A Look Inside Nike's Marketing Strategy with John Paik


John Paik, Executive Marketing Consultant, joined the show to talk about his time working on the Nike marketing team, his favorite campaigns and activations that he was apart of and what makes Nike's brand so unique. 

He discusses marketing 101 and why brands need to really understand and focus on their consumers and get to know them. How to take risks and do things a little differently to make your brand stand out. Why does your consumer buy your product and what sets you apart from the competition?

Here are the highlights:

[15:20]: Do Brands Understand Who Their Consumer Is?  


“I'm a little old school in the sense of go out there and talk to consumers. With the new age and tech and social media go through that way and talk to consumers. Or maybe go out there as a group and spend a day with the consumer. Nike does that actually still to this day, we call it "consumer dig" where we go out there and meet a consumer and spend a whole day with them. Just to see why they do it what they do, why they love our brand or why they love our competitor's brand.

Because of the fact that it's the voice of the consumer as well as we consider the consumer the athlete. I really try to educate brands to really focus on who your consumer is and then kind of draw that brand journey or brand consumer map, helping them realize who that is and how to go beyond that and be able to tell a great story.

Full Transcripts

Ep 27-  A Look Inside Nike's Marketing Strategy with John Paik



[00:00:15.40] David:  All right, guys. He is an executive focusing on marketing strategy, he's a relationship builder, he's a speaker, and he did some great stuff over at Nike as a global sports marketing lead. Now John Paik joins me. What's going on, John?


[00:00:28.02] John:  Not much, David. All is well and just trying to keep up with all the marketing trends these days.


[00:00:33.55] David:  Yeah, excited to dive into it with you, man. I always start the show with the kind of a random question, so I will ask you this, what was your favorite Super Bowl commercial this last game?


[00:00:43.53] John:  No, great question. I think I had two specifically, one was with Microsoft, it was the first Microsoft ad I've ever seen to actually had the emotional tie, actual story to tell, and it wasn't about just technology it was about helping others in the society. So I love that portion of the ad. And I think another one was interesting, most people might not like it, but I thought T-mobile was really interesting. It was just text messages, right? And it was funny content text messages, and I thought was really authentic and the Gen Z's and the Millennials, and even our era understood and got it. So I mean, those two specific ads were really interesting with me.


[00:01:24.09] David:  Those stood out to me too. I think for me also the NFL 100 commercial, I'm sure you saw it, it was really well done. It's so cool to see all those people in one room. That was really good. And I think Expensify I thought what's interesting too. I think it kind of touched on the Millennial market and it found a different way to get their brand out there. But definitely agree.


I want to have you kick it off for the audience or the listener, just your background, how you got your start in marketing, where you are today, and kind of where your focuses are? We'd love to kind of hear your story.


[00:01:55.55] John:  Yeah, my story is an interesting one, right out of school I actually worked for the basketball team with the Seattle Sonics, I worked my way up from sales to group sales to business development. And I always wanted to be a part of or work with the athletes, and so I had a mentor who is the assistant GM, Richard Cho, at the time kind of took me ...


[00:02:18.05] David:  Is this is the Gary Payton days?


[00:02:19.51] John:  So my first year was we traded Gary Payton for Ray Allen, and you can only imagine as an inside sales guy, first job out of college, what people would say? We got some amazing criticism for ...


[00:02:36.54] David:  Yeah, Ray Allen had some good years up there though.


[00:02:40.00] John:  So everybody we had criticism at first, but then with Ray Allen doing his thing, 40 years of being in the City of Seattle, it just made sense. And so kind of worked my way up, and then the team unfortunately got sold to Clay Bennett who's a KC Energy guy, and he decided to move the team, and so I decided to move to Portland. Network my way and got an opportunity with Nike, starting in sports marketing specifically in action sports, and then kind of just worked my way through building relationships with athletes. Our motto or our objective was seek, sign, and service, and leverage the athlete.


And then during that time Nike loves to move people around to get the overall holistic experience of marketing, so I had an opportunity working in 2013 as a main director for the Winter Olympics in Sochi to working with the innovation team after that, also sportswear, then going back becoming a sports marketing guy again because our main focus, our motto is it's always the voice of the athlete, and so we need to build that kind of relationship with them and make sure that everything involves around them and how do we tell an amazing story through their lens within our brand power and our product.


So after that, yeah, just kind of consulting in my own thing right now, I enjoyed it, and try to educate brands to really strategize and understand where the consumer is going right now, and how do we figure that go to market strategy and really focus on building the proper strategy in regards to telling an amazing story with that product.


