Growth Marketing Camp
Growth Marketing Camp

Episode 19 · 1 year ago

How a Man in a Pickle Suit Forced a Brand Pivot

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Design Pickle Brand Director, Kate Rooney, and her partner in crime, Director of Brand Partnerships, Jess Guffey, were part of the team that in an off the cuff moment of inspiration, decided to put their colleague into a pickle suit. The video content created from this went viral, which led to a huge increase in their user base and a cosmic shift in their brand.

Bout. Welcome to growth marketing camp, where we sit down with our favorite marketers to de mystify growth and give you the insights to help turn your next campaign into a major success. Let's get into it. Welcome to the latest episode of Growth Marketing Camp. I'm your host, Shay Hoffman. Very excited today to welcome Kate Rooney and just cuffy from design pickle. They are both on the brand team over there, also hosts of the podcast creatives are the worst. Without further ado, Kate Rooney and just coffy. Well, Hey Kate and just welcome to growth marketing camp. So Stove, but you're here. We're so happy to do especially after a couple technical difficulties. We finally made it. We finally made it this long weekends. Awesome. Well, I'll have introduced you properly beforehand, but if each of you could just take like a moment and tell us a little bit about your background how you end up up a design pickle, that would be amazing. Take it away, Kate. Okay, so I started out well, I've always been in the marketing space. I started working and marketing at a travel company and that was kind of where I fell in love with graphic design itself. I was just young, fresh out of college, didn't even know that was a thing. I had taken like one course in college, but I just I illegally downloaded all the adobe software and I'm just kind of learned as I went and then eventually, over time, I start freelancing and then I worked in graphic design full time and was doing that for a few years, but then I wanted to do more. I was always intrigued with like what the actual market team was doing and how to evolve brands. So I started doing that a little bit in the the bridle space until I came to design pickle, which was a very young and small start up, and that was a little over three years ago. So I've been heading up there the brand and that time and it's just been a wild ride. So here we are. Amazing. It sounds like quite a right. Totally remember illegally downloading the adobe suite as well. Is it possible to do that any longer? I don't know. I don't think so. Thanks. So I think they figured it out. I'm a little different than Kate. I did not start in graphic design like everyone thinks. Everyone I design pickle is just naturally a graphic designer, but that's not true. We're here to set the record straight. I actually started my career with the cubs and corporate partnership, so working with different big, big brands and really got to see a bunch of different angles with companies like Master Card and General Motors and things like that, and then continue my career in that space and the entertainment side of things, working with big brands, and then came to design pickle and now I had up our pr our partnerships and various other items. Still obviously working on just our brand, but figuring out how we can integrate other brands to kind of boost up the design pickle brand that kate works so hard to make tain. So we work together on lots of different things. Right you guys? You guys have a podcast together, I think right, we do. It's called creatives are the worst and it's a unique branded podcast because it is with design pickle and we talk about all the famous and infamous creatives throughout history who they've somehow changed the world and kind of finding that common thread between all of them, because creatives tend to be a pretty, pretty unique hence the title. But it's definitely second cheek because we were all creatives. I strongly believe that everyone is creative. So it's kind of poking fun out ourselves, but we end up having some really interesting, almost philosophical conversations about creativity and tying that back to business as well. But if we laugh along the way to it's fun. Yeah, we fancy ourselves as armchair psychologist, so we get to do that with this podcast while also talking about different branding and marketing items that you would never expect with some of these creatives. So it's really fun. We have a good time doing it awesome spectacularly. I'm a listener. It's great. Highly recommending everyone out...

