PODCAST EP 71
Simon chats with Isabella Villani, Company Director and Chief Customer Officer at Exceed Global.Listen Now
Danielle Lewis and CEO and Co-founder of Scrunch.
Scrunch has one of the world’s largest influencer databases with over 20 million profiles and billions of data points. The platform makes it easy to get the data you need about your Influencers, plus has some awesome CRM and outreach style functions to make managing your campaigns easy.
You can contact Danielle here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lewisdaniellec/
Simon Dell: I am joined by Danielle Lewis, who is the CEO and co-founder of an organization called Scrunch, which is a data-driven platform for influencer marketing that enables brands and agencies to discover the right bloggers and social media influencers, and Danielle will be able to see that I’ve just read that off her LinkedIn profile, so welcome to the show, Danielle.
Danielle Lewis: Thank you, Simon. It’s lovely to be here. Thanks for having me.
Simon Dell: I would also point out that on your LinkedIn profile, it says you have four locations: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and New York City. I’m going to assume that you’re in Brisbane right now.
Danielle Lewis: Today, I am. Tomorrow, who knows?
Simon Dell: When are you going back to New York?
Danielle Lewis: We’ve actually just come back from San Francisco about 3 or 4 weeks ago, so the next trip over to the US might be in a couple of months. We’re also heading over to London in October, so global domination on the cards.
Simon Dell: Sounds busy. First question: What was the first job that you ever did that you got a wage for?
Danielle Lewis: The first job I ever did was a paper run.
Simon Dell: Wow, you’re second one in a row that did a paper run.
Danielle Lewis: Oh, really?
Simon Dell: Yes, yes.
Danielle Lewis: It taught me interesting lessons: taught me how to get up early. I had to get those papers out on a Wednesday or whenever it was, so it was definitely a lot of dedication there. I did not love it, let me tell you.
Simon Dell: I’ve just interviewed Lucy Allen who was a PR person, PR guru, whatever you want to call it. She works for Thrive PR down in Melbourne, and she did a paper run, and she spent a year getting her dad to do it for her.
Danielle Lewis: I must admit, there were some mornings when he did have to cover for me.
Simon Dell: Yeah, I always did my paper round. I mean, mine was an evening one. It wasn’t a morning one, but I always did mine, then I handed it over to my brother, and my brother then got my dad to do it. That means I’m hardworking and my brother’s more resourceful.
Danielle Lewis: That’s an interesting way to look at it. Ours was a hand-me-down as well, actually.
Simon Dell: Right, it’s handed through the family.
Danielle Lewis: Yes, got to love it.
Simon Dell: So, you originally started out in fashion, didn’t you? You went QUT, fashion design. What took you down that road?
Danielle Lewis: To be honest, it was just something that I was good at. I was one of those kids that I used to sow all of my own clothes. I made all of my formal dresses. I used to have markets for the girls at school, selling bits and pieces. And yeah, my mum taught me how to sew when I was in Grade 7, and it was something that I just loved to do. When I got a little bit older, I loved to make a new party dress every weekend. So, it seemed like the thing that I should do, really. It seemed like the thing I was good at, so I put together my portfolio in Grade 12 and was expected into QUT Fashion Design. It was the second year that degree was running. It was an interesting experience.
Simon Dell: The obvious thing when someone looks at your profile, and I’ve got to say, you’re probably got the most interesting path to where you’ve got to that didn’t actually involve what you started out doing, if that makes sense.
Danielle Lewis: Oh, it’s definitely been a convoluted journey, let me tell you.
Simon Dell: And most people, you can normally see the path looking backwards, how they got to where they got to. But you’ve did quite a lot of time with Telstra, didn’t you?
Danielle Lewis: Yeah. I actually ended up doing about 10 years in Telstra. So, the whole time I think I had about four or five different roles through my time there, always very heavily focused around sales and technology.
Simon Dell: Was it just like a Saturday job that you ended up expanding into more?
Danielle Lewis: Exactly right. I used to work in the retail stores while I was at uni. It was a Thursday night, weekend kind of job, and Telstra’s just one of those places that is amazing with new opportunities, pay rises every year, so it kind of sucks you in. And then you turn around and you go, “Oh my god, where did 10 years go?”
