Add Creative - Episode 2 - Show Notes

May 18, 2022

Here are the transcipt and show notes from Episode 2 of Add Creative featuring Felix Rossknecht from Route & Rise.

Our favorite 3 takeaways were: 

1) Audience niche will be the most important lever you have when creating products in the future -> focus on what you offer your audience that is unique.

2) Positioning for your customer always supersedes the tactics you use to acquire them because it transcends channel tactics.

3) Build a framework to understand your target customer based on: context, intent, and action will allow to ask the right questions when doing qualitative research studies to fuel product innovation.

🔥: Qualitative research should be one off, but a continuous string of data (or a flywheel of data) that infos how you continue to grow your brand without sacrificing what made you great.

Here is the transcript 👇

Felix Rossknecht: [00:00:00] let's say five to 10 years to keep it relatively simple that there's going to be.

A lot of leaders in a lot of niches. So that industry, that whole consumer products industry is going to become so much more personalized around a specific product or, audience niche. And it'll just keep getting more and more granular.

So it's going to become more important for brands. The very clear on who they're targeting and how and why. And, if they're thinking about product development and product expansion, how can you keep growing without losing that really tight audience focus and that personalization and, the brands that are going to do that well, that they're going to really succeed.

Welcome to ad creative. A new show from pencil about the unexpected ideas that have changed the game for DTC, founders and operators with a focus on actionable takeaways. I'm [00:01:00] chase most, any from the pencil team. Thanks for joining us. My guest today is Felix Rosskentch co-founder and principal at the DTC consultancy Route & Rise. And he gives us many incredible pieces of value here.

What you're in for is. His origins in his family business in Germany and how that shaped him. How you can create an insights flywheel to tap into the qualitative insights for product innovations. And how audience Nisha's will be a key differentiator for brands going into the future. I hope you enjoy it excited to have Felix Ross NEF fresh from Italy on the podcast. He is the principal at rotten rise, a D to C e-commerce consultancy.

Chase Mohseni: Felix, have Brita to join.

Felix Rossknecht: Thanks for having me great to be here.

Chase Mohseni: So before we gonna to dive into all of the information that, that, the listeners want to learn from you, what does route and rise do specifically for DTC brands?

Felix Rossknecht: Absolutely. So where [00:02:00] we're specialists small agency consultancy and have a really strong interest in helping.

Companies really grow that C customer base. So that's really the key focus. I've got a strong background in customer growth for over a decade. And so really diving into that opportunity with a particular focus on helping brands that are established in retail or wholesale really crank up their DTC commerce offering as well.

So getting that. Makeup, a significant chunk of their overall revenue. That's one of our sweet spots but also done some work where kind of native D to C e-commerce brands on that.

Chase Mohseni: Oh, I'm really excited to talk about what as the parallels and what maybe a native DTC brand can learn from some of the bigger players and vice versa.

I think that's such a interesting intersection because you see brands going back and forth between the two and some of the older tactics that have been used by the main street brands, the native DTC brands are using and vice versa. [00:03:00] So yeah, I'm really curious, obviously doing some research on you, you had a family hotel that you worked at, correct?

Felix Rossknecht: That is correct. Yes. Back into me.

Chase Mohseni: Yeah. So I would love to know how that informs some of the ways that are like, if that had any. Way of shaping the idea to start your business and what you've done in the, what you've done subsequently what did you learn from that experience?

Felix Rossknecht: It's good. You asking?

Do you know, it really has had an impact and that's probably only something I realized a couple of years ago, I would say after already working for quite a few years. It seems to have really shaped the way I think about business growth and taking really longer term view on getting the fundamentals of the business.

And then just, really putting the work in to build something up over the long term. It doesn't mean that you. Not have really quick successes and, fast progress as well, but just really taking that perspective because my dad was [00:04:00] the last one to run that business full-time, but he is the set of generation in that company.

It was built over a century to what it has become. It's still going now under new ownership. So it really has, it's pushed me into, wanting to work with other businesses. Which is something I'm really passionate about because I've experienced that myself. But also, secondly, like I said, just really taking that long-term approach and diving into understanding your customers better.

And then, making sure you hit those needs directly and that's what made that business successful. That's what I've taken away from it.

