Thu, 27 October 2016
115: How to Build a Millennial Brand with 10M Monthly Visitors with Derek Flanzraich from greatist.com
There's a common thread in a lot of entrepreneurs' stories: They were facing a problem, couldn't find the solution they were looking for, so went ahead and built it themselves.
That's exactly what Derek Flanzraich did when he started Greatist, a digital media startup that's all about health and fitness, without all the fluff and in-your-face marketing. As someone who has struggled with his weight his entire life, Flanzraich wanted to find a brand that would talk to him on a personal level and not as another client.
Frustrated by the fact that the world was becoming more health conscious, yet at the time seemed to be more interested in shaming those who wanted to get in shape, Flanzraich set out to stake his own claim in an oversaturated market. The key difference, though, was that instead of making his audience feel bad, he would make them feel welcome.
"It wasn't actually about the quality of what we're doing, which we felt that was gonna be best in class or whatever. It was actually the voice that really stuck out," Flanzraich says.
It was a simple change in language, but its message connected with an underserved audience that would eventually translate into 10 million unique visitors every month.
In an era where it seems like every media company is striving for page views above all else, and pumping out nothing but clickbait articles with little substance in order to attract them, Greatist takes a different approach.
"We don't think quantity is a metric that matters. Just like I don't think, increasingly, uniques and page views is a metric that matters. All of these things can be gained and aren't inherently valuable on their own," he says.
Greatist is now one of the world's most trusted brands when it comes to anything about health, fitness, and happiness. It's commitment to keeping a friendly and personal tone in all of its content has resonated with millennials throughout the world. With such a commitment to quality over quantity over everything else, Flanzraich has built from the ground up the kind of branding and engagement that most companies would kill for.
In this episode you will learn:
Thu, 20 October 2016
114: What it Takes to Build America's Largest Wine Brand (Barefoot Wine) with Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey
When you think about wine, you most likely imagine stern-faced sommeliers, or parties where tuxedos and hors d'oeuvres on silver platters are the norm.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey do not fit the stereotype. You probably wouldn't even expect them to be wine-lovers, let alone the co-founders of Barefoot Wine, the largest wine brand in the world. But according to them, the reason they're so successful is precisely because they knew nothing about the industry going in.
Houlihan and Harvey never planned on going into the wine business, but when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped on it.
"If we had known then what we know now, there would be no Barefoot Wine. It's now the largest wine brand in the world, but it would not exist if we had a clue," Houlihan says.
Not having a clue turned out to be their secret ingredient. Instead of being influenced by years of tradition and trying to fit the mold of the wine industry, they decided to do something different and make wine fun and accessible to the average person.
Despite the backlash and criticism they received, despite the fact that they had no established brand or marketing presence, they found a strategy that led them to become one of the fastest-growing wine brands in the nation. To make it even more impressive, it was all achieved without paid advertising.
"It was by contributing to the community, by supporting the same issues that our shoppers were interested in, that we were able to sell our product. Because we weren't paying for advertising, this became our form of advertising. It's what we called 'Worthy Cause Marketing,' and that's what we used throughout the nation when we started to spread the word and grow and expand," Harvey says.
Barefoot Wine has come a long way since its inception in 1986, when Houlihan and Harvey naively thought they would make a profit within four years. Now they're a little older and a little wiser, but they still possess that lively spark that led them to create one of the most popular wine brands in the world.
In this episode, you will learn:
Thu, 13 October 2016
When Zipcar first started it was nothing more than a green Volkswagen beetle named "Betsy." It was parked outside of Robin Chase's house and the key was hidden underneath a pillow on her porch. Inside the glove box was a piece of paper where you would write down the time you rented the car and the time you brought it back. That was it.
These days, Zipcar is the largest car sharing service in the world, with more than 13,000 cars spread across almost every major city in the world.
The first time Chase encountered her idea with Zipcar was when her co-founder came back from a vacation in Berlin. Among her many stories about her vacation, she told Chase about a peculiar business she had witnessed where she saw multiple people sharing a single car. Taken with the idea, Chase immediately began setting out to build a better version.
"It's an idea that we didn't even invent. We just executed it way better than other people," Chase says.
Zipcar launched within six months, with a founder who was a mother of three and had no technical experience. It was 1996, when the internet was still new and very different from what we know today. Nevertheless, Chase was determined to make her startup a reality.
We had the pleasure to speak with Robin Chase about her incredible journey as an entrepreneur, a disruptor and a world-changer, and all the lessons she learned in her inspiring career.
In this interview, you will learn:
Thu, 6 October 2016
Casey Fenton, like many of us in our 20s, wasn't entirely sure where he would go in life.
Growing up in a small town in Maine, he started to think about this entire world that existed beyond the borders of his hometown, and all the experiences he had yet to have. One thing he knew for sure was that his small hometown wasn't going to be offering him any of the new experiences he was looking for.
"That got me to start buying random plane tickets to anywhere in the world," he says.
From there it was traveling from place to place, mingling with locals and getting a backstage pass to the world's greatest cities. It was then that Fenton formed an idea for a business that would end up spanning the globe.
Today, Couchsurfing.com has more than 10 million members in over 20,000 cities around the world. When it launched in 2003, Couchsurfing was a revolutionary concept. It was one of the first businesses to truly harness the power of a sharing economy. Instead of spending money at hotels and backpacker hostels, travelers were instead offered a choice to stay in the homes of hospitable locals free of charge.
Since then, Fenton's business model has been replicated a thousand times over by the likes of Uber and Airbnb, just to name a few.
We had the chance to talk with Fenton about his entrepreneurial journey, starting with being a backpacker to becoming the founder of a multimillion-dollar company with a reach that spans every corner of the globe.
In this interview you'll learn: