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Creating Successful Digital Content with Cody Iverson and Brandon Monaghan of VisCap Media

Cody Iverson 10:18

And he said, I’ll add something there, Brandon said something there, sending ideas. Brandon’s very much a visionary. He’s got a ton of great ideas. And I implement. So like, we make a great team. He has tons of great ideas. He’s also got his finger on the pulse by running his own brands. So in his connections, his network, he’s very much like an idea man and a brand builder.

Joshua Chin 10:46

Wildly successful brands at that as well. Um, tell me a little bit about Shine Armor. Brandon, what, what was the kind of key milestones in building that brand? And what have you learned in recent years?

Brandon Monaghan 11:03

Yeah, so I started that company like two and a half years ago with my partner Justin. And Justin’s a phenomenal entrepreneur Justin Kemperman. He’s very much a behind the scenes kind of guy, which is great. Super young guy, more data and analytical. And I’m, you know, more definitely the creative end. And, I mean, it’s a similar relationship to like Cody and I where, you know, I just hammer out tons and tons of ideas and what to do next. And then, you know, he’s kind of like the filter. That’s like, yeah, okay, bad idea, that’s a bad idea. Like I said, super similar to how our, my relationship is with Cody. And so we started it with like, 60 grand. And within year one, you know, I’m really bad with numbers. So I’ll say, two years, we’ve gone from zero to this year, we should hit close to 70 million in sales. We’re in every single Walmart in America, we’re in every Dollar General in America, we’re in Home Depot, CVS, Walmart, Kroger, we are number one on Amazon and the automotive industry, you know, the whole automotive category, we even have the number one spot for a car wax. Our DTC does really, really well, it makes up most of our revenue. So yeah, and, you know, the last year, so we’ve gone really, really heavy in international. So we’ve developed a lot of systems and really like the funny thing is that one thing that’s always constant, and the one thing that everything always comes back to is creatives. And like I was just mentioning before, like, we used to always be so focused on the best ad strategy and the best ad hack and like, how do we really like get the best out of the algorithm. And really, the one thing that we’ve been moving into more and more and really building out and focusing on is creatives. And I think that’s one of the biggest pieces that allowed us to constantly scale and not hit plateaus are not maxed out is because we’re pumping out a lot of content, like every week, hundreds of pieces of content, testing new angles, making variations of winning angles, and, and just continuously pumping out content. So for us, I think, you know, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is, is always be innovative in our content. And then, one thing I’m really noticing now is the power of the whole omni channel kind of model. So like, you know, for a while all these DNVBs were very, very passionate about not being on Amazon not being anywhere else, just be direct to consumer own the customer. But like, that’s when ad costs were really, really cheap. And it was a lot easier to say. Nowadays, I really can’t do that. I mean, I don’t personally know anybody who doesn’t have funding and is 100% DTC, like you really can’t do it. I mean, at scale, right, and I mean 50 million, 100 million a year type of at scale. And so for us, our model has become really, really, really entrenched in this whole omni channel approach. So we look at our DTC side kind of as the engine that fuels all of our other channels. Retail, Amazon, walmart.com. And that allows us to, you know, if we wanted to break even on DTC sites, we could pick up profits on all these other channels. But, you know, we’re lucky enough because we push out a lot of content and because we’ve really dialed in content to where we can be profitable on DTC side and be profitable on all these other channels. So I would say those are probably the two biggest things I’ve picked up on is, is content and omni channel, this whole omni channel market.

Joshua Chin 15:10

I have so much to unpack there. But I’m just going to keep it to one question though, we think about the kind of omni channel in, in an ecom as a, like a standard sequence of events that happen typically naturally, as, as a kind of a digitally native brand. Most brands who go through DTC or Amazon first, and then kind of swap to the other one, and then you have that hybrid going on. And then retail, Is that still the route that you would take? If you had to go back in time to restart this whole thing again?

