EP56 - Rick Cesari - Five Keys to Building a Great Brand

Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.
Rick Cesari (sis-zary) has helped major brands from GoPro to George Forement build billion dollar brands through Brand Response advertising and strategi video marketing. His upcoming book Building Billion Dollar Brands aims to put valuable  knowledge of the big brands into the hands of inventors, small business owners, entrepreneurs, Amazon Sellers and others to help create innovative, successful marketing campaigns. A bestselling author, speaker, consultant, and marketing & brand strategy guru, Rick is bringing his expertise to us today to talk branding, video marketing and more. 


Five Keys to Building a Great Brand

On today’s part two of a two-part episode series, we are reintroduced to Rick Cesari, a pioneer in the Direct Response advertising industry. Rick has helped take companies like GoPro from a start-up to over a billion dollars in sales in just a few short years. Rick is also a best-selling author, speaker and consultant and a brand strategy guru. Here are more gold nuggets on today’s episode:

  • Why every brand infomercial should start with the brand logo.

  • Diversification - promoting your brand in different markets not just on TV or online, but also in lower level markets such as state fairs and trade shows.

  • How to distribute your brand in different channels and let consumers buy your products where they want to purchase them.

So, sit back and listen to know more about brand response strategies from Rick Cesari and build your business like a billion dollar brand.

5:28 (Rick talks about his experience working with GoPro.)

13:38 (Ricks tells us every GoPro spot starts with a brand logo.)

29:06 (Rick gives examples of tipping points related to GoPro.)

36:54 (Rick tells us how OxiClean became one of the big brand names that everybody knows today.)

56:03 (Rick talks about his first book, Buy Now .)

58:22 (How listeners can download the Five Keys to Building a Great Brand at rickcesari.com .)

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


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You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: This is Episode Number 56 of the Awesomers.com podcast series and the insiders already know that all you have to do is go to Awesomers.com/56 to get today’s show notes, details, summary, even a link or two that we throw in there from time to time, all of that details waiting for you at Awesomers.com/56 . Now today Rick Cesari is coming back to us for Part 2 of this two-part series where we've been talking about how you can build a billion dollar brand. Now, I want to reinforce Rick’s book just dropped yesterday and today it's available for you as well. Go find the book and we'll put the links on the website as well. You can go to Awesomers.com/56 to find the links, but we're going to buy his book because we want to learn how to build billion dollar brands and we're going to leave a review about his book because we're good people and we pay it forward and we understand when valuable content like this is delivered we're going to do the right thing.

Now, just a little bit about Rick’s background in case you didn’t join us in Part 1. He’s helped major brands like GoPro, George Foreman Grill, the Juiceman and many more built into massive massive well-known brands. I don’t think there's anybody in the America that you can go to and say you know have you ever heard of George Foreman Grill and then say no. I'd certainly think even worldwide, the GoPro has become a phenomenon. In today’s episode, we talk about the GoPro origin story and the OxiClean origin story and you know really how these iconic brands were developed. In fact, Rick takes us back to the very beginning of GoPro when he found and met the founder at a trade show, kind of been a VW minivan with kind of surfer vibe and how that has built and created a life and a brand that has taken on a life of its own to be honest. So, it's a really extraordinary opportunity to learn from somebody who’s you know been doing direct response advertising for so many years and it's a great privilege to have him come on two times in a row. So, this is Part 2 of our two-part series and I know you're going to love it and I know that you're probably going to share this, you're probably going to like it and you probably even going to leave a review for Awesomers.com right. I know you wouldn’t disappoint me. I look forward to reading your review online soon.

Hey Awesomers, welcome back. Steve Simonson joining you again here on the Awesomers.com podcast and this is Part 2 of our visit with Rick Cesari.

Rick: Cesari.

Steve: Dang, I knew it. I was a 50-50 guy.

Rick: No. That’s the same mistake everyone makes.

Steve: I swear to goodness that you know I really do study. I try. I try, but I fail. I try and I fail, so my apologies to Rick as usual because I get that wrong every time and I could have gone back and listened to the tape. I'm like no, I'm pretty sure that you know – anyway, so obviously I'm wrong yet again. So, Rick we've had a wonderful discussion in our last episode about some of your origin and some of your background and diving deep into the Sonicare story and learning all about the Taco Machine that used to exist that became the world famous George Foreman Grill. It had nothing to do with making tacos at the end of the day. But today, I wanted to kind of have you refreshing us up on we're talk a little bit about your book which is Billion Dollar Brands.

Rick: Yes, Building Billion Dollar Brands .

Steve: Building Billion Dollar Brands and we'll make sure we have links to the book in the show notes everybody. And by the way, because Awesomers are pay it forward people, when we buy this book and we read this book, what's the next thing we do? We review this book and we leave those reviews on Amazon because we're good people. So, we're going to get that done and, but in addition talk about the book and kind of the genesis for it and you know – spoiler alert, it's probably related to your experience, but we're going to talk about GoPro and OxiClean today because those are a couple you know other, just a couple of other examples. You know, we've already – we kind of skipped over Juiceman which is another world famous brand.

