Episode 174

Building Community and Leveraging Anchor Videos for eCommerce

Tom Worcester - Lunchbox Packs
September 1, 2021
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Tom Worcester is a tremendous success story.  Grit, determination and the ability to pivot he has in spades.  He started his ecommerce business lunchboxpacks.com in 2018 to cater to the festival and event-going crowd.  He hustled and used in-person marketing at events to help his theft-proof hydration backpacks (think a camel back, but with security features).  The products took off.  Then the pandemic hit.  No festivals. No in-person events.  But Tom knew his customers still craved community.  So he continued to build community and he helped build another business - Create with Carousel that helps eComm brands build great video content.  

Here’s what we dive into:

  • How to build community online for an ecomm brand in record time with a unifying topic 
  • How to positively create echo chambers for your brand
  • What hooks you need to use to build community
  • Creating incentives to grow your community
  • 3 layers of a product to consider when you craft a video ad…most people only think about the first two layers
  • How assuming you’re wrong can help you get it right with video ads
  • When and how to best use CTAs in your video ads

Tom Worcester

Via LinkedIn

Via Twitter

Via Instagram


Lunchbox Packs

Create with Carousel


Mentioned in this interview:

Smile.io

Weatherman Umbrella


Episode Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello, and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. And today, we're talking about two fantastic topics, we're talking about building community and what that means and what that can do for you, and then we're talking about one of my favorite topics, building long form video content, video content that converts. And so my guest today, just really excited to have a chance to sit down and chat with him and pick his brain.

Brett:

I've got Tom Worcester on the show here today. He's the founder of Lunchbox, lunchboxpacks.com, check it out, we'll talk more about that in just a minute. And then he's also a partner in Create with Carousel, a creative agency creating some amazing anchor videos for eCommerce brands. We're going to dive into video content, which like I said, is one of my favorite topics. So with that intro, Tom, welcome to the show, man. How you doing? And thanks for coming on.

Tom Worcester:

Absolutely. I don't have as buzzy of a line as OMG CEO, but I'm definitely glad to be here. I appreciate the time today, Brett.

Brett:

Absolutely, man. Yes, thanks for coming on. We had a great chat, I guess it feels like it's been forever ago now, back in March where we were talking about stuff, talking about Lunchbox, talking about your videos, and like, man, we got to do a podcast. So here we are finally making it happen. And so I'm just thrilled to dive in.

Brett:

So you're a master at creating community, and I want to dive into that, because I believe that in the future, as Amazon continues to grow and as opportunities on Shopify and other platforms continue to grow for people to create brands, those that win, those that really become something special are going to be the brands that create community and they create a true brand, not just a product, but a brand and a community. So we're going to dive into that. But before we do, talk about what is Lunchbox, again, it's lunchboxpacks.com. What is it? Where did that idea come from? And then we'll dive into community.

Tom Worcester:

Yes, absolutely. So back in, let's see, 2018, we're 10 years after the Great Recession, we're seeing a golden age of experiences and events popping up. We're seeing almost 40 million Americans a year going to festivals in the States, we're seeing concert goers increase in volume steadily by almost 8% year over year. And so, almost generationally, what we're seeing is that people, especially Gen Z, millennials, were putting the experience economy first. What's the experience economy, Brett? It's where all of a sudden, instead of aspiring to the Rolex, or the Porsche, or an even fancier watch, instead, you've got people who are investing in travel, their experiences, the memories that they're going to preserve.

Tom Worcester:

This is partially fueled by the rise of social media, people want to show where they are as a form of .. But all of a sudden, people are looking to really invest in their experiences. And so back in 2018, we realized that while people were investing heavily in their experiences, nobody was really addressing the space of ensuring that experiences were great across the board. And so we, as a team, went to a couple different events, festivals in 2018. Over the course of one day in Miami actually, we had our friends get pickpocketed in the crowd, we had people standing in hour long waterline because people use hydration packs at these events and they're not quick refills, it just takes a lot of time, so backs up the whole line. And finally, we encountered different security rules at the security guard letting people into the venue or they'd compensate bags for being too big, too small, that one's purple, what are you going to do?

