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EPISODE 091 : 12/08/2022

Jason Byer

Jason Byer leads marketing and partnerships for Crowdspring. He has reviewed thousands of sites providing feedback on their visual brands and has a robust background in retail, digital marketing, sales, and business development.

Host: Ned Hayes and Ashley Coates
Guest: Jason Byer

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Topics discussed in this episode

  • Detailed small business insights from Olympia, Washington
  • Small business resiliency and adaptation during COVID
  • Doubling community outreach during the pandemic
  • Opportunities for small business loyalty programs

Watch Spark Loyalty’s Small Business Success Channel

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Audio Transcript

Ned Hayes [00:00:00] Welcome to Spark Plug, where we talk to smart people working at the intersection of business and technology brought to you by SnowShoe. Your smarter loyalty leader.

Ned Hayes [00:00:10] Sparkplug is excited to welcome Jason Byer to the podcast. Today he is the marketing and partnerships manager at Crowdspring, the world’s leading marketplace for buyers and sellers of crowdsourced creative services. So Jason has vast experience in digital marketing, advertising and technology. He’s worked with a number of companies, including major retailers, and we’re really happy to have him on the podcast and tell us more about branding and messaging within the retail space. So welcome, Jason. 

Jason Byer [00:00:38] Absolutely. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Kira Cleveland [00:00:40] Yeah, I know. It’s great. We’d love to hear more about your background in marketing and agency. Like, you know, if you had to guess, how many clients would you say you’ve worked with and which ones have been some of your favorites? 

Jason Byer [00:00:51] Absolutely. So, you know, Cross Green dot com is a self-service platform, so you don’t have to talk to somebody like me, although I do get excited when we get a chance to, you know, brainstorm with a company and help them along it. But it’s a process where you can come and you can start your project and launch it at 11:00 in your underwear if you want. You know, it’s a very refreshing model in that way. And so we’ve worked with over 15 years, we’ve worked with 65, 70,000 clients. We have 212,000 creatives on our platform that have all been manually curated and reviewed by a human. And so it’s it’s a fun process to work with. I met the CEO about six years ago, and we’ve been working together ever since then, and it’s a fun process, leading marketing and partnerships. I get to touch a lot of different conversations with brands like Amazon and AliExpress on the large side, and then a lot of smaller, smaller companies that are either just getting started or refreshing their brands. And so it’s very rewarding being able to be a part of that, because when you think about branding and brand identity, it’s a personal story, you know, of the company coming to life and having a visual that they share with the world. And we’re right there. We’re in the middle of that, helping them craft that story and that visual identity. 

Ned Hayes [00:02:03] Right. Just to back up a little bit, could you define brand for us? What is the brand? Why should a company care about having a brand? 

Jason Byer [00:02:09] Absolutely. So, yeah, we use that term and it feels kind of nebulous. We normally just associate it with a large company that’s well known and really a brand quite simply is every single interaction that someone has with your company. Okay, that’s that’s all it is. It’s every interaction. And so when you think about, you know, running a retail business, those are the obvious things like how your products look on the shelf or how it looks on an e-commerce website. But it’s also some of the things that are not quite as obvious. Right, how quickly you return phone calls, right. What’s your return policy? How are people dressed and how do they treat the customers when they walk in, when they’re interacting with employees? These are all aspects of your brand that somebody is interacting with. And I think the big challenge a lot of smaller companies think of is that they don’t think they have that brand. They don’t think it’s for them. But that story about their brand is being crafted, whether they’re taking an active role in guiding the consumer or not. I think we forget that Apple can’t tell us what to think about their brand. They can only guide us. They can’t say, you have to think about our products is beautifully designed. You have to think about our products as you know, in a very specific way. They can only guide that conversation now that they spent billions of dollars. Right, doing that, very effectively, guiding that conversation. But at the end of the day, it’s the consumers who get to decide what to think about that brand. Right. And so that’s the same with smaller businesses and retail, is that that brand is getting cultivated. People are having an opinion both positive and negative. And if you’re not thinking about all those little interactions, if you’re not trying to make every interaction a little bit more positive or a little bit more on brand, we would say, you know, related to, you know, what you want to communicate your main message, how you’re different. If you’re not taking those little opportunities, you’re not involved in the conversation, you’re letting the consumer just kind of guess or figure it out on their own. And so we always want to be involved in guiding that brand conversation. But then the very next part about branding is brand identity. Because if we know anything about a brand, we might think the brand is just the logo, right? And a logo. And all of your visuals are part of your brand identity. And your brand identity is everything visual about your brand. This is your fonts in your colors and your logos and custom illustrations on your website and product packaging, right? This is all of your brand identity. And so brand identity, the visuals are nested under your brand. The brand is the overarching message that you’re trying to communicate to your prospects and to your clients. Does that make sense? 