Simon Dell: I can imagine, but it obviously, and just for everybody’s benefit here, that it was… And the reason I think it’s so interesting is because you started in 2003 and you finally finished with Telstra, it would’ve been 2015 according to this. That would’ve seen a monumental shift in technology over those 12 years.
Danielle Lewis: Absolutely. I remember going through, I don’t even know if anyone will remember this. I was there for the migration from the city MA mobile network, where you had to have these specific phones without SIM cards, and we had to essentially migrate every user over to this new fandangle SIM card phones. The technology suddenly shifted and continues to shift today.
Simon Dell: What was the most exciting thing you saw during that time? You would’ve been one of the first people, or at least early people to be presented with things like the iPhone and stuff like that.
Danielle Lewis: Absolutely, and that was certainly… It was interesting being specifically in mobility, I used to see every handset that came around and purchased every handset that came around. And the iPhone was the most exciting. And the adoption rate at which people moved to the iPhone was probably the most interesting thing. It’s such a leap forward from what we were used to seeing. Every handset that came out was this tiny little feature improvements, whereas iPhone really, really moved the market forward.
Simon Dell: Do you remember what you first thought when you saw that iPhone?
Danielle Lewis: Good question. To be honest, I don’t think I really understood the impact of it. I was always interested in aesthetics and came preloaded with these applications, which several of the other devices did at the time. It wasn’t until I really started to understand the applications and the fact that you could actually build your own application that I really understood the power of it.
Simon Dell :Is that something that then you kind of, when you realize that was where perhaps you kind of understood? Was there a sort of shift in your behaviour and your ideas about what you wanted to do in the future when you saw those kind of things happening?
Danielle Lewis: To be honest, no. To be honest, my mind shift, whilst I’d always been around technology, my own mind shift sort of moved us to where I am today really came about by understanding entrepreneurship. That was something that I didn’t grow up with, whilst interestingly I’ve worked since a very, very early age, the idea of having my own business was something that I never really thought about or I didn’t think was even a thing. We came from a family that worked for 30-40 years in the same job, so that was sort of what I grew up with. So, it wasn’t actually until I read The 4-Hour Workweek actually, and I was like, “What? What is this like?”
Simon Dell: Do you remember when you bought that? How long ago would’ve that been? Because that’s been about quite a while, and Tim Ferris still talks about it.
Danielle Lewis: Oh, absolutely. I think it was about 8 years ago. I think it was around 8 to 10 years ago.
Simon Dell: Yeah, I think you might be right, actually. Yeah, 7 or 8 years ago, because he did a podcast recently where he sort of recaps some elements of it. And funnily enough, I went to the Lifeline Bookfest last week and actually bought it. I’ve never read it, and I have a list of 150 books to read, and I saw it at the Lifeline Book Fest for five bucks and went, “Alright, I’m having that.”
Danielle Lewis: What a bargain, yes.
Simon Dell: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’ve got to read that one now. So, what did you take out of that book when you first read it?
Danielle Lewis: To be honest, that was the moment where it was kind of like my eyes were opened. I read this book that was talking about lifestyle design, was talking about working for yourself, creating the life that you wanted, having people work for you. It was just something that I had never heard of, never had anyone around me that had built their own businesses or talked about it. I grew up very much with family that worked very hard, same place loyal to their employers. And similarly, a lot of my friend network were studying being lawyers, or doctors, or those types of things. So yeah, it was really an eye-opening open for me to know that that was a possibility and there was another park.
Simon Dell: Have you been back and read the book again, or you just sort of occasionally flick to it?
Danielle Lewis: I read it several times when I first got it, but like you, I also have a list of 100 other books that I’m trying to work through at the moment. So yeah, there’s always a new shiny book on a bookshelf that always grabs my attention that takes priority.
Simon Dell: What are you reading at the moment?
Danielle Lewis: At the moment, I’m reading Blue Ocean Strategy.
Simon Dell: That’s on my list as well, and I bought that at Lifeline as well.
Danielle Lewis: Oh, really? Awesome. No, it’s actually a fabulous read. It’s interesting, one of those people, when I start reading, my mind just races around all of these ideas, and what I can implement in our business. So, it actually takes me quite a while to read something, because I’m always writing notes, and bits and pieces. But it’s a fantastic book.
Simon Dell: I’m reading one called The Power of Moment at the moment by to brother Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Danielle Lewis: What’s that about?