...there appreciate it. Yeah, like subscribe my succibe. We're getting ahead of ourselves, like in our privables already. We're already plugging. So it's back up a little bit. I guess we could have gotten into this earlier, but can you give us kind of like a high level of review of like who is designed pickle? What is design pickle? We're at flat rates. Graphic design and creative services subscription service, so businesses of any size can sign up and you just pay a single flat rate to get whichever creative service you need. So graphic design, illustrations, presentation design, and we'LL BE LAUNCHING MOTION GRAPHICS LA this year. Two Yeah, very long anticipated motion graphics play. A lot of people have been asking and it's finally happening. So you're so excited. Yeah, I mean it seems like a natural progression. I was honestly amazed that when I went onto the side I didn't see any motion graphics on there, but it's good to know that's coming down the pike. I mean that was a very high level pitch, but just you have anything to add to that? What is designed to go all about? I think we're at a really interesting point at right now at the company, where graphic design has been our bread and butter for the first six years that we've been in business and we're kind of in this evolution right now where we are working to add all these different other creative services so that we're basically working to become a onestop shop for any creative need that you have. So we use a subscription workforce. We have designers illustrators around the world and as we're adding more services, we get to work with more and more people in the creative space around the world to accomplish that for our clients and it's just a really cool point in the company right now. So I'm happy we're talking to you about this because it's been kind of under wraps, but now we're we're talking about it in the open, so that's so exciting. Wow, I love you. Know, I've been in organizations where like working at that inflection point, you know, when things like really start picking up going in a direction that we get really excited about. That's wonderful. On that note, so you guys have a particularly strong brands. I've known about you guys for years and you know pickles at trade shows, etc. The legendary pickle. You know us. Wow, I am curious. So you know the way that the podcast goes. We really like to hone in on one campaign that really stood out to you guys. We talked a little bit before this. I think that it has to do with a man in a pickle suit. You're correct, that is correct. Yeah, when you ask that question initially, that was kind of the first thing that popped into to both of our heads because it wasn't just an awesome campaign that performed really well, it actually made us pivot a little bit like our own branding, because it became such a popular thing and everyone loved it so much. So now it's been infused and almost everything that we create. But it's the PICKLESTOO guy. Yeah, it's exactly what it sounds like to it's a guy in a big green pickle stood. Awesome. If we could zoom out a little bit, how did we arrive at this place where we have a man in a pickle suit? Well, I guess we can give a shout out to Colton, who is the actual picklestoo guy. He is our video production manager and he's fantastic. But a strong bearded guy and a pickle suit, something about that image is really striking. So we back in Gosh, what year was that? Two Thousand and hundred and nineteen? Two Thousand and nineteen. Yeah, back in in two thousand and nineteen we were trying to put a promo together for Black Friday, ciber Monday, but we wanted to make it different from all of the other black Friday sales going on at the time because it's pretty competitive market. Everyone's doing the same thing. So we thought, you know, we all have these pickle suits. Everyone, almost everyone, in the company has one or you get one when you're you're hired. So we're like, wouldn't it be interesting to show how this pickle suit can change your life, or kind of like how design pickle can change your life, but through a pickle suit? And so we created this actual short documentary. I mean it's like a minute...

