Today’s Guest: Stæven Frey

Staeven is the Founder and the Chief Brand Scientist at Quantum Branding. He helps brands become authentic and memorable category leaders through the power of BrandScience™ - the core of what fuels a successful brand's growth, sales, and marketing. He's passionate about helping purpose-driven brands to get to the next level, disrupt their market and leverage the power of BrandScience to become an industry authority.

Here’s a summary of the great stuff that we cover in this show:

  • Stæven defines the role of a Chief Brand Scientist as someone who integrates marketing, strategy, research, and synthesis to advance a brand's message and effectiveness. Brand science is the study of how to make branding more distinct, memorable, and effective in driving profits and customer loyalty.

  • The importance of branding for eCommerce businesses lies in creating highly distinct and famous brand assets that drive memories and connect to customers' motivations. It is crucial for businesses to invest in their brand and assess the number and quality of their brand assets to determine if they are effective in attracting customers.

  • Stæven highlights the importance of creating distinctive brand assets and an awareness ecosystem in order to build a strong brand identity and increase sales. The distinction and memorability of brand assets play a crucial role in attracting and retaining customers in a competitive market.

  • Branding helps create distinctive associations and memories with consumers, leading to increased recognition and preference for the brand. It is crucial to understand the pre-existing stories and associations in your industry or market and build on them to create a strong brand. Conducting research on competitors, trademarks, and trends can help determine what is distinct and avoid potential conflicts.

Links & Resources from today’s show


on average the brand, the typical brand should have 30 to 50 distinctive brand assets.

The average folks that I talk to have five. So it doesn't matter if Michelangelo painted your brand Mark, or you know

someone, someone very, very famous, created your brand mark for you. That's only one thing you know.

That's only one memory.

Welcome to the e-Commerce podcast with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. The E-Commerce podcast is all about helping you deliver e-commerce.

Wow. And to help us do just that today I am chatting with today's guest, Stæven

Frey, from Quantum Branding Agency. To you about why is branding so important for your e-commerce business.

I just love talking about branding, so I'm looking forward to this conversation. But before Stæven and I dive into our conversation, let me give you

a, a podcast pick some previous episodes that I think you'll enjoy. Oh, yes.

Check out five steps for successful e-commerce branding. No, no, actually that's wrong. Five steps for successful Amazon branding, uh, with Drew Morgans,

who's actually a really cool guy. I met him in Kansas. What a legend He is, uh, Branding basics to consider when branding your

business with a very own Josh Catchpole. Also talking about branding. Uh, you can access our podcast pick and our entire podcast archive for free

on our website, Plus, if you are there, sign up to the newsletter and we will send

you the links to our podcast picks, along with the notes and the links from today's show with Stæven.

They all get delivered straight to your inbox totally for free. So if you're not signed up for the newsletter yet, why not get on it? Get over to the website just do it now.

Now, are you struggling to struggling? Are you struggling to talk a bit like me? Are you struggling to grow your e-commerce business?

Do you feel you are constantly spinning the wheels trying to figure out what to focus on next?

Well, let me tell you, I have been there and I know how frustrating it can be.

That's why we have the e-commerce cohort, and that's why the e-commerce cohort sponsors the show, uh, e-commerce cohort helps, helps e-commerce businesses

like yours deliver an exceptional customer experience that drives results. Uh, and to help you get started, they have a free resource for

you called E-Commerce Cycles. It's a mini course. Which walks you through the proven framework for building a

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Go check it out. Go head over to, access our free training. Get started today.

Uh, and just, you know, it's time to start delivering e-commerce wow to your customers with the help of e-commerce cohort.

Oh. Yes. Now that is the show sponsor. Let's talk about the show guest.

Stæven is the founder and chief brand scientist, which I think is probably one of the best job titles ever.

At Quantum branding, he helps brands become more authentic and memorable. Uh, he's a category leader through the power of brand science, the core

of what fuels successful brands, growth, sales, and marketing. Brand science has got a trademark next to it, by the way.

Uh, he's passionate about helping purpose-driven brands to go to the next level, disrupt their market, and leverage the power of brand science

to become an industry authority. Stæven, great to have you on the show, man. How are we doing?

We are good. And, uh, thanks listeners for uh, tuning in today's episode as well.

Thanks for having me. Oh, no, it's, it's great to have you. It's great. I'm curious, Stæven, before we, before we jump in, um, I mean, you're drinking

your, your English breakfast tea from, from from Tennessee, you know. No, it's Twinings.

No worries. It even sounds quintessentially English, doesn't it? Twinings.

Um, what's the, I'm curious, what's the painting behind you? Because I, I appreciate people listening to the show.

Can't see it. Uh, but I'm, I'm really captivated by this painting that you have behind you. Sure.

Uh, so, uh, one of the things that, uh, is important for me is, uh, color

and color is one of the, the secondary lenses that we interpret things. So, first is shape, then is color.

And so these are just some great colors. And I live in a 1928 bungalow, and so these are a little bit more mid-century modern.

But, uh, I just, uh, loved this, uh, loved this, uh, this painting.