[00:04:26.18] David:  I love it. I wanted to touch on your time at Nike for a little bit, because I think what's really amazing to me is the quality that they uphold. I mean, you just don't see anything across any of their portfolios, anything on social, anything in magazines that don't have that high quality crisp Nike look. From your time there, how did they make sure that stays paramount?


[00:04:45.49] John:  Yeah, I mean, we always have the highest standards in quality and how we do things. So if we feel really uncomfortable about a specific ad or a project that we're doing or even activation, we will completely kibosh it even though we know that we spent let's say 3 to maybe 10 million dollars on it, we understand that it's the quality and we have to be authentic in doing it. And if we feel or the athlete feels that it's not quality up to our par, we'll totally just start over and do it right.


[00:05:17.05] David:  There's like some interesting stories I've heard where Disney, there's like Disney police that go out there, and if somebody paints a mural of Mickey Mouse at an elementary school they will get a cease and desist order because it's really important for them to hold that brand integrity and make sure Mickey is always shown in the best light, and that's obviously at the Disney level. But yeah, I've always felt with Nike, and I think HBO does this too, kind of quality over quantity, it feels like ... How does that process work? Does it have to go through one department? Does everybody just get it internally to make sure everything is held to that standard?


[00:05:49.57] John:  Yeah, I think most people think Nike is just a big company and we all work together, which we do. But I think what people don't realize is it's in specific silos, so like if you're in the basketball division or the track-and-field division or action sports or Olympics division, each of those silos or categories that we call it actually have multiple functions. And so we actually have to work with each and every function to make sure that our integrated content or integrated strategy is aligning up for that season, and then we're making sure that our product has that right fit for that season, and then the athletes fit with that product, then tell that amazing story.


So it's not just one person making that decision, it's literally a team making that decision, and then presenting that to our leadership team.


[00:06:37.24] David:  Got you. So those silos report to the overall Nike umbrella to make sure it falls in truth with their brand identity and what they want to do and what they want to get out to the public.


[00:06:46.37] John:  Yeah, exactly, exactly.


[00:06:48.24] David:  Got you. What was your favorite campaign while working at Nike?


[00:06:52.28] John:  Yeah, I have a few actually. I mean, actually not even a few, a lot. I think one of the most memorable ones I've ever done was as action sports was just coming up, in I'll say 2008 to 2013 we were a focal point of a just do it campaign. And being able to really educate consumers that Nike is not just about the traditional sports of basketball, track and field, or baseball, or football, but it's we have another diverse portfolio of action sports, it's skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, wakeboarding, BMX, and just to kind of educate consumers that that's where we're at, like we're diversifying, we're trying different things and we want to help athletes just grow potentially and be a better athlete as well as be better within the community.


I think that was one of my favorite campaigns for sure. I think continuing that, it's definitely the equality campaign for Black History Month, and really focusing on, again, we're one company but we are one with the community and we want to be or stand behind the community in making sure that not just one person is a focal point of fighting or believing in their beliefs. We want to go behind that and do that as well.


[00:08:13.28] David:  How much of your campaigns, and maybe you can talk to a successful campaign that you remember is more based on awareness, is more based on products pushing, where would you say did it kind of land for you guys when you would go out to market with these campaigns?


[00:08:29.17] John:  Yeah, I mean, I think for us we definitely wanted to educate consumers within our product, but by doing that it's kind of working hand in hand and figuring out a story telling to that product. Because if you go to a lot of Nike activations or if you go to even a Nike town within a big city like Nike New York or even like Chicago or Portland or LA, you'll notice as you walk in there's a complete artistic view of things. And people are kind of drawn into it and kind of wanting to see that artistic view. But what's great about that is that we actually are able to tell a story, number one, but educate the consumer about the product and what it's all about.


[00:09:09.09] David:  Well, it's funny you say that, because Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors and he said ... he was talking about marketing and brand awareness and he said, "Nike doesn't have a hotel, but the fact that I just said that you can already picture what that hotel would look like."


[00:09:20.09] John:  Exactly.


[00:09:21.22] David:  It's so true. So you guys have ... Nike's found a way to embed that quality and that look and that feeling almost into every consumer's brain, which is not a short order.


[00:09:32.22] John:  Yeah, no, I agree. I think because of we've always had that high standard of our quality over quantity, even though we want to continue building that quantity aspect of it we just want people to envision like what is Nike, obviously it's just do it, but what is beyond just do it? It's high product, high quality, innovative, and beyond that like what does that look like internally like looking within your imagination and my imagination and is there a bond or a relation to that? And I'm sure there is if you think about what Nike is.


