Whalar powers the creator economy. In this episode, we have Jamie Gutfreund, CMO of Whalar, a creator commerce company that empowers creators, brands, and leading social platforms to work better together to drive growth for all. They help brands reach Gen Z and millennials.
On any given day, 54% of GenZ watches zero hours of ad-supported television. They help brands stay culturally relevant through smarter creator and social platform partnerships to deliver must-see content at scale.
Today, audiences find the content they love in new places, uncontrolled by major media companies. Individual “creators” are now writers, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and publishers. Whether their content lives on TikTok, Snap, Instagram, YouTube – they are taking a greater and greater share of time and attention away from traditional content providers.
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What You Will Learn Today:
- Helping build metaverse opportunities with creators and talents globally
- Following the trends to promote a product
- Data says 64% of people say they buy products that represent and communicate who they are
Links and Resources Mentioned:
Connect with Jamie Gutfreund
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JamieCentral
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamiecentral/
- Pinterest :https://www.pinterest.ph/jamiecentral/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiegutfreund/
- Clubhouse: https://www.clubhouse.com/@jamiecentral
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That was the first industry that really dove in, you know, deeply. And as they evolved, they realised that there was more to this space than having somebody be paid, to promote a product. And what they evolved is more of a 360 creator strategy that brings the creator into the brand as a co-creator.
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Well hey there, my name is Steve Hutt, I’m senior merchant success manager here at Shopify and welcome back to the fifth season of eCommerce Fastlane. Now this is your first time listening or your weekly subscriber. I seriously appreciate the fact that you’re taking time and listening to the show today. I know there’s plenty of podcast choices out there. Thousands, probably hundreds for sure in commerce and direct to consumer marketing and just the fact that you’re here today means the world to me. And I know it does for my featured guest and new episodes are released twice weekly and are available from your favourite podcast apps like apple podcasts and Spotify, Google podcasts, and more.
We’re also streaming, uh, now on Amazon music and on YouTube. So go check that out, appreciate the like, and share on that. I also highly recommend to get the full value of today’s episode that you click through from your podcast app and go to the show notes. That’ll be at ecommercefastlance.com. There you’ll find, um, everything, the links, the transcripts, any resources, anything that we mentioned today, all of that will be on the show notes from my guest.
And so my guest is Jamie and she is the CMO of a company called Whalar, and they’re at whalar.com, W H A L A R .COM, and they’re quite an interesting beast of amazing features, um, and done for you services and wholly own technology and Web3 innovation to be. You know a lot of good things about the creator economy.
I don’t, and they have a thing called the Whalar way that I, that I read a little bit, that the fact that they’re really differentiated in the marketplace about this proprietary technology in these brand partnerships and things they have and, um, and just access to some incredible creator content and management.
Um, and so I, I don’t put words in, in her mouth yet about what Whalar does, cause it is really exciting and they’re very diversified, um, in a very unique field that a lot of brands are taken advantage of and a lot that aren’t, and that’s why I have her on the show today. So hi Jamie. Welcome eCommerce Fastlane.
Hello. I love that intro. In fact, you should, do you wanna come work in marketing at Whalar? That was well done. Thank you.
Well, you know what your website helped, I did the tiny bit of research, uh, and had a few questions here that I kind of like jammed up together here. And, you know, I, I’m excited about the creator economy.
I mean, I am a creator. I mean, obviously I have a podcast it sponsored, it does its thing, but it’s interesting when I’m a merchant facing and I have brands all the time, they’re trying to figure out like, how do they get more reach? How do they lower their customer acquisition costs? How do they create authentic? Uh, either user generated or creator generated kind of like brand ambassador type high quality content that really engages, um, you know, their potential customers. And, and, uh, and I think this is where Whalar kind of fits into that mix. So maybe you can kind of just unpack it a bit about exactly what Whalar does and the sort of problems that, uh, you know, you’re solving today for Shopify powered brands.
Great setup. So Whalar was founded about seven years ago as an influencer marketing agency. And as the creator economy has evolved. So if we, we, today we work with fortune 100 brands globally. We help brands break through all of the clutter, uh, and work with creators because they are a way of not only reaching audiences that you cannot reach anymore through traditional advertising, but doing it in a way that’s brand safe and at scale.