Yeah. Uh, behind me and, uh, there's actually another one. I can't gotta show it. We're gonna pull it off the wall.

That's Cat. It's a cat painting.

It's a cat. Now what the reason we're laughing dear listener, is because, um, before we

hit the record button, Stæven, you were telling me that, um, as well as being a brand scientist, uh, you, you, you rescue cats, and there, there may be the odd

cat sort of appearing on the video or, or, or maybe making a vocal appearance.

Sure. Sure. So if we hear, so if we hear there's a variety of cats, cat noises, we

hear, uh, usually, uh, it's Mr. Peanut butter wanting to go outside or teddy pumpkin pancakes saying hi.

Yes. We won't go into all their names, but Mr. Peanut, I was teasing out.

I was like, yeah, little did you know you signed up for a podcast with me and my cat entourage.

My cat-tourage. The cat-tourage. Yes. That's awesome. That's awesome. Uh, we should maybe do a whole episode on how to name your cat,

because obviously you've got some great names going on there. You know, the universe does it. You gotta listen to the universe.

You give it two weeks and it just shows up. That's the whole episode actually.

Okay. Well thanks for listening. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks

to check the mail. We love it. We love it. So Stæven we read in your, um, bio.

I'm just, You are the chief brand scientist. What does that mean? What's the chief brand scientist?

So, a chief brand scientist is, uh, a term that, that I've kind of, uh, developed to represent several things.

One, there's kind of a chief marketing officer and a chief marketing officer is their role is to, you know, and it may differ from agency or

company or organization or nonprofit. Mm-hmm. But, uh, chief marketing officer is predominantly, uh, Uh, given

the responsibility to focus on the marketing of the organization and set out the message. Mm-hmm. But then there's also a strategist component.

So then for a while I was, you know, I was like, well, chief strategy officer, so cso, that's kind of a new term.

But what's interesting is within my organization, there's a couple things that I'm doing. You know, yes, I am advancing the marketing for my organization.

Yes, I'm advancing strategy for organizations. But the main thing that I'm doing is that I'm, I'm researching first and

foremost using evidence-based metrics, diving into, uh, what are, what are the

metrics and things that organizations need to be looking at, and then I do that for their organization as well.

So, so I'm not just the, the chief brand scientist for my own organization. That's kind of my title when I come to you.

So I'm bringing that skillset of knowing how to integrate. Yes. The marketing, yes, the sales, but also the research, the strategy,

and the synthesis so that we come in and, and together can diagnose and assess and create plans that are based on what's gonna move the needle

forward for your organization based on where you are, kind of in the age and stage of your organization.

Mm-hmm. Um, as, as well. So, uh, chief Brand Scientist simply stated is, is my title.

I made it cuz I do what I want. No, I'm just kidding.

My brother used to say, do what you want, you'll do it anyways. So I was like, fine. No big chiefs chief brand scientist.

No. Uh, but was it a case of, um, it's the best term that, that embraces all the things that I do.

Yeah. You know, first and foremost, advancing brain science is kind of my main karmic purpose on this planet.

Uh, and teaching, teaching everyone about it as well. So, Okay, well, we'll get into that. I mean, I, I was just saying then I, part of me is curious, did you come up

with the name Chief Brand Scientist? Just, was it going back to the start of the podcast, the Universe, after two weeks, it just, that's what happened.

It, it, it's a little bit longer than that, but doesn't work on yourself.

It only works for cats, man. Yes. Just takes a lot longer on, on humans apparently.

Right, right. Um, So you've used this phrase, brand science. Let's dig. So you're a brand scientist, um, which is separate and distinct from,

uh, the, the, the chief marketing officer that you, that you mentioned. So brand science, what do you, I mean, you've, you, you

use the word like metrics. Um, so I, I figure that's involved in it somehow.

But let's dig into this concept of brand science. What do we mean by brand science?

Yeah, so, so I, I first like to start off with a baseline of where does this fit?

So marketing is, hey, anything that says, Hey, do business with me.

Right. You don't, you don't make, it's the best, best definition I've heard for marketing for a long time. So,

so, It's, it's really functional. You know, you, back in the day, I would've traded some wheat, uh, with you for

some cheese or something, or a goat. Um, and there would've been a sign outside your door that said, ah, you're the

blacksmith, or, oh, this is the bakery. And we, we would've done trade on a local level. Yeah, and traded.

So marketing. Now, nowadays we live in a digital economy, a digital global economy

where I don't trade with people items, but I trade money and I trade possibly all over the world.

So marketing is just the functional advancement of trade saying, Hey, do business with me.

Mm-hmm. Then within that, there's another component. There's branding, and branding is the unique and distinctive assets

within your marketing, whether it's your sandwich board sign, or your, your various ways that you share who you are and what you do.

Print, web, digital, social media, so there's marketing, and then within that is branding.

And branding is the distinct stuff that helps you remember whom to do business with.

So if the blacksmith had a bright Barbie pink sign, you'd probably be like,

whoa, I remember that guy when I was traipsing through town on my Clydesdale. Let's go get a sword there.