Simon Dell: The subtitle of it is why certain experiences have extraordinary impact. It’s about how building small experiences within a greater engagement actually helps people remember your business. And the good example they use is, and I wrote a blog about this, was about Disney World. When you go to Disney World, most people — after Disney World, two weeks later, you ask them, “What did you think?” And they go, “Oh, it was the best time of my life. It was amazing.” And all those kind of things.
But if you ask them whilst they were actually there, they were probably standing in the queue for two hours. They were getting hot. The kids were crying, etc. So, they tend to only remember the peaks of Disney, meeting Mickey Mouse, or going on one of the particular rides that they’ve always wanted to go on, and those kind of things. So, Disney kind of — it creates this whole engagement by those peaks so that they know that people will remember those peaks but won’t generally remember the troughs at the same time. It’s all about creating those peaks within your business and your life, all those kind of things. That’s really paraphrased it badly, but absolutely recommend it.
Danielle Lewis: I’ve definitely written it down, don’t you worry.
Simon Dell: Cool. Before we move on from Telstra, there’s one thing I wanted to ask you about that. Telstra seems to be a very customer service-focused business. It’s gone through a massive evolution over the years. Anyone in Australia, and I often do this when I was doing some public speaking, you say to people who here’s had a bad experience with Telstra, and probably 95% of the room will put their hand up.
And then you say to the room, of all those people with their hands up, who here is still with Telstra? And most of the hands will still stay up. It’s one of those ones where Telstra was that kind of person that sometimes you kind of love to hate, but eventually, you went back to them all the time. What did you take out of the time there from a customer service and a sales perspective? Because I think that’s the thing that they probably try and focus on quite heavily. Did that teach you a lot?
Danielle Lewis: Oh, absolutely. So, that’s really where I cut my teeth on sales, and I think the biggest thing for me at that time was really understanding that it’s all about relationships. It has nothing to do with sales. There’s many courses and negotiation, training, and thinking on your feet, and all of those bits and pieces that we did.
The biggest thing that I learned was that building a relationship with someone and selling based on that relationship was really key, and that being there when they need help understanding how to turn those horrific moments or the horror stories that everyone has is understanding that they were actually the moments where you could be there for that customer and actually turn that into a stronger relationship and more of an ongoing relationship in the future. It’s really where I learned what sales meant to me, and it was about being a good human, being there when people needed responding quickly, and building a personal relationship.
Simon Dell: I actually happened to have the book, The Power of Moment, right next to me, and I’m going to read a bit to you because after you’ve just said that, this was really interesting. It goes, “A study of service encounters asked customers to recall recent satisfying and dissatisfying interactions with employees of airlines, hotels, and restaurants.” And you can probably add telcos in there as well. Almost 25% of the positive encounters cited by customers were actually employees’ responses to service failures.
So, I thought that was really interesting, one of the things I’d underlined, was that any service failure is an opportunity to actually bring somebody on board and make them into a fan of your business.
Danielle Lewis: Totally. I think that you have to remember that shit happens and it’s how you respond to it. That’s how we train our team as well. Things will invariably go wrong, and it’s not something to worry about, focus on, dwell on, or hide. It’s something that we should use as an opportunity to make sure that we have a life-long customer.
Simon Dell: Yeah. So, somewhere along the time whilst you were working at Telstra and you’ve read the 4-hour workweek, there’s a light bulb that’s gone off somewhere. And you decided to do… You create Brisbane Threads. Tell us where that came from and what your thinking behind that was.
Danielle Lewis: That was very early in — they didn’t call them influencers back then. They tend to be bloggers, and I became fascinated with online business and how to make money online. And so, like every girl, I started a fashion blog.
Simon Dell: These days, isn’t it Instagram fitness model?
Danielle Lewis: Oh, totally. Instagram anything, really. And I just became obsessed with this blog, and of course, I went, “Well, if I’m going to turn this into a business, I better figure out how to monetize it.” And so, I started selling advertisement on the blog. It was actually through that when I waltzed into one of the fashion retail boutiques back in the day in South Bank in Brisbane. I ended up meeting the co-founder of Scrunch today, walking and trying to sell him advertising. I did sell the advertising, just if you are wondering.
It’s interesting how it has come full circle from being a blogger, figuring out how to monetize that online, and then fast forward years later, and influencer marketing is the crux of our business.