Tom Worcester:

So out of this experience, we looked around and we saw people who were investing hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get to an event, to a city for this peak moment, this idea of a peak moment. And we realized that they were drastically underserved. So Lunchbox came about in 2018 when we launched the antitheft hydration pack, which was meant to be a cure all to the festival experience. We patented a way to refill the bag that lets you get through waterlines in less than 30 seconds compared to traditional Camelback or hydration packs that takes three, four minutes, we made it very easy to access for you, but we inverted the entire design. So there was no external facing zippers, so nobody can reach in and steal a phone or a wallet, which can strand you at the end of the night. And we basically built this whole thing to be customizable, so to reflect the identity of those people who were looking and seeking for experiences.

Tom Worcester:

And so all at all, we were trying to solve the issues and pain points of the festival event experience outside of the web.. So that was the genesis of Lunchbox. And since then, we've brought together this community of events' goers of people all around the world who are simply looking to invest in experiences. Just like Cannon serves the photography market or maybe Osprey serves the adventure packs market, we were starting to realize that there was this identity forming around experience junkies, people who really wanted to be around people and invest in these very amazing peak moments.

Tom Worcester:

And so since then, we've become a live events company, where we go in and we create antitheft fanny packs, antitheft sling packs, we make it easy to stay hydrated at your events, and we make sure that you have a great event no matter what. And so coming out of that, the brand really attracted a certain type of person into our community, which is I guess our buzzword of today, but it attracted a certain type of person who invested in experiences, who was interested in meeting other people and socializing, and was also interested in making sure that the quality of those experiences was preserved.

Tom Worcester:

And so here we are later with a team of six full time and we're getting super excited to have everything ramp back up as we come out of the pandemic. But yes, we've seen experiences get suppressed for the last year, and so, it actually taught us a lot about how to build community, and how to build loyalty, and how to really build relationships at scale. But I think the thing that you nailed most is that community really separates the difference between product and brand.

Brett:

Yes, it's so true. And kudos to you guys for hanging on and weathering the storm of the pandemic, because I think your timing was perfect initially where that 2018-2019 events and this experience economy was booming, but no one predicted the global pandemic. And so, the good news is though, there's a lot of pent up demand, and you and I were talking about that before .. There are people just itching for that next concert, that next big outdoor event, and they are coming. And so they will need the gear to make those events better.

Brett:

So let's dive in a little bit then, how do you build community? And let's talk about maybe some of the early stages, what you did with Lunchbox in the early days, I'd love to also hear the creative stuff you did during the pandemic too, I'm curious. But what did you do in the beginning to build community?

Tom Worcester:

Yes. So I like to think about this in a couple different phases. I think it was the prelaunch phase in 2018, the first year in market phase in 2019, and then the no physical phase of 2020, which actually I think taught us the most. So in 2018, even when we were validating the product, the way that we got people to respond and look at the actual product was by literally walking around campsites of popular festivals with the next version of the prototype that we had.

Tom Worcester:

So we had something like 11 versions of this thing. And so it was hand to hand combat, right. It was go to every single campsite, hey, put this on, what do you think? How does it feel? How does it fit? And it basically became this giant ball of user interviews as we moved..

Brett:

It's like guerilla marketing from back in the old days.

Tom Worcester:

Yes, guerilla marketing, but even free product. And so what this did was two important things, Brett. The first was that it showed us exactly the features that we needed to have that would drive interest and referral later on. And number two, every single person we met, they were an event goer, they were an experienced junkie, all of a sudden, they were following our Instagram, and they were tagging along with us on Facebook, and they were keeping up with us. So this actually formed our initial push of the people who were interested in prelaunch. So that was phase one, right. Going around, getting feedback, getting people invested and co-creating this. And so even through the events later on, by asking people what they thought, and this is going to be an important hallmark of community, they actually now became materially invested in the outcome, which is really an important element.

Tom Worcester:

Now fast forward to 2019, so we've got product in the field, we distribute the first couple thousand units into the season, pre-May and debuted at a major festival called EDC Las Vegas, which has hundreds of thousands of people attending from all over the world. And so we finally had all of our product in the field for the first time and we needed to try to find a way to connect the dots of all these individual customers who had followed us on social, who had backed our original Kickstarter campaign, who had been with us since day one.

Tom Worcester:

So what we did was that we said, okay, we need to come up with a way to identify Lunchbox owners in the crowd. And the packs, they light up, they are distinct, you can tell one person who's wearing it from the next 10 people who aren't. So that festival, over the course of three days, hopped up on a lot of Red Bull, we ran and found every single Lunchbox in the ground, and to every single person we walked up and we said, "Hey, every single time you see another Lunchbox, you gotta go, hey, what's up Lunchbox fam?"