[00:10:08.16] David:  And I feel like one thing that Nike does well too is sometimes you'll see this, but more times than not there's not a clear call-to-action, there's not a picture of the LeBron shoe at the end of the commercial. It's just an amazing story about LeBron or something that kind of gets your emotions going. And that has to be from the top down from a long time ago, maybe even Phil Knight. But, hey, we're going to get our brand out there, we're going to make you aware of it, and then we know when you walk into the store you'll know what that checkmark means and you'll know that it's quality and you'll go for it, rather than, hey, sale on LeBrons, get them now for $99.99 type deal.


[00:10:40.27] John:  For sure. I think that kind of leads into influencers, right? Like, we at Nike have always said we believe in our product 100%. It's always going to be a 50/50 shot if we just throw the product and put a sticker on it and a price on it. But if we say, "Hey, here's the athlete that believes in it, tested it out," He or she had said their piece in regards to how to correct it for them to become a better athlete, we correct that because we know that as they become a better athlete our consumers want to do the same thing. And we tell them that story, consumers already have that relation with a LeBron or an Allyson Felix or a Kyrie or so forth, and want to emulate that kind of athlete with wearing their product.


[00:11:26.04] David:  I want to get your thoughts; this was probably their largest national campaign to date or global campaign, which was the Colin Kaepernick ad that everybody talks about. I think in terms of brand awareness, again, people talk about it, whether it was negative or positive. Probably the most successful campaign when you get that many people talking about your latest commercial, but what were your thoughts on kind of the outpour from that campaign?


[00:11:50.42] John:  Yeah, I think like you said it you're going to have negativity and positivity in regards to feedback, but I think marketing 101 no matter if it's negative or positive people are speaking about it. I think with this specific just do it campaign with Kap is pretty powerful in the sense of we said, "Hey, we believe in what he stands for." We understand that maybe specific people or communities don't agree with that, but we want to tell a story about not just Kap but then there is a Serena aspect of it. It's a different point of view, because everybody will interpret that commercial or that ad differently. And they'll ask, "Why didn't they do it this way or they could have said it this way," because I interpreted a specific pro versus a con or vice versa.


And I think for me it became a point where no one else was talking about it, so we said, "Okay, let's do it, we're going to take the flack for it." But I think that's why I truly enjoyed working at Nike is because we took risk in the sense of we understand if we get flack we're okay because we're still going to take risk and see where it goes and how it happens. Because if we don't take risk we're just going to be another brand that is consistent or playing it safe, and we can't do that as a brand.


[00:13:13.20] David:  How do you guys or how did you make that call with you're at Nike? Because I'm guessing with the Colin Kapernick campaign, there was somebody at Nike like, "Hey, guys. This may hurt our stock price or our sales or maybe a lot of negative feedback," and I think it ended up being fine, but I guess you talked about potentially killing a three or ten billion dollar ad if the quality is not there. Do you remember a time or maybe the risk was a little bit too much, although the intention was there and maybe the way people would interpret it, you just couldn't control that, so you said, eh, let's not to do that?


[00:13:46.30] John:  I think that's every day in regards to what we try to do at that time, or even still to this day when I talk to friends or colleagues. I think it's a matter of we have to tell that story, and if we truly believe in it and present that to the athlete as well, and if the athletes's like I'm adamant about making sure that this has to go out, we're going to do it, we're going to follow through with it because we think it's important.


Now if the athlete's like, "I don't like it," then we'll pull it off, for sure, 100%. But even at that point if leadership or upper leadership is deciding it's not the right fit we'll have to really try to figure out why and kind of dig deep and asked those deep ended questions and figuring out like - here's the reason why we believe in it, here's the statistics and analytics that showcased maybe it could be something bigger. We've tried something else prior to the years, and it didn't work, but we know that we're tweaking this and doing it this way so that maybe we could do it differently. It's just a case-by-case basis to be honest with you.


But I think at the end of the day if we feel strongly about it and we know that even though it's a risk we'll go ahead and do it if athletes support it.


[00:14:58.30] David:  I love it. Well, I know that you consult currently with a lot of big brands and have a lot of knowledge to share, so I'm going to ask you for some free consulting advices here on the show for the audience.


[00:15:07.08] John:  Sure, let's do it, yeah.


[00:15:09.53] David:  I want to just kind of get into kind of a granular level of marketing. So how do you personally approach marketing and what's your core belief when it comes to how to approach it?


[00:15:19.30] John:  Yeah, I think it's really simple, it's truly do brands understand who their consumer is. It's literally basic marketing 101, it's like if you guys understand who your consumer is, then you'll find out your objective, then you'll find out your end goal, then you can utilize that product towards that. It's literally a simplistic go to market strategy, right? Like, overall objective, goal, the marketing, the PR, the sales channel, the product, what your competitors are doing. But I think right now it's a lot of brands are sometimes focused on I'll call it the bubble, and they think they know the consumer, and they go ahead and continue doing what they've always been doing, which is fine because then they'll slowly increase it. But I think brands that really understand it, they take risk and they truly go out there.