Uh, likewise, that's how things work in our minds when there are.

Um, memories that we've built based on our senses. So this is the, the, the crux of everything is we make

memories using our senses. Yeah. And so sensory assets are the things within brands that we remember.

So color, shape, word, story, sound, music, character, you

know, photography, illustration. So any time that those are distinct, we remember 'em. So that's branding.

So we went from marketing mm-hmm. To branding. And then there's brand science, which is this geeky little, you know, corner

of my world, which is the study of how do we make branding more effective. How do we make it more distinct and more famous?

How do we drive people to think of us first? And so there's a slew of sciences, um, and, and metrics that I look

at, um, and variables that, that we work through to ensure that

we're understanding your category. We're understanding the customer cues, we're understanding where everyone else

is kind of in the bald diamond, you know? Mm-hmm. So if you've got customer cues as first base, you can't alienate the customer.

You gotta give 'em what they want. And then you've got, third base is, is the industry. You know, you can't alienate your industry or else you don't fit.

And then there's kind of the outfield. And the outfield is where everyone else has hit the ball with their own

distinctive ip, with their own color, shape, word, distinctive brand assets. So every category has its own set, set of kind of.

Data that, that we look at and create just for you, so that we look at and we

can measure the effectiveness of your branding thus far, and, and this is

really kind of a controversial thing. It's, it's shouldn't be, you'd think science. Everyone would love science.

It gives us answers and helps explain things. Uh, but anytime you are talking about, you know, someone's brand mark, you're

talking about things that they've invested in that they're heavily tied to. Um, and then we put that up against testing and saying like, wow, this

is not distinct, it's not memorable. And be like, well, this has been our brand Mark for 200 years.

And I'm like, well, that's great. Um, how's business? Mm-hmm. Are you selling?

And so typically there's an emotional side of. Of the branding that they think they are connected to and actually they're

connected to their customers aren't. Yeah. And so that's another, that's another kind of fallacy in this world, but

brands, uh, of brand science, that it's about emotional connection and it's actually about making memories.

And, and we'll, we'll get into that a little bit later. So, brand sciences is this little subset within branding in the study of how

to make your branding more effective. And it helps drive profits. It helps companies grow and sell.

It helps make people think of you first. Mm. And that's ultimately what we want them to do.

And that's the most important thing, especially if you're passionate about your brand and you're passionate about making a living and you're

passionate about, you know, um, being able to afford the top shelf cat food,

you know, or dog food for, uh, for. For, for equal amongst the pet or, or humans.

If you have humans in the home and you want them to, but, but you know, if this is what you do for a living, this is probably one of the number

one things you need to invest in. Mm-hmm. The challenge is most, most agencies, marketing personnel, and folks don't.

They know why. They don't know how to articulate why. So that's why I really love brand science because it gives us a foundational

explanation of what branding is meant to do, whether or not it's working. Mm-hmm. What we should do and how we can change it as soon as possible so that we

can grow, we can sell, we can drive revenue, and we can get that cat food. So I, I mean there's a lot there, Stæven.

I'm not gonna lie, I've got a little of notes already. Um, and so you've got this concept.

Yeah. Well, okay. It's not, not your concept, but you, there's this, there's this, I think sometimes people think of it as a bit ethereal or don't they, branding.

It's just something out. It's very unquantifiable. It's a bit like social media. I don't know. It's just over there.

It's, it is a bit ethereal and every now and again people think, well, should I change my logo and my colors?

Um, which is actually, I think it's very. It's, it's doing a disservice to the, to the idea of

branding, uh, in a massive way. But you are taking then this sort of ethereal thing and you're trying to

put numbers or some kind of science behind it to help people understand whether or not it's, it's working.

How, if I'm an e-commerce owner, um, let's say I've already got

an e-commerce business, right? It's already established. How do I know? If it's working, what are some of the things that I need to be thinking about?

How do I know? I love this phrase, do people come to you first, um, that you used? How do I, how do I know if that's happening?

What are some of the things that you look for? Sure. So there's obviously leading and lagging indicators.

You know, you can look at clicks and websites and things. You can see search terms and how you're ranking, you know, how you're

ranking in Google search terms. Those are gonna kind of give you some lagging indicators.

Uh, and I always, if I mess this up, forgive me. But you know, some of them are gonna tell you, um, are people looking for you?

Are they not looking for you? Mm-hmm. And so for you to change and move the needle, that's not gonna happen right away.

So you may think that, uh, web. Website search and SEO or Amazon search is gonna be a leading indicator.

Um, when it may not be, it may actually just be, you know, somebody just paid a hundred people to do, you know, testimonials and reviews or mm-hmm.

It's paid sponsored ad. So then is that really, are you really leading in that category?

So, so the really two metrics that I like to focus on is, uh, fame.

How famous is it and how distinct is it? So when it comes to your, your, your brand asset, your brand assets, I

said earlier, it's not just about your, your brand Mark or your logo. I say brand Mark.

