Our Dirty Little Secret.
By Aron Levin (Co-founder @ Relatable)
Creating something from nothing, from “zero to one”, is damn hard.
Especially if nobody has ever heard of you and you’re hell-bent on bootstrapping your business without any outside capital.
I remember getting together with my co-founder Martin (now our CEO), a little over three years ago in January 2015 (just as we were getting started), to chat about ways we could kick-start Relatable and build a truly global business.
Martin worked in another company at the time, and had been running up and down the streets of Manhattan for the past two years to win business with agencies and brands.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “I don’t want to wait two years for us to get traction. How do we make it happen … like NOW?”
Martin: “Let’s get a big global famous brand onboard as our first client, It’ll open a lot of doors for sure. They won’t know who we are, but they’ll know about that brand and that will be enough!“
Me as my usual impatient self, and Martin completely unreasonable.
But in the next couple of weeks, we made that plan our only focus.
We emailed and called everyone and anyone that would talk to us.
Make it or break it. All or nothing.
24/7, Take-No-Prisoners Beast Mode Style.
You get the picture.
… And you know what happened?
We got “lucky”.
(Isn’t it funny how relentless work and determined focus will eventually do that for you.)
Uber in the United States became our first pilot case guinea pig, and we launched one of the largest influencer marketing activations the world had ever seen in time for Super Bowl 50.
It had it all… a famous brand, Super Bowl, incredible results and even… cute puppies!
And the strategy worked!
I was invited by Adobe (another brand of the same caliber) to speak at their digital marketing event about the campaign and we applied the work we had done in email outreach, case studies and in meetings.
Our website at the time was pretty much a landing page where you could download that case study.
Then… Adobe came onboard as a client. Followed by Absolut Vodka. Followed by more large brands that decided to give us the benefit of the doubt and let us help them with their challenges.
Suddenly, we were able to position ourselves as the go-to influencer marketing partner for the largest brands in the world! It’s true to this day, ingrained in our culture and DNA, and the first thing you’ll see on our start page, in emails and different presentations.
Today, we get to add Google, Disney, Heineken, Starbucks and more than 100 other brands to the list.
BUT… It’s not the whole truth!
Some of the very best work we’ve done in the last three years is for clients and brands that you’ve probably never heard of.
Like Lifesum, SimpleFeast, MVMT, BioClarity, Readly, Klarna and Mini Rodini… just to name a few.
It’s not the first thing you’ll see on our start page or logo board though, and we tend not to put them in the spotlight, but for the record…
… These smaller brands and their stories are just as (if not more) remarkable than those other famous household names. But for some reason, they’re not as “impressive” to the average marketing professional that we run across in our day to day work.
For us, it’s a double-edged sword.
See, the most common question we get from companies that are not big household famous names is this:
“Do you only work with big brands?”
They’re intimidated, thinking that this approach to influencer marketing only works if your logo is a popular fruit or has three stripes. But as you have learned by now…
That isn’t the case at all…. and that’s our dirty little secret 😉
I’ll let you in on another secret.
These smaller brands will typically allocate an even larger share of their overall media budget to influencer marketing. And because the marketing teams are smaller, they’re able to move even faster and accomplish more with less.
They also know that creating something from nothing, from “zero to one”, is damn hard! So while working with these large global brands is certainly a part of who we are, our very core foundation is in the understanding of what it takes to succeed when you’re a brave startup.
If you’re with me so far, perhaps you work for such a company…?
And if that happens to be the case, I’d love to meet you (and your team) and explore how we could turn influencer marketing into your most valuable growth and distribution channel.
Go ahead and fill out this short contact form. We’ll take a look at what vertical your brand is in, where you’re based, and make sure that the right person on my end reaches out to you for a first meeting. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
— Aron Levin
Co-founder @ Relatable