I'm a little old school in the sense of like go out there and talk to consumers, with the new age in tech and social media, go through that way and talk to consumers. Or maybe go out there as a group and spend a day with the consumer. Nike does that actually still to this day, we call it consumer dig, where we go out there and meet a consumer and spend the whole day with them just to see why they do what they do, why they love our brand, or why they love a competitor's brand. Because of the fact that it's the voice of the consumer as well as we consider the consumer the athlete.


So I really try to educate brands to really focus on who your consumer is, and then kind of draw that brand journey or brand consumer map of helping them realize like who that is and how to go about beyond that and be able to tell a great story.


[00:16:58.36] David:  Yeah, I think, why do you think that's ... Because to your point, it's kind of a simplistic idea like know who your consumer is before you market to them. But it seems like not all brands or people understand that.


[00:17:09.40] John:  Yeah, it's an interesting topic, I think it's just the way our environment, our society is going to this day. I think if we talk about strategy I think a lot of the executives who are a little bit older who've been comfortable with the marketing strategies they've always been taught have been doing it that way, but I think if if brands realized that the consumers ever evolving and changing every second, it's a matter of not long-term strategy of three to five years, I consider a long-term strategy now two to three years. And then when you have a short-term one to two year strategy, that's going to be able to give brands an opportunity to kind of change things quickly as they continue moving towards that strategy.


[00:18:01.29] David:  How much do you think, and I probably know the answer to this, but technology has changed that? Because when we talked about 20, 25 years ago, you run a commercial on Seinfeld about your Gillette razor and you're trying to hit that 35 to 45-year old male, whatever. And you just kind of blast it out and you hope for the best with that viewership. Now the way that you can just segment and go after particular demographics and age groups and locations, that really I would assume you would agree that it's kind of changed the marketing game in quite a big way.


[00:18:33.44] John:  Yeah, 100%, I think it's changed it dramatically. I think with social and digital marketing or media, it's gone beyond what we thought it could be, right? And I think now brands need to realize it's not about developing the strategic marketing plan, which we still do, but at the same time be authentic about it, like we can't fake it anymore. And that's the thing about consumers is that they understand what's fake and what's not fake pretty quickly. And it's like the Super Bowl ads, I bet you if we did in statistic or analytics of who liked the what I probably would say the percentage is pretty small about liking the Super Bowl commercials in general this year, because some brands kept doing what they've always been doing versus some brands try something different. And I think that's that 1% who are figuring out like who actually did well and who didn't. And I think tech has a large play in that for sure.


[00:19:32.33] David:  And I feel like the ads that people resonate the most with are the ones that the brand is not in-your-face. It's almost a story, and at the end it's like what is this commercial about, then you figure out, oh, it's a Microsoft or a Bud Light or whatever. Those are the ones that resonated.


[00:19:45.11] John:  Yeah, I think that Bud Light, I think they did a pretty ingenious way in the sense of they kind of collaborated with the HBO's show, Game of Thrones, right? Putting it back together and saying, "Hey, it's not just about But Light, but we're kind of hyping up Game of Thrones' last and final season." I think that's where a lot of brands are going. I mean, you'll see a lot of fashion brands collaborate with other fashion brands or a lot of collaborations with artists or entertainers.


[00:20:13.44] David:  And I think the T-mobile commercial is they had a few partnerships there too, a Taco Bell or something like that, so there is a blend.


[00:20:18.41] John:  Yeah, and I think that's where brands are going to this day. I think brands need to be really strategic in regards to who they collaborate with, but at the same time if it's a risk and it makes sense, do it, because no other brands are doing it. But that's the thing about brands today, I think more brands need to take a calculated risk in general and just try different things versus if Nike did this political campaign just do it, then you see everybody else doing it, like Gillette and so forth, and then that kind of gets mundane, versus you want to be different from every other brand but still provide an amazing story and product with that.


[00:20:55.09] David:  What do you think of that, that Gillette ad that got a lot of controversy too, kind of going after the males in a sense? Do you think that was a situation where maybe the risk was a little bit too much and they should have eased back? Or from a marketing standpoint you enjoyed that so many people talked about it?


[00:21:10.54] John:  Yeah, I think from a marketing standpoint they got what they wanted; people are talking and speaking about it. But I think the timing aspect of it was a little behind. To be honest with you I think if they did it maybe ... I'll say maybe two weeks after the Nike ad it would make sense because of all the hype in regards to the arguments. But it really is timing I think for a lot of brands to figure that out.