And I'd love if everyone else started saying this instead of logo, uh, because when we say brand Mark, it's, it helps us transition into this idea that your

brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is all the assets, visual, verbal, word, shaped

color, uh, story sound, music. And so then we see our brand assets as these really distinctive, that

are unique to us investments assets. That anytime we need to do an ad or, or whatnot, we have a menu of

assets that we can choose to help use to drive that top of mindness. Um, so you, you're to your question, how do you know if you are, you

know, if they're coming to you first. There's obviously, you know, you've got leads, you've got

your, your buyer's journey. Uh, but really the two that we, we have to look at first is how

famous is it in your category? Mm-hmm. And how distinctiveness is it? And so if you imagine a, a window, an old window with two boxes, you know,

that's, that's our, our little rubric. And, and the top corner is where we wanna get super famous and super distinct.

Okay. And based on how those assets test, um, you know, so, uh, a great

example is if you think of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has over 150 and plus assets. You know, Santa Claus, polar bears, you know, the shape of the bottle.

Open happiness, always coca-cola. You know, they've got all these assets and then they refresh them every season.

You know, you get the new Coke Zero can and now it's red with the black. And that was a 20 year kind of push to, to shift.

Now they're saving money cuz they, they can do one can and then just do a two color process on the same can, you know?

Um, but before it was black and they established that black was zero sugar and they created what we call a distinctive memory structure.

Yeah. So, So they've got all these assets, right? And you may have Matt's Cola company and we would say, yeah, cola is red.

Like when you go to the store and there's off-brands, they're red. And so just cuz you're red, that may be an industry signifier

that Oh yeah, it's cola. Yeah, but it's all the combination of all the assets mm-hmm.

That make it Matt's cola. It's your tagline, it's your brand Mark. And so, so to be highly famous in your category, people need, need to

be able to look at assets and know that's Matt, that's Matt's cola. Or that's, you know, you know Matt's brand.

And so the goal is for people to think of you first, and. We have to back up and say, well, why does, why is this work?

And so, uh, in our brain, there's actually two systems. It's not left brain, right brain. There's a book called, uh, thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

And he basically says, uh, the majority of our lives are lived with system one, which is kind of fast.

Autonomous works on its own autopilot. It's why you can talk and drive on the, you know, and listen to the

radio while you're driving down. You know, the, the highway. System two is like 15 times 37, or should I invest $29,000 in this 2.9 APR thing?

Like, you're like, what? No, I need a minute to think about that. So, System one is always using our mem our our senses and creating memories.

So the, the question is not to ask, how do I know if I'm, you

know, they're choosing me first. Well, the first question is, do you have highly famous and distinct assets first?

Mm-hmm. Because that's, then we can figure out why, when and where.

So if we know that you have. You know, and on average the brand, the typical brand should have 30

to 50 distinctive brand assets. The average folks that I talk to have five. So it doesn't matter if Michelangelo painted your brand Mark, or you know

someone, someone very, very famous, created your brand mark for you. That's only one thing you know.

That's only one memory. The brand with the most memories, you know.

Um, if, if I said to you, you know, man, I'm really hungry, and you go, dude, you're not you when you're hungry and then you're like,

ah, you should eat a Snickers. And then you're thinking commercials with Betty White and celebrities and the package and the colors and the type.

So you're like, yeah, I should probably get a Snickers. They've got a story, they've got the packaging, they've got this idea.

That you connect hunger with Snickers. I think it's brilliant. It's a candy bar.

Y'all like, every time you're hunger, you should not eat a candy bar. Like, no, this is like, I'm definitely not a Snickers, but I mean, you know,

maybe a Walker's shortbread. I don't know. Um, I'm just listeners. I'm just pulling out all this British stuff.

Um, so, but the, I think that's Scottish. Forgive me, but, um, The first question we have to ask is, do we have assets?

Mm-hmm. How many do we have? And are they highly distinct and famous?

And if you're looking at your brand and you say like, well, I don't know how many I have. Do you have a color?

Do you have a color palette? Mm-hmm. Do you have a shape in your brand mark? Do you have your brand mark?

Do you have a tagline? Do you have a process or a name for your product? And when we start to gather all these things up that your senses can identify.

If you have three to five, it's time to invest in some more. If you have five to 10, okay, maybe we should go test them and add some more.

If you've got, you know, 15 to 30, then. We need to test those too, but you're on the right path.

Mm-hmm. Uh, because at the end of the day, people need those distinctive brand assets, those brand assets that are unique to just you to drive those

memories because we actually keep those memories in little boxes. And that's actually the science of semiotics, so Right.

Um, it's like a March madness bracket in our head. So when you think of cookies, you think of cookies.

When you think of, you know, things in the fridge that are white, that are in the door that are a condiment, that is a vegetable, you know, your

brain has to go through, oh, milk, eggs, uh, mayo, oh, uh, horseradish. Yeah.

It takes a minute for your brain to get there. So since we have all these boxes, that's how we make memories.

So there, there's not really a long, uh, a short answer to your question. The first one is, you know, how do we gauge if people are coming to us first?

The real question we need to be asking is, are we investing in our brand?