Ned Hayes [00:04:44] Absolutely, yeah. So the brand identity is kind of the face you give to the world, right? 

Jason Byer [00:04:50] Exactly. Know one way to look at is why even have a logo, right? What’s the point? There’s obviously spaces to use it. You know, Facebook has the Avatar section. You’ve got to upload a. Hector. You know, but. But why have a logo? And the answer is, quite simply, it’s. It’s visual shorthand. It’s to take your brand. And we process images thousands of times faster than text. So instead of me telling you about our brand, I can give you a visual shorthand. A visual clue. And you’re going to see this clue 7 to 10 times before you ever decide, you know what, I should walk into that store or I should check out, you know, on the e-commerce site. But you want to have something that’s consistent, right? Something memorable and something that serves as that visual shorthand to say, I’m in the right place. These are my people. This is my product. I’ve arrived, you know, this is where I’m supposed to shop. 

Kira Cleveland [00:05:40] That’s fantastic. And beyond that visual shorthand, you also mentioned telling their story in talking about companies. So does every company have a story? You know what is telling your story? 

Jason Byer [00:05:51] Me This is the complicated part about branding, right? This is the kind of way you’re running a business because so many of us, when we start companies, we’re really creating a job. You know, we’re either finding a very quick way to make revenue that we are passionate about or we’re creating a job. But we’re not thinking about building a brand that we’re going to sell, you know, are building a business that we’re going to sell. And so this is where you have to have that conversation. The earlier the better, right? Because the earlier you can do this, the quicker you can tap into the secret sauce that allows you to stand apart from your competitors. Right. Because you don’t want to be a commodity. And so if a company doesn’t have a brand, it’s essentially a commodity. It’s essentially, you know, we’re basing this product on the price and how quickly it can be delivered. And brands interject a bit of a story. Brands interject a meaning about why we want to interact with this company. And what we want to do is find out who’s the audience that we can best serve. Right, because we don’t want to just serve everyone. Maybe earlier in our careers, earlier in our business life cycle, we’re open to anybody who’s going to give us money, right? We just need to keep the lights on. But after a little bit of time, we realize, hey, there’s some people that return fewer products. There’s some people that just check out quicker. There are some people that spend more money. And these are the folks that we really want to work with because they’re ideal clients. They’re ideal customers. And so once we’ve identified them, we need to understand why are they choosing us, right? What’s different about us compared to somebody else? And once we realize those little things, this is where we start to build not just the story, but then the visuals that support it. You know, an example is if you’re serving military veterans, right, or black rifle coffee company to use, you know, kind of a an e-commerce example. They have a very specific audience. They have a very specific style that is not going to work. That communication palate, that communication design for first time moms. Right. Like, it’s, you know, if you’re trying to target, you know, maybe the reverse, maybe tee’s for first time moms, you know, it’s a very different type of look. It’s a different type of conversation that’s not going to be quite as, you know, hard hitting and aggressive as another company. Now, what’s important to realize is that you also turn people off when you get very specific with your brand, and that’s by design. You don’t want to be something for everybody. If you found the right audience that is very passionate about you, there’s probably another group that really dislike you. And that’s fine. That means you’re doing it right. 

Ned Hayes [00:08:27] Right. So you clearly know what you’re talking about in terms of brand building, telling a story and being able to really communicate the value of a company. I’m really curious about you personally. I mean, how did you get into this? What really sparked your interest in this field? 