Brandon Monaghan 15:48

Yeah, so I think I think I always would have to start with this skill sets that I’m best at and we’re definitely best at DTC. And is like when you run significant media spend, that that is the real spillover and driver into these other channels. So it’d be really difficult to start with, for example, retail, I mean, one, I’m not a retail guy, I don’t know it really, really well, we have partners that we work with there to scale out retail, and I wouldn’t know how to drive, you know, the brand awareness to transition into DTC and stuff if I started in retail. So, for us, what we’ve seen is like really heavy media spend, across, you know, all these marketing platforms, on the DTC side is really the most powerful driver then for all these other channels. And if I were to go do it again, tomorrow, which, you know, we have a new brand that we just started a few months ago that we’re really, really optimistic about. And it’s following really the same framework and starting to do really well. We start with DTC is kind of the engine, social, social media marketing, we have a retention side with email and SMS. And the first platform we launch on is Amazon. And then we’re gonna go to Walmart.com, and we’re gonna keep growing out these other channels so that we can pick up on the spillover or this halo effect and, you know, become a really powerful omni channel brand.

Joshua Chin 17:14

Makes sense. And Cody, what have you seen and, you know, with all the clients that you’ve worked with on a daily basis, what are some of the key trends that you’ve seen, in terms of mistakes that have been made by big brands?

Cody Iverson 17:33

The biggest mistake would be not running or testing enough content, thinking that if they’re gonna be able to scale profitably, that they can do it with just a few creatives. Yeah, I mean, the one hit wonders are like, typically not a great idea. Because no matter what, when you pump enough cash into it, something’s going to like burn out. So not only that, but like, that’s if it’s successful, if it’s not successful, then you got no wonders, and you’re wondering what the hell you’re going to do next. So the main thing is like, being able to modularize your content, to understand how you can mix and match all the pieces, the elements of your ads, to be able to create variations, large scale variations.

Joshua Chin 18:25

When you see module modularize, your content, you begin with kind of a core piece, and then you break that down into different sub pieces, or you start with one thing, and then you expand that into multiple ideas. How does that work?

Cody Iverson 18:43

Sure. So we have, let’s say, between 20 and 30 proven frameworks. Between those proven frameworks, you’re going to see elements of the ads that are repeated, every one of them is going to have a hook, every one of them will have an offer. Now some of them will have discovery, some of them will have authority, some of them will have, you know, different pieces elements that others don’t. But across all 20 to 30 of them, the elements are going to be repeated enough times to where you can break down those elements and identify them. Cause really videos are all just frameworks that make sense framework uses different elements of it. And that’s how you modularize it

Joshua Chin 19:30

That makes sense and with these frameworks, do you see them evolving over time? Or are they doing, standing the tests of time?

Cody Iverson 19:40

Some of them stand the test of time. Some of them you got to continue to tweak. So we have a relator framework, which about a year ago, it worked really well, with someone reading the teleprompter. Now that same framework has been tweaked to where it’s UGC bullet points. It feels very authentic. Brandon’s been big on this. And he’s absolutely correct. TikTok is influencing a lot of the content and the feel of what’s resonating with people and converting. So taking that TikTok mass appeal and bringing it to a framework that’s been proven.