Are we willing to invest in our brand? And what assets do we have to start with? Because then we can, then, once we identify those, then we can look and see

if, um, if we need to test those assets to make them more distinct, if we need

to use or lose some of those assets. So you may have a really great asset you're not using.

Um, you may be sitting on a really great illustration or, or a story or, um, a jingle, uh, that people don't know about yet, and it's

could be really, really distinct. So a lot of your intellectual property isn't just about your brand mark, isn't just about your name.

It's actually about all the sensory things that you connect because we think in ideas.

Um, which is really about, uh, if you're familiar with Simon Sinek, I really love his golden circle.

Um, when we tap into the big why, We tap into motivations.

And so that's a huge, that's a huge must that your brand must connect to a big idea

or motivation, not just selling a product. And so, and, and I know we all go on Amazon and you see some of these brands,

it's like they're, they're like a Chinese or an off-brand or, and it's like J D R K R M, and you're like, what is that brand?

I don't know. But it's only $20. And so they're the number one in their thing because of price.

Yeah. And then you get it, it's not very good. It doesn't work. And then at the end of the day day you're, you've realized, wow, I just

bought something based on value alone. It really wasn't solving the problem I needed. And it definitely didn't leave me with a great experience because it didn't show

me that they understood my motivation or why I was looking for that product. Yeah. That's really fascinating.

Uh, Stæven, I, and again, Lots to sort of dig into there and I'm, I'm just

trying to think if I was, If I, as I'm listening to you talk and I'm thinking I'm, I'm running my e-commerce business.

How many assets have I got? How many brand assets have I got? I'm just sort of taking a mental sort of checklist and I've got this,

this sort of many, um, well, I'll, um, I know you told me to wait till the end. I've got a resource that, that, that I can share with the list listeners.

Um, but it's, uh, Bitly, b i t l y slash brand science checklist.

Um, and that's just something that's. Not the, the main thing I was gonna talk about today, but I've got a checklist that

people can go through as a starting point. Okay? It helps you. Um, so happy to share you and give you that link.

You can put it on the, the, the, the podcast link. But, uh, I've got a checklist to help prime you, uh, through that process.

Uh, but so, so don't worry about, uh, trying to in go through that process alone, um, if that's something that's important to you, but.

No, that's great. So, uh, brand science checklist, Bitly forward slash brand science checklist is great.

Um, so you've got a checklist. So I'm gonna start to figure out how many assets I've got. The thing, the word that I'm lock locking on, um, here, Stæven is the word famous.

Um, how do I know if. My brand assets are famous.

How do I even start to think about that? Because my initial response will be, well, as the brand owner I, I, I think

everything I do is famous because, you know, it's just, it's just me. It's just the way I work. Sure. But the, the, but, but how do I know really, uh, if things are famous?

Sure. So, uh, a great test. Um, and there's a lot of tests out there that you can, you can do group

studies, you can do, you know, one of the prime examples is, is simply if you

took your product and you offered your product and you removed the product

itself and simply try to sell it with just the distinctive brand asset. Um, so if you have, you know, if you're selling something online, And

you have a set of colors that you use. You know, do those colors outperform?

Are there colors that outperform because they're, they're kind of, you have a color palette that you use.

Mm-hmm. Um, can, would people buy, do people buy your product based on the assets?

Because the assets create those memories. So, so the, the first question is, you know, how do I know if they're famous?

A better question is, where am I implementing all my distinctive brand

assets across the buyer's journey? Because the first step is to build awareness and trust and, and have that

strong brand identity so that when they do or they are ready to buy, when

they are ready to buy, they buy you. Mm. So, um, worked with Mars Petcare a while back and we did this journey

document to help their marketing, sales, uh, packaging and design team.

And we talked about the buyer's journey and where to put, you know, the distinctive brand assets on the pack and the best practices as a document

to help retain knowledge over time. Mm-hmm. And it's interesting is we've got like the buyer's journey.

Which is, you know, from the second they pick it up on the shelf and they, and this is a little different from e-commerce in this sense,

but here's the interesting thing. There was an awareness chunk and they're like, yeah, we're not gonna cover that in this document.

That's a whole nother document. And so they identified that, yes, there's the buyer's journey.

Mm, but then there's the awareness component. Yeah. That your messaging should be out there priming the pump.

And so the. Priming of the pump, using your brand assets to create those

associations, and for them to think of you first when they go to buy you. That should be the indicator.

But if you don't have that awareness ecosystem built in, if you don't have ads that are driving, you know, if you don't have ads that are just

introducing yourself to people, um, there's actually four types of ads. There's only four.

Uh, introduce the brand. Um, call to action, feature and benefit, and then endorsement or social proof.

Mm-hmm. So say I have a new, a new car and I advertise at the Superbowl

like Audi did a few years ago, and then, okay, that's great.

So. Well, nobody bought that car cuz they never followed it up with a sign and drive event or, you know, 0% apr.

Right. There was no call to action. Do people need that call to action? Not really, but yes they do.

They need a prompt to say, go buy it. Yeah. They're not going to, so, so the awareness was, introduce 'em to the

brand, then give them a reason to buy the brand and then like, oh, well, JD Power and Associates, five stars.