Jason Byer [00:08:42] You know, it’s a progression of many different little choices. I was working with the company. The reason why I met our CEO, I was working with him through a startup lab. And a startup lab is interesting where you’re actually creating businesses with the goal of spinning them off into their own companies or selling them. And so you’re going through a very quick ideation phase. You’re trying to identify a problem, create a business and a brand around that, and then grow it very quickly in order to be able to sell it or spin it off into its own company. So it’s a very high energy and fun, innovative environment where you’re trying to, you know, do unique things, create unique companies, unique brands. And so now I’m a little bit more on the management side of this where I get to see other brands created and provide advice on how to create those. And, you know, we work with not just the smaller brands, but we work with enterprise level clients who are interested in trying to innovate within the constraints of their brand identities and their brand equity that they can’t just throw away, nor do they want to just throw that away for, you know, quick marketing tactics. And so it’s it’s really interesting to see some of the larger brands looking for creativity through this crowdsourcing model. 

Kira Cleveland [00:09:53] Oh, that’s fantastic. So we understand you founded your first company, Digital Advertising, in 2011. Are your buildings? Are you going. 

Jason Byer [00:10:01] Deep into the history? 

Kira Cleveland [00:10:03] Yeah. Why not? What else do you do but go deep? Right. But. But we understand that was lucky text with the app that you built there. Could you tell us a little bit about that? How that works didn’t came about. 

Jason Byer [00:10:16] This could be a short conversation because it’s a failure and it’s a failure for many, many reasons. There’s all types of ways to approach product development, and probably the worst one is just to look at, you know, kind of trends and think, okay, we can do something kind of similar. And so we were looking at, you know, two trends at the time, which in retrospect don’t seem that great, but just app development at the time. You know, if you were building apps for the early iPhones, you know, you’re seeing a lot of traction. And so we kind of went into it with this naive attitude that, you know, we’re going to build an app and they will come type of mentality. And then we had Groupon, which was which was very large, based out of Chicago that was gaining a lot of traction in the deals marketplace. And really what we said was, okay, look, you know, the Groupon model is not really helping small business brands. We can do a better way of building a lot more brand interaction. And so it was it was it was a it was an idea around, you know, building brand messaging while you’re texting. Plenty of problems. Wrong with that. You know, most of the biggest problem is we use texting as a utility. You know, it’s not a an area where you can really interject brand messaging very cleanly. That’s that’s not the purpose of using it. You know, that that served its purpose. It got me thinking a lot more about branding. It got me thinking about a lot more about small business marketing and how to build companies and what not to do best to make those decisions early in your life and just keep failing, right? 

Ned Hayes [00:11:41] Yes, absolutely. Well, what tools would you say are appropriate for brand messaging in today’s environment? What tools are you really seeing, having presence and resonance for the market? 

Jason Byer [00:11:51] So it certainly depends on the industry, right. I think we want to make sure that, you know, going back to that merging your industry, which is, you know, the small business retail with, you know, the example I just gave of Groupon. You know, Groupon was really cheapening the access to a company. You know, for those who haven’t heard of Groupon since, it’s, I think, been fairly defunct for years. It was an idea of where you sell a really deep discount to get initial customers and we’re talking like 75% off. And it was across industries, it was massage and restaurants and home services. And the problem was, is that reduce the anchor point about what the service is now worth, because now you’re training somebody that you’re willing to do business for 75% off. And businesses were willing to do that if they could get repeat clients. The problem is, is, you know, I’ve just paid you $25 for your $100 service. And if you’re not going to continue offering it for 25, I can find another person who will, you know, through this marketing challenge. And so I think the lesson there is think about a strong brand and a brand identity where you don’t have to cheapen your service, you don’t have to have the conversation around price. And I think what Groupon did was really push businesses to say, no, you know, you’ve got to be on this platform to get new clients and then it’s up to you to to nurture them. But you didn’t see companies like Apple, you know, offering 75% off a MacBook Pro, you know, because they and I use big brands. I know nobody, you know, here is comparing themselves to Apple listening. But it’s easy to understand these big examples. It’s easy to understand, you know, that Apple is not going to discount their product, you know, apart from maybe some small discounts. And that’s even just been very recent. You know, it used to be that you didn’t get any discount on an Apple product. The takeaway here is build a strong brand you don’t have to discount and then find other ways of adding value that extend your brand. You know, for example, the fun one is, you know, offering something that maybe you don’t really sell. For example, old company sticker mule. Sticker Mule sells custom stickers and they offer a hot sauce designed, you know, with a custom label. And they give this out to clients. And it’s just meant to be a fun extension of the brand and you know, what they’re about and what they do. And so it’s a way of pushing a product maybe that they don’t sell for profit, but a way to engage the audience in a way that’s, you know, outside of discounting. You know, if you want to offer a discount offer, you know, the hot sauce, you know, not the core product, right? 