Brandon Monaghan 20:19

Yeah, I think I think like something that’s really, really, I think one of the biggest things right now that a lot of people aren’t really grasping yet is that we’re living in an age of Instagram one point out, right, like, organic reach organic content is through the roof. And the amount of people that you can reach on these platforms, and the thing is also the TikToks, the Snapchat spotlights, YouTube shorts, all of these platforms are fighting for, for, for creators, they want to have the creator platform, because that’s how people are consuming content nowadays, and, and consuming entertainment, and they’re pushing so much organic to bring all these creators in, and right now is a golden opportunity to get your brand on there, and not run any ad dollars behind it. And just be a really good content creator for your brand and reach a lot of people. And I talked about this a lot with like, you know, Cody and the guys, and it’s when you look at Gymshark and these brands that are now like a billion dollars that came out of the Instagram influencer era, that whole I remember always saying, you know, if I ever get an opportunity like that, again, where the organic reach like that, I’m just gonna hammer and now is definitely that opportunity. You have so much organic reach on Tik Tok, Snapchat spotlight, YouTube reel or YouTube shorts, Instagram reels. And if you have the right content, then then you’re going to scale there really, really well organically. And I mean, we’re, we have a new company, like I mentioned, it’s it’s in the coffee space. And we’re seeing serious organic revenue coming in just from following that model, just putting out a lot of content on these different platforms. And really, you know, what this means is, these different platforms are, are, we’re in this era of like, creator of this creator, boom, everybody wants to be a creator, everybody wants to showcase their life. Everybody wants to be an influencer, we’ll call it but you have to look to the platforms leading to see where content is moving. And right now, it’s really, really heavily on TikTok. So we’re constantly looking to TikTok trends, TikTok fonts, you know, like all the different fonts used on TikTok, all these different elements from these creator platforms that, you know, are really starting to resonate with people when you start running content that that kind of mimics or mirrors those platforms. So if you take if you’re making content for Facebook, and Instagram, and you’re putting in these elements from TikTok, like the the text bubbles, or, you know, one of their fonts, or just playing off of one of the trends, it really resonates, and we’re seeing it really, really do extremely well and outperform a lot of these older frameworks that we were working on even like a year ago, or even like six months ago. So for us, like, you know, a huge focus is definitely in the content world, making sure that we’re up to speed or ahead of what’s going on on all these creator platforms.

Joshua Chin 23:49

That’s, that’s something new to me, because I never thought about that the relationship between each platform and how you could kind of extract one style and take that as a framework for another platform. But that makes total sense. I mean, as a consumer of content, I see that all the time. And it hooks, it just works. But when we think about TikTok as a platform, and that’s, here’s where it gets interesting. With most brands that I’ve spoken to, a lot of people are kind of hesitant about giving that a shot, and it seems like it’s unclear as to what works and what doesn’t work. And it seems like it’s showing, effectively throwing money into like an abyss of an unknown. What would your advice be in kind of taking that first step? Would it be just spending money on the platform?

Brandon Monaghan 24:51

It has to be it just like people you have to think about like people go on to TikTok to either create or be entertained like they don’t want to be sold to. And if you can be as native and authentic as possible, then then you’re going to win. And I think it’s a bigger opportunity than a lot of people think because at the end of the day, you don’t need an overproduced asset to do well on TikTok, you don’t need to go and, you know, for YouTube example, you generally need to put a bigger budget behind it to get a really good scalable asset. A lot of things that do really well on YouTube would be like Harmon Brothers stuff, right? But that’s $300,000 per video. And a lot of companies when they’re starting out, don’t have that budget. So for me, and my advice would be get on TikTok because it’s something you can do at home yourself and do really well because it’s a creator platform. And they don’t want to be sold to and they want authenticity. Or, for example, with like VisCap like we can get so much scale and so much content for so affordable. And you can test it like crazy on TikTok, because of just the nature of the platform isn’t this overproduced type of content, it’s really just you at home, living your life being as authentic and real as possible. So I think it’s a huge opportunity, especially for people with lower budgets, because it’s something that you need to be doing yourself at home filming. You know, if you don’t have the budget, you got to be doing it yourself. It’s something that you could take a video from zero to whatever, by just filming your own content at home. And then once you start getting a feel for it, or if you have a little bit of budget, then like that’s where VisCap becomes a great partner. Because like I said, they can pump out so much content, because it’s it’s so under the budget for it is significantly cheaper. And that’s so much content you could repurpose and test with. And you know, you’re more likely to really probably find a winner there than you would, for example, YouTube.

