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Mastering Brand Strategy For E-commerce Excellence


Today, join us as we explore the transformative power of humanizing your business into a brand that accelerates growth and positions you as a market leader. Our guest, Aviad Shahar, is an esteemed brand strategist renowned for elevating numerous e-commerce ventures into eight-figure brands. As the CEO of Project Human, a leading e-commerce branding agency, Aviad has been called a “visionary thinker with a rare breed of talent” and bears the stamp of approval of branding icons like Marty Neuamayer, Donald Miller, and Emily Heyward.


Against many who misconstrue branding as solely visual design, Aviad will help you appreciate its broader scope and far-ranging impact and show you how to build a compelling brand. He reveals how branding transcends mere aesthetics, encompassing the entirety of the customer experience – from interactions with your product to engagement with your brand story. Discover why some brands outshine others and why fixating on superficial design elements can divert attention from crucial factors: a compelling narrative aligned with your mission, a brand persona that resonates with authenticity, and a focus on driving conversions. Tune in now to gain invaluable insights!




 

In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:


  • How humanizing your brand cultivates authentic, emotional connections with customers, fortifying your business identity and setting you apart from the competition.

  • Common branding pitfalls to avoid, drawing from Aviad's wealth of experience.

  • How to craft a bespoke branding strategy tailored to your business needs and objectives.

  • The importance of adopting a conversion-centric approach to branding for sustainable business growth.

  • And much more!

 

You can listen to the full interview on your desktop or wherever you listen to your podcasts.



Or, click to watch the full video interview here!


 

For further insights on leveraging branding to fuel business growth, contact Aviad at aviad@project-human.com. Explore the success stories of Project Human and how they've propelled numerous e-commerce ventures to viral status and increased sales and revenue by visiting www.project-human.com.


To be a guest on our next podcast, contact us today!


Do you have a brand that you’d like to launch or grow? Do you want help from a partner that has successfully launched hundreds of brands that now total over $2 billion in revenues? Set up a free consultation with us today!


 

Prefer reading instead of listening? Read the full transcript here!



Jon LaClare [00:00:00]:

With years of experience helping e commerce businesses transform into powerful eight figure brands, today's guest shares insights that can help you not just double your business, but five x or even ten x your sales.


Announcer [00:00:12]:

Are you looking for new ways to make your sales grow? You've tried other podcasts, but they don't seem to know harvest the growth potential of your product or service as we share stories and strategies that'll make your competitors nervous. Now here's the host of the Harvest Growth podcast, Jon LaClare.


Jon LaClare [00:00:33]:

Today I'm really excited to have on our show, Aviad Shahar. So Aviad is an expert brand strategist, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator of companies and organizations throughout the world. He's also the CEO and chief visionary of Project Human, a leading brand agency in the e commerce world. Aviad was mentored and taught by the greatest minds in the branding world, such as Marty Neumayer, Donald Miller and Emily Hayward. Aviad has been called a visionary thinker with a rare breed of talent. As a leadership and strategic brand advisor for CXO leaders, aviad aims to dismantle business as usual, think around corners, challenge convention, and break what needs to be broken. And I'm really excited, aviat, to have you on the show today. First of all, welcome and thanks for taking the time to do this.


Aviad Shahar [00:01:20]:

Yeah, excited to be here, John. Thanks for having me.


Jon LaClare [00:01:24]:

So if you could give us a little bit more background, I'd give an intro, but you can speak much better to exactly what you do at Project human.


Aviad Shahar [00:01:31]:

Yeah, sure. So nice to meet you all. I'm Aviad. You can call me Avi as well. That's my nickname. Originally. I came to the branding world from the design world. I mean, a designer originally.


Aviad Shahar [00:01:46]:

And I, throughout my career, I kind of got my way into becoming the head of brand of a big e commerce brand, an eight figure. They just purchased their biggest competitors. I'm super excited for them. And while I was leading the brand department for this brand, I was, was tasked to expand the market reach of this brand. They had a very specific market segment and they couldn't really surpass behind that. So to give a bit of context, the brand is cool. You and what they sell is saunawear. It's clothing that makes you sweat a lot more, very beneficial for your skin, helps you to burn more calories.


