. And now I'm stuck here. Although I got a new job, which is the Mr. Chief Marketing Officer at girlfriend collective, which is a sustainable athleisure brand. I at least that's how we define it right now. But it's not you know, what we're really about. But we'll talk about that in a sec, I'm sure. Yeah, and it's big, grand, great ever since. I love it. And I it's funny because I, you know, recognise some of those early signs that I saw, at Essence, in terms of, you know, the leaders there, the company, mission and vision and the kind of like, ambition, the level of ambition that I really love working with. So yeah, it's been it's been going so far.
Tim Richardson 9:41
And is that kind of what attracted you to the girlfriend collective brand? Did you kind of see that, you know, throughout the process of, you know, engaging with them before you jumped on board?
Yeah. So that that was a long actually. interview process because I think both parties wanted to make sure that we I think both parties were burned before, and we wanted to make sure that this was a perfect match. Especially because, you know, we knew it, this is going to be a remote situation for a while, right. So it's more difficult to hire somebody, you know, obviously, at executive level, when you know, it's going to, you're probably not going to meet them in person for a while. And so there are so many cues that you get from from seeing somebody and interviewing them in the flesh that you don't get through screens. So it was a very long process. And I also wanted to make sure that, for me, this was the perfect match. And I've been interviewing with a bunch of companies before meeting with girlfriends. And a lot of them, you know, I was focusing on mission driven companies, and mostly in the sustainable area, because this is something also that I realised during the pandemic is that I didn't enjoy anymore sending, you know, super expensive handbags to, you know, a customer that really wasn't concerned with the bigger picture and the environment and all of that not saying like, all luxury customers, you know, are not conscious consumers, but there is a archetype that you get in. Yeah, I get it. Yeah, yeah. And so I was more interested in being part of the solution. And I know, it sounds super corny, but that's actually what drove me to interviewing with, you know, brands that are were either be corpse or had a very strong mission statement and things like that. And I met with a bunch. And every time I met with them on paper, it looked great and perfect. And they had all this VC money, and you know, and all of that. But after most of the time, after 30 minutes of discussing with either the founder or somebody, you know, senior from the brand, you realise that? Okay, yeah. It's not like really what's driving the company? It's not really about that. That's something that you care about, you know, obviously, but it's not the, it's not what drives everybody. And so that was always an issue for me. And I, you know, I was a little bit desperate. Because I realised that well, isn't there a company out there that is sincere about about this, right? And then I met girlfriend, and that's when I realised that Oh, actually, there is at least one.
Tim Richardson 12:16
That's a really, really, that's really interesting insight. And we'll get onto a little bit of that concept, I think further into the conversation. But I want to pose a slightly and it's definitely following on this theme of kind of, like impact, like, which is the theme of the series, but obviously, a lot of this discussion we're having so slightly existential question. I'm like, wondering whether you think slow fashion will overtake fast fashion?
So overtake? I'm not sure, because I think that the nature of human beings is so that we will always need this instant gratification, right? I think we can't totally remove that. And maybe, you know, in the past, it wasn't, it wasn't with fashion that we got, this is instant gratification it was with maybe food or maybe other other experiences. But now that we have, we had this little dill tastes of having, you know, great, great style, great brands, and, you know, at our fingertips and being delivered to your door or even like, you know, in shopping mall, I think it's going to be difficult to remove the candy. But I think one opportunity that is coming up is that thanks to all these, you know, brands that have this real consciousness, and I'm using the word conscious and consciousness in a very broad sense. Yeah, yeah, has as much to do with sustainability, as inclusivity as reviving craftsmanship and things like that. I think thanks to those brands, you're going to see other supply chains coming up, right, like other solutions. Because right now the main, the main challenge with slow fashion is that it's slow because the the global supply chain is not built for slow fashion or for conscious fashion. It's called that. So obviously, those brands are also developing, and we are part of it. But we're also developing ways to change the supply chain, so it actually fits the mission better. And I think a lot of brands are doing that as well right now. I am I also on the side I teach acid, acid lemon. And two weeks ago, I met with a lot of brands from Africa. And these students were actually not really students because they have most of them have very healthy brands up and running, you know making money. And they're not they're not in the first year of operation. And so they're they're not mature businesses, but they're you know, they're fast growing and most of them had this you know, very accurate sense of, yes, we are not going to rely on the global supply chain because we need to develop the skill set and the competency and the tools in house. So most Have them wanted to either at some point become vertically integrated, or create a local network of workers that could support themselves but also support other brands. You know, and locally. So I think that's what's gonna happen with slow fashion or conscious fashion. This is what we're gonna see. It's going to see alternate, alternate. Yeah. Supply chains and, and ways of manufacturing and producing.
