Talking Growth #04: Transparency as a growth Lever

October 7, 2020

This week I dive into updates on my personal branding experiment, share a new brand strategy that's working for early-stage companies, and shed news updates on all things commerce and tech.

Let's hop in.

🌱Talking Growth
Twitter & TikTok Playbook - Two weeks ago I started a public experiment to grow an audience on Twitter, IG and TikTok. The reason being is that we live in a creators economy where the aforementioned platforms have created digitally native vertical creators. These aren't the same as influencers. These are creators that have built an audience on social and used that audience to create products and companies.

I'm a believer that people are the new brands. As a creator with a large audience, you don't have to rely on a platform or rented attention to reach your audience. When done right, you've built trust through consistent and quality content that allows you to tap into that audience when you're looking to make products. This is why I've been hard at work building a playbook (coming out later) for Twitter and TikTok which will come out in the near future, in the meantime, see below for my current learning/insights of the week.

Learnings/Insights of the Week

Talking Growth Social Experiment Stats

Twitter Growth from September an increase of 100%; however, this past week's growth has been relatively slow. I've recently adopted an 80/20 rule where 80% of the time I'm commenting on others post while 20% of the time I creating content on my own feed. This came from digging through my data were the posts that garnered me the most followers and engagement actually came from quality comments.

TikTok growth has increased once I've started posting consistently. How-to-content on marketing and the various tools I use has started to performing well. As mentioned last week, I felt my account authority was poor due to inconsistent posting; therefore, I've upped the amount of content I create from 2-5 to 10+; however, this uptick in content hasn't yielded the same results of posting less. My account authority should be better by next week since I've signaled to the algo that I've been posting consistently. Couple this with more opportunities to learn, and I'm able to get an idea of what content performs best.

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📊Talking Strategy


When you're in the early stages of your brand, it's difficult to cut through the noise. Even with an extensive ad budget, you still need to create content that resonates and get's your customers to choose you over incumbents. That's where Transparent Marketing comes in.

Transparent Marketing is a marketing strategy that highlights transparency in everything from how you build your product to how you frame your messaging. The #buildinginpublic movement is an example of transparent marketing; however, while this is a current example, transparent marketing has been around for years. It's seeing a resurgence because customer acquisition costs continue to rise while brand loyalty diminishes.

Transparent marketing works because you're able to tell a compelling story that promotes your product and retains customers.  Now, this doesn't mean you have to let out your financial info or full business strategy, but you should post updates about your wins, upcoming releases, setbacks, and lessons learned. This helps if the founder/CEO has an existing brand (remember founder-led sales). While this strategy can be applied solely from a brand perspective, a transparent marketing strategy truly works best when both the brand and founder are transparently in sync. It creates trust, buy-in, and helps generate word of mouth for your brand. WOM equals lower customer acquisition costs and higher conversion rates.

Example (Free)
Fast (Brand)& CEO - Building a faster checkout experience.

Example (Growth Marketing Database)
Notion Case Study - how Notion grew through a mixture of brand transparency, community, and product.

📰From the news

Gucci goes second hand - with the decimation of the middle class, luxury retailers are learning that they either need to cater exclusively to H.E.N.R.Y. (high earning not rich yet) aesthetic or provide a competitive price point for other income levels. Where seeing this shift with Gucci hopping into the growing trend of second-hand market clothing.

Venmo Credit Card - Venmo is gearing up to release their credit card to select users and in the process, they're taking one step closer to becoming the central location as your digital wallet.

Regal Cinemas Closing - In a surprising turn of events, Cineworld which owns Regal Cinemas, is gearing up to close their U.S., U.K., and Ireland starting Thursday. This comes after COVID spikes in select cities and blockbuster titles such as the new James Bond and The Batman being pushed back.

🎤From the people

Negative Social Proof - V.C. Fred Wilson discussed the concept of Negative Social Proof and how that mindset played into his favor on some of his investment wins.

My .02 - Always learn how to spot an opportunity that isn't influenced by others.

💡 Inspo

"It's not about controlling your emotions. It's about harnessing them to your advantage." - Dan Go

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