Simon Dell: When you were thinking about trying to monetize that blog, what other models did you think you could go down aside from the advertising route? Was there anything else that crossed your mind at the time?
Danielle Lewis: Yeah. Back in the day when blogging was big, it was very heavily around advertising. Today, it sort of moved more to sponsored content. When I experimented with bits and pieces like online sales, so I would actually bring together retailers from across the city and have them sponsor products to sell, so that we could kind of almost create a bit of an e-commerce platform on the blog. That was something I experimented with back then that’s a little bit different than the norm.
Simon Dell: And it’s still running today?
Danielle Lewis: It is still running today, actually. It’s actually been a fantastic testing ground for us.
Simon Dell: Are you still actively involved, or is there people running?
Danielle Lewis: Yeah, no. It’s got an editorial team that run it now. Unfortunately, there’s not enough hours in the day.
Simon Dell: No, I can imagine. So, talk to me about that first, that first meeting with your co-founder of Scrunch. And you were trying to sell him advertising, and he’s probably rolling his eyes going, “Shit, here’s someone trying to sell me advertising again.” How did the conversation happen that you ended up founding a company together?
Danielle Lewis: As cliché as it might be, it’s actually a story of business and romance. I have a feeling that he was happy to buy the advertising if it meant having another coffee. But essentially, it was really the going and talk about what we were doing at Brisbane Threads, and what he could essentially tap into, understanding who our community was and why they would be interested in his retail store. But it did blossom into a romance, which is still strong today, though that’s a whole other podcast episode of working with your partner.
Simon Dell: I’m sure it is, yeah.
Danielle Lewis: We essentially became good friends. We realized very early on that we had very different strengths. I’m very much a big picture, get it done, who cares, let’s just try it, whereas he’s very much an attention to detail type of person. Whilst we had that fashion background, wish is actually where Scrunch started, we’re more in the fashion industry. We just realized that we could, we were both interested in doing something bigger than what we were doing at that time, so we started experimenting, and Scrunch was born.
Simon Dell: How was it born? I’m going to presume if he was running a retail store and you were running a blog, neither of you had any sort of technical background. How did you start with that?
Danielle Lewis: We essentially brainstormed and came up with the first idea for Scrunch. Eight years ago, the first idea for Scrunch was we were bringing together creatives from around the world: designers, makeup artists, models, photographers in creating this world than to existing… And we doubled in Photoshop at the time and built these shocking wireframes, took that to an agency. We had no technical experience. All we had was a bit of savings and I’d been saving for a deposit on the house, actually. And we decided the house was no more than Scrunch was the investment, and took that to an agency. Essentially, they helped us build the first version of Scrunch,
Simon Dell: It’s interesting. You’re the second person that I’ve spoken to in the past couple of months who used an agency to build their platform instead of perhaps hiring a CTO or something like that. How did you find that relationship with the agency whilst they were building it?
Danielle Lewis: It ended terribly. That technical piece was something that eluded us for quite a while. We tried an agency. We did the outsourcing oDesk which I think has rebranded these days, engaging people over in India, or the Philippines, or Russia, or Poland, all of these different places and trying to explain to them what our vision was.
That also failed miserably, in case you were wondering. To be honest, whilst we experimented with all of these ideas and spent a lot of money on the technology, it was a very, very steep learning curve for us and it actually wasn’t until we met a technical co-founder and started building our own in-house team that things really started to click for us from a tech point of view.
Simon Dell: Why did it fail so badly with the agency? Would you be sitting there today and going, “It was the agency’s fault” or it was a naivety on your part? If you had to do it again and you had to do it with an agency, what would you do differently?
Danielle Lewis: The biggest thing I think is expectation setting and understanding how agencies work, understanding that scope creep is a thing, and you know, first-time founders have a new idea every second, and that’s not a good mix.
Simon Dell: No. That’s a terrible mix, yeah.
Danielle Lewis: It is a terrible mix. So really being very clear on the deliverables and being able to articulate those and make sure that a finger isn’t lifted until that’s defined and described in great detail, which in hindsight is probably similar to the outsourcing model as well, being able to articulate exactly what you need so that somebody who is English is a second language, or they’re in another time zone, or reading an email and trying to interpret it, expectation setting and being very clear on deliverables is probably something that we lacked in quite considerably years ago.