Kira Cleveland [00:14:21] Absolutely. That’s really fun. And, you know, kind of along those lines, we do keep a pretty big retail focus here on the show. And you mentioned that you’ve worked with retailers large and small. So what considerations should retailers pay attention to in terms of brand extension and branding for a retail store? 

Jason Byer [00:14:38] So it depends. If we’re talking online and offline can matter a little bit. I think for folks, you know, where people come in, you know, in the offline world and in a brick and mortar location, it’s obvious that you want a clean store. It’s obvious that you want to touch the product. But I think what becomes less obvious is through e-commerce, you know, where we’re shipping and maybe you’re doing both right. And so I think the important thing. Realizes that, you know, what’s that experience like when somebody unboxed the product, right, when they hold it for the first time? You know, if you’re unboxing again using a big example, because many of us have had this experience, unboxing an Apple product feels magical, right? You’re kind of excited. It’s product first. You know, you’re not digging through a lot of packaging. You know, they’ve designed it where you’re wowed right away. Compare that to, you know, like an Amazon experience where it’s really based on cost, utility, speed of service and it’s just thrown in a box. You know, there’s there’s nothing fun about it. You open up a brown box and, you know, there’s your item. And so I think what we want to do is think about how we can build that experience. And you do this with custom packaging. You do this where you set the expectation right away that what you’re offering is premium and that it’s worth it. And you should have zero regrets about your decision. And the example from our side that comes to mind is we worked with the world’s best tweezers as the name of the company, and they were selling a $20 tweezer and they came to us with packaging that look like dollar store quality. I mean, it literally look like this should be on a dollar store shelf and it’s like, you know, you can’t sell a $20 tweezer in dollar store packaging. And so, you know, we designed the packaging. And, you know, I think it’s important to realize that Crown Spring, you’re not working with one designer creating one design, right? You’re working with dozens of creatives at one time who are all competing to show you a better product, a better designed specifically for you. And so they got a lot of different designs. And what they ultimately chose was a custom package that really was product first looked premium. It matched their $20 price point. And so, you know, getting back to your earlier thought, for those in retail, you’ve got to pay attention to packaging. You’ve got to pay attention to that experience because we don’t want somebody to purchase our product and then have a feeling of, oh, I’ve been duped, you know, like it was just it was a clever Facebook ad, you know, and they got me a cute video or something like this. And now I feel a little bit of buyer’s remorse. We want, you know, if we’re great at one thing, if we’re great at sales of four, great, you know, Facebook ads, we want to make sure that that we extend that to our other aspects of the business so that they don’t feel let down. 

Ned Hayes [00:17:15] Right. And we especially find that people pay attention to products during the holidays. You know, people want to buy something premium for family or friends. They want to buy something that has some emotional resonance to it. And so this is a critical time for retail stores to get it right. What do we need to keep in mind as we brand our product? You just talked about not not providing these discounts that devalue the product. Are there any other things that we should keep in mind as we think about putting product on the shelves, putting it in the hands of customers, and how do we build an audience for longevity rather than just the short term hit? 

Jason Byer [00:17:52] Absolutely. So, you know, one thing that I think is interesting, a trend that we see, both the smaller consumer, the smaller direct to consumer taking as well as the larger brands emulating, which is personalization. So personalization of the experience of the packaging of the product is something that traditionally the, you know, the the smaller store was able to do a little bit easier because they actually, you know, know the people there in their community. And then when we see, you know, the rise of certain types of technology and direct to consumer, they’re able to continue that that personalization as well. I think what’s been interesting is looking at some of the larger brands where, you know, the obvious one is Coca Cola. Coca Cola is one of the most profitable brands that they get a lot of brand equity. You know, they can’t just do whatever they want in terms of, you know, different types of promotions. There’s a lot of creative rails that they need to stay on. But the idea of personalizing the cans with somebodies name is a way of keeping that same brand identity, but still personalizing it. You’ve got Nutella. Nutella is a brand that, you know, they’re not changing their packaging kind of stale. You know, they only have one product. I think maybe they license a few other products, but one main product that they have and they ran a limited line of designs. Now, you can think about this just for the holidays, right? So a limited run of designs that are unique. Now, Nutella just did kind of a generic geometric shapes and objects and things, but they could say, look, we ran 5000 jars. Each one is unique. We’re only launching them for Black Friday or the holiday season. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Now. That works with a brand that has a lot of brand equity. But you could think about some of the ways here where they you know, the theme here is personalization, right? How do you personalize the experience for somebody? And maybe it takes a little bit more work, but maybe that’s what you do during the holidays where, you know, you’re trying to engage somebody a little bit more. You’re trying to compete for their gift giving business. So you’re willing to do a little bit more work so that you have them as repeat business in the future? 