Chase Mohseni: Yeah. That's so fascinating.

what that does to kind of your perspective on business in general and how much you have an affinity for helping other founders or operators, because you have watched from the front lines, how difficult it is and.

Your dad didn't have access to a podcast when he was starting out. And neither did the rest of the other generations that had run the hotel before that. [00:05:00] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So that's yeah, that's incredible. So I'm really curious how you got the idea to start rotting rise. Cause I know you had a, another consultancy beforehand and had worked at various other other consultancies before that specifically.

So what gave you the specific idea to start this? Cause I know this is new, a newer business.

Felix Rossknecht: It is, I've been, like I mentioned, I've worked over a decade on B to C growth and mostly in the consumer space, but it's not just consumer goods, but also consumer finance education. They've been some of the bigger trends there and I've always been passionate about.

Company's customer base and, really building the right kind of strategies for that. And in line with that, I had an agency for a few years that was mostly working on performance marketing and digital. For a range of startups in a different, in a bunch of different sectors. So there was definitely some [00:06:00] e-commerce, but also FinTech insurance properties or quite a mix.

And it was going really well. Between sort of 20 15, 16 and 2021. So we had a good standup of five years of doing that and really great success stories growing customers, and growing brands to where they were able to take off. This was mostly in the UK and European market, but what I did realize.

On one hand, that's a really great opportunity specifically in an e-commerce and consumer products. So I really just decided I wanted to become a lot more focused on the industry in particular, a lot of. Techniques around growth, applying different industries, but we need to be specific here. And that was something where I saw the biggest opportunity out of the industries that I've worked in right now was to really, get involved in that next wave of.

Which I'm seeing happening. That's one thing. And the second one was to [00:07:00] decide, to become more focused on the customer insights generation side of things, where we've seen a massive drop off in efficiency. Digital advertising channels of the last two, three years. When we started the previous agency that it was just flying and it was still very cheap, but now that sector has really changed and, the situation is a very different one.

So I decided to relaunch as a new consultancy and route and rise to, again, like I said, really focus on that massive opportunity in DTC, especially. More established brands and then also just become a lot more focused on generating those zero and first party data insights about customer basis to really inform creative development, informed channel planning, inform the sort of broader targeting decisions.

So it was a decision which. Seven and what I recommend to my clients, you got to [00:08:00] zoom out a little bit sometimes and look at your industry as a whole, and some of the trends that are happening there. And looking at those, I realized that, that was the best business to be running for me for the next few years and the services that I need to provide to these clients to be successful.

If that makes.

Chase Mohseni: 3% that's I think that's really insightful what you're saying about the change. I think it's almost similar to that to the article that you just wrote about the different waves of DTC and reacting specifically to that, and trying to get ahead of it. I'm really curious, because I think we're going to get into insights, flywheel, and all of those things coming up here.

Okay. How prepared do you think brands are in general to be able to do this first party and a zero party, insights that deliver value to them? Because I find it's, it seems still like everyone is very is very behind the eight ball on that.

Felix Rossknecht: It's a really interesting question because I think at the same time, [00:09:00] It's never been so doable to generate really credible insights and even frameworks for getting more customers as a customer data because the technology just keeps on advancing.

And now with platform technology is just so much easier to get a level of analytics and get access to your customers. That's unprecedented, it used to take corporates to spend a lot of money on big data platforms and big research teams, et cetera. So all of that can be done a lot more simply now through various platforms that, might just charge you a monthly subscription.

That's one factor there that's becoming a lot easier, but on the flip side that also increases the pressure on brands to use those tools well, and to focus on the right kind of insights to gather the right kind of data, what to do with it, because some of your competitors will be doing it well, and they will make [00:10:00] sure that the channels to work for them.

So if you don't, then you have a problem. So that competition for. Having a very informed you and your customer has really gone up. So I think a lot of brands aren't quite there yet in terms of the, having the willingness to really dive into their customer base and, maybe taking some uncomfortable steps to maybe put some of that assumptions out on the line, they might've assumed for years that customers want this.

Maybe they want something slightly different and it might be a little bit uncomfortable to say, okay, maybe we were wrong for a bit, but let's refine this and let's see where we can take this. But also just making sure that you've the appropriate level of complexity when it comes to insights and data, depending on the stage of the company, is that the more advanced than the bigger company gets, the more elaborate and sophisticated that should become, but at any kind of size or stage, there's going to be a lot of [00:11:00] value.