Tom Worcester:

And so after hitting, I kid you not, over 200 people at this event, tapping them on the shoulder like, hey, I love your pack, where'd you get it? Thanks so much for supporting us. By the way, the next time you see a pack like this, you gotta yell, hey, Lunchbox fam. And so-

Brett:

And talking about all the other people that are hearing this standing next by and what is this little community of crazy people yelling lunchbox, oh, and that is a cool pack, really brilliant marketing, yes.

Tom Worcester:

100%. And there's nothing quite like when you hit somebody in a group, a tight group standing in a circle of eight people, you hit them like, hey, Lunchbox fam. You walk away, and then all seven people in that group turn to that person and they're like, oh, so what's lunchbox? What just happened? And they're looking for an explanation.

Tom Worcester:

So weirdly enough, that turned into an immediate countrywide trend where almost every festival in the States or in the ensuing months, had some form of that Lunchbox call out. And so all of a sudden, what this did is this created the ground floor of people identifying each other in our community, and then building relationships on top of that. And then once that happened, you saw people sharing photos, tagging posts the people they met, talking about the music they had experience, Alex from Los Angeles meets David from Colorado, they went to go see an amazing house set together. And so they started to facilitate this sharing.

Tom Worcester:

This is where we started to say, okay, we want to hit as many events as possible in 2019, it's the first year that this is really in the market. So what we started to do was we partnered with local influencers who were going to the event and started to host meetups of people who had Lunchboxes incentivizing them with accessories. And we've got these little panels on the front so you can change the design. So we got free skins. But we would do all these little games to make it more fun. And so all of a sudden, people were now going to a festival, identifying with other people in the crowd, going to a meetup that was hosted by us, getting the group photo, sharing the group photo on social media, bringing all their friends in as natural followers. And so we start getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, right. Identification, now we have group coagulation, and then we have the formation of digital identity, which is where we are at the end of 2019.

Tom Worcester:

So here we are in November, the meetup that we're holding at EDC Orlando is hundreds of people, everyone's got a Lunchbox, everyone's excited. And at this point, we're active on Instagram, we treat our purchasers' email list like an events newsletter, where's the fun been this month? And so going into 2020, we had a lot of momentum, and we had people who were willing to host meetups, and a lot of people would be creating content, a lot of people are genuinely excited about being a part of it.

Tom Worcester:

So fast forward, pandemic hits. So now all these people who have had an amazing first year of experience, who are telling their friends about, you got to bring Lunchbox to your next festival, they're going to drop the link to the brand in their group chats. All of a sudden, we're in March 2020 and then connection goes haywire. The whole world shuts down, COVID started slipping out of the East in December, January, and boom, the event season is done.

Tom Worcester:

All these people, these experience junkies, needed somewhere to go. All of a sudden, that physical meet up and that physical connection needed to go somewhere. So over the course of 2020, we really defined our digital community. And so we have a Facebook group of 100, I think now thousands of VIP members where they will plan and meet up. And at this time, there were a lot of online concerts, so people were having viewing parties together, people would get on Zoom happy hours, we were hosting a regular happy hours just to check in on the community. We hosted and actually threw a live stream two day event with almost 48 hours of straight music on Twitch raising money for two amazing charities in Canada and New York.

Brett:

Amazing idea. It's amazing because people that love events, that love obviously doesn't go away when you can't travel, and so shifting that digitally totally makes sense. And even if they maybe didn't need to buy a Lunchbox right then, I bet that still had an impact on the business even last year.

Tom Worcester:

Yes. And so I think what we saw is that people needed connection, we gave them a safe place to be, we made sure that they were okay. I think just showing that we cared was a pretty big element. And then while everyone was looking for connection, we were also still developing new products, bringing them in, getting them excited about what was still to come. And I think the most exciting part about all of this is that even in the middle of last year, people are planning meetups together a year from that point.

Tom Worcester:

And so this started when we started to realize that we had a such an engaged community that we wanted to really be intentional about rewarding them. So this was where we started to start to build out our infrastructure for loyalty programming, you get rewards for referrals, rewards for attending meetups, rewards for engaging on social. And so all of a sudden, on the back of this digital community we were starting to see coming together, we were building incentive structures to really drive specifically organic referral, which is one of our most important and track metrics.