So that’s one component of our business. We also represent talent. So we represent over 300 of the most talented creators on the planet. We work with thousands, but we are so committed to building the efficacy of the creator economy that we have built a whole team that manages creators. And in fact, we just acquired a company called seed talent that represents 80 dead and disabled creators.
So we’re massive in the talent management aspect of this. So we know what’s going on in the space and really can bring that to our brand partnerships business. We also have an army of engineers who are helping develop proprietary tech that allows us to find creators, help us manage campaigns, end to end, to deliver measurement and to really track and, and understand how to best approve these campaigns.
And then we have a dedicated Web3 Innovation Hub. And I know that sounds sort of Woohoo to a lot of people.
But really what that means is we’re helping build metaverse opportunities with creators. We are in the NFT space and we’re learning this with creators, hand to hand. And part of our philosophy is if you wanna work with a creator, you have to be a creator.
And I think that’s a good jumping off point for brands because the whole dynamic of reaching your targeted consumer is much more expensive to your point.
It’s much harder to reach. Uh, an acquisition of cost are clearly not only increasing, but with the demise of cookies, it’s getting so hard to get to the right audience at the right time in their customer journey.
And it’s also incumbent to be creative and to be diverse in the storytelling that you have because we are all highly aware of the increasing DENI initiatives that are important to business and just the right thing to do in the world. And we solve a lot of those problems, hand in hand with our partners.
Mm wow. Case you guys have your hands in a lot of the pots here, but I think these are all important parts and it’s nice because, you know, there’s a lot of people learning and, and listening in today that are on different maturities and different complexities based on where they are in their entrepreneurial journey, early stage mid-market. And there’s lots of enterprise people that are listening today. And so hopefully we’ll be able to take some tidbits for those three kind of distinct types of, uh, listeners that are on the show today.
One thing I wanna talk about is the origin story first. Cause I’m always, you know, you mentioned a little bit that, you know, you started off maybe, uh, you know, and maybe as in an influencer, uh, right from the beginning and you know, way back, I think we even talked in the green room about what happened with, uh, winning something through a Shopify award and going to Richard Branson’s island. So,
Can you talk a little bit about this origin story a bit? I love to understand like how the pieces all came together for the founding team?
Sure. And it’s also why we’re named Whalar, which helps our put this in a context. So, uh, I love this story and our co-founders Neil Waller and James Street met years ago in university.
They’re both Brits and they met in an entrepreneur class and they liked the class so much that they quit to become entrepreneurs, which I love.
And they went on to found nine companies. Whalar’s the ninth company. And during their journey, they were doing an enormous amount of, uh, D to C work and were leveraging what in those days was purely influencers to create content, to help market their products.
And they were pretty damn good at it. And in fact, they won a competition with Shopify and had a chance to go to Necar island and they, while they were there, they were inspired because as you know, Entrepreneurs are always trying to figure out how to build a better mouse trap and build their businesses.
And they realized that their approach to what was then influencer marketing. Was not scaling in the way that they thought it should or could. So they founded Whalar. I think there must have been a whale or something going by while they were on Decker island.
No, no doubt.
So hence the maritime references.
But their, their journey was entrepreneurial and now we’re scaled to help all brands at all levels. And if it’s not a client opportunity, we’re still also very committed to helping overall just grow the creator economy and make it a robust experience for brands, for entrepreneurs, for the platforms, the social platforms, and for creators.
It’s, it’s a, uh, as I’ve heard people say, we are helping people. Reach the funnel and create a flywheel all at the same time.
Mm what’s interesting about the creator economy that I find fascinating and I think this has been written about quite a bit about is this industry, is it in fact a strategy or is it in fact a tactic? And I think, I think, I, I think you have a very strong opinions around that. so I’d love to hear it.
It is by well for the brands that are new and they’re viewing it as a tactic. That’s fine.
Eventually the smart brands will understand that this is a strategy and that is the more mature approach.
And if you look in the beauty space, I, I like to point that out to a new entrance into this economy.
They started with influencers, right? Beauty is all about culture. It’s all about being in on the up to the minute trends. And that was the first industry that really dove in. You know, deeply, and as they evolved, they realised that there was more to this space than having somebody be paid, to promote a product.
And what they evolved is more of a 360 creator strategy that brings the creator into the brand as a, co-creator not as an endorser, they’re not actors. And I think that is the tactical part of it. But as the beauty companies have learned that this is a huge conversion driver.