Tim Richardson 15:28
So that leads me to another interesting question. So I think the supply chain pieces, obviously, where some of the challenges labour, where else do you see challenges for impact led brands? You know, in 2021? And beyond?
Yeah, I think we are at kind of like a crux in the market where people, you know, like, there's, and that's always been the case, but I feel right now we are, we're reaching a new level of difference of maturity amongst customer. And it depends on a tonne of things. But it used to be a simple geographic thing, right? Like we used to say, okay, like, younger markets are less mature, and they, their level of tastes is less mature, their understanding of, you know, materials and things like that, less, less mature, and slowly, they will get to that level, where we're actually at that point where everybody has more or less the same amount of information right now, right, thanks to the internet. So, the, we now know that the problem is not the level of information, it's not like how educated the customer is, actually has nothing to do with that is the willingness. Sorry, and so what you know, like how overcome how to overcome that, and how to this is where branding and marketing basically has a, an even even bigger challenge than that used to have before because brand awareness was, you know, in branding, building that brand equity and working on, you know, spreading the word was the biggest challenge and it was more or less what you had to do. Now, it has more to do with making sure that your point of view as a brand comes across as you want it to come across. So it becomes really difficult because of a lot of changes on the social side. And you know, customers are becoming more sophisticated and more layered. And, you know, I always say like, if you have asked somebody in the 70s to describe themselves, like it would be, you know, fairly simple in terms of like, you know, the, the layers that they would deal with, share with you tell you a bunch of things about their, you know, marital situation, their age, where they live, where they're from, and, and you know, what this study, or you know, where they, where they work, and maybe the astrological sign, right, something like that. Nowadays, obviously, you know, people are more self aware and self conscious. And so, there has been, you know, a lot of people a big part of the population made a lot of work on themselves. And when you ask somebody now to describe themselves, this might be I mean, you've seen my introduction, this might be like, a, like, a journey, right? They will describe the journey and what God says what got him there, and like, you know, like, their sexual orientation, and, you know, like, how they identify, and or none of that is part of how we describe ourselves right now. So, it's the same with brands, they have the same identity crisis right now. And when you share your point of view, as a brand, it becomes more difficult because you want to make sure that, you know, you you get the point across and so many times, you get misinterpreted, you know, and people project on your brand, something that it was not intentional, obviously, you know, so it's, that's the challenge that I see right now and for for smaller brands, for conscious brands, it's even more of a challenge because literally, you know, your point of view is all you have cooked me almost it's all that differentiates you from fast fashion or for from other brands that you don't want to be associated with. So yeah, the transmitting that point of view. It's it's to me that's and and making it clear and make it accurate and precise is the biggest challenge right now.
Tim Richardson 19:06
You mentioned before when you were interviewing for the girlfriend collective position, that you met a bunch of brands, and, you know, they were purpose driven or impact LED. And it seemed like maybe the sincerity wasn't quite there. So I'd love to understand, like, internally at girlfriend collective, and you don't need to go into any sort of like sensitive detail, but like, how do you guys balance that I'm really interested in that concept, you know, for impact lead brands, because, you know, it's not a not for profit, so it is a for profit. So how do you kind of like what leads the conversation? Is it sometimes profitable we have to overtake purpose, or is it always purpose and profitability will have to take a hit? Like how does that kind of work?