Joshua Chin 27:03

I hope people listening are taking notes because this is gold. It’s a common misconception that and I hear this so often from close friends and clients who are running incredible, incredible brands making millions per month, and they still have the mindset of I just need that one creative to work really, really well. I just need that one hit. And it’s going to pay off for everything I’m going to spend on creatives. But that’s often not the case. That’s not how it works. And that volume at scale, it’s incredibly difficult. But talking about TikTok, and we were we were chatting about this prior to recording. But Cody, tell me about Doe Lashes. I’ve just had Jason, shout out to Jason Wong on the show prior to this, and you guys are crushing it for them. And they are crushing the game on with their creatives TikTok. What was a strategy going into a brand like that?

Cody Iverson 28:06

So shout out Jason, for sure. He’s the man. The strategy with Doe Lashes, so Doe Lashes is a very impulse aspirational type of purchase. So it was quite different for our strategy on these guys. Typically, we live in the direct response realm, still taking those principles, knowing that at the price point and what people are aspiring for their desire, here, we go with a lot of micro ads, a lot of branded content, showing off the desired end result, there’s not as much to like, really make hardcore comparisons or newfound discoveries on this. So a lot of the stuff was just very product demonstration product results for these. And we call those are micro ads. Micro ads typically for us are something that we do at the bottom of the funnel or for engagement. But yeah, their ads are crushing. Some of them are getting like sub three CPAs. Many in the teens ROAS and getting good scale. So but most I can say on it, but they’re doing very well.

Joshua Chin 29:23

It’s amazing. Um, and with, you know, with the clients that you’ve worked with, you’ve worked with brands of pretty much all sizes from startups to those generating nine figures and above what’s what’s the typical kind of lifecycle of or journey of a, of a brand or of DTC brand like Brandon was talking about? If you have no budget, you got to do it yourself. And the best way to do it yourself is with the native organic type of content. Um, but then what’s next once they hit a certain there has to be some kind of a milestone that people look towards and then it’s time to, or I get a discount now. And then what’s next? And what are those layers.

Cody Iverson 30:07

So, typically, we’re working with brands that are generating seven figures or higher in revenue. So that’s typically been like the what’s next type of deal. Now we do work with brands that have less than that. But the, the main thing is that we were looking to work with brands that want to continue to test and understand that, like testing is going to be the key to scaling profitably. Pretty much it we work it as as an extension of their in-house team. So like, before we even decide if we’re going to work with someone, we’re going to come in to, like, analyze what has worked for them, what’s the market like, we’re going to do our research. And from there, it’s really like a close relationship: work with the media buyers, what’s worked for you guys in the past what hasn’t worked, then we take that info, and roll it up into frameworks that we have proven results in, start from there, that’s kind of like how we cast our net. So we’re gonna go with our proprietary system of the best performing ad frameworks. From there, after we get the data we’ll go 80/20, and produce a second round of content that is optimized towards the frameworks that are resonating with their audience.

Joshua Chin 31:27

Got it. So you kill basically 80% of the idea that you initially started with, and scale the ones that are working.

Cody Iverson 31:36

I should clarify. So let’s say we give them 10 pieces of content, 10 different frameworks. And five of them hit. Now in the next round of content, we’re going to produce 80% of their content with those five proven frameworks.

Joshua Chin 31:52

Make sense.

Cody Iverson 31:53

And then the 20% we’ll use to continue to test new frameworks, new angles, new offers or expand into different parts of their demographics.

Joshua Chin 32:02

Gotcha. And now, let’s talk about what’s next for VisCap, you guys scaled incredibly quickly for like, just effectively two years less than two years old agency, what’s next for the, for the agency?

Cody Iverson 32:22

A lot of things. The main thing we’re working on some software, we want to become, we also want to become like full service, work on the dev and development side, and then eventually add in media vine, the objective there is to be able to control the outcomes, and really be able to be like a full done for you solution. And on the software side with all the models that we have turning those models into accessible content creators for clients to use, and many other things, there’s a lot ahead.

Joshua Chin 33:08

Brandon, do you have anything else to add?