I think if people ... it's just traditional trends, right? If a trend is dying out and you start ... if brands started utilizing that trend and it's dying out, it doesn't make any sense, right? Like, people have already forgotten about it, versus if you're the first to start it and then it's still hyping it up and then you change it to something else versus another brand following you, you're way ahead of the game and you're developing that trend anyway. But that's because you understand where things are going or trying different things.


[00:22:03.03] David:  I love to get your thoughts, because you've spent your career in marketing to really explain to the listener the difference between sales and marketing. Because everybody kind of has a different take on that, but I think ultimately nobody wants to be sold to, nobody wants to deal with the solicitor, or they listen to Pandora, they hate when the commercials come on. So how do you kind of make that difference between the sales approach and a marketing approach?


[00:22:25.54] John:  Yeah, I think it's all about relationship building to be honest with you. The way I've always done it, because I have done sales, like ticket sales before and marketing, I think there is a similarity towards it but it's how you interpret it, right? So if you're trying to sell something, I've always wanted to see some good content about why. Like, don't sell it to me, don't flat out just put the product in front of my face and say this is amazing. Great, I don't care. But at the same time like if you gave me a story towards it, like this is the best camera ever, like you look at Google's Pixel 3, they did a commercial about like very similar to Apple in the sense but they kind of differentiated themselves because of specific text better than what the Apple product is. And I think that's where it should go to selling someone.


I think that's the difference between an actual sales and marketing aspect of it, is tell that story, or when you're meeting someone face-to-face like build that relationship with them, because once that ice is broken then you can talk about your product and so forth, versus right off the bat having that kind of uncomfortable feeling, "Would you like to buy this?"


[00:23:33.09] David:  Yeah, beating over the head, yeah.


[00:23:33.56] John:  Right, exactly. I think ...


[00:23:36.31] David:  What can I do to put you in this car today?


[00:23:37.45] John:  Exactly, it's like the person's already going to that dealership, right? And they obviously have an idea of what car they want to buy, but if the person or the sales rep is coming to you and say, "Hey, how are you? Let me get to know what you guys are looking for. But let me just get to know who you guys are. Oh, great, well, I'm going to give you some space, but if you have questions I'm right here. I'm not going to hover around you." It's just a matter of building that relationship. And it goes actually both ways for all brands from influencers to entertainers and so forth as well.


[00:24:08.53] David:  Right. So if you're starting from scratch, if you were to launch a new company or a brand from a marketing standpoint, what's your first move?


[00:24:17.21] John:  Yeah, first move is develop a go to market strategy first, and figure out how we're going to tell that story. Second is definitely social media, that's where it's going, digital and social media. Now brands are now paying the playoffs within social media, but I think there's a way to still do things a little differently at a cheaper value, but more bang for the buck. I'm a big believer right now in audio marketing. I think audio marketing is something that hasn't been tapped into yet, and if brands are smart they're going to have to figure out a way to really utilize audio marketing to get consumers to listen and then be able to show that content.


[00:24:57.41] David:  Are you talking about like commercials on podcasts or more like Alexa Voice apps?


[00:25:01.51] John:  Both. So I want to see both, because that's where it's going. I think with Alexa it's a matter of how you're going to utilize that creatively. So I think that's where it's going. I think, again, Facebook, Instagram, IG stories too, Snapchat, Twitter, it all works, it's just ... I'm a big believer of the internet's still at that kind of teenage years. We haven't even hit the prime yet with that yet, I think. It's going to happen sooner or later.


[00:25:31.54] David:  I'm asking my guys here on the show, but Ken Gibbs Jr from BET, he said what was ... What did he say? Yeah, what was gospel today is blasphemous tomorrow.


[00:25:46.23] John:  No, that's true.


[00:25:48.36] David:  And it's like it's so true.


[00:25:49.12] John:  Yes, I agree, I agree. I mean, it's the way that the consumers are going. I mean, again, the ideation of getting their attention is going to be quick and swift, and it's a matter of how you're going to really connect with them to have them become ambassadors of your brand.


[00:26:07.24] David:  I want to see what your thoughts are, because I think ... I try to do a lot of research on this as well, but a common word in our industry especially a market is a soft touch. How have you found ways to kind of stay in the front of your demo without it feeling to addy or too spammy, but again, you're talking about building relationships, are there any tools or tactics that you've kind of found to continue to build those relationships?


[00:26:30.10] John:  Yeah, I think it's just being genuine. I know that word or authentic has been also utilized a little too much, but I'm a big believe of it. I think if you are honest in regards to the content you're producing or the statement that you're stating, people get it and people will want to either meet you or want to know you or know about you, versus if you are stating the case of like, "I love Nike, because I work for Nike," right? Like, it just doesn't work that way, but why do you love the brand? Why do you love the company you work for? Or why do you believe in the statement you just posted? Or what kind of content are you posting out there to really showcase who you are and whom you are?