Aviad Shahar [00:02:38]:

And they were marketing, they were marketing for people who were trying to lose weight. And we tried to expand beyond this market and the natural thing to do because the entire brand was oriented toward those people is to do a rebrand and us like any other e commerce brand, we started to interview branding agencies and I noticed that what we required from this process wasn't really offered from the majority of the branding agencies out there. Now talking about the top tier, which we also interviewed them as well, but you didn't want to invest this much at this point. But the lower tier agencies that go for I would say fifteen k per project to all the way up to 65k, they were focusing on mainly the visual aspect of the brand. And I felt that it doesn't really matter how the brand will look, the message will not come, will not the right message. If the right message will not be conveyed, it won't help. So we just didn't find the right fit. So I ended up kind of doing the process myself, learning the design and all of the ideation myself with our design team.


Aviad Shahar [00:04:04]:

And I just felt a bit frustrated from this entire industry. And this was the birth of project human. At some point after a few years working in Coolio, I decided to set my way and start my own branding agency just so I can cater those services that it was so keenly after while I was working in Coolio. And yeah, that's the background story.


Jon LaClare [00:04:38]:

Well, thank you. I think a lot of our listeners probably have heard people talk about branding and branding strategy from many different sources. And I think everyone defines it in a slightly different way. And oftentimes people think of branding as just hiring a logo designer and that's certainly part of it. Right. When you think about branding strategy, there's so much more that goes into it to really help use the brand to drive tremendous growth behind a business. So I'd love to hear what are your thoughts on what is branding strategy and how does it help a business.


Aviad Shahar [00:05:11]:

It's a great question and I think it's very important for every entrepreneur to understand this definition well because logo and visual identity is the clothing that brand might have. But to determine which clothing are the best, you first need to understand what the brand is after, what's the perception that is trying to get. And you don't just invent this just by determining what they think might be cool, you determine it by how the industry is, is right, how the competitors are positioned and what specific customer segment is currently being underserved. So once you analyze all that and you understand, okay, these are the people that I'm trying to cater to appeal my brand. This is when you start to think of all of the different techniques, which one of them is the logo and the visual identity. So to her question, to summarize it, the brand strategy is the strategy really, it's what we're after, what the logo and the colors need to convey and why.


Jon LaClare [00:06:31]:

And you've helped many businesses grow really into eight figure brands, some of them, and had a lot of success over the years. So can you talk a little bit? Just staying high level, at least for now, how branding strategy, and this way you've described it, has been helpful to these companies to make a successful business significantly more successful.


Aviad Shahar [00:06:51]:

Yeah, sure. So when you start with a rebrand process project, when you think of the brand strategy, you ask yourself questions that may lead to breakthroughs that you wouldn't get to if you didn't ask yourself those questions. Some of those questions are questions like, is there a specific customer segment that I should appeal to? Because most businesses, they think, okay, let's just follow the market leader, let's see what they're doing. That's probably the best thing that I should do. It's not always the case. So those kind of processes, this is what may lead to such great breakthroughs. That makes sense.


Jon LaClare [00:07:39]:

I'm just reading a book right now called ten X. Really? How to ten X your business. One of the premises I heard this morning as I listened to the audiobook was about how you need to really find ways or find time to be able to strategize in your business. I think so many of us in our business, we get mired in the day to day activities. Whatever our business might be, whether it's a product business, a service business or whatever, there's so much to do on a daily basis we've got to get done or we feel like these urgent tasks. But it is important to find that time or the ability or an agency to work with to help really find a strategy. Because you can grow your business significantly even. Right.


Jon LaClare [00:08:19]:

But to really catapult it into significant growth, you may need to retool things. You've got to look through a different lens at your business to really go to that next level that is not just a slight improvement, even a 2030, 40% improvement, but to really catapult your growth in a business, it's important to really get behind the strategy of it.


Aviad Shahar [00:08:36]:

Yeah, exactly.


Jon LaClare [00:08:38]:

And one of the things you talk about as well is conversion centric branding. What does that mean?


Aviad Shahar [00:08:44]:

So conversion conversion centric branding means that what really says that you brand your business to convert best. Right. So there's one thing to strategize your brand strategy and it's another thing to implement it, to execute on this strategy. At the end of the day, the strategy is just a piece of paper and the brand identity is just like a presentation, but only once you actually execute on this strategy in your website, in your marketing materials, in your post purchase marketing flow, this is when the magic happens. So conversion optimized branding means that, okay, it's the art conveying this strategy into shopping experience that is optimized to conversions. Really.