Tom Worcester:

So then leading into 2021, finally, the modern day, you've got a community with a big identity behind it, there's real action you can take, we have a way to pair people up at peak moments in their lives, there are people really happy at events, this is their vacation, this is the thing they've been looking forward to, and then they come back and they associate that with the brand, at which point then they're rewarded for sharing the brand with more people, and so the organic flywheel continues. So it was a really iterative process from 2018 to now, and community is one of those things where it's like, you can't build it overnight, right? You can't build it in just a month, it's a grassroots game, and the earlier you accept that, the earlier you can build a community that's going to last.

Brett:

Yes, I think that's what a lot of people just aren't willing to do is some of the grassroots hustle, going from 10 to 10 at the live event or whatever, and then talking about Lunchbox, and having people try it on, and getting feedback. Some of those things that I've mentioned on the podcast before, but sometimes to scale, you have to do things that don't scale, right? You have to have that one on one with individual prospects and customers to get feedback to help you improve the product to build community, and things like that.

Brett:

But you mentioned another one of my favorite concept, the flywheel, right. So if you've got the right components of this flywheel, you will build momentum over time and the community will really hit a tipping point and take off. And so let's unpack that just a little bit. So when you talk about this organic referrals being a big KPI for you, a big focus for you, how are you driving that specifically? Can you talk about some tips or some tactics there?

Tom Worcester:

Yes. So I think the organic referral element, at least for us, comes from a couple different things. So there are things that drive people talking about your brand and then the ways that you capture that value in a business sense. So the ways that you can drive organic referral is a lot of, actually, content creation, right. What questions does your customer have? What problems are they running into? How can you both validate and answer that? How can you be a resource for them? What are the unexpected or unintended question that they have, that you can answer, where they relate that back to you?

Tom Worcester:

So that gets them talking about you, right. They've had a great meetup, they've had a great experience, they maybe watched a video on how to prepare, you've been a material part of their experience getting better. And then on the back end of that is coming up with mechanisms that make it really easy to share, right. One click sharing, or pre-populating text messages, or WhatsApp messages, or Twitter messages, making it really easy to refer with one click, making it really easy to share a link with one click, making it really easy to forward an email and say, hey, you guys should get this. So it's all the mechanisms on the back end that actually help you to convert on all the value driven content.

Tom Worcester:

So when we think about our email marketing and our social channel, we think about, how much value can we drive? And then how can we put little asks embedded within that where you're opening the email because of value? You know you're going to learn something, you know you're going to see something fun, but then through that is, share Lunchbox with a friend, would you like to expand this? And would you like to simply welcome somebody new to the fam and get rewarded for it? So again, having mechanisms on both sides to drive and capture is the main tip and trick here.

Brett:

So cool. And it's critical, obviously, that you have a brand that's fun, and that people want to share, and you built this personality that people connect with and stuff, but then you got to make it easy, right? And then can you talk a little more about incentives? How are you incentivizing the sharing?

Tom Worcester:

Yes. So we basically built an interesting loyalty program where we've got different tiers, and at different tiers, you unlock different levels of engagement. So one of the things that we're constantly focused on is that all members of our Lunchbox fam, as we call it, they're all the same, but the levels of engagement are different, so that becomes a differentiator. Somebody who has joined in the first month and maybe hasn't hit their first meetup yet is pretty different in terms of how they engage and interact than somebody who has been to 15 meetups, and has hosted a meetup, and has submitted 10 pieces of UGC, and so it's different.

Tom Worcester:

So we basically paired our loyalty rewards with different tiers that distinguish those people, while still making sure that everyone is still valued within the community. At our bronze tier, you get birthday gifts, you get some early deals, but that's it. And moving up to our silver, builds on that a little bit, early access to products. Our gold tier is where it gets interesting, you actually are invited to group camps with the team at major camping festivals around the world, you get Zoom happy hours with the team where we talk about new products. And then my personal favorite, if you have enough referral points, where again, you get something like 200 points, which is equivalent to a minor marketing cost for us, but 200 points for referring a Lunchbox, if you accumulate enough of those, you can actually spend that on concert tickets.

Tom Worcester:

So now, we've connected you being part of Lunchbox to you getting to that next event. So if you're an experience junkie, so the flywheel continues to spin.

Brett:

Yes, I love that.