Simon Dell: I think those two things you’ve just mentioned there was the scope creep and brand new business owners or business founders having a new idea every day. I’ve seen that so many times. The scope creep is a massive one. I think people, if anyone’s listening to this and they are wanting to sort of build their own website, or their app, or whatever it is, is that you have to be really, really, really defined as to what you want to achieve at the start.
And every time you go in to make a change, it’s like going in and making a change to building a house. If you want to add a couple more windows, that’s going to cost you. If you want to add another door in, that’s going to cost you. So, you have to accept that that’s the same as it is when it’s a digital project.
Danielle Lewis: Oh, absolutely. And I think the biggest mistake we made not only those things but was also building too early, which is something that we see a lot of startup founders make that mistake as well, is really wanting to get in and build their vision before they’ve even spoken to a customer.
Simon Dell: Do you still have the problem where you’re having a new idea every day?
Danielle Lewis: Absolutely. We’ve just learned to harness this a little bit better and not tell it to too many people.
Simon Dell: How do you train yourself not to be just blurting out to the team every day. “Right, I know I said that yesterday, but let’s do this today” and that kind of thing.
Danielle Lewis: That’s actually a huge benefit of having a co-founder, so you can take them out for a wine and brain dump all of these exciting ideas, and then go back into the office and not say a thing, and keep everyone aligned to the vision that you set for the year, or the month, or whatever it might be.
Simon Dell: I’ve worked with startup founders, and every day, it’s let’s do this, let’s focus on this, and that sort of thing. I’ve said to some recently, I said, “Look, all I want you to do is just write them all down on a piece of paper through the next seven days, and on Monday, we’ll discuss them. And if by Monday you think they’re crap or you’ve gone off them, then we’ll just scratch them off the list.
Even just making them hold the bottle then for a week actually really kind of filters a lot of the rubbish out. But the other thing is then, if they’re still passionate about it a week on in, you go, “Okay, maybe there’s something here.” But you’re not asking them to wait a whole month or 6 months or those kind of things, and you can kind of move a bit quicker that way.
Danielle Lewis: Yeah, that’s great. I might steal that.
Simon Dell: Yeah. My friend Simon Bell, who’s been on this show a couple of times, calls it entrepreneurial ADD. It’s just like it’s, “Oh look, there’s a dog over there” that sort of reaction. When you first launched Scrunch and you took it to the world, and before I ask you that, how the hell did you get Scrunch.com?
Danielle Lewis: Good question. Well, it was Scrunch.co in the early days and we negotiated with a Korean company that was squatting on the dot com and purchased it. It was actually interesting. We went over to the US to do our first capital raise, and they were really hell-bent on owning the dot com. That was probably five or six years ago. It was a really big deal.
Today, you see dot cos, dot ios, dot anything, but it was a really big deal back then. And yeah, we negotiated with the company that was squatting on it, and once we’d acquired it, transferred everything over.
Simon Dell: Do I want to know how much you paid for it?
Danielle Lewis: I’ll tell you. We only paid $10,000.
Simon Dell: That’s pretty good for a dot com like that, something like that.
Danielle Lewis: Definitely.
Simon Dell: Was that their price they came to you at and they just kind of went, “Okay, let’s play that.”
Danielle Lewis: No. I think we started at $20,000, so it wasn’t actually that outrageous but we felt like we’d gotten a bargain.
Simon Dell: I was going to say, I bought for a client the other day. I bought a three-letter .com.au. The company that was sitting on that one, and just for everyone out there, you’re not theoretically allowed to sit on domains in .com.au, but the company that manages the domains in Australia are the worst in the planet, the most toothless organization you’ll ever meet in your life. Anyway, we got their one for $2,000 and I was like, “Okay. I’m having that one.” That was what they offered to me, and I had to make it look like — I had to do the whole, “That’s really expensive, but I’ll see what we can do.” Shit, quick, give me the money!
Danielle Lewis: That’s the best. Awesome.
Simon Dell: I know, so very happy with that one. Okay, so you’ve got the dot com, you’re taking Scrunch to the market. What do you do day one to get the name out there?
Danielle Lewis: Good question. I mean, for Scrunch, Scrunch.com, when we first launched was not an influencer marketing platform. The very first product we were working on was a virtual change room for fashion, and then it was a fashion discovery platform. So, the first thing that we did was we wanted to talk to our customers. Back 6 odd years ago, that was particularly fashion brands.