Brandon Monaghan 33:10

Yeah, I think, you know, the, the idea from the beginning, obviously, what I’ve pushed them to focus on is do what they’re best at and, and really creative as been that and make your kind of staple in the industry as being the creative leader. And then, and then there’s a lot of opportunity to branch out from there. But what’s interesting is like, you know, creative hasn’t plateaued yet. So there’s still so much room for growth there, there’s still so much opportunity in market share there. So there’s, you know, all these other elements that we and, and just kind of offerings that we want to expand into, and we’re going to, and it’s definitely on the roadmap. But it’s interesting to see that, like, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet for the creative world. And there’s still so much we could do there. I mean, if you think about it, like creatives break into so many different departments, or we call them like pillars, right, you have your really branded content, and this is where you’re really getting artsy and bringing out the really heavy brand elements. And a lot of times that’s not with stuff that convert, but it’s still good to have in your arsenal. And then you have you know, lifestyle content. And this is something that might look like very influencer-oriented. And then you have like, your direct response side. So there’s, you know, all these different elements still, that you can expand into an offer and we definitely plan on you know, moving in that direction. So that, you know, at the end of the day, at least we’re an A to Z creative agency. And then, you know, once that’s kind of mapped out and mastered, I guess you call it then the sky’s the limit. There’s all these other you know, agency models you can expand and do.

Joshua Chin 35:03

Cool. And Brandon, what about, what about Shine Armor? And all your other brands? Do you have a mastermind or get a massive game plan for all your brands in the near term?

Brandon Monaghan 35:18

Um, we do, we do. We have a lot that we’re always looking at doing. But, um, and a lot I can’t really talk about right now. So that’s that’s why it’s a difficult question. But um, but yeah, we’ll have to maybe like, we’ll get on another call and we’ll and we’ll give you an update of what’s going on.

Joshua Chin 35:45

We’d love to love to do that. We’d love to do a part two. But you process a ton of information every single day you both do, and a ton of ideas, and talking about filtering and that process of kind of knowing what to take on as an opportunity and what to say no to. I struggle with that a lot. And thankfully, I have my Co-founder and COO Lewis to help me with that filtering process. But what’s your process in knowing what to say yes to and what to say no to?

Brandon Monaghan 36:21

You’re much better at that Cody. Because I just want to do everything.

Cody Iverson 36:27

Yeah, I mean, I want to do everything too. So it’s hard. But the main thing really is just looking at how long it’s going to take to implement something. And what the upside is. I’m not as worried about like, risk always in like the decisions, because there’s going to be risk in everything, of course. But I want to know what the upside is and how easy how easily it can be implemented. How many resources do we need to be able to make this happen? And how quickly can we do it to see a needle mover?

Joshua Chin 37:06

Makes sense, impact and ease effectively? Impact and easy. And here’s a here’s a question for both of you. What are some other brands that you guys personally look up to? And you think that they do an incredible work in what they do?

Brandon Monaghan 37:29

I personally love Dr. Squatch.

Joshua Chin 37:33

Dr. Squatch.

Brandon Monaghan 37:34

I go through phases of brands that I really just like, just break apart. And right now I’m definitely I’ve been on Dr. Squatch for a while I think across the board, they do really well with everything. I like the I like when a brand can bring like the satirical or parody element into it. And if you look like at the end of the day, their content isn’t big budget Harmon Brothers style stuff, right? It’s stuff that is really native feeling and really authentic feeling and I think that goes to show that like, you know, you can be a huge, huge, huge company and, and your content really just comes down to being with the trends and being with how people are engaging with content and not this big budget, Budweiser style commercial, you know, it’s crazy what you can do right now for the time and budget.

Joshua Chin 38:41

That’s such a great example. And –

Brandon Monaghan 38:45

They got it, they got to reach out to VisCap, because we’d love to work with them.

Joshua Chin 38:50

If If you guys are listening, Dr. Squatch reach out to VisCap, viscapmedia.com. And and that’s such a great example. And you made such a good point. You know, don’t don’t be limited by your budget and what you think that can do for you. And just, you know, it’s about your creative is about being creative. And often, you know, we have to work around with what we have to make the best use of, of the resources that we have. Cody, what about you? What are some brands that you look up to?