It only works. If there is a partnership and a recognition of collaboration between the creator, not influencer and the brands.
Mm-hmm . So what about the community side of the business too? Because that’s one of the topics that I bring up quite a bit is that, you know, how can we build an army of brand ambassadors? How do we, and, and I think there’s different levels of the types of customers that, that, that you can have. And I think they kind of can go through their own life cycle from an initial purchase through, through this funnel and all the way through, they turn into somebody that, you know, you might find out, they have a very large social footprint. You might wanna start working with them. So it’s just, I’d like to, um, once again, I’m picking your brain a bit here about some ideas.
I think about my book of business, the brands that I manage, and I think that they’re in some. Interesting situations where sometimes they find the social footprint or they have an, a form on their, on their website where they say, Hey, if you love our products and you do, because I can tell that you just bought something from us and may have some technology to understand their social footprint and saying, Hey, would you mind working with us? Or is this something that’s in your wheelhouse? Cause you’ve already bought from us. And I think that helps build some, some, some community, but I just would like to understand Whalar’s position on the whole community building. Is that a vital component, uh, overall to success of an influencer campaign? Just an overall strategy.
This isn’t my favorite topic. I think it’s going to be, we, we just locked in on something.
Ah, there we go.
So, I’ll date myself, but going back many, many years, there was a, a very famous tV campaign. I think it was Fabergé shampoo or canteen shampoo. And it was
Probably the canteen.
It was like, you told you like the product so much, you told two friends and they told two friends, two friends.
And so they so on and so on.
So there’s nothing new. That is, that is the opportunity with community. But I think the definition of community has evolved. There is a community of people that are, you have their email. Do you know, they bought their product, you bought, they bought your brand’s product and that’s fine. And we had community managers and there’s people who comment on your website or they comment on your social channels.
That is community 1.
Community today is a much more vibrant. It’s almost human programmatic. And what do I mean by that?
What I mean is. First of all we’re in this era and I’m, I’m gonna back up a little bit and please feel free to interrupt me. But this is a, this, I think it’ll help place this in a context we’ve gone through this space where it’s been pretty rough the last few years for
All over the globe.
And what people are looking for is not aspiration. They wanna belong. And it’s a human, it’s a fundamental human thing. They wanna find their tribe. They’re people
And so communities now are an opportunity where it’s not just influencers. It’s like influencers are, I wanna, I wanna be one of many fans who like, you know, I wanna be like somebody who’s like someone else I wanna, you know, be like them.
But in the creator approach it’s I belong to a small group of people who are just like me, And that is that fundamental human triable instinct and reason that’s important is that communities are not any one thing in the old world of marketing, you’d say, okay, going back to beauty, I wanna reach women who are 25 to 54.
I wanna mix ethnicities and incomes. And that worked for a very long time, especially when the channels were limited, as we’ve exploded. And the media landscape is so fragmented and it’s so hard to reach a critical mass, communities are where people are gathering. They’re the new. The fireside chats, right?
They’re, that’s where people are gathering based on what they find of interest. Now, some could be small communities, some could be massive. The Minecraft community is massive.
Cowboys of colour or Afrofuturism or El core might be huge. They might be considered niche, but those are the communities where things are happening. And in fact, what we are seeing within that community is that that is where purchases and decisions are being made. So a creator’s role in this new customer journey is to curate and vet the brands that they’re talking about and brands can’t just March into those communities. Brands have to be an invited guest.
And the reason that’s so critical is that, and some research we just did, which is called reaching the unreachable and it’s available for free. You can just download it. Okay. 66% of people in the United States said that communities help them decide which products and brands to buy. And 61% in the UK, that’s a massive number.
That’s a vetting of the creator. But then within the community, there is support around buying a product. So Hoka is a really good example. We hear all the time from audiences and they’re not a client. So this is just a, an interesting analogy. . Um, and an anecdote is that, you know, because people trust creators, they want to listen and they wanna learn.
Hoka was one of those brands that exploded, and it was a big part of its great product, but also community support. People were talking to other community members. About how great the product was.
That’s going back that’s and they told two friends and they told two friends . And so there is a way to navigate these communities, but you have to earn the relationship. You cannot buy your way into these.