Tom Worcester:

Yes. And then finally, then our Platinum tier, you've got all the above, now you can spend your points on actual festival ticket and you get to join our product testing lab where we send you early access to beta products to give feedback. So at every step, you're getting free product, you're getting value, you're getting access to content, you're getting access to the team, you're literally camping with us. We'll see what happen in three years when the group camps grow to thousands of people, but that's a problem for 2023.

Brett:

Yes, cross that bridge when you come to it.

Tom Worcester:

Yes, but I think a lot of loyalty programs are just, okay, refer for a discount, and I think we wanted to add a much deeper layer to that, and it's like, how do we reward the community members who are the most engage? And for us it's like, how do we get them to more of those experiences that they're really happy about?

Brett:

Yes. And I think that's the key, right, is you're coming up with incentives and rewards, how does your market want to be incentivized or rewarded? And for your market, it's events, right, it's experiences, it's community. And so you're pairing the preferred activity, the desired activity you want the customer to take with some rewards that they're going to absolutely love.

Tom Worcester:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brett:

So any tips on how to structure that, because I know as you get into loyalty rewards and stuff, if it's too complex, how are you accumulating points and things like that, then it becomes almost demotivating or just too confusing for people to want to think about, too much work.

Tom Worcester:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brett:

And then you also need to automate it. So any tips on how to make it simple and any tools you use, any recommendations there?

Tom Worcester:

So I think loyalty programs are not created equal. Like any channel needs to be evaluated as a channel that works for your business, you're selling a very niche car part that somebody is only really going to need to buy one time in their entire lives, you probably don't need a loyalty program.

Brett:

You don't want to create a meetup with those people, they probably don't want to ..

Tom Worcester:

Exactly. Like, hey, guys, does anybody else have a crankshaft from their 2017 Chevy Tahoe?

Brett:

This is brake pad group over here. Okay, that's fun.

Tom Worcester:

Exactly. But so I think step one is evaluating whether it makes sense as a channel, right? Are you either seeing repeat purchases or are you seeing recurring engagement with the brand that justifies it? And then on the backend, working ... I mean, right now, there's so many different providers out there that provide great loyalty program, I'm a big fan of smile.io for affordable ..

Brett:

Yes, I know those guys at smile.io, yes, it's a great product.

Tom Worcester:

Yes, they're really becoming the loyalty layer of the internet. I think you've got a couple expensive options like Yapo, where they're trying to make it simple as well. But what you fundamentally see is that you see these apps enable shareability, I don't think you need to go build this up from ground zero. And then in terms of structuring, it's really making sure that you understand, what are the things you can give away and what are you getting back for what you give? So if you're giving away a 20% discount on something, is that because you expect that the discount plus the underlying profit on that next order is still going to be profitable for you? Is that customer going to refer a recurring customer or is it one off? I think it's understanding the math behind it.

Tom Worcester:

And then in terms of keeping it automated, I go the other way is like, this is my channel, right? I am in loyalty more than anything else, right? And we do annual budgets, we've got a big block of funds that just goes right into loyalty, it's not necessarily an automated thing. So I think while some brands can look at it as an automated endeavor, the fact that we do get so many meaningful one on one touches is almost like hand to hand combat at scale, provided you have a team behind it. So I think it just depends on the business, is it viable? Does it make sense? And do people want to also be together and engage together? Are some of the three key question, but it's hard to generalize when it comes to loyalty because it is a case by case basis.

Brett:

Yes, I love that. I want to make sure we leave time to talk video content and long form video content, and your company, Carousel. But just any last tips on building community, either tips on how to do it or tools to use. I'm assuming you're probably relying heavily on Facebook groups to facilitate some of what you're doing here with community.

Tom Worcester:

Yes. So I mean, Facebook group for us is just because everybody who buys one of our packs has a Facebook account. And one of the things that I think it's important to realize is, especially if you've ... There's two elements, right. There's the first of, does your company or brand have a uniting topic? So maybe for a way, that's travel as your uniting topic. Is it magnetic blanket boards that teach your kids how to build things? And can you build a community of moms around that? Is that the uniting topic? For us, it's music and events.