And I control. If you, you've got at least some basic understandings of your customer's characteristics, but also their desires and some of their behavioral patterns that will just make such a massive difference to how you run your marketing and your growth. Yes, long-winded answer. I think there's a lot of opportunity, but at the same time, that creates a lot of expectation and brand store have a bit of catching up to do.

And it's a bit of a hangover from having cheap ads available for so many years now where you just had to worry a little bit less about getting the most efficiency from them. Now that's a different situation. A lot of the testing and the research needs to happen before something goes live, and that's where the value is going to lie.

I think in the coming years,

Chase Mohseni: you said two things that I want to dive into. I'll go into the first one. Cause I think it's it's more tactical, which is, you said that you have to have hard conversations sometimes with your clients and or internally about getting some of this stuff wired up or the [00:12:00] assumptions that we've made are.

Very far off base and we need to experiment into new ideas and have kind of hypothesis to deliver against them. How does that generally work when you are a consultant specifically? Because internally you're managing your team, how the structure of the team works, but as a consultant you're coming in and they have asked you to help them think differently.

And reconfigure the basics of their business. However, you're still dealing with personalities, power dynamics, et cetera. So what's been your strategy on dealing with that specifically while also delivering the value that you were brought into to give

Felix Rossknecht: It's a very fine line. You gotta be really careful to not be too pushy or, accidentally sentence.

Maybe people feel insecure about what they have built and what they have done, which is usually really great stuff. But at the same time, I'd just try and, really question assumptions with I, I [00:13:00] tried to do that with a sort of really constructive and supportive. Attitudes.

So you know that the value of getting a consultants or a team, a small team of people in is to get a different perspective. And that as someone very smart, who I follow has said several times, it's quite hard to read the label on the job when you're inside the job. So a lot of brands have spent so much time and energy building a business.

It sometimes takes someone else to pull them out of it a little bit and say, okay, maybe some of these assumptions here, we might want to get hot data on whether that's, some of the content preferences of their clients or how they want to purchase, how do they tend to shop for these kinds of products online?

So there might be some changes that would be worth making at some point. So what I try to do is. Listen people out. So where do they take their assumptions and insights from? What have they learned? What have they tried and then carefully push back and, take nothing for set [00:14:00] in stone.

And then see where those make sense to get some more validation and some extra data and and yeah, take it from there, but it's a.

Chase Mohseni: Yeah, absolutely. That's that's really fascinating. I think the next thing that came from the thing you said before was you want to get insights before you actually run your tests or set them live.

And so the way that I look at this, like people do a lot of postmortems on things. They also have. I dunno, this is not a real word, but they made the boredom things, but they don't do a lot of 'em didn't blow up pre-mortems. And so I'm curious how you instruct people to do them and how what's a mental model or a framework that people can use.

That's it's relatively actionable in your mind to be able to do that, because I think a lot of people just throw tests up and again, at pencil we say do that. You want it, you want to do as much testing as you possibly can, but there's also the, Hey there's money. The risk attached to every single test that we run.

So how do we feel more confident [00:15:00] in a world where saved, maybe we don't have enough data to support the tests, but we know that we need to run it anyway.

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, exactly. And it's amazing for us to be talking about this because you guys obviously do an incredible job at making it very possible to test a lot of different variations and really become very granular and people should continue doing that.

And it's incredibly powerful. I've probably come from a history of the last years where that was the main activity for learning about customers' preferences was essentially just yeah. Throws tests out there. And that's a really good thing. So coming from from mostly a startup world where I've done quite a lot of work There's now gotta to have to be a move in this slightly different direction where, if you're talking to more established companies that don't do enough testing, they just do the thinking upfront.

So people can come from two different angles. But I was saying it needs to be somewhere in the. It's [00:16:00] very powerful to continue using platforms for testing, whether that's formal or just letting the algorithm do its work, which is obviously going to keep playing a role. But when you go into these campaigns and channels and sort of granular tests, this.

Obviously at quite a cost attached to creates a production Wilson, potentially the brand implications of putting stuff out there for everyone to see that you've got to be happier with. And if you're not, my damage your brand, especially if you, if D to see e-commerce is one of your channels, but you might be selling 60, 70% through retail, then your brand perception will play a massive role though.