Jon LaClare [00:09:46]:

I speak of it in a similar fashion. In the type of marketing we do at harvest growth, many of our listeners know we're focused on direct response video marketing, from Facebook to tv to whatever you name it, video platforms, and all comes back to it's really not just about creating pretty videos or pretty content or pretty logo, but it's about what is going to drive results and keeping that at the forefront of your mind and being able to track those results to see what's working early on in the process. As we test and optimize throughout a campaign, you also talk about human like branding. Obviously your namesake, right? Your company's called Project Human. And just for listener's sake, it's project Dash Human.com dot. If you want to check out this, it's in the show notes, of course. Go check it out later if you're driving. But when you talk about human branding, you connect it to virality as well.


Jon LaClare [00:10:33]:

So it's how to create a brand that's going to be able to really grow your business in a viral fashion as well. Can you speak more to that? What you mean by human like branding?


Aviad Shahar [00:10:43]:

Yeah, sure. So people, we do business with people, and when we interact with the brand, the more humane the brand feels, the more likely we feel we may feel connected with it. So to humanize brand is to give a brand human like traits in the purpose of making this emotional connection between the brand and the customer happen. So for example, to humanize a brand, for example, I just noticed Patagonia's new video on their website. They just released a campaign that says that Patagonia is not a brand about fashion. We don't believe in fashion. We don't create fashion items. And this statement represents values, right? Those values is what differentiate between a money making machine and a human like brand, right? So when a brand associates itself with, with a certain ethos that really connects, really connects with the core business, this is when this, this magic happen, people may feel a bit more connected to the brand.


Aviad Shahar [00:12:01]:

So does it make sense?


Jon LaClare [00:12:03]:

I love how you describe that emotional connection. So again, back in my world, in the video world. And in a similar fashion, we talk a lot about having video content that feels real, right? There's a surge now of user generated content is one way to do it. So it's influencers recording videos when they're fake or they feel fake. It's not going to drive much, you know, no matter how much celebrity your talent has, right. How well they're known, if it doesn't feel real or genuine, then it's not going to connect. So it's how do you create video content? In your case, you're talking about logos or brand strategy. Same thing, right, of that human or emotional connection to the people you're dealing with.


Jon LaClare [00:12:44]:

I love to compare specifically that back to my time in working with Billy Mays back in my early Oxiclean days, now 20 years ago. And people always ask, why was he so successful? For those in our audience that have been around a little while, remember Billy Mays and how powerful he was for Oxiclean, but many other brands as well. We did a lot of market research and found at the time, it really was that emotional connection and trust. People, when they saw him yelling, he was known for the yell and sell approach, but it was believable. They knew or they felt that he was selling something that he used. He believed in that. He was being honest, a little bit of fun behind it, some emotion, et cetera. But it came down to that emotional connection.


Jon LaClare [00:13:27]:

Videos or the best brand strategies are those that ultimately connect with humans, right? Realizing that our audience are just like us, they're people too, and make sure we make that human connection with them.


Aviad Shahar [00:13:39]:

Exactly. Exactly. And one of the most obvious, strong examples that I can say to this matter is the difference between IBM and Apple. What's the difference? Both of them sell computers, sell software, sorry, hardware. But one brand represents something, represents certain philosophy, certain values, and it really act on them. And one thing to stress out, because many brands, they are aware of this importance, that people need to feel this emotional connection with the brand. So what they do, they just, they put in, they sell on their own page that they donate 1% of the revenue to plant the rainforest, for example. So this won't give the same effect as if it was something that is very much connected to the guts of the brand, right? Apple says that they are creating tools for the innovators, for ones that actually want to change the world.


Aviad Shahar [00:14:44]:

So Nike couldn't say that thing. And also Apple couldn't say Nike's slogan, for example. So there, don't, don't forget that it's need to be very much into Wind's vision, the brand's ethos, and the actual how the brand actually do business, the brand's products, the brand's business model, or the brand experience. Right?


Jon LaClare [00:15:15]:

Very true. Let's shift gears a little bit. I want to talk for a couple of minutes about your agency, about project human specifically. So you've done a great job of bringing in really hallmark and well known brands and help them to grow significantly. How do they find you? How does your marketing work for Project human?


Aviad Shahar [00:15:33]:

So we usually go by word of mouth. Almost every brand that we work with, they refer to us at least one more brand because entrepreneurs, they're connected. But I would say this is our mainly main marketing source. I do work on some content marketing myself in these days. So hopefully very soon you'll be able to see some content made by the agency on social media. Fantastic.


Jon LaClare [00:16:02]:

And people can check that out at Project dash human.com as it comes live. And of course follow you, I assume, on the social channels. Well, how do they, with that in mind, our audience, if anyone's interested in learning more or how they can potentially use your services or have questions for you on brand strategy, how can they get ahold of you?