...long, but it's Colton and his pickle suit doing all these amazing things about and it was because he's wearing the pickle suit he's able to do it. The whole thing is so funny. Hasn't like at a wedding at one point? And Yeah, it's it's all about how wearing a giant picklesuit can change your life. I mean I think we all know that just inherently. Yeah, well, we very true. We just but I will say, having warned that pickle suit many times, it does kind of bring out some powers within you that you just didn't even know you had. It could just you feel more confidence. So the whole like the draw was get design pickle for discounting, will also give you a free pickle suit, and then the whole campaign around that was different shots of Colton as the picklesuit guy or he later became known as the picklesuit guy and it just like changed everything. We saw just a huge spike in your ship and engagement just from like the video alone, and once we saw that, we like pivoted everything and like made the whole campaign all around pickles. You Guy. Just how are you involved with the campaign? So we've got through a lot of changes just with how we do marketing and how we approach marketing, and this is a time that everyone on the marketing team, it was still pretty small, was involved in creative campaigns. We were very much so hands on duck. So I just remember US randomly. I think it was like what the Monday before we had an impromptu meeting and we were like what are we going to do for this, and then someone said it was probably Kate. Hey, what if we made a whole mockumentary about how the pickle suit can change your life? And then it just kind of snowballed from there and everyone was super bought in from the very beginning, and I think that's so rare to find one of those lightning bolt moments of creativity where it actually pays off and works and you see a result. But everyone feels it once it's kind of thrown around and brainstormed on. I think you you added a really good point their chest that I fail to include was that this was all very last minute. Yeah, things happen in the startup credibly last minute, and when I mentioned we had to pivot, it was because this concept came in the later stages, but once we saw how the results were, was like okay, we got to move on this. This is like we struck gold and we ended up like pulling in over a hundred twenty K and new revenue just from like that week alone. And to put things in perspective with that, we ran a promo just like a few months prior to this and it raised only six percent of that. So it was like the same discount, same everything, but the addition of the pickle suit and the pile suit guy just blew it up entirely. Yeah, and something else that happened to we put the video out and everyone knew their video was really funny, like people were viewing it, but it wasn't reaching that almost viral point and actually are paid ads. Director at the time was like, Hey, what if we change the video just a little bit so that the hook is in the first six seconds so that if it's popping up on someone's youtube page, they're seeing I wear an enormous pickle suit in my daily life or they're hearing that rather. And once we change that, we saw a giant spike in engagement and cross channels and the video now is approaching one million views on youtube and a lot of that is organic and there are so many comments, I mean so many likes, but people literally have said like, I spent so long trying to figure out if this man was real and where I could find him. I'm starting to think that a pickle suit has answered all my problems. This is the best out I've seen since old spice commercials, things like that that we just never expected when we threw Colton in a pickle suit and paraded him around town and girl a shot the shot. Yeah, so I was two years ago and we're still commenting on it. They're always hilarious comments. So, I mean you mentioned a few time about how they could change everything, like you had to pivot because it was so successful even can you talk a little bit about how, like, does it continually inform warm your marketing efforts, like, is it one of those types of campaigns. Yeah, I think. I mean he in a way unofficially became the mask out of our company and I don't even think we...

...reached a point where it wasn't even a thought anymore. It was like, Oh yeah, the picklesuit guy will do this. And a really good example of that is we're doing a partnership campaign with the company called Grindology, and there wasn't even a question when we were brainstorming about how we would approach it. We were like, oh no, the pickle suit guy will be dilly Wonka. That's going to be the whole theme of it, and no one questioned it. was just like no, this is happening and we can talk about all the other examples, but it really just somehow became a staple and everything that we do and if it's not, it's like, oh my gosh, where's the picklesuit guy? What are we doing? And it's our logo or company name is design pickle has pickle in there and we also have a handdrawn pickle guy in our logo, but something about a grown man and a pickle costume just adds that that more human touch to it. Of course, having a face in there is always great for marketing. In Colton's great I mean he really he embraces being picklesue guy, or PSG, as we call him internally. Yeah, like it, like just say yes G. He's been in almost every campaign we've had, like the the grindology one is dilly Wonka. Last October we did like a horror movie, cu pain, and it was the picklesuit Guy Ins fused int all these classic horror movie scenes. So it's always there and you'll continue. But we're thinking about expanding it out and having different pickle suit people, you know, whole whole community, a whole Yar. Is that the collected there go. Yeah, beautiful, done it. I mean even with some of the partnerships that we have up and coming. I mean we actually kind of coaxed it out of a brand that we're working with called Bondaro. I don't know if you're familiar with that. Yeah, thank you. Personal Yep, maybe personalized videos, and we have created this whole fairytale love story between the pickle suit guy and their bear mascot. So everyone that's listening to keep an eye out for that. But it's just kind of transcended beyond even our own brand. That we're encouraging other people to use their mascots and contents. It's been really fun. Oh, that's amazing. I know that it was kind of an off it like it sounds like it was, like it was like a fairly spontaneous decision, which you know, happens all the time it startups, but like looking back and kind of seeing the whole like how it's unforld over time. What are some of your biggest like takeaways or things that you would do, you know, either positive or negative, things that you would do differently or things that you like what a hundred percent. I'm going to take this and run with it with, you know, the rest of my marketing efforts. It's a really good question. Kate and I talked about this often. I know if she'll have some thoughts here too, but I think the way our company is transformed, we really have to make time to be creative nowadays, whereas in those times we could just get the group to other, like I mentioned, and go and act upon an idea, and so I think we've been really looking for ways to keep the team feeling creative, giving them the opportunity to be creative so that we continue that momentum and don't just get stuck in a Rut of well, we have the pickle suit guy as an example. Let's just throw him in this content hope that it works. So doing a better job of capturing those moments and really figuring out how to encourage the team to constantly be creative rather than getting stuck in the growth mindset and only focused on numbers and metrics and stuff like that. That naturally occurs as you grow, I was going to say, especially at this phase in the business where it is all about the growth and it moves so quickly, some of that can be lost along the way, but it works all with that's because design pickle were growing as a company, but we're maturing as a company too. So there's always that fine like a balance between, you know, being our quirky, funny selves but also like demonstrating that we are legitimate serious business, because we're both. We can infuse both and I think the picklesue guy was kind of the perfect example, like the evolution of that. It was get a little cartoon figure. We had other people in the pickle suit and are advertising before, but it didn't look consistent. It was just like thrown in there. But...