Rick Yes, yes.

Steve: But yes we're going to start and stop somewhere. So, let's talk about GoPro a little bit. What's your experience and how did you get into that one Rick?

5:28 (Rick talks about his experience working with GoPro.)

Rick: Well, GoPro is a really interesting story. You know, I'm still – if your listeners remember from Part 1, I own a direct or had a direct response marketing agency, direct to consumer marketing agency and you know we get a lot of new business from referrals, people seeking us out because of the previous successes, but also one of things I do just personally is I'll go to certain trade shows and just walk the floor and look for what I think are good products, good company, something that you know interest me personally. So, I was down at the outdoor retailers trade show in Salt Lake City and walking the floor and I came across this booth. It really wasn’t a normal trade show booth. The founder of the company Nick Woodman had driven his Volkswagen bus on to the trade show floor and he later told me he did that because he couldn’t afford to buy a booth and basically you know it's kind of an iconic symbol of a surfer from the movie Endless Summer. And basically he had set up a surf scene with the Volkswagen bus. He had some sand, some lounge chairs, but the product he was selling, he was selling this little camera out of the back of the bus and he had a crowd around him. And for me, that’s always the first indication of a product that potentially can be successful is you see a lot of people, you wonder what the excitement is and they were excited about this little camera that Nick had produced, which at the time was the GoPro camera. So, we had a short conversation, but he was really busy and I said, “You know, I'd love to talk to you further about this” and I guess he was interested in talking further because two weeks after the show, he flew to Seattle and we sat down and talked about his vision for the business. It was funny I remember we went out to a little restaurant. You're from Seattle Steve, so you know a restaurant on South Lake Union and also your listeners. that’s where Amazon is located now, but this was probably Amazon was still in its younger days at the time. But anyway, we – I remember he ordered a beer and chili cheese fries. That’s what he had for lunch and we–

Steve: So, he’s a health nut just to be clear.

Rick: Yes, exactly.

Steve: That’s it? Okay, good. I'm just making sure the listeners at home are paying close attention. Carry on.

Rick: So we proceeded to talk about his really his vision for the business and how we could help him, but it was really clear that he was passionate about what he was doing and he had talked at this initial meeting we had that his goal was to build a billion dollar business and you know you'll never get to a certain point unless you actually set a goal or visualize doing it and sometimes the goals can be really big and in this case they were, but I remember we talked about a lot of the steps that the company actually followed over the next eight years to get to that threshold. And you know, again, I mentioned I think in the first interview that we did, the first part of the interview, sometimes you have the right product at the right time at the right place and the GoPro camera was another situation like that from the standpoint of it was riding the wave of the selfie boom where people were turning their cameras around and taking photos of themselves. And GoPros are good cameras, but if you think about the competition, you know Sony, Panasonic, all the big camera companies could have had this technology or created the same technology, but what Nick did was really a very you know simple, but genius type of thing. He developed the mounts where you could – if you were extreme athlete or any type of athlete where you could mount it on a helmet, the front of surfboard, a ski pole, a mountain bike and you could turn the camera around and take pictures of yourself and the product just exploded. I'm sure almost all of your listeners have heard or seen a GoPro. You can't really go anywhere on a ski slope or snowboarding slope without seeing them.

Steve: Yes. If Awesomers out there don’t know the GoPro story, we're going to vote you off the island because it's – you don’t have to know the story, but you certainly know the product and I want to reinforce one of the points that Rick has made and maybe even unpack a couple of little lessons that I picked up along the way. First of all, Rick as we talked about in many episodes, he was out there networking. He was out at their trade shows. He was putting himself out there to see what's what right.

Rick: Absolutely.

Steve: And here’s his world class brand that we all know today and we know that it has passed that you know billion dollars threshold, but you know they started just like a lot of us right and just a little you know we couldn’t afford a boost so we just kind of had to fake our way until we make our way and that’s what the founder did, but they struck up a conversation and that’s now both people are saying all right, what are the possibilities? How do I leverage – his experience, how do I leverage that product? But the biggest part to me and Rick really talked about this very well, it's just a camera right. There's a million other people that have cameras. He took that camera and he made it something special with all the mounts, with all of the applications and kind of made it like hey, if you are cool and if you're going to be out there surfing, if you're going to be out there snowboarding down a mountain, there's only one choice. You're not going to go to Sony or Panasonic or Nikon, you're going to go to GoPro and that’s it and their little tagline Be a Hero is so perfect because everybody – anytime they read or watch a movie right, you read a great story, watch a movie, you always visualize yourself as a hero so–

Rick: Absolutely. And basically–

Steve: The whole thing was – yes.

Rick: Yes, I'd love to go into – let's go into a little bit more detail because it kind of ties together old school basic direct response marketing techniques with new school technology and you know behind the scenes look at the some of the success with GoPro, but you were absolutely right. I was about to bring up the tagline Be a Hero and from an emotional attachment, everybody wants to be a hero. And one of the things I did – let's talk about marketing, and they used influencers. In the old days – let's go back to Sonicare toothbrush, we call them key opinion leaders and we got the top dentists, the top periodontists in the country to endorse our product bringing credibility to it. So Nick had an action camera. The influencers he got were the top surfers, the top mountain bikers, all the top extreme athletes and he gave them free cameras. That’s another important point that if you want to get people talking about your product, I always am a big believer in giving them away for free whatever the product is, getting to the right people, getting people to talk about them and again you're expanding the awareness of the product. So Nick did that and got a lot of extreme athletes using the cameras. So, the second thing that happened is everyone likes to take pictures of themselves, post them online and what Nick did, people would do that to their own followings, but then he also – the GoPro site was a place where you could go to see all these cool videos and then people come there and share them and you know that’s one of the you know foundational reasons that the product took off, but from a marketing perspective we did something where we tied old school thinking into kind of a little bit of new school. We never created long infomercials for this. Every GoPro spot was 30 seconds and we had a specific format that we used that did a couple of things and I recommend when people are making videos. I think we might have mentioned this before.

13:38 (Ricks tells us every GoPro spot starts with a brand logo.)

Every GoPro spot starts with a brand logo. So immediately you know when you're watching a GoPro spot what the commercial is about and you know if you turn on TV, if any of your listeners still watch TV, you see a commercial half the time, you don’t know what the heck they're talking about until it's over. So right away with the brand logo upfront you know it's a GoPro spot then in the middle like an Oreo cookie user-generated footage and then at the end – and this is where the direct response came in, basically we said at the end of every spot we said, “Go to our website which is the gopro.com and register for our contest. Someone will win one of everything we make every single day.” So what that did was you were giving people a reason to go to the site. So, number one, you're driving new traffic to the site. People would go to the site, see those cool videos, share them with their friends creating a little bit of a viral marketing effect. The second thing that happened because you had to register for the contest and win cool GoPro stuff, we were collecting email addresses and creating a database where we could remarket the product to people, get them to buy it, you know basic E-commerce. And then the third thing, by driving people to the site, some people just made the decision to buy the camera. So, we were generating revenue at the same time, but it was really a basic direct response technique at the end of what would be considered kind of a normal commercial although the GoPro commercials were pretty cool in themselves, but again it's that utilizing those concepts in a little bit different way to create the success of the product.

Steve: It is really a nice adaptation to be able to kind of tie in – you know, nirvana is  user-generated content by the way everybody. You know, that’s – Facebook loves user-generated content. Their whole business is built around it. They produce almost nothing yet their site is filled daily right. YouTube is the same way, user-generated content. So, GoPro you know took this concept of hey, everybody is liking you know these beautiful videos and some of them are quite spectacular. That’s the part where I think the GoPro founder is so brilliant is you know he got these angles that were so unique nobody ever really contemplated you know having the actual thing on the surfboard itself you know or if they did it certainly wasn’t popularized and he was able to lead that popularization and now when you see some of these videos whether they're snowboarders or surfers or even just people running or mountain biking it's just pretty amazing and people get enthusiastic about it, so that energy seems to be imparted to the brand halo to some extent.

Rick: Right. So let's just dive a little bit deeper again from a strategy standpoint just to show you how they built this into a billion dollar business. So their niche are the niche that they dominated and became the cool product or the brand was extreme athletes and then people wanting to be like the extreme athletes, but if you think about it that’s a fairly small niche in the mass consumer market so at some point GoPro needed to expand out of there and it's a very definitive. We started you know all of the early spots that we were helping them make where you know the extreme athletes then you'll see a transition and you'll start to see people using it to film their pets. And one of my favorite videos is of a French bulldog on the beach and it's just you know that beautiful footage and watching it go around and you're implanting the idea in people’s minds hey, I can use this camera for more than just extreme athlete. And then there's a family picture of a family riding down a hill in their backyard in a toboggan and really really cool videos, but really expanding the marketplace from extreme athletes to a much larger audience. But again, you know we talked in the first part of the interview about positioning and how – and it's important to find a category regardless of how big or small it is that you feel your product or service can dominate, well GoPro came out and dominated the extreme athlete, dominated that category and then they were able to expand outside of that.