Cody Iverson 39:23

Dr. Squatch is definitely one of them. Brian is always sharing their stuff. For me, it is one of the clients that we work with, but L’ange. I look up to them, and it for a different reason. They’re really, really killer brand. And the way that they think about content and their content is nothing like that I’ve seen before. And really they’re one of those partners that when you work with or like you begin studying their stuff like it really forces change leveling up and seeing the amount of creatives and how they’re doing it is it’s just next level. So a lot of the reason why I look up to that brand is because working with them has forced us to like evolve rapidly. Make new team systems really understand content at a much deeper level, especially the authenticity, the UGC driven influencer style of content, they do it very well. Branding as well, their branding is killer.

Joshua Chin 40:43

I love looking at brands that that push you to just be a little bit better than you were. And now, as we approach the end of this, this interview, what are some books that you recommend ecommerce entrepreneurs read in 2021? For both of you, if are you guys big readers?

Cody Iverson 41:12

Oh, yeah, big time. Um, I would say Tested Advertising Methods. Breakthrough Advertising. Depends really like which role in the company you are. For anything that’s like ad-driven. You’re gonna want to be reading Direct Response. Copy Secrets is also pretty good. That’s an entry-level book. More like your CEO-type level people Traction‘s really good. Scaling Up is good, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is really good. Five Steps Ahead.

Joshua Chin 41:55

Five Steps Ahead. Nice. Brandon, what about you? The creative side?

Brandon Monaghan 42:00

I love I think the greatest book of all time is Breakthrough Advertising. I think it’s really that when you when you see all these like gurus or whatever, people you know, putting out that their content about creatives and copywriting it’s all regurgitated repurpose stuff from Breakthrough Advertising. Everyone just takes Breakthrough Advertising, gives it its own their own name to it, but yeah, and then they sell some, some fancy course with it. But like, I think anyone that wants to get into advertising, copywriting, creatives, brand building, that book really covers it all. And it’s cool because it’s like a workbook. And it gives you different examples and frameworks and just like scenarios to work through. So I kind of think of it like a playbook or workbook.

Joshua Chin 42:58

It’s one of those books that you can go back again and again, it’s just timeless. It’s relevant, regardless of the platform that and things that we’re facing today.

Brandon Monaghan 43:08

Yep, yeah, but whenever there’s like ad fatigue, right, or just copywriting fatigue, just hop back into that book and really open up any page and you can pull out different nuggets to kind of get the creative flow going again.

Joshua Chin 43:23

Amazing, and uh, Brandon, Cody, if people are interested to connect with you guys, or reach out to VisCap. What’s the best way to reach you guys?

Cody Iverson 43:37

You can reach us at cody@viscapmedia.com or go to this viscapedia.com. Pretty simple.

Joshua Chin 43:48

It’s cody@viscapmedia.com

Cody Iverson 43:52

Yep. And my number 920-505-0686.

Joshua Chin 44:02

You got it. Brandon, what about you? What are your socials?

Brandon Monaghan 44:06

I don’t have anything cool. I would say reach out to Cody. He’s a lot more interesting than me. I’m just-

Joshua Chin 44:14

You’re on Facebook as well. And I guess Instagram people can follow. Yeah.

Brandon Monaghan 44:19

Yeah. What’s my @? Let me see. I’m not a big. I don’t really put myself out there. Brandon_ m555 on Insta. Me and my 600 followers.

Joshua Chin 44:35

That’s cool. Man. You’re a producer. You’re not a consumer of content. That’s such an interesting dynamic. Guys, thank you so much for being on the show.

Brandon Monaghan 44:46

Yeah. Thanks so much.

Cody Iverson 44:47

Thanks, Josh. Absolute pleasure, man. Thank you.

Outro 44:53

Thanks for listening to the eCommerce Profits Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get in notified of future episodes

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