...then, as we have all that, we had to make it like more structured in a way, and so I think a big part of that too is, like just said, you can just, you know, throw creative ideas out there, but I think the execution of things are really important. So making sure that if you do want to have your Ascott like, maybe invest in some good photography, your some videography. It worked well with us because our video team is awesome. They made it look like, I don't know, it could have won an accounemy award. It's not saying like everyone has there such but yeah, maybe instead of you know, just taking a picture on your phone, get a nice shot, get it edited, and I think that'll take you a lot further. Even if it is a bizarre or strange image, it can still look polished and professional in the long run. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense to me. Also, I appreciate this idea of, you know, starting from a place of that's like fairly quirky, but then, to your point, being like okay, this is wonderful, but like what can we do to tighten this up and make it and, you know, have consistency, makes it so that like, like you were mentioning with polishing. It's a way to take something that's really quirky but like it also still feels like a legitimate brand. And, you know, I think it's probably also really important for like companies that your stage to find that balance. Yeah, amazing points on that note. So I think I'd be touched on this a little bit. For folks who are hearing this and they're like, Whoa, it seems like a great idea, outside of making sure that they end up with something that's polished, you know, higher an editor, etc. What advice do you have for the markers out there who are kind of also grappling with this kind of duality? Yes, I I'm ready ready for that question. Great, it's gonna Sound Weird at first, but know your audience like that is the number one thing. If you are writing, designing anything and it's for the wrong audience, doesn't matter, doesn't matter how good it is, it's just going to go right past them. So we, you know, we joke about like well then picklesue guy. How does that resonate? But it doesn't matter like how young or how old when is. People can still relate to like that humor like that can still that's still attainable. So everything that we create we still have our target personas in mind always and we start there. But then you can like almost having that structure helps you be more creative in a way, because it's not like you're just starting with like everything that you can ever think of. It's your kind of working in this finite space. But I think on top of that, to Kate and I talk a lot about you know, because we'll massage the messaging and make sure it actually resonates with our audience. What stops people in their tracks? These days it's so cluttered. Everywhere is so cluttered with ads, with social media content, with everything. So we focus a lot on okay, what is our mission statement? What is our value proposition in one sentence, and then how do we snap that up so that if someone's scrolling through Instagram, whatever they are doing, they stop and say, wow, this is me, they're speaking directly to me, and I think going through that exercise, even if it's not usable at the end of the day, is really important because it forces you to get in that mindset of I am the consumer, I am the target demographic of my own product. How would I want to be approached and once you've flip that script, you find that you're messaging is a lot more targeted and a lot more effective if you're actually marketing to people that actually need to see that messaging. Yeah, that it's not a sense to me. Out of curiosity, how are you guys testing the messaging like? What does that process look like? So many different ways. I mean we do have a performance marketing team that will take that stuff and then, you know, we'll make recommendations from brandon communications perspective and they'll test certain messaging with different creative and then come back and say this is our hypothesis, what do we need to do? So it's a very collaborative effort, I would say, across performance and brand and comms and all that good stuff, to make sure that we're seeing results with what we have out there and if we're not, why is that the case and what we can do to tweak it so that we are getting results consistently. And...