Aviad Shahar [00:16:18]:

They can find me at aviad Project dash human.com. That's my personal email. Feel free to send me an email with whatever question that you may have. I'd love to help out.


Jon LaClare [00:16:34]:

All right, I'm just taking a note of that. We'll put that in the show notes as well. Your email address. So again, if people are driving and aviat is spelled a v I. So aviad dash human.com dot aviat. Is there anything I didn't ask that you think could be helpful for our audience?


Aviad Shahar [00:16:50]:

So, yeah, there's one thing that I'd like to point out, and it's a very important insight that really helped us really transform a brand called 99 Jersey. 99 Jersey is a brand that sells jerseys. And as I said at the beginning of this podcast, they, like many other brands, they were optimized after the market leader who optimized after the big players out there, and they really stagnated. And what we did in our process, we always start the process with market research. We take a look at the industry, we take a look at the that the current customers, because you want to make sure that the new brand strategy will be appealing to them as well. And we're trying to identify an underserved customer segment, because only underserved customer segments, only them, they will have the really high chances of just love the new brand. Right. And for a new brand to become viral, it doesn't need to be, doesn't to have like millions of people rooting for the brand.


Aviad Shahar [00:18:03]:

It could, it could only have just a few hundred of, a few tens of thousands of people just, just love the brand and what it stands for. And we noticed that all of this jersey industry jerseys represent players and. But the entire industry looked at jerseys at a fashion product, right? And while we talked with some of the customers, we noticed that some of the customers really don't, they don't wear the product as many other people where they don't have really the same dressing style of the heel customer of the current brand and the current market in the industry leaders, they were buying, purchasing the jerseys and just hanging, hanging them up on the wall. And for them, justice wasn't really something that you wear. It's something that you, it's a token for appreciation for players achievement, right. And all other players and the industry players just didn't, they didn't care about it. They just didn't, they didn't really emphasize who the player behind this jersey. They just put the player out in the, on the jersey and in the product description and they reckon that people will know this player and that will do.


Aviad Shahar [00:19:27]:

We optimized the new brand into putting the player's legacy first. Right. Everything in the shopping experience was really meant to put the career of the player upfront and we gave it just a lot more respect. This philosophy didn't only play out in the Shopify website, but also played a part in the marketing assets in the post purchasing assets. And we saw that after we just concluded last December was we concluded the year after we launched a new brand. And I'm happy to say that they grew four x in revenue year over year after implementing this new brand strategy. It wasn't only the work of the, and something important to say, it wasn't only the work of the new brand strategy and the new design of the, of the brand. It's also just a combined work of talented agencies.


Aviad Shahar [00:20:31]:

But I can, I can say very, very confidently that the new brand strategy played a tremendous part in making this growth.


Jon LaClare [00:20:42]:

Absolutely. I love that story because I think it speaks to drive tremendous growth. You need to be different. Right. There is a place for copying your competition. I learned a long time ago. For an old boss of mine, borrow with pride. And you can certainly learn from the big players a lot of the basics and especially to get started.


Jon LaClare [00:21:03]:

But if you want to catapult past them. If you want to drive fantastic growth, you got to find ways to be different, right? So find ways to be specific to your audience in ways that maybe other brands, other competitors aren't connecting in the same way. And as you mentioned, one of the first steps in doing that is market research. Of course, understanding who your customer is, who your consumer is, what their wants, desires, needs are, etcetera, and then developing towards that, right? Whether it's brand strategy, product development, or your marketing initiatives, all that needs to fit in the direction that you want to take your customer, right? That's not going to be the same as everybody else, because at best you'll grow, but you'll grow slowly, right? But if you really want to catapult that growth, it's important to be different in the right way. Well, aviators has been a lot of fun. I do want to encourage our audience. Please check out Project dash Human.com dot. You can learn more about Aviad, his business, what he's done, or reach out to him directly with his email that's in our show notes as well with any questions that you have.


Jon LaClare [00:21:57]:

Well, Aviad, thanks again for taking the time today.


Aviad Shahar [00:21:59]:

Thanks again. Thank you, John. It was a pleasure.


Jon LaClare [00:22:03]:

Did you know you can meet with a member of my team absolutely free for a 30 minutes strategy consultation? We've launched and grown hundreds of products since 2007 and learned some of our strategies while growing Oxiclean back in the Billy Mays days. We're here to help, so please go to harvestgrowth.com and set up a call if you'd like to discuss further.

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