And I think people will get it and they'll want to know more about you that way, versus, again, not organically being genuine in what you're trying to get out of people or wanting to help people versus that.


[00:27:24.05] David:  Do you have any fun stories in your career of any A/B testing that kind of surprised you or change your perception based on the response from that campaign or event?


[00:27:35.55] John:  I think probably yeah, I mean, I think in 2013 with the Winter Olympics, I mean, it was based in Sochi, Russia, right? And trying to figure out our ad campaign at the time of how do we be consistent globally in what we're trying to say, right? Every country or geography is different, how do we go about telling that story?


I think we thought we could put it in a universal language of like win gold or win cold, and then we found out by the United Olympic Committee that we're not able to say gold at all, because we're not a main sponsor, they have something called rule 40, whereas then how are we going to tell a story about community and bringing all sports together, summer and winter somehow and tell that Winter Olympics story?


So for us that A/B is just trying to figure out talking to consumers, talking with our geographies of what was the consistent basis of what our consumers are saying, but also how we're going to tell that consistent story of working with not just our brand but other brands that are affiliated with us.


[00:28:46.27] David:  I think you kind of touched on this a little bit about people not understand their consumer, but any other common mistakes that you see brands or marketers making?


[00:28:56.20] John:  Yeah, I mean, I think right now brands are just going with what's comfortable, to be honest with you. And the reason why I say that is because everybody else is doing it and they see a slow consistency of growth. But I think the brands that really, again, bringing it back - take risk and really trying to deep dive in the sense of knowing the consumer and then believing in that product and adapting and changing things that are necessary within your strategy are the ones are going to make the biggest impact and become the leaders of this new generation following brands in general.


[00:29:30.59] David:  When you say kind of continue to do what they do, do you mean just like the same old commercials, same old billboards, same old out of home strategy and not realizing it's 2018 and 2019, and different ways to attack these campaigns?


[00:29:44.47] John:  Yeah, hundred percent, I think they're stuck in what I call the dinosaur era in the sense of regards to that's what marketing has always been, and it's always still working to this day. And I get that, right? But I think marketing in general today is beyond the traditional ways of doing it, like TVs or billboards and so forth. It's the digital age, but then beyond what's that, what does it look like beyond the digital portion of it? How are we going to get consumers to really ... When we use our phones for everything, like how do we get into that technology and how do we really adapt to their lifestyle and become a part of their lifestyle and go from there? That's the question.


[00:30:22.28] David:  Well, the big question for you is have you caught the Fyre Festival documentary yet?


[00:30:27.04] John:  I have, and it's very ... It's interesting, and I'll be really blunt, and this is just my opinion, please like if people think differently, it's again my opinion. But I think the way he did it he branded it really well. I mean, it's brilliant.


[00:30:44.49] David:  It's brilliant. I mean, he's a sociopath, but ...


[00:30:46.01] John:  For sure.


[00:30:46.57] David:  But it's genius what he did.


[00:30:47.52] John:  What he did was amazing, he told an amazing story, had some amazing influencers to back him up, and he did it. But at the same time ...


[00:30:57.33] David:  And even down to like granular like having them all post the orange towel, it's phenomenal. I mean, if you get Bella Hadid, if you get Kendall Jenner, I mean, that ... What is this orange towel all about?


[00:31:06.57] John:  Exactly. And he did it, and but unfortunately he didn't back it up, that was the biggest thing, right? If he backed it up he would still be ... There would be another year of doing it, right?


[00:31:16.15] David:  And I will say this, if you don't have to back it up it's a lot easier to sell a story. If you're Nike you have to not have your shoe fall apart on the court if LeBron is talking about a product. If you don't have to really hold to that then I'm sure you could tell some pretty amazing stories about increasing your vertical leap 18 inches when that's not the case.


[00:31:38.05] John:  No, for sure, and I think what he was just trying to do was compete against Coachella at the same time. I think Coachella did it organically and did it right, right? And they're still relevant to this day. It's just unfortunate that he had to cut corners and do it the wrong way. And I always tell companies, "Do it the right way," even if you're taking a risk still do it the right way, make sure that you guys are taking the right steps to make sure that everything's going with the plan.


[00:32:02.56] David:  Yeah, and I think he raised 18 million all based on saying that his app was making all this money, but it only made $60,000. So to your point about relationship building he probably didn't scam people and lie to people to ...


[00:32:15.58] John:  Well, for sure, that's long-term too, right? So building these relationships, it goes beyond just whatever project that you're doing. You're building this network of helping one another out, and I think that's the new age and trend today is that people want to help other people. It's just slowly happening I think, versus what's in it for me, versus how can I help you to get to where you want to go?