Tom Worcester:

So first off, do you have the presence of a uniting topic that gets people excited and engaged? If not, I'm not sure that this is for you. If you do, okay, lean in. The second part of it is deciding where it's going to live. And so if you are a community that improves people's business lives and they actually see a growth in their income, then they're more willing to join a Slack community or a discourse community because of what you're offering. If you are offering something that's a lower touch where, maybe I'll join, I'll use an existing Facebook profile to join and talk about music, but I'm not going to create a whole forum profile for it. I think it's understanding like, how far do you think that ask can go? And where can you create a critical mass of people where it creates an echo chamber of people talking about your brand? So I think determining those two things is important.

Tom Worcester:

And then finally, building on that, what are the hooks that you have pulling into your community? Right. How do you post purchase flows, post somebody in? How do your in person events recruit more people? What are the ways that you are socializing that this community exists and it's worth being a part of? Because the more people that you bring in, the greater the echo chamber grows, and the more likelihood that you're going to be able to discover people who are real super contributors to your community. So with those three pieces in mind, you knock all those down and have a solution, and hey, you may have a community that's going to keep growing.

Brett:

Yes, that's fantastic. I love it. I know we can talk a lot more about community, but I want to make sure we dive into our next topic for at least a few minutes. So let's talk about video content. And obviously, anybody who's been listening to the show for a while, you know I love video, big YouTube guy, we do this all the time. But talk to me a little bit about, why did you start Carousel and what do you guys do? And then we're going to get into some of your tips for video creation.

Tom Worcester:

Yes. So during the pandemic, we started to run into our own problems at Lunchbox where we historically have always had our team meet up and create a month's worth of content, then the next month, we meet up and we create a month's worth of content. And the pandemic completely halted that. And for other eCommerce owners, even though their businesses were growing, they couldn't get to a local photographer, local studio, local videographer, it was impossible. But all of a sudden, we were seeing people work from home through Zoom and other digital tools, so we asked the question of, could creative production go remote too?

Tom Worcester:

So Create With Carousel is a bunch of eCommerce experts that have gotten together both on the marketing and production side to figure out, number one, what is the content that is most likely to convert for your brand? And number two, how do you produce world class shoots without having to leave your computer, especially in the video space? So that was the underlying foundation of how we wanted to establish Carousel and how we wanted to grow that.

Tom Worcester:

And where we quickly found ourselves pulled was actually towards more difficult video where it was highly narrative and like anchor ads that brands could use to really explain a product, but really do it in a long form and engaging way. The brand that's holding 90 seconds of your attention on a three minute video, that is a lot more of a purchase intent behind it than somebody who watched three seconds of a 10 second video.

Tom Worcester:

So the person who's the better storyteller around an already great product is creating this opportunity for conversion. So we very quickly gravitated towards these more complex narrative anchor ad that were fun, and goofy, and interesting, but most of all had layers of call to action through them. So we had not just one shot to convert customers, but three or four shots to convert a customer. And then you would click on it, hit on the landing page where all the assets on the landing page corresponding to the ad, so it's just a very tight campaign through and through followed by, of course, retargeting assets that nailed specific objections.

Tom Worcester:

So we started to think about the full funnel of marketing for eCommerce brands rather than individual, here is your ad, good luck. And so I think combining the ease of production without having the stress of having to do all the things that make a production great, as well as thinking full funnel strategy, emphasizing long form content, especially in a world of iOS 14.5, which Brett can tell you about, we realized that there was an opportunity for us to just tell product stories but better.

Brett:

Yes, I love that you guys did this. And like I mentioned, I'm a big YouTube guy, big video guy, supporter of that for sure. And what we're seeing on YouTube is that long form content does work. That the videos that are scaling from 10,000 to 20,000 a day in spend are typically 90 seconds or longer. And I'm even hearing from some of our clients who saw on Facebook that even though Facebook is pushing for shorter form videos, we have one big client, great friend of mine, where they're scaling on Facebook now with a three minute video. So I think it goes back to what you said, storytelling, and are you keeping someone engaged in? And do you have multiple layers of CTAs? And we've got a whole formula we talked about, I want to dig in and get your formula or philosophy as well.

Brett:

But yes, and you mentioned an anchor video, we would call it a manifesto, where it's this video that really tells the story and separates the product from all the other competitors, and that's what works great at the top of the funnel, and then you have other videos that you can run at other stages of the journey and whatnot. So how do you guys approach creating an anchor video? And I think this will be useful because there's probably some tips in there that people can grab hold off.

Tom Worcester:

Yes, so I think there's obviously a couple of components here. The first is that we assume we're wrong. And what I mean by that is, it's not our opinion as a marketer if a video is great, it's not your opinion as a founder if the video is great, it is ultimately the market that determines whether something's great.