Right. And I wonder if the brands themselves, I think about like, you know, the, the social and kind of the economic. And I think about the environmental things that are happening in the world. And a lot of brands I find that are really successful. I think it’s all exactly what you’re saying, this tribe and this community, but also brands seem to be very authentic and they’re, they’re not just hoarding all the profits.
It’s actually going back to, to a greater good, whatever that could be. It could be 1% for the planet. It could be some custom kind of thing. They could be offering some kind. There’s always some great positioning. Rightfully so from the founders, I mean, I manage one brand called 10 tree, for example, and they plant 10 trees for every garment you sell. A little tag is there, there’s a number on it.
You go to the website. And, and so people know that no under 10 trees, so popular doing their thing. So I would just like to understand your mindset. Two about, you know, um, is there a larger play here, a brand play around like where the money goes and why people want to support a brand more than just it’s a great product?
Well, it’s so transparent in the world right now. If you’re supporting a product, you’re supporting a company and people feel very connected to, they’re, they’re voting with their wallets.
And they’re evaluated by their communities in turn, by the products and companies, they support 64% of people in the US say they buy products that represent and communicate who they are.
So it’s a, it’s incumbent upon a brand to recognize that this is where people are making decisions. But I also think we are at a time where diversity and participation in the global economy requires that you have an awareness of being a good corporate citizen.
And either the beautiful thing about creators is that they are not just a way to drive transactions. They’re they are an actual brand safety strategy because they will not represent or talk about a product that they don’t believe in because their community holds them accountable. So we use that word authenticity all the time, but I kind of like the word accountability almost in tandem because a lot of brands will think, oh, I, I can’t work creators. It’s, you know, potentially backlash on my brand. It’s the opposite.
And they are very conscious of the products and services that they represent because of that. And it’s important. And it’s also an opportunity to source, this is something that we talk a lot about at Whalar. We believe that working with creators allows brands to source the ideas, the stories directly from the communities that they most wanna reach.
And there are focus groups on steroids. So it’s a beautiful flywheel there where you get the ideas and information from the people that you’re ultimately trying to sell to. And so it keeps people honest, or at least it should.
Mm. You know what I’m thinking about too, is you, you made a comment about, uh, just the whole cookie list thing that’s happening and soon at some point I think Chrome is gonna be getting rid of cookies and iOS updates have kind of, you know, we have to manually opt in now. And, and so knowing that, and then we think about some of the, the concepts around CCPA, this California privacy protection and GDPR for our European
Uh, people that are listening in, what’s your thoughts around the accessibility factor of the creator economy? cause it’s something that I think that we need to address. I’m addressing it. Even on my own show about how we make sure both the websites are good for the visually impaired? Um, what about people that, um, are potentially deaf? Um, what do we deal with in just other different types of, you know, demographics of people based on where they are in their life.
I just would like to unpack that a bit about how you believe Whalar is addressing these types of, I, I, I, I saw them fringe, minorities, but certainly they’re minorities in the world. And, but they still need to have access to this content and products and services. So I’m just curious about your side of that.
Oh boy, that’s a lot to unpack. So there’s the data conversation and then there’s the disability conversation. So let’s start with the disability conversation cause it’s near and dear to my art. Okay. Especially since, um, I know this will air later, but July is disability pride month.
And it’s marking the anniversary of the disability um, Enablement act.
That granted rights to the disabled community. So.
Interesting enough. 15% of the world falls into the disability community and it is one of the only communities that you, anybody can fall into this community at any time in your life, which is one of those. Oh, wow. Okay. We are right. It’s it’s, it’s much bigger, more pervasive and it’s probably one of the last communities to have a seat at the table. Keely cat Wells is the founder of sea talent. She’s amazing. We have been working with her as partners, and then we’re lucky enough to acquire her business. And have been on a learning journey.
So as much as Whalar has always been very focused on quality and diversity and giving rights to creators, we had a lot to learn about this space about alternative alternate text, about making colours more accessible, uh, about having sign language, about having, making it accessible for the deaf community. And when you do that, you add over a billion new people potentially to your audience.
So talk about a community. It does take some learning.
But it’s not just something that we should do. It’s something we have to do, but again, it’s good for business and it’s also good for the world.