[00:32:38.01] David:  So if Ja Rule calls you, John, you're probably not taking that call is what you're saying?


[00:32:42.08] John:  Probably not.


[00:32:43.57] David:  All right, so rapid-fire for you to kind of wrap things up, what is the one social or marketing tool that you could not live without?


[00:32:52.37] John:  Instagram, that's the big tool. Instagram and LinkedIn, I think those are the two players in my life right now, because I think what Instagram is doing is pretty authentic and amazing with their IG stories and the postings.


[00:33:07.15] David:  Well, and what I've seen too is those are the two platforms as we sit here today that have the most organic reach. I mean, Facebook and Twitter have kind of dwindled down to a hundred X less than an Instagram or LinkedIn. But those two platforms ... They haven't messed with the algorithm yet anyway to allow you to still get out to the consumer.


[00:33:23.30] John:  Which obviously they're going to change eventually, but I think right now it's like you said, organically. LinkedIn is a big one for me, I really love LinkedIn because you can network, really try to build a genuine relationship with people, try to reach out to people that you might not know and setup a phone call or a coffee day or even have dinner or lunch just to get to know what they do and about their journey. I think that's the great thing about LinkedIn or the network that you can build from there, because then you have that relationship, and then eventually if they want to do a project with you or they want to do some kind of ... they know someone that they can introduce you to, it just works, and that's where it's gone.


[00:34:03.46] David:  That's how we met, this should be a commercial for LinkedIn. It's all good, man.


[00:34:05.46] John:  Oh, for sure, we'll take the royalties, right?


[00:34:08.25] David:  Yeah, exactly. I always say this, in our industry FOMO is a legitimate thing, because things are moving so quickly, how do you personally stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of marketing in digital?


[00:34:20.22] John:  Yeah, I think I just keep up with trends in the sense of digital and social media. I think that's the biggest one for me. But also actually going out there and talking to people and networking and seeing what they see and what they're finding out, as well as when I meet with these brands I really deep dive with them not in the sense of like right off the bat what can I help you with, but like let me learn more about you guys, let me learn more about you, and what are your struggles, what keeps you up at night, and how can we work together in figuring out that problem that you guys have. And if I can help then I've done my job in the sense of like whatever it is. But if I can't help, at least let me try to like help you at least get the steps to get there to find an answer.


[00:35:02.29] David:  What's that checklist for you, I would love to get a little more granular, when you're meeting with the brand as a consultant and they need help on marketing, what are some of the questions you get or maybe the first five bullet points you go down to make sure you start to help them and get a sense of what's going on?


[00:35:17.02] John:  Yeah, I think for me it's always again genuinely figuring out who their team is, get to know each and every individual. But then also go down the list of a go to market strategy as like - what's your objective? Okay, got you, that's your objective, let me ask you a few questions about that objective. Okay, what's your product? Okay, can I understand what the product does? How does that help the consumer? What are your competitors doing that you aren't doing or what do you wish you could do that your competitor is doing, vice-versa?


Again, how are you figuring out communication, how are you integrating this information from top to bottom? Not just from an internal standpoint but an external standpoint. And then from there like how are you working with your functions, like how are you working with the brand operations team? How are you guys working with the design team? How are you guys working with the sales team? And who do you guys have partners with that sell your product, so that we can keep a consistent message towards that.


[00:36:13.32] David:  And I think what happens to all of us, even me, I mean, you get so entwined in a day to day that you just figure everybody knows about your product, everybody knows about your services, and how it works, and how the SOW's laid out, and you have to remind yourself sometimes like this is a brand new consumer, a brand new person, they have no idea about your world and how do you break that down in an elevator pitch to make sure they get a sense of what you're doing.


[00:36:36.40] John:  Yeah, and I don't have like a deck or anything, I actually just really want to get to know them, I actually ask always brands to just put a chair in a circle and just almost like a campfire and just get to know them first before you go through anything. And then I always ask, "Give me at least a lot of paper or a big whiteboards, so that we can start drawing this journey together and figuring out where the hiccup is." And kind of go from there. I mean, it's very simple, but people ... I always say brands make things complicated more than they should. It's just how simplistic and how we communicate that to the team.


[00:37:12.26] David:  I mean, let's say you consult with the company and they're down to pay you for your rate, but they say, "Listen, John, we just don't have any marketing budget, we are just trying to ... we want to build a foundation, we want to do something, but we don't have 50 grand, we don't have millions of dollars," what would be that thing that you would tell them like, guys, after I walk out of this office today at least start doing X?