The way to go about this really is to use potentially some sort of direct interactions with customer potential customers, on a qualitative side. So some in-depth interviews, couple of focus groups that can then inform the kinds of things, the kinds of [00:17:00] stumbling blocks you might come across, or, maybe even some early feedback on.

People like to see what people don't like to see. You can then come up with some initial concepts for different creatives or different assets, whatever might be on that basis. You could maybe do some slightly more qualitative, quantitative insights there. Maybe get couple of surveys out with either with existing customers or with some panels that can be quite easily accessed.

Then take it to the next level where you actually finalizing some of these assets and then running the digital ad campaigns to, to test for them. But it's really valuable to validate some of these assumptions you might have during that creative production process. It's obviously the biggest lever these days and making digital ads work is the creative.

That makes sense. That's how everyone talks about it. How do you make the creative work is not by more creativity? Usually it [00:18:00] might be more AI maybe if I talk to you guys, but it's definitely also just doing more homework. To come up with the right kinds of concepts and that means understanding the customer better.

And then, we might talk about this, but having a more narrow positioning as well with your product. So that's the sort of, that's, they're the leading indicators of whether it's going to go. Yeah. That's

Chase Mohseni: very fascinating. Again, I've had been having some of these chats with people and understanding your customers keeps coming back to the four.

And I think it's incredible to sale these considering what you're talking about. CPMs different channel distribution, et cetera, is understanding what customers are there and your customers are and how to interact with them. I was curious. Earlier, you said there are some simple tools that you can use to some of these insights.

So do you recommend to people say they have a small budget? What can they do [00:19:00] to go and interact with prospective customers? If they're using current customer.

Felix Rossknecht: It's essentially all free if you want to go super simple. So if you have an existing customer base, you could literally email them or send them a type form and jump on a zoom or a hangout and have some of these conversations. The tech doesn't need to be complex there. You just need to make sure that.

You're actually asking the right sort of things you engage in where people in the right kind of way, which can be hard if you're not used to that kind of work. The colleague in my team who runs that side of the business, been doing this for a decade to, learn how to speak with people.

So you've actually find out useful things. But the tools don't have to be too complex there. What's obviously then what comes in, which is a bit easier. There are a bunch of platforms out there that enable you to recruit. People for interviews or for surveys or focus groups for relatively small fee.

So they have these existing panels that you can tap into and you can add some different segmentation on [00:20:00] it. And again it's quite affordable actually. It's not out of reach for anyone which is really quite powerful. And then obviously there's barriers. Analytics tools that happen to that Shopify and other platforms like that.

So that just makes it a lot easier to get more granular data on, what's actually happening. So there's this kind of, there's obviously different types of of customer data that you can access that I tend to talk about them in terms of the context. So that's where the people are, who they are, what are the sort of users.

Patterns and preferences, but then you also want to think about that intent. What are they hoping to do? Can you dig into some of the search data? Can you look at sort of forums and do some social listening and see w what are people looking for specifically in that kind of product category, and then there's the action that they're taking.

So that's stuff that you can measure on your website. On your ad channels very specifically. So really building the [00:21:00] context, the intent and the action, that full picture there's various analytics tools and insights tools that, people can find that the one that suits them best do a quick Google around for that kind of stuff.

But. Yeah. Compared to, maybe when I started doing this a decade ago, where it was mostly the corporates that were doing all of that kind of stuff you can get pretty quick readings on any of these things and it doesn't take massive projects anymore. So it's just become a lot more agile to get these.

In size and specific bits of feedback on campaigns, for example like maybe give you one, one nice example, which I read about recently as well is a company in the UK called bloomin' wild. And they do a lot of gifting online for flowers and, other sort of gifts for holidays.

And they decided for one of their Valentine's campaigns a couple of years ago. To just figure out whether people actually want red roses because they thought it's probably a bit cheesy. What are we doing here? And they did some surveys, some interviews to really figure out that [00:22:00] people actually hate getting red roses for Valentine's because it's very uncreative.

So they decided not to sell any and turn it into a nice sort of public awareness campaign. And there was, I think that the biggest mountains they had. 30% so make quite a big difference. And it's just a small little research project to get, just get somebody to nation for what hunt you might already have.

And that's all it needs to be. But the practices to just keep doing that regularly on a continuous basis, and it just keeps getting.