One of the best stories, I think, is this idea about universal design. And I don’t know about you. I, you, I don’t like those revolving doors. So when you go, I don’t know what will happen. I’m a clunk. But for people that are in wheelchairs or have, uh, disabilities with mobility
It’s not a great design, so it’s good for everybody. If we figure that out, one of the, one of the best stories is that texting, which obviously we all do every day, that became, that was evolved as a design solution for the deaf community. But now it benefits everyone.
So, that’s one thing, right? So that’s the disability. And I’ll pause there, there, and see if you have questions. So I know this is a big meaty topic.
Yeah, no, no. And it is, it is big and it kinda reminds me even Shopify, uh, you know, for example, there is a diversity belonging and inclusion team, um, and lots and lots of resources and training and things like that, because I think these are important strategies and, uh, that you need to think about.
And there, and there needs to be a way of educating people that maybe don’t self-identify into those categories, uh, or into that community at this point in their life. And then, knowing that, you know, everybody needs to have a seat at the table, everybody needs to have access to the tools and products and services that are available here.
I think brands have the same way. I’ve, I’ve even noticed that, you know, you know, finally, you know, now when you look at a lot of fashion brands, even beauty brands and stuff, you’re seeing a full range of cultures, um, body types and sizes and, and ethnicities. And like, I think overall that actually opens up, you know, this whole community thing.
Again, it’s not, you know, 21 year old. White female in every single solitary photo, like, cause that’s just, that’s not the whole, that’s not the whole community. The whole community is Asian, African, American. And even I’ve even seen, uh, I disabled folks in photos because they’re still buying, uh, both, you know, beauty products and fashion products.
And so they’re, they’re being really wise. I just got, you know, tip my hat to a lot of brands that have made those decisions, intentional decisions. And it sounds like that’s exactly what Whaler’s all about too, is that you are learning, but you’re also making sure that maybe you’re educating the brands that you do work with that this, this, um, used Shopify’s words, but the diversity, belonging and inclusion concept, uh, might mean that you might wanna branch out about the types of creators that you get to work with to represent your business.
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A hundred percent. And one thing I will say is you, you mentioned photos of people being included in, in photography and add.
Uh, we just had a session with Getty images and what’s interesting is unfortunately, and it’s changing now. Stock photos.
Have traditionally not been disabled people and they’re, so Getty’s doing a lot to work on it. Kelly and her team are working on really having um, more accurate representation. So there’s a lot of work to do. And as they say, how can you have a seat at the table if you can’t get through the door? so they’re pretty compelling. So if there’s anybody that’s gonna be able to change the perceptions it’s Kelly and see talent.
Um, but it’s, it’s great. It’s great to see the development and the last couple of weeks, there’s been a lot of products that I’ve, I’ve noticed. Um, I think it’s MasterCard that launched a new card. That’s got a cutout on the side, so people would know who are blind, which card it was. There’s just….
It’s all just brilliant design innovation.
So that’s, that’s an important piece, but you, you also mentioned data and representation .
And reaching people in privacy. And I, we’re kind of back to the feature, right. We all started with contextual advertising.
That’s how we did marketing. And then we went into this era of where you could measure everything and..
Drill down to the, you know, I wanna reach a left handed, redheaded child or, you know, in, in Omaha.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So now we’ve kind of come full circle and there are, the consumers are highly aware of privacy and what’s also happening at the same time is the algorithms are shifting and they’re reacting and benefiting content that draws a community.
That’s the pause. That’s a really positive side. So you need to think about your quote unquote advertising, not as advertising, but as content and the algorithms will reward that creators are a source of first party data. Um, we authenticate our creators in our platforms so that it’s an end to end, so that we’re directly connected to the APIs of TikTok or, uh, YouTube or Twitter and the creators on the other hand and have also been authenticated so that we know we’re, we’re not scraping any data.
We’re actually getting first party data and that’s super important. The next evolution of this kind of going back again to the theme of community is through tools and data. You can look at those audiences of who creators are attracting, right. You know.
Some of the, the demographics, but there are tools and technologies. We work with tubular labs. And one of the things that we’ve been able to do with them is look at the audiences of a creator, find out and say, it’s a topic I’ll give you Minecraft. There’s a huge Minecraft community all over the place, primarily on YouTube. But yeah, we identified the strongest voices within that community and those creators, we then looked at who their audiences were also watching. So it’s almost like lookalike modeling.