Kira Cleveland [00:19:54] Absolutely. You know, in the world of branding and product packaging. Within that COVID time frame, how things evolved or changed, and what things should retailers keep in mind as far as the changes that come from that? 

Jason Byer [00:20:08] It really comes down to I don’t know if COVID accentuated this or not, but, you know, pushing people to order more online really shows you how much competition there is. I can’t stress enough how much you have to have a strong brand, a strong brand identity because you need people. They’re going to get bombarded with ads for many different products that are very similar to yours. And so having that strong brand identity, you know, having something that is memorable for you. You know, we talk about why have a logo or why have a strong design for that visual shorthand. But if you’re just going to have a generic design, right? Think about some industries that are terrible realtors and lawyers, scales of justice. You know, it’s in every single design. It doesn’t lend to being memorable. And so what you want to do is if you have all of these competitors and everybody coming online to sell their product because they can’t or don’t want to in a physical setting, then you’ve got you’ve got even more competition. Right? And so I think having this brand story is just critical. And then taking that brand story and having it in a custom design where it’s not just some generic elements where you’re not going to remember, you know, who this company is. Think about how many touchpoints you need before you purchase a product. Seven, ten. You know, times are the common numbers here. So that’s a lot of Facebook ads and emails and postcards and fliers that somebody has to see. You want your brand to be sticky. You want your brand to resonate with this audience. And so whether COVID played a role in this or not, e-commerce clearly went up. We have a lot more perceived competitors, and I say perceived because if you’ve carved out a niche of people that resonate with your message, it doesn’t matter how many other people are selling soap, right? You’re selling soap to, you know, firefighters. You know, it’s like it’s an audience that you’ve identified. And it doesn’t matter if there’s more people selling soap for a cheaper amount or to a different audience because you are selling it to this demographic. And so understanding what that brand is, is and then communicating that visually in a custom way is critical. 

Ned Hayes [00:22:17] Right. So often a brand is communicated in advertising and public facing messages, whether that’s Tik-Tok or whether that’s Facebook or whether it’s a billboard. Right. So in terms of moving that brand into different form factors, are there things that we should keep in mind about advertising just at a high level? What advertising works, what advertising has a short shelf life? 

Jason Byer [00:22:39] Absolutely. I think, you know, that quick answer is with our advertising. One problem that we see regularly is too many call to actions. Right. Give me one thing to do as a consumer and make sure it’s aligned with where I’m actually at in the buying process. Right. Sometimes it’s not appropriate for me to buy the product. I might need to trial the product, or I might want to need to see customer reviews. Now, we don’t need to just add unnecessary steps. We should understand who we’re targeting at what stage. But if you’re coming at me cold, you know, I’m sitting on my couch reading through the junk mail. You know, now’s not the time for me to buy the product, right? That’s way too deep into the experience we just met, and I didn’t ask to meet. Right. And so you want to make sure that your ask is appropriate and that you only have one ask. You know, you want to make sure that, you know, you’re not overwhelming somebody with a lot of different options and decisions. 

Ned Hayes [00:23:30] One of the concerns is that sometimes people think of advertising as I’m selling a thing and giving people a discount. I’m telling somebody about a product. And I think that advertising can actually have a longer shelf life in terms of building the story of a brand. So could you spell out some of the considerations that we should keep in mind as we think of advertising as a brand building process? 