Chase Mohseni: This is really fascinating coming back to your idea of positioning and how you can get quick insights. And there are, there is information out there I have found, and this is not to denigrate anybody, but, we all get very myopic.

It's like you said, you can't see the label from the glasses. And a lot of times, we think oh, the industry is all going this way. And so if they're going right, we all need to go. And it's that's actually not where the blue ocean is. The blue ocean is if you go left [00:23:00] taking all the things you know about, what's on the.

And so I think it's a really interesting intersection and I ha I quite love this because I haven't bought my wife a red rose. This is, I think the first year we had a Valentine's day for this very specific reason that she said, let's try something new, let's try something new and interesting here.

So I wanted to dive into to two things. The first thing is and we'll essentially dovetail next into the idea of positioning, what ideas do you find have changed the game for your clients?

As you help them creatively think about positioning, et cetera, how have you been able to unlock things for them that maybe they haven't.

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, it's a good question. I probably can't take too much credit for that, but when my client make good decisions, I try and open that view to what's already going on and what's invisible in the space as a whole.

And to be honest, that's, my, my one big recommendation and the one big [00:24:00] realization maybe as well, for me, that's become really important is to. To zoom out the day-to-day and maybe even some of the, a lot of the discussion that's happening in the eCommerce space or the performance marketing space and think about what are the most important factors for us to be successful right now.

And in most cases, you actually need to look at some of the maps that say the macro effects of what's going on in the economy, but also in the industry and in your category. Lots of brands in the commerce DTC space have been thinking about themselves as digital brands, commerce brands of DTC brands and specialists in those fields where really, I think we'll be now seeing, because it's become so much more saturated as a space.

Brands need to now think of themselves primarily again, has a fashion brand or footwear brand or cosmetics brand or toiletries or whatever might be. And it sounds like a bit of a daft insight because obviously [00:25:00] they were before as well, but because we've had such a sort of massive catching up. In the e-commerce space for, a lot of categories to now be covered on e-commerce it's now very competitive.

So now how do you stand out? You find a really credible positioning within your category, really credible niche around a specific audience or a specific type of product or a need that you're solving. And you're, you're really using that to have the best possible product in that space.

And these are usually questions related to the category or the industry. So that's for me, this sort of idea of this third wave of DTC. That we're in now. So I think when had good success with signs, it's really making people realize too to understand that industry incredibly well and that cat screen that.

And then overlaying that with what we've just been talking about is to really understand the customer and using that to optimize the channels. Yeah, I [00:26:00] dunno if that answers your question, that's how I tend to give my clients a really good view of what's going on in the space, from my perspective, and then bring in what they already know.

The category and the products where the client is always the expert compared to me. And that needs to obviously be combined all the time.

Chase Mohseni: So what I'm hearing essentially is if we built this into a framework, is we zoom out and look at kind of the base level. In the simplest form, the base level of what's going on in the category as a whole, not just online but offline and in stores, et cetera.

And then we layer on the expertise of the customer. Or your client and synthesize the two things to be able to say, Hey, here is from first principles. What we know is happening in the space. And then these are your specific insights. And we build, we start building, positioning and and different tests from there.

Am I getting that right?

Felix Rossknecht: Yes, [00:27:00] absolutely. I think that's really nicely put and it's interesting because I'm straddling that. Th those two different worlds. The more of the consultancy side and some of the corporate side and the very hands-on downs agency growth, digital marketing, e-commerce worlds, and, people in consultancies they often only talk about the industry.

Factors and, some of these bigger trends, and then you get a lot of people, especially in the eCommerce on marketing side that only talk about, attribution and they only talk about iOS 14 and they talk about how to make specific channels work. And so it really needs to be a bit of both, right?

Because most of the growth challenges in an e-commerce brand. And not really related to what they're doing on specific channels. But then more related to how they position themselves within the industry and, the level of knowledge I have about that customers and their market.

But then obviously, you need to keep refining that just as much as you need to keep [00:28:00] refining how you use the channels and whether you can use tools like pencil and others to really sharpen that up. But. It needs to be, it needs to be a bit of both and that needs to happen regularly.

So it's not just once you've launched a product or a brand, you've already done all your industry research and then that's done. You need to get, keep watching the category. Trying to refine the target audience that you have. This is not a one-off piece of work, but it's something that happens continuously.