And you can keep going on and on. And then tubular actually has a way of looking at how those audiences they’re indexing on and certain retailers, Amazon, and Walmart, and how their, what their purchase, um, indexes are. So we’re getting much more sophisticated and how we use data and being privacy compliant in the creator economy.
Great. Thank you for sharing that. Cause I think it’s, it’s, it’s super important to have, have clarity around that. It is definitely on people’s minds. Um, and you know, there’s brands around the world that are listening right now and they wanna understand that you get it. Um, , you know, well.
Well, at least you try to, and you know, at the end of the day, I think we’re all learning as we go here. But at the end of the day, I think there are some best practices about how we can, uh, make sure that we are CCPA. Well, the California side, the, you know, the GDPR side, I just, I think this is phenomenal. I do wanna make a quick pivot over to, I’m gonna call it more, the sweet spot for what I believe might be Whalar’s best customers that you could work with.
And so, you know, I, I, I know you deal. like with, you know, brands large and small, you know, you deal with like some fortune, one hundred probably. And then, you know, when you work your way down, lots of Shopify powered brands you’re managing too. I just I’d like to get a feel of, um, where you believe you can do your best work based on those that are listening today.
Like when, when is it the right time in their complexity or the maturity or their, or their, their, their revenue numbers. Like when’s a good time to wanna reach out to Whalar and, and consider, uh, hiring you folks for some part of their, you know, their influencer kind of creator economy, uh, journey.
I think one of the biggest hurdles is it’s not necessarily just revenue. That’s a component of it. It’s also a supply chain. And if you are not confident of your availability of product, it’s not a good time to be using creators because there isn’t really a lag. It’s like the old adage, You don’t wanna, you don’t wanna advertise. To empty shelves.
And that has been a real learning over the last 18 months, like for everybody else. And it’s somewhat obvious, but you’d be surprised. But we typically like to stick around a hundred thousand dollars as a minimum for a campaign because of the strategy we do. We are not just a, um, there are a lot of companies that just match brands with talent, right? We tend to take a more holistic 360 approach.
But again, it’s also, if there is a brand that is willing and interested in working closely and integrating with a creator, we would very clearly take on and partner with a brand that is smaller.
If they’re open to breaking new ground and doing innovative work and listening to the creators, because those are case studies. So it ‘s an important aspect for us. We clearly can service the big global multinational brands and work with everybody from, you know, Amazon, to Spotify and Estee Lauder brands, etc. But we love the forward thinking brands that are willing to be innovative and creative.
Right. One thing I wanna add to is that, you know, we’re, we’re in the midst of, you know, what’s, I guess being coined a little of a downturn, the economy a bit, you know, there’s some layoffs you hear about like in, in, in tech and around you see, hear about maybe revenue is down for some D TOC brands.
Um, you know, there could be a lot of variables. Supply chain certainly could be one of them. Um, but I also just think, you know, based on the little article that I read recently, I, you know, you, you kinda look at it and I think they, I, I think they use the term like the squeeze consumer and just inflation in general is, is really having a big impact right now on, um, and I think it’s changing about the perception and, and how, uh, brands need to pivot a bit.
And so, I dunno if you can kind of talk a little bit about saying that. If in fact there is a downturn in the economy, how do you believe Whalar and creators can maybe help, I guess, help fuel a channel that maybe some brands are not maximised out in and then, you know, can they help alleviate some of that downturn that’s coming maybe from the traditional, uh, channels and maybe having a pipe over to, you know, channels that you guys manage, just like to understand your mindset around downturn economy, but then the creator economy, how it could help maybe lift up a brand.
I think these are tough times to tell you who’s gonna be sticking around afterwards in terms of, you know, what we’re going through right now. And we’re very bullish at the moment on the creator economy for a number of reasons. Number one, it’s a collapsed, uh, funnel it’s much faster. You’ve got awareness.
Consideration. You’ve got an upper and lower funnel, all combined, almost in one post .
Right. It’s true. There is no, you need six frequencies to, to get a conversion.
We’re all learning that. And so there’s the speed. The challenge moves very quickly. Creators are almost a one stop shop.
If you think about it because they are your media, they are your content production strategy. They are your research group and they are your customers. They’re your brand safety. They’re also your earned media. So you get a lot of bang in a creator strategy. That’s if you understand it as a strategy.