Oh, and five outta five people love this car. Oh. The same thing with your products. You know, if, if I'm scrolling down on Facebook or social media, that tends

to be where I see the majority of e-commerce products advertised to me. Yeah. Based on my likes, my wants, my needs.

Then when I'm ready and however, the magical ecosystem of them stalking me with my voice works.

I don't know. Uh, I have an awareness of that brand. So when I see that, you know, I see that brand online.

I see that e-commerce brand online, or I search for it even. But typically if it's a sponsored ad or it follows me around, it'll drive

me to go click on it when I'm ready. Um, so the first question is, do you have an awareness that you're creating?

Because if you go to test it, And how do you test it? You test it on distinctiveness?

Memorability. Um, one of the ways you also, uh, look at it is as far as market share.

Um, mark, uh, the term is market penetration. I don't really like that term. It's a little creepy.

Uh, but the percentage of people in the market that buy your product, mm. And so that's another way is, uh, you compete against

everybody in your category. So whether you're luxury or economy, you compete in everybody in your

economy, in, in your industry, in your category, and you all are

sharing all the same customers. So luxury, handbag, buyers, you know, so Louis Vuitton also by coach, right?

Uh, so. So there's, there's a lot of things like people like to think that their customers are theirs. No.

People who buy Coke also buy Pepsi too. Yeah. You know? Um, and then there's, you know, how, how often people purchase and how

many times a year people purchase. And then there's light, medium, and heavy buyers. So there's this whole awareness ecosystem that you need to create first and

foremost, that you can't look at sales if you don't have the data to drive, um, to.

To, to drive some of those findings of your market, of your market share. The easiest way is to start, well, is it distinct?

That's the easiest and fastest thing to test with. Mm-hmm. And even brands that are just getting started or wanna, you know, kind of up

their game or revitalize their brand, that's where you can start and you can, you know, create new brand assets and test them based on how distinct they are.

You know, and, and think of it this way, if everybody in your category is red, okay, well why is that?

Is there an inference? Yes, because cola is red. Okay? So if cola is red, what other assets that can we create

that are really unique to us? You know, so you've got your brand mark color combination.

So maybe it's a combination of red, yellow, and black or red, green and white.

You know, specific combinations, um, adding those assets and we can test

them and know that those are really distinct, so that as you do launch your awareness ecosystem, as you do launch your brand, they will become more memorable.

Um, cuz that's really the, the most important fart. Um, most important. The most important part.

Most important fart, most important fart. I called my cat Sweet fart the other day.

Sweetheart. So the, the, the, the most important place to start then is being distinctive.

Um, yes. Which I, I, when we say distinctive, we just say distinctive. Don't say different.

Yeah. Um, people think they need to be different. If you're in the cookie aisle and you wanna be a cookie, You've

people are looking for cookies. They're not looking for crackers, chips, cake, or pie. Yeah. And if, if you're too different and you're like, well, I'm homemade,

Stæven, well then you're in the bakery. So, so you really gotta keep to your industry and follow the norms.

And interestingly enough, most brands are near knockoffs of each other. I mean, you look at toilet paper, it's a great example.

They're either really, really wide, really, really tall. They're clear with some, you know, soft, fuzzy baby or animal on the front.

It's either red, yellow, uh, red, yellow or blue based on its softness or hardness. And strength and there's some bad math in the corner that I still don't understand,

even though, um, I, I, I try to learn. So brands are near knockoffs of each other.

Yeah. Because we're sharing those shared memory structures and then we have those distinctive memory structures that are unique to us.

So if you go back to your Coke example, which I think is a good example, so if I want to set up a Matt's Coke brand, I have to understand that,

um, The color red is important. And so being distinctive doesn't mean going luminous

green, uh, in the Coke sector. Um, being distinctive is actually being distinctive in other ways.

So you've gotta recognize the important things for your industry or business. Sure, yes. Um, and.

Because they're connected to memories like you talked about. They're connected to specific boxes. And I'm not trying to interrupt that because I need that easy connection.

Yep. So how do I, how do I, it's like someone else has built, it's like someone else has built a connection for you on like the information superhighway of your memories,

and you're like, oh, no, no, no, no, no. We need to use that. We need to use red as cola. You know, why don't we use, you know, People think yellow is happy.

Like no yellow means stained teeth in the dental industry, so don't use, so it's like there's, there's differal different cultural

contextualization of what things mean. Mm-hmm. So what works in our market may not work in Asia.

You know, may not work in Europe. Yeah. So it's really important to understand what are those pre-existent stories,

associations, memories, and share those, but then build on top of those so you can get to those clusters.

And that's why endorsements and celebrities are so important for, for some brands, because they're like, Ooh, somebody has a whole bunch of

really great memories about kiss. Let's use them in a commercial with, uh, this career builder

brand that we've never heard of. Yeah. Or, oh, Betty White, Danny DeVito, Roseanne, they're, they're well known.

Let's put them in a Snickers commercial about how you're not you when you're hungry, so then all of a sudden you're hijacking other memories.