The first thing that we did was the cold sales outreach, coming from a sales background, I kind of thought — maybe made the assumption, but that it was really my role in the business to acquire those customers and the way I knew how was picking up the phone and calling every one of them.
Simon Dell: Okay, and how did you go with that? Again, bizarrely, I had a conversation with a startup yesterday who were doing exactly the same thing, and they’re doing cold emails, cold calls, and that sort of thing. What sort of success rate were you getting, if any?
Danielle Lewis: Back then, when it was that product, very little. We’d get some people interested in having conversations with us, but it was not the right product for the market. It wasn’t until we finally pivoted to the influencer marketing platform that the game changed for us. We still employ the same strategies.
We’re really fortunate now that we get a lot of referral business from our customers, but we’ll still see an interesting business that we want to work with, and we’ll still send an email. We’ll still message them on Instagram, or pick up the phone. So, we’re not afraid of that just cold outreach strategy. It does still work.
Simon Dell: I think a lot of people are scared of that. I think people are, and I can understand why, because it’s quite defeating if you email 20 people or you call 20 people and they will all tell you to fuck off.
Danielle Lewis: You do have to develop a thick skin in sales.
Simon Dell: Do you think that’s something you got through your time at Telstra?
Danielle Lewis: Absolutely. There was nothing like standing in a retail shop for 8 hours and learning how to ask open-ended questions, and hearing no, and all that kind of stuff. It’s so different in person, too, when someone can say no to your face, or be rude to you, or question things. Yeah, it was definitely where I learned to develop the thick skin and realized that it is a numbers game.
If you’ve got a number to reach out to whatever the number is. It might be three times the volume, 10 times the volume until you get those yeses. I think the thing that people, maybe the secret that people don’t know is that success is just persistence. It’s how long you’re willing to keep going.
Simon Dell: So many salespeople I’ve spoken to just turn around and go, “It’s just a numbers game. Once you accept the rejection and you accept that it’s not personal, and you realize that for every 20 people you speak to, you’re going to make one sale, you just go, “Right. Well, today, I’ve got to make 3 sales, so I’ve got to speak to 60 people.” And they could speak to those 60 people in 3 hours in the morning and then have the rest of the day off. So, it’s complete numbers game for sales as long as you’re doing the right thing, and you’re following the open-ended questions, and all those kind of things, but it can be really challenging to your soul to be told no so many times.
Danielle Lewis: Definitely, but I think that that’s… I mean, it’s interesting where people ask me that question all the time, like what I think the most valuable skill is in building a startup, and I always come back to sales. I say, “You’ve got to be able to sell yourself. You’ve got to be able to sell your product. You’ve got to be able to sell your business, and whether it’s to an investor, an employee, a potential customer, yes, having product in tech in fantastic, but if you can’t get it in front of the right person that’s going to give you money, you’re not going to get very far.
Simon Dell: There’s two things from that one. It’s number one, you are so right. Because you look at, perhaps, one of the most successful (?) entrepreneurs in this world which is Elon Musk, and he is a salesman. Steve Jobs was a salesman. Those people who get up on stage and present their business, they are salespeople. All entrepreneurs and startup people should go and have — do a 6-week crash course in sales. And one of the things, again, winding all the way back to Tim Ferriss when you listen to him talk, he said, “If you want to understand fear, next time you go into a store, any store, ask for 10% off.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a coffee, buying a pizza, buying a car, buying a computer. Whatever it is, ask for 10% off.
And for no reason, just say, “I’d like 10% off.” Don’t explain to them that you’re doing an experiment or those kind of things, and just see how often — how successful you are. And over time, then you just get better and better at getting 10% off, and your sales gets better and better. So, there you go. Dani, next time you’re at — if you’re going to go out see if you can get 10% off.
Danielle Lewis: I will. I’m going to test that theory, I love it.
Simon Dell: I mean, you’ve got to be brave. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s not a massive thing. It’s only 10%, and what’s the worst they’re going to do is say no. But some people, it’s so challenging having that conversation.
Danielle Lewis: Definitely, and I think that’s — I think just to create your own startup is a brave move. So, conditioning yourself with exercises like that, or sales, or whatever it might be really sets you on the right trajectory.
Simon Dell: For everyone listening, Scrunch are now doing 10% off for the rest of this week, so if you want to get in there… Danielle Lewis is going to do 10% off if you ask her this week.