Uh, I also think that it cuts through the clutter because the people who are paying attention, you can, they love creator content. And that’s something that we all have to put on our big boy pants and really acknowledge is that even though. There is a definite place for paid traditional media. I’m not saying there isn’t.
But it’s getting harder and harder to have people pay attention. And if your strategy is paid media without creators, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table because this is a medium that people love.
That audiences in particular, younger audiences, trust a creator and it’s not that they are not ads. This is something I try to explain. And if you spend some time, even just on TikTok, taking a look, they’re not ads the way we think of them as a 32nd spot or a 15 force view.
It’s content that happens to talk about a product and it’s done very creatively and very organically. And it’s a really efficient way for a brand to build a relationship quickly with a potential audience buyer. And that could be to go sample a product, to make a purchase, to sign up to a subscription service, whatever it might be.
If you’ve got a group of people, I mean, let’s just do an experiment here. What’s something that you have seen recently? It could be a show. It could be something that you’ve bought Steve. Like what’s something that you would recommend to me?
Uh, right now. Um, what have I bought lately? Well, um, I bought a pair of running shoes from all birds.
Okay. So you and I are talking, I just heard this from you. You’re not selling me. You’re explaining this something to me and we could go into it, you can tell me all about your enthusiasm about Allbirds.
And that’s got a way different impact than if you see an ad, they go, they work better together. So I think it’s in combination. And especially if it’s for younger audiences, this is a very powerful channel.
I think you made a comment somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s social or I just kind of in my research, but I think, I think you, you made a comment about the Gen Zers that they’re watching. Like half of them are, watching zero hours of ad supported television. Can you talk a bit about that too?
Well, it’s no surprise, right? I mean, if anybody spends time with a gen Z it’s , where are they? They’re in..
The Roblox, they’re on their phones, they’re on TikTok or YouTube. They, they avoid ads at all costs because they’re annoying. That’s what they say.
They’re disruptive. They’re taking them off of their, their vibe of what they wanna do. and we did this research, um, in the us and the UK, and they said, they’re, you know, on any given day they’re spending zero hours watching ads support a TV zero. Yeah. I believe you don’t see zero in research very often.
So it means it’s getting harder and harder to reach them. And I, and I think what you’re seeing is a, you know, for some rans, the machine is set up to, to still function through the traditional media channels.
But you’ve got brands like Pepsi that announced this year that they’re pulling out of the halftime show for the super bowl, because it wasn’t, you know, as they say that Joseph is not worth the squeeze.
That’s a pretty big indicator to me. Paying attention is not what it used to be. And you have to earn a relationship. And I think gen Z are just the beginning of a Savier generation that has different buying approaches that have different desires to your point about diversity, about sustainability. And we can either face it and prepare or get left behind.
And that, I think we’re at a burning platform moment. I feel it. I see it every day and I really, I can’t beat that. Drum enough to say wake up. This is happening.
I’m gonna add a tiny bit of anecdote to that too. Like, you know, with this podcast is exactly the same thing. Again, you know, I do the traditional kind of audiograms I do, as you can tell right now, we’re only recording audio today, not doing video, but the reality is that I know gen Zs, they definitely have a, a larger appetite for short form kind of video content I’ve even had, like, even my producer that I have, he’s made a comment recently.
He said, you know, we really gotta get, even though you might record 30, 40 minutes, we need to have a punchy three to five minutes. It needs to be shot down and take out the best pieces of kind of what you’ve recorded or a brand. If they have, you know, they want to do short, punchy pieces and get it out there.
It really feels that having that, uh, these are great strategies that you might want these bite size content, like on Instagram stories or reels, you really, you know, using these overlays and these visual effects and music and all these different things. This is gold for, for a creator to want to maximize and know how to execute on it.
But that is where the eyeballs are right now. If you can execute on those sorts of strategies, that’s what I have to do with this show to get more of the younger people, to listen to the show and want to become entrepreneurs and learn more about Shopify and our partner ecosystem. I’m assuming it is exactly the same thing in Whalar.
You must be, you know, this is how we have to market to these gen Zs or not watching traditional TV and these annoying TV ads. So what can we do and how can we educate, um, and find great creators that are authentic, that are following some of these short form kind of punchy video content strategies. So.
Yeah, they’re the experts, they know trends. they know the techniques, they know how to do transitions. They live and breathe this and that’s their job. And. It’s very challenging to keep up with the speed of culture.