Yeah. And creating more clusters. The scientific term is nodes, so you're creating an clusters and

associations of nodes, and so literally the, the brand with the most nodes is the one you think of first.

That's interesting. Okay, so the brand with the most nodes is the one that you think of first and the, the nodes, uh, or the associations.

Yep. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we've got these, we you've got this going on, then this distinctive versus different.

Um, and if I can take it back one step, Stæven, one of the things I'm please, I'm kind of curious about is how do you know what is preexisting?

How do you know what, what we, how do I know that I should keep the color red versus. Change it.

How, how, how? Do you see what I mean? Because I think, I think people can get a little bit insecure about this.

Sure. So, um, for each of the different assets, there are criterion or

factors that I grade them by. So, uh, for each, each asset we go through and, and test.

Mm. Some of those tests, uh, are easy and some of them are a little bit more subjective. The first one is, does anyone use this already right now?

Okay. Does anyone else using this color? Yes or no? Does it prompt my category or does it prompt my competition?

Those are kind of the two distinguishers, so most people would say, does green,

you know, is that prompt your category when you're talking about landscaping?

Yeah, that's pretty, you know, you don't, nobody owns green, but does green prompt the com competitor when you're talking about coffee?

So what's interesting is if you do the research on the, the coffee category, like 90% of all coffee brands, it's more than that, but I just make it

low so people don't get mad at me. But 90 some percent of of coffee brands are red in the world.

Espresso, Italy. Um, many of the brands, they're red. And coffee, Brett is, is red and it's usually a bright red,

you know, we think of energy and that's what it's communicated. So when you look at Starbucks, Starbucks is green.

It's complimentary color. Um, in that palette, it, it fits it, you know, uh, if you understand

color wheel and things like that. Mm-hmm. It fits in, in there, but so, It makes sense with the other colors and it stands

out, but it still fits alongside of them. So the first question is, does anybody in my category use this?

You know, does this color exist already? Does it prompt my category or does it prompt my competitor?

And then there's some other things that you can go do. A simple research of. The top 100, um, your top 100 is a, is a combination of

who are your local 25 to 40. Your regional 25 to 40, your national 25 to 40, and then

your international 25 to 40. And the reason we do 25 of each and saying what are the top competitors in that space?

Mm-hmm. Um, that helps us identify just from a quick snapshot look. We're not getting in the nitty gritty, but we're able to see

what are the baseline trends. And so you're like, oh, here's how most local brands start.

But here's where brands on the international scope end up. We need to avoid purple because the number one international

brand in the world is purple. And if we ever get big enough to go nationally, we're gonna go head to head with somebody.

We don't wanna use their color. So some things we can just look and identify. Are there distinctive identifiers in their brand mark, in their word, their

shape, you know, their packaging. In all the assets that they use. That's a starting point.

Then there's other things like the trademark electronic search system. Um, I call it my girlfriend, Tess.

Don't tell, don't tell my partner. I have a girlfriend, but, uh, no, no, no. I do. Uh, her name is Tess. Uh, we hang out all day long.

But no, Tess is the trademark electronic search system in America. Mm-hmm. And usually every country has their own version of Tess.

Mm. Um, and that's where it's by the US Patent and Trademark Office in America. You know, over, over in the UK and Australia and the other Big Five,

they have their own offices as well. Mm-hmm. And literally you can go in and you can search for word, color, some

of these distinctive elements that you wanna make sure that, wait. We've got a really, really great name for your Cola company, Matt.

Awesome. And then you go, like, you get the packaging done, it's all done, and then

you roll it out and two to five years later down the road, you get a cease and desist letter from like a global company that's like, Hey, uh, you're

using our trademarked tagline and name. You need to stop that. And you're like, how did I, I didn't know.

And they don't care. They don't care. So this is where doing your legal research on the front end is so important.

And someone like myself, um, there's also trademark lawyers. They can help you. Mm-hmm.

I kind of bridge the gap between those two, uh, between the trademark lawyers and the clients because I know what the end goal is in mind

and what we need to be looking for. So, uh, just doing a basic search. How do you know, you said, you know, how do I know what I can use?

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Um, and what's distinct? So the first one is doing a basic search. Your top 100 - 25 locally, regionally, nationally, internationally.

Mm-hmm. That'll give you baseline trends. The second thing you can totally do is hop online and learn, you know, uh,

look, uh, use, um, I'm trying to think. I think it's Boolean searches is the term. Yeah. But basically, but whatever you're looking for in quotation marks mm-hmm.

The exact phrase or, or items you're looking for, um, that you're looking to, to use.

Mm-hmm. You know, and then you can also use Google. Um, one of the things that's interesting though, is trademark

doesn't depend on the internet. So if I was using my phrase 40 years ago, and I don't have a

website on the internet, I still am the first use in commerce. Yeah. So that's why it's really important to hire somebody.

But those first two things, doing a baseline search, seeing what the, the trends are in your category will help you identify, ooh, what's the

direction that as companies grow, Wow. Where do they simplify or how do they really pare down their messaging that's

gonna give you a, a great approach to investigate, like, oh, is this a direction we should or shouldn't go?