Brett:

100%.

Tom Worcester:

So what we do is we build everything with modularity in mind. So when we write our introductions, we don't write one introduction, we write four introductions and you're going to run the one that's going to perform the best based on who's watching the first three seconds. When we write our main body, like the main meat of it, we write it so all the blocks are interchangeable, so that we can deliver editing variations where maybe if you're selling great umbrellas, for example, maybe block one is that, it's a sturdy umbrella, block two is that you've got Bluetooth tracking, and block three is that it's reflective at night. You can interchange those blocks based on what different consumers are going to respond to and make the content itself more modular.

Tom Worcester:

And then finally, we wrap up with conclusions and CTAs that hit at the end of each block. So hey, if you care about reflective, yes, after this block, we're going to put a CTA that says, oh, so if you don't want to get run over tomorrow, get this umbrella at website here, or if it's, hey, if you don't want to get blown away in the wind and keep throwing away crappy corner store umbrellas, get this. And so you attach CTAs to specific benefit statements rather than at the end of a video where most people aren't getting there anyway.

Tom Worcester:

And so I think on top of that, after we've come up with a bunch of different introduction to get into the video, a bunch of ways to recut the middle of the video so you have the most options, we also think about, what happens after the video? And what we mean by that is, why is somebody not going to buy this product?

Tom Worcester:

So for example, one of our recent clients had a standing desk, great standing desk, goes up and down, automated, it's got lights, got speakers, this whole thing is souped up. But what are some of the reasons that somebody may not buy that? So in the same shoot that we're doing the anchor, we'll shoot these mini assets where it says, okay, worried about the cost, well here are all the reasons that the cost is worth it, or worried about the setup, here's how you set it up really simply, or worried about how it's delivered, here's how it's delivered. And so we think about not just the ad, but the response to the ad that basically builds on top of that, making sure that you're hitting each individual objection.

Tom Worcester:

So I think the big first part of it is, think holistically and assume you're wrong and give yourself enough variability to then edit and adjust. And then the second part of it is, don't just think the ad itself, think about the response to the ads. If you've got somebody on the hook, how are they going to go from on the hook to a fish in the barrel? But I think those two things are pretty big parts of our strategy when we're thinking about how to properly construct this type of narrative.

Brett:

I love it. And then I've talked to a few other video production companies or at least one other that thinks that way where we're saying, hey, we're not just going to take a chance on one hook, right. There may be one hook, one opening that you as the founder like, and that we as the video people like, or the media buyers like, whatever, we're not just going to base the whole thing on that, because what if it doesn't work? What if we're wrong? A lot of times we are, right?

Tom Worcester:

Yes.

Brett:

In general, we're going to find something that works, but having this modularity or these different blocks that you can stack and change I think is critical. And the beautiful part about what we do here with digital marketing and anything that's Facebook or YouTube or whatever, is we can test it, right. We can test these different mashups of a video, and we may find that, hey, this opening A with problem solution statement C, that combo really works for this audience, but another combo works for another audience, or this combo works for a top a funnel but another combo works for lowering the funnel. And so I love that you guys approach it that way, that's just awesome. Cool.

Brett:

And then what are you thinking about as you look at a product? And this is cool you mentioned the umbrella, is that a real product by the way, or did you make that up on this one?

Tom Worcester:

No, that's a real product that my friends over at Weatherman Umbrella, which unbelievable DTC company based in Brooklyn.

Brett:

Nice. Nice. Very cool. So what else are you looking for to bring out the best story about a product? Any tips or ideas you have on, how do you uncover the golden nuggets in a story behind a product?

Tom Worcester:

So I think there's three layers to any product use, and I think a lot of people get trapped in the first layer. So obviously, when you're looking at a product, you've got the product features, right, the literal descriptions of what this thing does. And then you can bring those features to life in the next layer, which is your benefit layer, right. So back to the umbrella thing, well, if the feature is, it can withstand 55 mile an hour winds, right. And then the benefit is that, if it's an awful rainstorm, your umbrella isn't going to invert.