Jason Byer [00:23:53] So that’s a great point, is the great distinction between advertising because sometimes, yeah, you know, who you’re targeting and it’s easier just to, you know, go for the sale and tell them now’s the time to buy if they’re at that part. But the brand building component of this, you know, you’ve got to realize, one, this takes a little bit more time. This is not something that’s quick. This is not going to be a one postcard send. This is going to be a postcard every month. Right. So think about somebody like Hellofresh with the boxes for food prep. Right? They’ve committed to a strategy of direct mail and doing this on a regular basis. And I’m sure in each of our respective areas, we know that piece of direct mail that comes regularly. And what we’re trying to do with the brand building is one we’d like to identify our audience so that we’re not just speaking to everybody because that’s obviously wasteful. And so if we’re speaking to our current audience, we want to help educate them on on why we’re appropriate people make new decisions based on new information. Okay. So think about that. Like if you’re trying to, you know, sell soap, going back to that example, we’ve been using soap for decades. Right? If you. You want me to use your soap? I need new information so I can make a new decision. Right. So does your soap not have certain chemicals? Do you not use slave labor? You know what? What is it about your SO. Help me make a new decision based on some new information that you can provide to me. That’s. That’s brand building. That is. It’s not about just showing the logo over and over and over it. That’s expensive. It could work. You’re going to have to spend ten times as much. Right. And then finally, you’re going to say, like, okay, why do I keep getting, you know, this this design brand identity building? That strong brand identity through a brand awareness campaign is really about showing, you know, how you’re different, providing that new information so the consumer can make new decisions. 

Kira Cleveland [00:25:42] That screen within that space of helping that consumer make those decisions and be that kind of repeat customer. What role does customer loyalty play in terms of branding and brand identity? 

Jason Byer [00:25:54] We shouldn’t overcomplicate, you know, what it means to run a business. You know, when we’re running a business, a lot of times we get caught up in the vanity metrics in the business, right? So building a strong business really comes down to just a handful of factors. We’re trying to have repeat clients, we’re trying to get more clients. We’re trying to keep the clients longer, right? We’re trying to get more referrals. That’s really what it boils down to. And we get we get caught up in some of this other busy work. So, you know, loyalty, retention and a bit more of what we call like a flywheel, you know, getting the people that you’ve already acquired to give you more customers, right? This is how Cross-Brand grows, right? Because we have a product that you are going to love and you’re going to tell customers, you’re going to tell our future prospects, future customers about this. And so that’s really what we’re trying to to engineer into the platform. And so you don’t get there with a crappy product or a crappy customer service, right? You don’t get there just by offering the cheapest solution because you can always find somebody else’s who’s going to give you a cheaper, cheaper solution or faster. Right. And so this is where, you know, you really want to build in not just retention, but build in, you know, customer advocacy. And we’ve seen this with social media. If you’re in a business to consumer role, it’s much easier to be able to get people to say, hey, you know, if we did a great job, if we have a great product, you know, show it. Give us the user point of view. You know, show us the product out in the real world. 

Ned Hayes [00:27:19] Well, you’ve touched on Crowd Spring. We’ve talked about branding and advertising, but we haven’t really given you a platform to explain all the value that crowd spring brings to the world. So now’s your chance. 

Jason Byer [00:27:31] No, perfect. It’s been described as a fun platform because you’re able to get a lot of creativity in a very short amount of time at a very reasonable cost. And so we position ourselves between agencies. We are self-service, but we are price point that’s much more reduced from an agency. But we’re also not free, we’re not a fiver, we’re not cheap design. And so we invest a lot in curating our creative community. And so what I mean by that is we manually review everybody that joins the platform. They have a quality score that follows them around on the platform. There’s a zero tolerance policy for intellectual property violations or privacy violations. They’re immediately removed. And and so it’s created a platform that’s really strong and it produces a strong result. And we back it up with 100% money back guarantee. We want to absorb the risk from the business owner and say, look, you know, unlike some platforms where you might be trying to figure out, you know, like an Upwork does this is this person qualified? You know, am I going to have it delivered on time? Are they going to follow best practices? We want to tell you we’ve screened for that and we stand behind it with a guarantee. And we have 33 categories of branding and design. So everything from naming a company or product, building that core visual brand identity or the packaging or even physical product design, then you can go manufacture and sell. 

Kira Cleveland [00:28:48] So within that kind of space, how does someone start working with crowdsourcing? What does that process look like? 