So yeah, I think the way you put it with.

Chase Mohseni: So what's fascinating about what you just said is, and I think it might actually scare founders is this is a continuous cycle of insights. And so it's the insights flywheel that you and I have spoken about a little bit. What I think is fascinating or more action about that as saying, it's not about doing these huge reports, every.

[00:29:00] Every month, every two weeks, it's about having a continuous flow of information that goes into a pool that then you can leverage on a regular basis rather than having to do these kinds of, these McKinsey studies, if you will. But I think it's how you think a brand can action that in a really simple and a really simple way, because.

If you said, Hey, chase, you have a X brand and you have to be researching continuously. I'd be like, how do I do that? I'm trying to just hit my revenue targets. And it's yeah, but you can't hit your revenue targets. If you don't do the research to be able to understand your customers and the positioning you need to do better.

And I think you said it perfectly, which is there's the macro kind of McKinsey studies. And then there's the micro, Hey iOS for peanuts affecting your business. And in the middle is actually where. The context of the brand really lives. And what's actually important because it informs both things. So I'm curious, how would you do this in a simple way of say you and I started a brand today and it's called Felix and chases candles [00:30:00] today.

How would we be able to continuously pull insights and action on them on both levels, the micro and macro.

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, completely. I would say there's probably two steps to it that I would go through and, that applies to a new brand, but it probably applies to an existing brand and, one that's up and running.

So that the first one is definitely defining the scope of what you need to know. And how you can find out about that. I would say, like what I mentioned that. The three categories of insights. So context, intent and action that usually a good framework to think through. Yes. What do we need to know?

What do we already know about customers? What our assumptions and which of these assumptions are too vague that we, have to actually get some more information on them. So that's probably. One to take some time to brainstorm and works through the couple of people. Maybe take, ideally take a half day or a couple of half day workshops to [00:31:00] really understand all the knowledge that's currently there and all the assumptions that are there.

And then coming up with a few questions that you want answered on a one-off and on a regular basis. And then there's two more actionable steps after that one is, if it's. If it's the first time that some substantial insights works being done, whether that's in a new brand or an established brand, or like some of my clients and established brand and retail that needs to be bigger in e-commerce, it's almost like a different business stream.

You want to do a one off. Of research and data generation that is going to form the foundation where, you don't need to do it constantly. So there's usually qualitative aspects. That will help inform the quantitative aspects, so when you having some in-depth conversations with existing or potential new customers, it actually brings up a lot of the things that [00:32:00] you need to know more about so that, some assumptions come out about, what they like about the brand or what they don't like about the product or how they tend to shop in that sort of category.

And then you can form some more hypotheses with. And use them in a more quantitative study. You can use some data survey tools and some tapping into some of these existing audiences and panels which would be worth doing definitely as a one-off. And again, it depends a bit.

What are the main pain points right now for the brand? Is it about retention or is it more. Making some of the conversion rates improve on certain channels or certain cohorts. So just really letting yourself be guided by the main problems you're trying to solve. First step defining the scope and the question second step do a one-off piece of let's say one or two month period that will generate a bit of a report.

I said carefully because we don't need lots of slides. We just need a one off piece of learnings. And then the third step is what, how can we do [00:33:00] that continuously? Can we generate data continuously on all the different aspects? So that could be. Asking people to submit a couple of pieces of data.

When they sign up for an email news app, you can set up a full minutes of easily post-purchase surveys. You could do automated questionnaires, maybe three months after the first purchase or three months after the third one or whatever might be right for you. But also making sure you get all the right analytics tools.

In place that are going to generate that data going forward. So that there'll be some of that already, that I don't think there's any brands that are not doing any of this, but can you put in place two or three things that will just keep running automatically generate that extra bit of data and then give yourself a sample schedule.

So every quarter you're going to pull all that data together, have a session with your. Management team and, discuss any trends you've seen there. And then maybe once a year, [00:34:00] you repeat the sort of more in-depth one-off piece, which has a bit more qualitative aspect to it. And, sometimes, especially when companies are growing quite fast from one year to the next, your audience base could actually look quite different.

If you're going from relatively small numbers and the doubling or tripling. That might actually be quite a few new audience members because yeah, as a brand grows, you attracting slightly different people as well. So that would be my sort of process. It doesn't have to be super expensive.