It's always purpose. The girlfriend, which is exactly I mean, that's that's one of the questions I asked her in the interview process because, to me, that's important and it's not either or, you know, it's like, like being smart about and being able to prioritise and being to time your decision in a way that makes sense for the company and for the purpose. So it's always purpose LED. And to be honest, it's easier when the company is smaller to start with that, right? Your friend is still very small people think that we're this big thing. But right now, we just hit the 30 people mark, and as big as we've ever been. So 30 people doing everything, you know. And so obviously, with 30 people, it's easier to have, you know, across the board, kind of like, a good understanding of what the purpose is and how you should prioritise. But we already see challenges in that we already see, you know, obviously, when you grow fast like we do, you onboard more people, and me making sure that these people understand exactly where we're going, and what we're prioritising is obviously very challenging. But also, what's interesting is also legacy employees, you know, who had this, this idea of what we were, but now we're talking about growth all of a sudden, and we're bringing new people, it could be challenging as well, you know, and I can see how that could also be, you know, sometimes a little bit confusing for for these these employees as well. So, we're, we're balancing some of those challenges, best as best we can. But I would say it really comes from the top, it's like a top down approach right now. And Cuong, our CEO is really the person making sure that we're seeing, you know, that we're keeping our eyes on the prize, which is that mission and that purpose. So it's not so much about, you know, yeah, it's rare, not getting seduced by, you know, tempting opportunities that would, you know, allow us to kind of, like, Tenex, this authentic that, like, it's a we're really conscious and deliberate about all the choices that we make, or we try to be and, you know, everything is very, very much seen through the through the lens of, is that furthering the mission or not? So, yeah.
Tim Richardson 22:08
So? Well, yeah, I mean, it's, it may be in some ways, it's, it actually makes it easier, because there is a single North Star, and that's what you're going for, and, you know, you, you know, then the other stuff becomes obviously important because the business needs to run by it. It's kind of a long term play, you know, what I mean? Like the North Stars, that's where we're going for it. And we know, and everyone involved, if they're investors involved, you know, everyone's on that kind of, like, same track. So yeah, that that's a really interesting perspective, I know that there's a couple of key initiatives that you've got there, and sort of that the use of recycled plastic is one and then another one, which actually, I've recently been asked to give my insights into the 2020 ecommerce kind of flat horizon, and I mentioned re girlfriend as a very good example of a recycling or a circular commerce type concept. So I'd love to understand, from your perspective, maybe more of the brand strategy, like how do they kind of fit into your mix, and where you guys are going from a strategic perspective?
Absolutely. So, you know, it all starts with this, like disarming, you know, consultation, that the world doesn't need another athleisure brand. And, and because of that, it kind of makes us you know, our, our founder, our founders actually really questioned the fact that, you know, do we, what do we do, what's the, the full, like, lifecycle of a product of a girlfriend product, and that's how we girlfriend was born, because obviously, all our materials right now are either from recycled, you know, product, like fishing nets, or water bottles, but it also from factory scraps, and things like that. So we we literally use waste to make great clothing. And so the idea was that what at some point is great clothing is becoming waste again, you know? And how can we help our customers and ourselves, to even take that mission further, and making sure that our Ligi don't actually land in the landfill somewhere, and you know, kind of like making the product the problem worse, in a way. And so that's how we girlfriend was born. And the whole idea, you know, in the long term is really for us to become fully circular, which were obviously not yet and it's a very hard thing to do from a logistic point of view, and even from a technical point of view, because the recycling right now, it's not where, you know, most of the most of the industry would like us to think it is it's far from it. It's really, really hard to recycle, most of the materials are there and you know, it's there's like a lot of technical difficulties even for leggings, right? Like when you have polyester and stuff Then next and whatnot in the, like, how do you separate that? How?