Jason Byer [00:28:53] Absolutely. So you go to Crown Spring E-Comm, and the first thing we do is it’s a creative brief. It’s completely free. We ask you a few questions. We’re trying to understand your competitors where you’re trying to go. You know what your main goals are, what are some restrictions that you want to put on the creative process you check out in that respective category? You get your first designs back in about 24 hours. These are humans, so they need coffee and, you know, get amped up for your project and then you start giving feedback. You have unlimited iterations, you give feedback, you say, Oh, I like this direction, I don’t like this. Let’s combine these elements. And it’s very simple. If you’re not ready to give it a try, even with the money back guarantee, we can start with a free brand identity greater. And this is a ten page custom report. It’s done by a human specifically for your brand. We score your brand out of a score of 100 and we give you actionable advice on areas where we think you can improve. And so it’s a great place to get a little bit of feedback from an outside perspective. You know, typically as business owners and managers were terrible about reviewing ourselves. So it’s a great way of, you know, getting some. Outside perspective on this? Yeah, I think what I’d like to leave with as well, if you’re not interested and you don’t need to change your core brand identity. Think about the other areas within your brand that you could be pushing further. Right? And so this is more of your marketing materials. So things like custom illustrations are a great way to add a little bit more emphasis to your marketing message. So you brought up the holidays earlier. Instead of just sending the standard stock, you know, Black Friday template with all of the visuals we expect to see, you know, why not custom illustrations that really show your brand in a unique light and communicate sometimes difficult messages very quickly about what you do? That’s the great thing about custom illustrations compared to stock photography. So if you go to Crosby dot com for such categories, you can see all 33 categories and it gets the wheels turning for, you know, how you can get creative with with accessing the 212,000 creatives at your disposal. 

Ned Hayes [00:30:54] That’s fantastic. Well, where do you see kind of the world of branding and especially retail branding going in the next 5 to 10 years? You could look look out. You see crowds spring growing even bigger. Do you see the market for this growing bigger? Do you see brands changing? Where is the world going, Jason? 

Jason Byer [00:31:12] It’s a focus on we want to buy local. We want to do not just universally but, you know, we like the idea of buying from somebody that we that we know. We like the idea of buying from a group that aligns with our values or is telling the story that resonates with us. Right. We like the idea of personalization. We want, you know, ads and products made for us, not just for the masses. And so I think what we’re going to see is, you know, more smaller brands. We’re going to see folks that are that are focusing on a very specific audience and talking to them very, very uniquely about their products. And so, you know, what I think is going to happen is going to see a lot more brands, I think. One thing that worries me is we see more and more companies, but not necessarily more brands. You know, we see more people, you know, selling things, but not necessarily trying to create custom brands. You know, they’re looking at a short term mindset, you know, can I get this for free? And it’s really hindering their ability to grow an actual brand, because when you think about it, you know, $300 for a custom brand typically can be made with just a couple of sales. But a free brand that doesn’t speak to anybody typically can lose you many sales and a lot of pain by not being able to target your customers. So that’s a that’s a fear. It’s both a positive outlook is that, you know, we create more brands focused on people. And and the flip side of that as we just create more companies that are, you know, selling products but not speaking to anybody specifically. 

Kira Cleveland [00:32:41] As a fun little wrap up question, just I I’d love to ask you. 

Jason Byer [00:32:45] I know you went deep on data, which I hadn’t thought about in in quite a while. So where are we going? 

Kira Cleveland [00:32:51] Okay, this what may make you think a little bit, but it’s fun. I promise. I promise. And that’s just, you know, the question of what do you hope your legacy will be like? What do you want to be remembered for? 

Jason Byer [00:33:02] You know, I think I am a father. I have two girls and a child on the way. And we’re building a guest ranch house out in Wyoming on some acreage outside of Yellowstone. And so it’s really, at least for me, as I get older, as my family grows, you know, it’s really just to focus on, you know, what matters most, you know, on a micro scale, you know, being there for my kids have been working remote for over a decade. And so, you know, having those open office, you know, our times for the family and being there for all the little things is important. I think everything outside of that just makes the ride a little bit more fun. 

Kira Cleveland [00:33:35] That’s beautiful. As a fellow parents, I totally hear you there. Beautiful sentiment. Thanks for sharing. 

Ned Hayes [00:33:39] That spark plug is a wholly owned property of SnowShoe. Copyright 2022 2023 Spark Plug Media.