Danielle Lewis: 100%. If anybody emails me and asks for 10% off, they can have it.
Simon Dell: Right. Quick, you all heard that. Okay, so I just want to touch on, before we finish, the influencer market. Obviously, a lot’s been spoken about it. It’s become this whole new thing in the last 2 to 3 years that, as you said, 8 years ago didn’t exist at all. What should businesses be thinking about when they’re using influencers, and is it just right for certain businesses, and there’s other ones that shouldn’t bother? And again, and the final part of that question is: What sort of size businesses? Could anybody use an influencer?
Danielle Lewis: Yeah. And I think it comes back to how we define what an influencer is. If we think about influencer marketing, really, it’s been around forever. So, it’s word of mouth marketing. Millions of years ago or however long, if you were a hunter and you found the line, you would go back to your tribe and say, “Yes. We’ve got some dinner.” These days, you find a great rose and you go and tell your girlfriends about it, that word of mouth marketing. But obviously, that’s one-to-one, and influencer marketing kind of broadened into scale on a one-to-many.
But who an influencer is the next piece of that puzzle. And to your question: Is it right for everybody? It does depend on who you consider to be an influencer. It doesn’t have to be that pretty girl on Instagram with 100,000 followers. It could be your customers. It could be a corporate business. It could be an expert in your field. They are all influencers over a group of consumers. So I think it depends on who actually influences your target market to buy as to who an influencer is for you and whether it will actually work.
And I always say to people as well, is whilst I should be saying influencer marketing works for everybody, influencer marketing is like every marketing channel. If you sat down and thought, “Okay, I’m a new brand. What marketing channel will work for me or what marketing channels am I going to experiment with?” Now, you can write down a list hundreds of different ways to acquire customers, and influencer marketing is just one of those.
So, you do have to actually test it. You do actually have to approach it with experimental mentality, test different types of influencers, different channels, different content, different sizes of influencers, and to really figure out if it does work well for your business. The next piece to that is, once you figured out the right type of influencer for your business, understanding that they can really drive traffic to your own properties, whether it be your social media or a website. But if you haven’t updated your social media in 6 months, or your website converts really poorly, or there’s 50 touch points to make a purchase, that’s not the fault of influencer marketing. That means you don’t understand your own sales conversion funnels.
So, there’s lots of pieces, and it’s kind of like when influencer marketing came out, people lost their heads and forget what marketing was. They just thought if I pay this girl with 100,000 followers, that all will be right in the world. But it’s not like that. It’s the same as every marketing channel. You’ve got to test it. You’ve got to really understand what type of influencer you’re investing in, and who their followers are, and you’ve got to make sure that your own house is in order as well.
Simon Dell: Who’ve you seen it work best for?
Danielle Lewis: The obvious ones that we’ve seen it work really well for are lifestyle brands. Your fashion, beauty, travel, health and wellness, food is a massive one. Those really visual products where you can put them in the hand of an influencer, they can create beautiful content, and they can drive a lot of awareness and interest in product purchase. When you can see a beautiful piece of content, be able to click on a link to buy, there’s a really impulse purchase thing that happens there which works really well for lifestyle brands.
Simon Dell: Yeah. I went off on a long tangent in my head there whilst you were talking about funeral homes, because I always remember years ago, someone asked me to do some work for a funeral home. And for some unknown reason, whilst you were talking, I suddenly went, “I wonder if influencer marketing will work for funeral homes.” But I can’t quite see that happening.
Danielle Lewis: You never know. I mean, a far stretch could be the grey nomad travellers who are big on Facebook. There are the older generations on Facebook trying to connect with their kids seeing a funeral home ad.
Simon Dell: I love this funeral home because they’ve buried three of my friends recently, yeah. I don’t know why I went off on that.
Danielle Lewis: We could be going down a morbid path here.
Simon Dell: Yeah. I was going to say, I don’t know why I went off on that.
Danielle Lewis: We could be doing down a morbid path here.
Simon Dell: Yeah. I was going to say, I don’t know why I went off on that tangent. Sorry about that one. Okay, so last three questions for you today. What are some of the brands that you like? Things that you buy all the time, brands that you admire, that kind of thing.