Tim Richardson 25:03
Yeah, it's not as I speak, I feel that like, as a consumer age, you get the idea of like, sending it to a secondhand store versus recycling as kind of the same thing. But it's obviously a very intense process. But you got to break it down to its constituent parts and like,
yeah, it's really hard. And also, you don't want to make more pollution. Why are you doing that? Right? That's why That's why it's like the, it's really, really complicated. So the rigour friend programme is born out of this idea of making sure that we are becoming fully circular at some point, eventually. And as I said, we're not there yet. And we will also try to build a reselling platform into the company as well, because we would, you know, our products last for a very long time. And I'm always surprised about that, because not because, you know, I don't like the quality or anything like that. But because I, I, you know, I've never before a girlfriend, I've never owned a legging that I literally wear for four years. But I, I've met a student the other day, she's an Italian. I mean, she's American, but she's studying in Bocconi in Italy, and she was doing a paper on something, and she, she needed, and she wanted to focus on girlfriend, which is great. So I give her a little bit of help. And she told me that she was, she still owns her legging from that free legging campaign that we did, at the launch of girlfriends, that she still uses them. That's been like, almost five years ago. And, you know, and I hear that all the time. It's, it's so this product could last and, you know, obviously, the lifetime of the product is not necessarily the time where you're still interested in the product. So instead of like throwing it away, we know that, you know, there's a lot of people that are reselling their girlfriend, clothing out there. But really, and this is, you know, obviously, like, we flattering, but there's also like fake girlfriend products out there that are not girlfriend, but they're, they're marked as girlfriends. So we wanted to kind of like centralise and do something a little bit like the reel reel, where we authenticate and you know, and we kind of like enable you to buy your girl your, your, you know, your second hand girlfriend product in a in a cool and, you know, and safe environment. Yeah, that's something that we have, you know, thought about and will probably implement at some point to again, like further this full circularity, mission. So yeah.
Tim Richardson 27:27
And I'm keen to understand, like, from the sort of customer perspective, like, have you found and maybe not just that girlfriend, but but we can focus on, you know, where you are at right now? Does it make it easier to connect with customers when there's like, this purpose? And like, how do you guys go about, like, building loyalty with customers and stuff like that,
you know, it's so interesting, because that's actually something I encountered both as both our essence and girlfriend is that you have your early customers, you know, people who who've been supporting you, like, almost since the beginning, those people tend to really be really close to the mission. Right. And that's, that's why they chose you in the first place. So there's a lot of scrutiny that goes in there, but it's, it's a it's a good scrutiny right now. They really are engaged and they when something is not right, they let you know, immediately. And, and normally, those guys are so helpful, and it's it's incredible, you know, what they what they find, and you know, what they're able to tell us so I'm talking, you know, from let's say, like, user experience online, to even products we get, we get a lot of cool product feedback from our community. And they you know, and we know, when there's an issue with a fit, after a while, and then we know we even do fit clinics, where we invite them in LA. And we we have discussions around the product and things like that. So we have this very engaged base, very loyal, and they're great. They're so helpful for us, and we love them because obviously they're, you know, they're they're so, so engaged, it's so cool to serve a customer that's like that, that's really passionate about the brand, at least for me now, you know, as a brand strategist, that's like the best the best case. And then on the other side, where we have our new customer who comes across girlfriend from a whole different path, and these people are being seduced purely by the aesthetic of the brand by and for them sustainability inclusivity they are kind of like second thought, right? Like it's not something that they see immediately and they might not even realise that we're this brand, especially if you don't if you don't they don't buy girlfriend on the girlfriend website, but if they buy it, you know, you know, let's say Gary Lafayette or Selfridges. So that's when it becomes interesting because these customers, it's kind of like, oh, on top of that is sustainable, inclusive, cool, but it's not the their first you know, entry point. So that's, that's interesting and engaging with those guys is obviously something new for girlfriend, because that means that we need to talk about other things, then sustainability and inclusivity. And we need to kind of like broaden our, our horizons. So, you know, we have a lot of initiatives coming up. But content is definitely a big one that we're going to develop a little bit more. And we've already started with a great piece that we made on Michael Sam. He's, he's an NFL player, and he was he was the first openly gay NFL player out Yeah, he came out four years ago, actually, first. Yeah, yes. And he, he's a great person. And obviously, he was he was actually, you know, slightly coerced into coming out. So that came with it's, it's, you know, it's kind of like it's challenged in terms of mental health and kind of a, there's a lot of questions, obviously, that you ask yourself, when you reach that point in your career, and you're great, and, you know, one of the best players out there, and, and all of a sudden, your life is rocked by something deeply personal, that you didn't intend to share. And so we have this great piece of content, where it was an interview, and he, you know, he explains his self care practices, how he supports mental health, you know, from a charity and philanthropy perspective, and what he does for other people like him, you know, and for the community at large, he's such a great person. And so we were, you know, he's, he's a girlfriend, collective person, he's definitely the archetype of the kind of customers that we want to cater to. And also, we want our customer to recognise greatness, even in the, you know, in the in the NFL, which is interesting, because there is an archetype of the NFL player, and Michael is the exact, you know, like, not the exact opposite. But he's so much more than that. He's he's just like, multilayered, amazing, sensitive person. Yeah. And then that. So that's the kind of people that we want to feature it a bit more, we want to talk about, you know, a lot of interesting topics. And so yeah, we're going to, we're going to develop a content, and that's going to be a way for us to reach and to kind of merge both our, you know, Legacy customer and our, our new customers, I guess.