I know. Yeah.
And we actually say, you know, we’ve we went through the stage and I like to put things in perspective.
There was this period of time when there was the discussion of cord cutters. Right. And then we, we kind of said, oh, well, they’ll come back when they’re younger, they don’t have any money. This is like, after 2008 they’ll they’ll come back and then they became cord nevers . So I think what we are at now is like, there were ad avoiders and now we have ad nevers.
And so for these unreachable audiences, their criteria is, is it content? Is it making me laugh? Am I enjoying it? I don’t mind if you’re communicating information to me, I don’t mind discovering a new product that you wanna sell to me.
But I do mind how you’re delivering that to me.
And I think in particular for Shopify merchants, it’s critical to have video. It’s critical to be able to show your product as it’s solving. Challenge the value it places into someone’s life. In fact, it’s even so much as what is your product? What are the tactile aspects of the content? What does your product sound like? If you’re clicking a keyboard, if you’re opening the packaging, those Sonic components of it are also opportunities to give the product more life and to really allow the potential buyer to see, feel experience in an emotional way that will compel them to convert.
Right. I totally agree with you. I know I preach a lot to brands about their PDP page, their product details page, and you know, it can’t just be static images anymore. Um, there has to be video, you have to use user generated content. You have to have, have brand ambassadors or have, you know, creators, um, you know, licence their content and have it available.
Um, on the PDP page, it just adds another diversity of, Hey, this is what it looks like when I unbox it, or it adds these trust signals to a conversion. It definitely helps with video. Um, I know for a fact I always push it. That’s the first thing I look at, I go, oh, you have no video yet. Okay. It’s very inexpensive to do it.
You know? It’s done better than perfect so at least get something up there and iterate over time. But I know that all those listings say, if you don’t have video an unboxing experience or are using, you know, the yacht pose, um, or the O Kendo or whatever kind of tools you’re using for your product reviews, you’ve gotta figure out a way of getting people to give you authentic, um, video reviews, um, unboxing experiences, or applying the makeup, putting on the clothes, using the product.
It will make a difference. And then, you know, from there, it just, it just evolves itself into the next iteration of, well, how can I use creators in a more wider capacity from, you know, from a paid perspective that as you said, they understand how to use these platforms, where the gen Zs are. If that’s the target audience you’re trying to achieve.
Um, it’s just, yeah, so, so fascinating. What a, what, what a great conversation this has been today, Jamie? I just, this is lovely. Thank you so much for, for, for sharing all these today. It’s just been really eye opening for me and I just, uh, I hope, uh, I hope we’re sharing wide. Um, kind of what you guys are all about.
Is there any kind of closing comment you’d like to make anything, any assets or any kind of a call to action? Um, after those have listened to this show, they might think that, Hey, this economy is something that I want to get involved in. How can they learn more? And where would you like to send them today?
Love it. Uh, go to whalar.com/research or just go to our page. We also have our own podcast, which is, everything is better with creators and it’s available. On all the channels that you guys are on, but
We, we’re really about learning and educating. So if you have a burning question, you can also reach out to me. on @JamieCentral on twitter.
Okay, lovely. I’ll put that all in the show notes. This has been an amazing conversation. I am, uh, excited for Whalar and your next kind of iteration. Um, and kind of like, hopefully we can get some, uh, some Shopify brands that, um, are on the fence a bit about kind of their next steps.
I know the economy is a little bit strange right now, but I believe that, you know, if you can leverage some of it. Strategies. Plotly a few tactics and stuff. I think that, you know, we can come out, uh, bright on the other side and, and, uh, you know, once again, thank you Jamie, for coming on the show and just sharing your knowledge and your vision and just giving back to the ecosystem. Thank you so much.
All right. Take care.
Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I’d like to thank you personally for being a loyal listener of eCommerce Fastlane. It’s my hope that this podcast is offering you a ton of value through growth strategies, tactics, and exclusive insider tips on the best Shopify apps and marketing platforms. All with my personal goal, to help you build, manage, grow, and scale a successful and thriving company powered by Shopify.
Thanks for investing some time today and listening to the show. I’m so proud and excited that you have a growth mindset and are a constant learner. I truly appreciate you and your entrepreneurial journey. Enjoy the rest of the week and keep thriving with Shopify.