Tom Worcester:

So the consumers generally relate to benefit statements far more than a feature statement. But the next layer, and I think that you can take it even further, and again, we've talked all day about the experience economy, but the next is the experience layer. So what is it like for someone to experience that benefit in the real world? And so that's where we really like to focus on our narratives, where it's like, we like to build scenes that don't just say, hey, your umbrella is going to blow away in the wind, we're going to show you that scene of a 40 year old woman who just finished a 12 hour day at work and her umbrella is fly away, and then in the next shot we're going to show you the comparison. It's not about highlighting the feature necessarily, it's about showing, what is the end user experience of that benefit.

Tom Worcester:

And so I think that really bringing those benefits to life through a variety of different experiences helps you to hit a wider target market and also just really bring the story to life. Show, don't tell. And the experience layer is the best way we found to really bring that.

Tom Worcester:

Now, if somebody is comparing a product, if they're looking at two different mattresses, Casper versus Purple, they're going to be looking at the feature, they're going to be looking at the price point. But if you're introducing a product, you want to make the case of, how is this going to make your life better? Why should you care? And you do that at the experience layer.

Brett:

Yes, it's so good. And it's one of those things where you want a prospect to envision themselves using and benefiting from the product. You want them to feel that experience like, hey, that could be me. And so I really like how you broke that down. And you're right, if someone's comparison shopping, then future benefit that's going to probably win the day, but if someone's just being introduced to it ... And I think even if they are comparison shopping, they still need to experience it, feel it and picture, okay, this is what it's going to be like when I own this umbrella, or this mattress, or whatever the case may be.

Tom Worcester:

Yes. And that's why you see unboxings do so well, because people are like, what it's like to open a package. I know what it's like put that in for the first time. And that's why testimonials do so well, because they see themselves in the person.

Brett:

That's right.

Tom Worcester:

I think the term is almost visual empathy, right. How do you get that person to stand in somebody else's shoes through video storytelling? I mean, that's the goal, right?

Brett:

Yes. And it's so interesting I think a lot of times, and this used to be, probably is till today with some big ad agencies is they think, oh, unboxing, that's a tired idea, right. We don't want to do that idea, it's played out. Or testimonials, everybody's on testimonials, that's old school. No, we're going to do something super new and creative. But that stuff just works, right, good testimonials properly executed from real people that are saying compelling things, they work. Unboxing videos at a certain stage of the buying journey, they work, people want to see it, they're interested. That's why there are a few search for the latest iPhone unboxing videos, some of those have 12 million views, people want to see unboxings.

Brett:

I think there's this pull or this drive to make something super creative when that's not really the point, right. It's about telling a good story, and in some cases, following formulas and setting yourself up for testing like you mentioned.

Tom Worcester:

Yes.

Brett:

And so, we're just about out of time, I want to wrap up. If someone's listening and thinking, all right, I need to talk to Tom or the crew at Carousel, how do you guys work and where can they find out more about you?

Tom Worcester:

Yes, so you can reach us on www.createwithcarousel.com. We've got a bunch of different services ranging from mail in photo shoots, to studio sizzles, to my personal favorite, which is anchor ads just because they're the most fun. And we can get in touch at the bottom of that website. And if you're looking to stay in touch on social, I am, TZWOR on Twitter, or realtomwor on Instagram. So I'm one of those guys where I love to D2C, I love community and I love talking about this, so always be willing to take the conversation a little further.

Brett:

Awesome, man. And I will link to all of that in the show notes. And then also, mention Lunchbox as well, because I think two reasons people will want to visit that, one, maybe you're listening and you're dying to go to the next music festival and so you want to get a Lunchbox, or two, you're another eCommerce store owner and you want to watch someone that builds a great community and does great marketing. So how can people find out more about Lunchbox?

Tom Worcester:

Yes, so we're at Lunchboxpacks on all channels, you name it. And then our website is lunchboxpacks.com. And then we have our Facebook groups are private to members only which, again, part of the whole thing, but we often cover our community on our YouTube channel. And again, our website features everyone that you'd be interested in checking out, so lunchboxpacks.com.

Brett:

Awesome. Tom, this has been fantastic, man, been a ton of fun. Thanks for taking the time. Thanks for coming on.

Tom Worcester:

Awesome. Thanks so much, Brett.

Brett:

Yes, absolutely. And thank you for tuning in. Hopefully you enjoyed this as much as I did. And hey, I would love to hear from you, lets connect on the socials, let me know what you think about the show, would love any feedback, any guest ideas, topic ideas, fire them my way. And with that, until next time. Thank you for listening.

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