Danielle Lewis: For me, beauty is a big one. Edible Beauty is an Australian brand that I absolutely love which they do have amazing design packaging, which suits the home very well, but they also have amazing products as well. I know this is not a beauty podcast but for those with sensitive skin, it’s absolutely phenomenal. Obviously, I’m a big Apple fan girl as I sit here with my Mac, Airpods, and iPhone looking back at me.
Another branded one just because it’s sitting right next to me, we bought personalized Swell drink bottles for everyone for Christmas last year, for the team.
Simon Dell: That’s not a brand I’ve heard of. Swell, is it?
Danielle Lewis: Yeah, S, apostrophe, W, E, L, L. Essentially, it’s one of those insulated water bottles. So literally fill it with cold water, it’s out in the sun going for a run, and it’s still cold when you get back to it. It blows my mind.
Simon Dell: Is that an Australian brand or is that an overseas brand?
Danielle Lewis: Great question. It has New York City on the bottom of it.
Simon Dell: There we go. We’ve all learned something then.
Danielle Lewis: Fortunately, they printed that on the bottom of it, otherwise, I would not have known the answer to that question.
Simon Dell: You shouldn’t have said that. You should’ve just said, “Yeah, it’s definitely from New York” and everyone would’ve thought you were so well-schooled in the brand. Now, you’ve blown it there, Danielle, sorry.
Danielle Lewis: I should’ve prepared for that question.
Simon Dell: Second to last question: What’s next for you guys? Obviously, we’re halfway through the year. It’s July 2018. You said you’re travelling a bit. What are the big milestones on the Scrunch horizon?
Danielle Lewis: The biggest thing for us right now is we’re going through a bit of an education piece in the market to really help people understand how influencer marketing plays a key role in their marketing mix. A lot of people think about influencer marketing as this thing on the side that they need to do, but they don’t think about it in terms of its true value and how it can add value to the whole marketing spend. I’ll give you an example.
Long the day is gone just buy out 10 Instagram posts. Really, we want to be thinking about how can we use that talent to appear in the brand’s content? How can we pick the best performing influencer content and repurpose that on digital? How can we be remarketing to the influencer’s audiences? It’s really got to play an integrated role into people’s marketing strategies. So, that’s I guess the mission that we’re on for the next 6 months, is working with our existing customer base to really start ramping things up and educating the market on influencer marketing.
Simon Dell: We always joked at the start about new offices, but are you opening elsewhere in the world? Are you putting other people in other countries?
Danielle Lewis: Other countries, not at the moment; interstate, potentially. So, we do a lot of travel. Most of our customers are in Sydney and Melbourne, so there’s a lot of travel that happens. So, they’re looking at having key people on the ground there, and then we’ll look at the global domination next.
Simon Dell: Cool. Alright, so last question is: Where do people find you if they want to ask you a question or talk to you?
Danielle Lewis: Scrunch.com is a get resource for influencer marketing info, case studies, and the like. If you want 10% off, email me at email@example.com. I hear there’s a sale going on. Otherwise, our social, our Instagram is a really cool place to go for inspiration. I think it’s @scrunchdotcom, and you can find customers that we’ve worked with, little videos about influencer marketing, and a sneak peek behind the scenes of our fabulous team.
Simon Dell: And you’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, and all those. Are you on Twitter?
Danielle Lewis: We are everywhere, yup.
Simon Dell: Cool, so everyone can find you somewhere on the internet.
Danielle Lewis: Google Scrunch. There’s not a lot of products called Scrunch other than scrunchies.
Simon Dell: I also expect an email early next week, because we’re recording this on a Thursday, but I expect an email next you from you telling me where you managed to get 10% off on, and I’ll put that in the show notes for everybody to work out whether Danielle was actually successful in her 10% crusade. What I’m going to ask: How many people are in the Scrunch team at the moment, Danielle?
Danielle Lewis: There’s 16 of us at the moment.
Simon Dell: Okay. I think you should set that as a challenge to your team next week, that they’ve got a week to work out how many places they can get 10% off on.
Danielle Lewis: So good. I love it. Challenge accepted.
Simon Dell: Maybe some sort of prize for the winner, because I would love to hear that as a social… From an influencer company, I would love to hear the success that they are trying to influence other business. That’s worth sending a cameraman out with them to see what sort of success they get. Anyway, thank you very much for being on the show. We really appreciate your feedback, and your ideas, and your thoughts, so thank you for your time.
Danielle Lewis: Fantastic to be here. Thanks for having me, Simon.