[00:37:34.23] John:  Yeah, it's be organic in the sense of utilize your social media, that is what it's going to get to. I mean, if you don't have the marketing budget to hire an agency or do specific big things, that's okay, because you're just competing against every big brand that has that budget. But if you do it organically, like start from the bottom in regards to the social media platform like Instagram or Facebook. You don't have to pay much or at all depending on how you do it. It's a matter of what content you produce, how you produce that content, and then organically go through that route. Because there's going to be people who start following you and you're going to gain that respect in that budget and that ROI at the end, and then you'll be able to play with the big boys eventually.


[00:38:24.11] David:  So for a smaller company you would even recommend, hey, if you only have 2500 or 3 grand a month for marketing, hire a part-time social media manager that could just make sure there's content getting out on your own properties on a consistent basis.


[00:38:36.42] John:  Absolutely. I mean, that's going to be the most cost efficient way, right? But you want to make sure you have the right content guy at the same time who's going to be super creative and who's going to be able to edit that for you to make sure that it's still the message that you want to go across, but also the consumer to feel like, oh, this is great.


[00:38:55.33] David:  Very cool, any advice for anyone out there striving to be at that senior marketing director level that you've reached and now able to kind of consult for big brands?


[00:39:05.32] John:  Yeah, I think just continue to understand the consumer but also learn from everybody you can. It doesn't matter ... I'm a big believer of titles are titles, I think if you have an opportunity, if you were an executive at one company and you have an opportunity to work as a manager or whatever from a different company, take it. Because if you're passionate about it and you're going to be able to learn from a different aspect for it and bring some things that you've learned, the company excels and the brand is better off with that, versus you trying to get a specific title or job. I'm always a big believer of learning his power and how you help others with that power is going to be a great attribute for any brand.


[00:39:46.58] David:  Cool, man. Well, I always ask this to every guest, but if you can recommend anybody in your network to be the next guest on this show and provide some value for our audience, anybody that pops to mind that you would think would be a good listen?


[00:40:00.16] John:  Yeah, I think a guy named Greg Gorski, we worked together at Nike, but he's now the director of marketing for Rumple. I don't know if you know what Rumple is, but it's a blanket company in the sense of almost like a sleeping bag material. But they're a small start-up, they were from San Francisco, and they moved their company here in Oregon. And he's kind of leading the charge right now of starting kind of that brand and helping that brand to where it should be. So he's an interesting guy, he loves outdoors, he loves snowboarding, he's actually in Japan snowboarding.


[00:40:38.57] David:  Love that life.


[00:40:39.24] John:  Yeah, he's got it made for sure.


[00:40:42.21] David:  All right, man. Well, I got to get up to Oregon soon, and we got to hangout and get a drink or a coffee.


[00:40:46.40] John:  Yeah, come down, yeah, for sure.


[00:40:48.58] David:  But thanks so much your time and thanks so much for the calls and the chats that we've had so far as well, and I appreciate everything on that.


[00:40:55.11] John:  Yeah, I appreciate it, man. We'll definitely grab a bite to eat sooner or later and meet face to face for sure.


[00:41:00.31] David:  All right, John, thanks so much for dropping that knowledge, man. I appreciate it.


[00:41:02.28] John:  All right, thanks, David. I appreciate it. Have a good one.


[00:41:04.11] David:  Thanks.


[00:41:05.00] John:  Cheers.


[00:41:10.00] David:  All right, thanks so much for John Paik once again for joining us on the show. You heard it a lot during that conversation - understand your consumer. He's also the first person to come on the show and say, "Hey, go out there and shake hands and talk to people." And it's interesting that they, over at Nike when he was there, would actually spend a full day with somebody that wears Nike gear or even rocks the competitor and ask them why do you do that and why do you enjoy our product or their product. It's interesting how much data you can get from actually going out to the consumer and talking them one-on-one.


Obviously, you can also get that through comments or DM's or emails on digital, but also going out and making events for the consumer is super interesting. Being authentic, being genuine, we all know that and we've heard a lot of that on the show, so some really good stuff.


And I'm glad he feels the same way I do, I think Fyre Festival ... Listen, our guy, Billy, is an absolute psychopath but the marketing campaign that he launched for the Fyre Festival from the video to the orange towels to the influencers was a smart idea and that's why I think it took over pretty large in terms of people buying tickets and all that, and ended up making for a very good documentary on both Hulu and Netflix. So anybody in the industry by the way, our whole office is talking about it here at STN Digital, all my colleagues out in space are talking about it. If you have not watched the Fyre Festival I think it's almost like ... if I was teaching a marketing class or social class, it would be part of the curriculum. I think it's really important for anybody in our industry to watch.


So I hope you enjoyed that once again, episode 27, as always I want to thank Sam Howard, Auntie Lightning and David Frerker for all their help on the show. This has been another edition of the business of social podcast powered by STN Digital.