Tim Richardson 32:22
So one of the tenants of this sort of theme was I read a business of fashion article, I think it's a downloadable in fact. And they suggested that the new four Ps of Marketing, it's a pyramid of purpose positioning, partnerships and personalization. And I thought, you know, this group of people that I'm talking to yourself included, I would love to get your take on it. What do you think about that? And do you guys kind of fit into that mix?
Yeah. So it's, I want to say, you know, they're right. Absolutely. And I would say it's a it's a, it's an interesting one, because personalization, and I was listening to a podcast this morning, I think about that, like personalization is this kind of holy grail that I've, you know, since the beginning of my career, where we've been talking about personalization, and I think there's kind of like a, you know, so many avenues that you can take with personalization. To me, that's the most interesting and the one that nobody does quite well yet. Because we want things that the technology right now is not able to accommodate you the way I hear personalization is not so much in the product, because that's, you know, I mean, obviously, we can all, you know,
Tim Richardson 33:30
put your name on the, like classic personalization. Exactly, right. Yeah. Yeah. And
that's, that's easy. That's not interesting, you know, and as a consumer, it's, we already have so much choice, like, why would we, you know, like, well, we want additional choice now. And we have to come up with our own style now, you know, so it's not that interesting. But what's interesting in personalization is how do you, how does technology and how does the brand strategy help me the consumer, save time, which is the most valuable resources that we all have? Because you can't, you can't you can't get it back, right? When they want to spend it spent. How can a brand helps me save time helped me save money, and it helped me make the right choices for me. And that's where I feel technology is not quite there yet. Because, you know, the off the shelf? ecommerce solutions out there are great. But right now, you can't really tailor a journey for customer, let's say, you know, what, like, we know about team's preferences. We know, you know what he likes, and you know where he lives and where he's going on vacation in two months. And so we're gonna give, we're going to show him some great buffers and things like that, because, you know, we all know like, a bunch of challenges and privacy being right now. So all of that hasn't been solved and personalization is is the one that I'm personally most interested in. As a brand strategist. This is the one the one Holy Grail, I would say, the three others. So purpose positioning and partnerships, those those are have already been, you know, part of the of the picture of the marketing picture, I'm gonna say, positioning, you know, it's kind of like, I always say, after World War Two, you had this period of 30 years where there was like, one brand of anything, you know, so, you're on to maybe Okay, so you know, detergent, you had like two brands, and in the 80s 90s, this change totally, and all of a sudden, you have 20 brands of shampoo. And, you know, that's when positioning became a thing, that's when it became, you know, p&g and Unilever and all these great, you know, goods company, that's when they came up with those brand strategy, you know, processes and all of that, because they had to, they had to make you pick one over the other on the shelf in the supermarket. So positioning was always there, purpose is a new thing, because it's based out of like, okay, so now that we're done, you know, basing our choices on the static and now that we, you know, the information is free flowing, and transparency is a thing. And we also see all the changes that this consumer consumer consumption, this crazy consumption produces. And, you know, I'm talking about global warming, qualities and things like that. So now that you have that, you have to see what does this brand do to be part of the solution. So that's, you know, great brands, definitely understood that early on and jumped on that purpose train. And then partnerships is, obviously you see that more and more, but that's also always has been more or less of a thing, because obviously, as a brand, you need to partner with retailers you need to partner with? No, so obviously, the scale of it is changing. And now partnerships can be, you know, like a multi layered, really interesting experience for consumers. But those three I feel are always been always been there. And personalization is not even close to being here yet. Sometimes, that's how, that's how I see that. But yeah, I like those four peas. For sure. Yeah, super interesting.