It doesn't have to take loads of time, but it does take enough time or you need to take enough time to do it properly. So yeah, if you're, if you want to. Going out of business in three months, when you need to get your numbers up, otherwise you can't raise more funding, et cetera, et cetera, then it's going to be difficult to do this.

So you shouldn't get into that position in the first place and give yourself a little bit of that time, for sure.

Chase Mohseni: I want to. Ask a few more questions here, first. [00:35:00] You we've already talked about how the landscape is changing. We've essentially talked about how you can build an insights flywheel for your team. What the over-hyped right now. I think obviously there's a lot of things. So insights, flywheel, I think, is still actually under hyped to be completely Frank with you.

What do you feel when you talk to brands is being over-hyped right now is a silver bullet.

Felix Rossknecht: I wa I want to say anything to do with the Metaverse and Web3. Which are all pretty fascinating topics, but we're all blockchain, even we're a long way away from that. Having any impact in consumer products. But my main point is that, people get too hung up about channel tactics generally.

And obviously, privacy changes. I think they're right to be happening. There happened massive impacts, very difficult for brands. And yeah there's going to have to be some new ways of approaching these channels, but if that's all you're thinking about, then it's going to be really hard to get away from that.

There's a lot of brands that are still [00:36:00] doing incredibly well using Facebook ads and a combination of other channels, because they've got that customer journeys. They have a pretty strong unit economics. So it continues working. So yes, tactics overhyped and positioning and insights generation, I think is generally under hype.

That's why I keep talking about it until people get, get bored of it. No, I think

Chase Mohseni: it's going to become more and more a part of everyone's essentially, stack, if you will, we all have these these tech stacks, I think, we're going to have to build more into that regarding positioning and and insights like you're saying.

So what's the next what's your big idea of where the industry will go next?

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, it's a great question. And, wish I could forecast that perfectly. I think for me, like I said, it, I see this as the third wave the first. Being at the very early days of big e-commerce.

When eBay and Amazon really pushing [00:37:00] into that and things started really taking off the second way of being all these DTC leaders, native DTC leaders that popped up, Harry's Warby Parker et cetera, et cetera. And they benefited from really cheap ads and quite low saturation in a lot of categories.

So we really saw very fast growth of some category leaders, not just individual products, but category leaders. And that's really shifted again, the last sort of two to three years. So what I'm envisaging now for the next, let's say five to 10 years to keep it relatively simple that there's going to be.

A lot of leaders in a lot of niches. So that industry, that whole consumer products industry is going to become so much more personalized around a specific product or, audience niche. And it'll just keep getting more and more granular.

So it's going to become more important for brands. The very clear on who they're targeting and how and [00:38:00] why. And, if they're thinking about product development and product expansion, how can you keep growing without losing that really tight audience focus and that personalization and, the brands that are going to do that well, that they're going to really succeed.

so I guess there's, I think there's probably a couple of different models that. See, quite a lot of these kinds of aggregators that will buy lots of different e-commerce brands and essentially share some of the backend and some of the knowledge around digital marketing and build like a new Unilever built around the online worlds.

But there's also other cases of brands essentially launching new products or buying. Other startups targeting very specific audience that is slightly different from the existing one. So this is what I call these cascading positionings, where you're really not losing your existing customers by becoming too broad and too generic.

But you add a [00:39:00] new. Of opportunity into your business. So you know, that, I think that's going to be really powerful. I think my second prediction is that the more established wholesale retail brands are going to have an edge in e-commerce and to see over the coming years and something about this space and they want to go into all the details, but essentially that because of the increased.

Granny lousy, like lots of different niches, lots of different types of products, any kind of established brand can really, push in and they own their niche. They use their existing customer base to really have an edge when it comes to the acquisition activity as well. So I think, yeah, we're going to, we're going to see more growth in e-commerce from established brands pushing in.

To online channels. And and we're also going to have a really detailed patchwork of lots of different brands targeting different audiences, which is going to be great for the customers [00:40:00] name. So I don't think about it.

Chase Mohseni: Yeah, that's great. You answered the question that I was going to come from there, which is, does it look like you feel like behemoths take over control of The large scale growth that a lot of these upstarts, the Allbirds and Harry's and dollar shave clubs of the world that had in the second wave.