Steve: Yes. It is really – it's brilliant marketing, number one, but it's also you know a way to not just reach the mass market, but a way to you know kind of show people hey, this is how you use it right. It starts with the extreme athletes and you get that credibility and that you know anybody you know, kind of again they visualize themselves as a hero. I can do that extreme snowboarding if I really wanted to right and it's like no, not a chance. I you know get a little dizzy going down a slide at the kids’ park. So, but then taking the dog and taking the family and taking these other applications people then can see themselves you know using that camera on a day-to-day basis and you know I know for myself I bought my son one of their cameras. It was probably at least $400 or $500 and I probably bought them another $100 worth of accessories that he could you know – I don’t even – I'm not sure he’s ever actually used a camera if you want to know the truth, but I thought it was cool enough and that it will give him the chance to go edit and all of those messages that you guys were – you know, engineering way back in the day still work you know even on these recent years. So, what did you guys kind of do next? Where did the–

Rick: The two – yes, two things I want to just mention, you mentioned accessories. I remember watching an episode of Shark Tank and there was a company that was doing nothing but selling GoPro accessories and making $8 million a year and I think they were doing selling primarily on Amazon and they were looking for money to fund their business. So here's a very successful company doing nothing but you know piggybacking on the success of GoPro just on the accessory area. But you know this is a great next step because where GoPro really made the switch from one like $100 million to a billion which is 10 times the size and I've heard you – you know, first Steve first you alluded to it in the Mastermind group when we first met, the Catalyst88 Mastermind group, about the brick and mortar mass market consumer and that’s really where the tremendous of GoPro came in. So, they had this great foundation of direct to consumer marketing as a very profitable business, but they wanted to get out everywhere and so they basically had a trial with Best Buy and Best Buy was located – I think at the time we were doing this, I don’t know if the number is still correct, they had like 1,000 stores across the country and a lot of times a big store like that will do a regional test and they’ll basically put you in a few stores. If they do it well, they’ll do the whole chain. And so Best Buy headquarters just like Target headquarters is in Minneapolis and so one of the things when the test started is we blanketed the Minneapolis TV market with GoPro ads so that the executives would be seeing that and it's just a little thing, but I've done this before with Walmart and it's very inexpensive to buy time in Arkansas and Minneapolis to get enough exposure to make an impression on the executives of those stores. But anyway, their growth really happened when they got into the brick and mortar and so it goes back to now when I talk to companies about an approach to building a big company or building a billion dollar company. Let's just say you want to build a $10 million company, I will say there's like three legs to the school and Amazon is one leg obviously. You need to establish and be successful there. E-commerce and your online presence, which include your social media and you know your direct to consumers sales from your website and your content on your website is the other leg. And then the third leg for me at least still for certain products is being able to have a successful direct response TV campaign if your company is bigger, but you can also supplant that. We talked earlier about doing a successful Facebook campaign or whatever. As long as you have some type of engine where you're getting a return and you can put those odd dollars back into the engine that kind of drives the awareness and it's kind of a simple model that a lot of companies could execute on, but one thing I find with a lot of the people that are doing Amazon only, it's like Amazon is the be all, end all and they're missing out on a lot of business and also they're missing out on a way of protecting themselves I feel should something change on the Amazon so.

Steve: Well, this is a very important point and I appreciate you kind of shining the light on it. So, the first thing is you know I have a number of axioms. I call them axioms, it's because I'm a marketer at heart and otherwise it would just be the crazy old man in the corner who keeps repeating himself. So now it's a good thing right, they're axioms.

Rick: It's a rule or an axiom or a secret.

Steve: Yes, that’s right, yes. That’s right. So, one of the axioms is in my opinion and these are self-generated so they could be wrong, but you cannot have a world class brand in a single channel. Now, it doesn’t mean you can't have a world class product or a great business that builds equity, but a true world class brand that exist across multiple channels and for the reasons what you kind of you know alluded to slightly is you know there's diversification matters, not just to reach your customers, but for the risk profile.

Rick: Absolutely.

Steve: You know, one of my brand I bought about a year ago, Amazon just has wiped every review that product ever had.

Rick: Yes.

Steve: Now, do I think it's fair? No. I don’t particularly think it's fair. Amazon has their reasons and you know we can fight about it and so forth and I have no problem with how great Amazon is a marketplace opportunity, that’s the you know the upside to it, but there's also risk and that product could be a dead duck now. I mean I may just have to fold up that company because starting from scratch to get new reviews and you know who knows even that process how long it will take, it's a daunting task. So that’s a big risk and you know I've made luckily plenty of money since buying that company and it's more to monetize itself probably 5 or 10 times over in just a year. It's–

Rick: Right.

Steve: – been okay for me, but it's relatively small. But the point is there is a risk on being in a single channel and you don’t know what's going to happen. So, for that reason, that’s a good reason to consider – diversification, but for the other reason of reaching a larger market, that’s another equally good reason and as you said I think very eloquently you can start out with you know a reasonable budget. You don’t have to start out with a million bucks on nationwide you know kind of infomercials on TV, webinars.