...we're always testing and using all those different tools. I mean even just google optimize or looking at Google analytics. But, like just said, each week we'll go through a set of ads and see how they performed and then, as a team kind of go through why we think this one reformed or why we think this one didn't, whether that's some of the the language use or the graphics, and then make these hypotheses, get the the new creative done and see what happens next week. I would highly recommend to making it a team effort because I think a lot of people are afraid to put too many people in a room and there are cases where there are too many cooks in the kitchen. We experience that and a multitude of our functions. But I think with when it comes to what you're putting out into the universe, the more opinions you have the are because you're trying to reach the most amount of people and it might hit a certain person in a different way than another person. So I mean we've had conversations as simple as I don't think that green color really works there, which is so simple and very detailed for that specific ad, but that person had a point in the green wasn't working. The yellow is better turned out exactly. So seek opinions and open it up to a broader audience if that's who you're actually trying to reach in the actual real world. Amazing I was just thinking about Kate. We were talking about freedom with inside a box. Right, if you have a defined set of parameters, then you know the sky is the limit, right? If you don't have any parameters, then you know stuff is filling all over the place, right, we're to get paralyzed. You don't even know where to start because there's no starting point. Yeah, exactly, exactly. I feel like there's something to be said about thinking outside the box, but like withinside a box. Yeah, that's the best way to phrase that, I think. Wonderful. Well, if you more questions, are there any folks in the marketing world right now that you guys really look up to? Think that people should be following? What's kind of on your radar at the moment? We're just talking about this this morning. I would say I'm less focused on specific people that more so what brands are doing. So a really good example is AIRBNB. We just noticed we're looking at different branding stuff for a workshop that were hosting internally, and Airbnb just updated their entire website to include and feature custom illustrations, which to us is really exciting because that's a feature and service that we offer. So to see that trend kind of building and see a really big brand like air B and be doing it, we got really excited and we're like, well, who else is doing it? Where else can we look for this? So I think that's a huge source of inspiration for us, is just looking to the big brands and seeing what are they doing on their websites, how are they phrasing their messages, how are they phrasing their emails, and what inspiration can we pull from that, because those people are usually ahead of the times. Get any thoughts? Yeah, I mean I agree their air BB's killing it. I mean I'm jealous they have their own fond kate loves fawns. I do and I really need to seek help for that. No, it's kind of Sayage us. I I look at a lot of brands for inspiration, not only just design wise, but yeah, what are they doing and what are they doing differently? I'm a huge fan of with seea. I love we're also customers, but I mean they're branding is on point, their email messaging is on point, they have the great balance of like informative and educational but also, I wouldn't call them like silly or anything, and they've definitely matured a lot more too, but still very unique in their own way. So yeah, I mean I'm trying to think of other ones. I we love lattice to, which is another service we use. That's it's all about, like the workforce development. But they're they're branding is great. They do an excellent job of talking about their different products and services that they have on their site and explaining them in a really clear way. Yeah, we're always looking for in spow everyoneesome. Well, final thing. If people want to learn more about you guys and design pickle, where should we direct folks? You can find us on Linkedin. Design pickle,...

...of course, is at design pickle. Across all social media channels. Our podcast is at creatives are the worst on Instagram, so we are taking requests for certain creative people to cover right now. If people have ideas for us, and then we're worst creatives on twitter. I think that's everything. Did I miss us, but I'll plug it again. Subscribe Rate Review creatives. There we go. Nailed it. And what was the last podcast you did? who was the last creative you guys covered? We just covered fleetwood Mac. Actually it was really wild ride. Yeah, wild ride, awesome, well. Hey Kan chess, thank you so much for coming on to growth marketing camp. This was awesome. Thank you so much for having us. It's fun. Thanks for listening to growth marketing camp. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you would give it a quick five star rating or share it with a friend or colleague looking to get a little more inspiration for their next campaign. If you want to learn more about the company behind the show, had to open sinsecom. That's open, sken skecom. Will catch you on the next episode.

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