Um, and, and, and, you know, back to our fictitious, you know, if I had a dollar for every fictitious company I came up on, uh, podcast

with, I think I'd have $20 now. Um, but, but you know, with our fictitious capitalized spending company,

Uh, I think the last podcast it was a, a pancake or, um, a cupcake company.

I think it was a cup. Okay. But, um, but, you know, doing, doing your baseline research and

just seeing who is using, what are they using in the questions are, does this prompt my category or does this prompt my competitor?

Yeah. And if you, if you go out and you see and you're looking at your research, those are the first most two, and that's per asset.

So like your brand Mark like is if, are you using a typeface? Is anyone use this typeface?

Does this typeface prompt my category? Does this typeface prompt a competitor? If you can get through those two questions.

No, let's keep going. Yeah, that's worth maybe looking into. Um, so that, that's kind of a, the, the easiest starting point answer.

Um, and then once you make it through that, there's still some other rigorous testing and making sure, you know, in, in research.

But the goal is to, to see. Is this something that I can own, that people can associate with me?

Yeah. Um, so distinctiveness really is the number one factor, you

know, and I, and I say, you know, fame, we can always increase.

Distinctiveness, you gotta do it right the first time and it's hard. Yeah. That's such top advice.

And I like the, I like the use of the word distinctiveness. I think it's, it's, it's what's a distinctive phrase isn't. It is a distinctive word and it, and it in its own right.

So, um, I, I, I like that. How distinctive are we? Listen Stæven, I'm, I'm aware of time.

Um, and I'm aware that I still have a whole bunch of questions to ask about branding, and I imagine actually the listeners have as well.

So if they wanna reach out to you, if they want to connect with you and, and dig into this a little bit more. Um, you've mentioned, uh, Bitly b i t l y slash brand science checklist,

but what other ways can people reach out and connect with you? Sure, sure. So, uh, the, the easiest way is at my website, which is

Uh, and there's a spot on there if you wanna go to the contact form and be like, Hey Stæven, we gotta talk.

I've got a question for you. Um, one of the other things we've got got going on, if you want to learn

about how to implement brand science in your organization, uh, learn the basic tenets of brand science.

Uh, create and assess a plan for your brand. And then, uh, learn how to integrate and execute that plan so that you

make sure that you and your team and everybody is on the same page. We have a program called BrandPreneur.

Um, so, oh, that's, there's a button, right? Uh, there's a button right on the top right? Uh, just says brand preneur.

You can check it out. It's a, in, it's a 10 week program. Includes a workshop, a four day in-person workshop.

But, uh, the goal of that is for you to learn the tenets of brand science, create

um, a metric based assessment of your plan, of your brand, and then walk away with a plan.

So, um, those are kind of the two, the two main ways that you can kind of prime the pump.

Um, but either way, uh, if you're interested in talking, um, check out and, uh, we can schedule a call and talk, talk

to you about what's on your mind. So fantastic. Just got a little Calendly link at the bottom. Um,

Gotta love Calendly. Gotta love Calendly. If, if I have too many people, we'll, we'll, we'll put a form there to

slow 'em down, but as of right now, we've got the Calendly that says, no. I, I have nothing on my schedule.

Please, please come and fill it up. Yes. Please fill my schedule. Make me feel wanted.

No. Yeah, I'm kidding. You know what? I moved from Calendly to Zow.

Cause I got, I got tired of paying for Calendly for, for that reason. You're like, no, no. I, I need to, I, I, I, he's, I think it's, um, it's, uh, z Did you say Zcal?

Yeah. Yeah, that's what I'm switching to too. Don't tell anybody cuz I'm just, I just, I don't want to pay.

Uh, listen, we would of course link to, uh, Stæven's info, uh, in the show notes, which you can get along for free, along with the

transcripts,, or direct to your inbox. If you've signed up to your newsletter, listen Stæven.

Thoroughly engaging conversation. Love your passion about cats, love your passion about branding, man, and the branding science.

And you've, I've got a lot of things to think about and I'm definitely checking out, uh, your brand science checklist.

So thanks for coming on the show. Really, really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. Thanks listeners, for listening and, uh, uh, Stay nerdy, my friends.

Love that. The new tagline for the e-commerce podcast, stay nerdy. What a great conversation. Huge thanks again to Stæven for joining me today.

Also, a big shout out to today's show sponsor the e-commerce cohort. Remember to check out their free online training at . Also

be sure to follow the e-commerce podcast wherever you get your podcast from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up and I

don't want you to miss any of them. No, I don't. So make sure you subscribe to what's going on.

Uh, it'd be great. And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome.

Yes, you are created awesome. It's just a burdening, you've gotta bear. Stæven has to bear it. I have to bear it.

You've got a bear it as well. Now the E-Commerce podcast is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

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website,, uh, where it's all there. It's all there waiting for you all free to access.

Easy as pie. Yes it is. So, uh, go ahead and check that out now. That's it from me.

That's it from Stæven. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world.

I will see you next time. Bye for now.