And then do you think it's going to be more about these niche brands building profitably so that they can exit, from a role of like the Roseo or, a bigger kind of Unilever type company buying them, is that kind of where you see everything going? I  You answered that already, but that's what I was taking out of that.

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, I think so. There's always going to be a trend towards concentration, that's what happens. There's essentially four or five big consumer products brands in the world now, and they've got their have a lot of power and a lot of cash so that, they're going to keep buying brands and then there's going to be this new type of aggregator where it's like a new type of conglomerate essentially.

I think there's a lot of room for [00:41:00] independent brands as well for, to grow quite a bit. And the potential is definitely there. So you, of course, you can just be your lifestyle business and you just have one type of product and you see what, how far you can get quite a nice business, but.

Th there's a lot of growth potential to add these additional bits of positioning, these different audiences these additional kind of segments. And that's the, that's gonna be the challenge. How do you keep growing without losing your audience focus? It's I think, yeah, I think in 20, 30 years, it's going to be some big news.

Sticking out of the Unilever's and nestlé's, that are more online, fast and digital, native. And I think that'd be a good thing generally. Yeah,

Chase Mohseni: I agree completely with you. I've seen some really great brands come out, but like you said, it is a little bit different than it was even five, 10 years ago.

Considering what the macro headwinds that people are dealing with. Okay. So we're going to go into rapid fire right now. Where do you get your best [00:42:00] ideas?

Felix Rossknecht: When I exercise, I think because then there's no distractions and suddenly these things pop to my mind.

Chase Mohseni: How often do your parents ask you what you do? Exactly.

Felix Rossknecht: Oh, they've given up a long time ago. know, know, My dad used to have a hotel and a restaurant, so that's pretty obvious. So they try, I think, once a year we sit down and we have a bit more of a chat, so yeah.

Chase Mohseni: What DTC buzzword do you hate most?

Felix Rossknecht: I don't see, I don't even know the buzzwords because I try and not listening to that.

Chase Mohseni: Yeah. You have transcended the buzzword dumb. That's great. What skill has served you best in life?

Felix Rossknecht: Gaining perspective. So I've actually just been fortunate to have a few months out during the pandemic to reflect where I wanted to go next and you know how to relaunch the consulting business. So just having the Headspace. Yeah, zoom out and, getting some of that macro view and the micro view.

So yeah, [00:43:00] maybe, switching off, zooming out,

Chase Mohseni: what's the best piece of advice you ever received?

Felix Rossknecht: And that's going to be related to what I said in the beginning. And so just really take a long term perspective on, on building the business and this kind of folk voices focus on the value add and, building up over time.

Chase Mohseni: What would you tell someone who is listening and just starting out either a brand or someone who wants to be a consultant, what would be something you would give them to think about?

Felix Rossknecht: So just be really focused on what you think the best opportunity is. So for a brand, is that, is there a very specific market that looks a bit underserved right now? Or, Does that mean similar for consultant? Where can you really add value and then making sure that there's actually a strong commercial proposition in it and it's, it's not just some ideas of [00:44:00] something that someone else is doing and I'm going to try and copy a book.

Yeah. W where's the gap to focus on and how's that going to make good enough money to build a good business?

Chase Mohseni: That is where I want to stop because you just dropped. He dropped it, like it's hot right there. I feel like I want to thank you. How should people reach out to you? Where should they find you on LinkedIn or Twitter or just through the route and rise website?

W what's the best.

Felix Rossknecht: Yeah, so roots and rice they'll call move routes and As you'd say, I'm usually most active on LinkedIn. So people can find me that you have your free to any links. They can email me if and I'd love to continue to come to.

Chase Mohseni: Great. I appreciate your time.

Thank you so much for joining us here in sharing your immense insights. It's really refreshing to talk about the business in this way.

Felix Rossknecht: Amazing. Yeah. Thanks for your questions. Yeah, I'd love to be continuing the chat.

Chase Mohseni: Oh, we'll do this again. No doubt. [00:45:00]

Thanks for listening to this episode of ad creative from pencil. We hope you enjoyed our chat and learn a thing or two, they can help you grow your business and think more creatively. If you have someone that you think we should interview hit me up on Twitter. We want to have the most amazing line of possible.

Also, if you could please share and review this, we want to help as many people as we can. Until next time, add some creativity into your life. Thanks.


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