Tim Richardson 37:13
So, um, you have a blog, which I noticed that isn't isn't hugely frequently updated. But you do have a couple of posts that are more recent, and I digested all of them. And I really, really enjoyed reading everything. But one particular quote stood out to me. And it was that organisations and brands that decide to ignore the world we live in will lose market share. And so when I read that, I immediately thought, and I'm not sure if this is where you're going, but my observation was, like, I went to a Victoria's Secret kind of immediately. Yeah. And I suppose like, with that kind of idea, I suppose, or kissteria, whatever, like, what's your take on that? Do you think traditionally, conservative companies like a Victoria's Secret can truly reinvent themselves as like a modern, inclusive and conscious brand?
I think so. And it actually goes back to, you know, what we've talked about earlier, around like this, this purpose led the like, it has to come from the top. And so that's why companies like Victoria's Secrets were blind for so long is that, you know, I have I've never been, you know, in their office, I don't know, you know, who, who is working there and whatnot. But from the outside, I would assume that it's, you know, a lot of probably, like male in their 50s and 60s, you know, in a boardroom and not a woman insights. Right. So in this case, it's kind of like, if they had a bunch of younger women, well, maybe this younger woman would have flagged that, you know, guys, like these crazy shows where you spend all your money, they're really outdated, and they don't really add anything to the dialogue right now, actually, you guys making it worse. But because they don't have that, that, you know, this this, like, they don't reach out basically, to, to the relevant people. That's how they found themselves in this in this position where they were called out and it was, they were such an easy target. And that could have been avoided if they had made their decision making team a little bit more diverse. In this case, it was simply being bring a couple of women and younger women preferably because, you know, and and so I think, you know, to answer the question, I think, yes, there is there is a path where, you know, traditionally conservative company can actually reinvent themselves. But I think it takes a lot of self awareness from those years. And as the hardest part because it's comfortable and I you know, obviously I don't blame anyone because if I were in that situation, it's scary to you know, you've been doing business a certain way for 20 3050 years in some cases, and it worked. So you know, all of a sudden the world is changing but you live in your because you're still making sales, and it's still it's still working, and people are still coming in the stores are on the website. So somebody comes in and tells you like, well, you know, you might want to think about this, this thing and this aspect of your business and this and this. And, and because the world is changing, and you'll see, well, the numbers don't tell me that the world is changing, the numbers look good. You know, and I think that's where it's difficult for those leaders to make those those changes and, and kind of like to open the door to more diversity in their boardroom. But honestly, unless they do that, they won't be able to change because you need to be able to see that. And then you also need to be able to integrate those people, because it's not just a thing to have them in the boardroom, then you need also to listen to what they have to say. And you need to listen in a way that is not you know, not to be on the defensive or not to say what we've always been doing things that way. And it's always worth it. Because, because that's that's where, you know, that's that's the trap is that yes, it works for now, but you know, protect yourself in five years. And when America, the Gen Z cohort right now in America will be the most educated and the most diverse generation ever. How do you think those guys are going to look at, you know, conservative brands out there and be you know, and see themselves? They won't. And there? Again, we are the in the age where all this information is widely available, you can know who's who's sitting on the board of what in seconds, you can Google that. So you know, it's, it's and those companies they are there's so many layers of and so many reasons why they don't want things to change, and comfort and safety is the main one. Right now. It's still it's still feel safe, but it's actually the most dangerous place to be. You know, so yeah, I think it's possible, but it takes a lot of internal and recognition, internal recognition. And that that is not easy at all.