Episode 4 - Zaid Alsulaibi
(CEO of Christian Paul Watches & Founder of AM Group)

On this episode of Digital Mountaineers, host George Mackenzie speaks with Zaid Alsulaibi CEO of Christian Paul Watches & Founder of AM Group.

Zaid Alsulaibi

Zaid Alsulaibi is the CEO of Christian Paul Watches, renowned Australian watch brand that can be found in over 300+ stores on the globe, and Founder of AM Group, an up and coming brand development consultancy agency.

George Mackenzie

George Mackenzie is a Digital Marketing Strategist who has worked with brands like Little Caesars, Airtasker, Inspirations Paints & Taylors Wines. He is the producer of Digital Mountaineers and an avid lover of podcasting, audio & film tech and heavy metal music.

Zaid Alsulaibi Digital Podcast

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Time Stamps

  • 00:01:30
  • 00:03:12
    Tactics for clients during post-pandemic world
  • 00:12:15
    Working with clients on projects during 2020
  • 00:16:00
    Taking advantage of reduced competition in the market
  • 00:18:15
    Opportunities to adapt
  • 00:19:10
    Starting Christan Paul, launching with Instagram Influences
  • 00:22:45
    Early days of Instagram Influencer marketing
  • 00:23:30
    Discussing dropshipping hacks
  • 00:24:30
    You either have time or money
  • 00:26:55
    Influencer marketing in 2020
  • 00:31:30
    Working with Microinfluencers & Macro Influencers
  • 00:33:00
    Tammy Hembrow
  • 00:36:45
    Importance of Authenticity
  • 00:39:10
    Business Process


George: Zaid, welcome to the podcast. It's great to have you here.

Zaid: Hey, George, thank you for having me. Pleasure, pleasure to be a part of it.

George: Fantastic. Listen, I guess the first point of call is COVID-19. How are you and the team at Christian Poland am group doing?

Zaid: We're doing good. Believe it or not? I think there's been a lot of negatives on the business, but I think Australian government handled it very well. I think, you know, obviously, I'm still working from home. We're back in the office from one day, which is just a couple of days away, and we're excited to be back. I think it's been an interesting time. But my interest is marketing and challenges like this. You know, they promote innovation and change in the way we market. So I think, yes, look, there are a lot of negatives, but there's also been a lot of opportunities that have been exciting for a lot of our customers and for yourself as a business. So COVID has been difficult, but we're lucky enough to still be working. All my stuff is still in jobs. And we just been working from home using a bit of this stuff, you know, the zoom and Google Hangouts and whatnot. So just changing the way we work a little bit, but I think things will go back to normal. And by normal, I mean, we'll go back to work and we're all going to be, you know, safe but I think it's definitely gonna change some customer behaviour across a lot of industries. And we're just preparing for that, which kind of forecast I guess, and adapt to the changes that we need to implement. So yes, COVID has been horrible, I think all around for everyone, but we've been pretty lucky. So we're grateful to be in work. So

George: that's good to hear. And what are some of those sort of marketing messages or some of those changes you've done for? Maybe yourself and AM group and Christian Paul or even your clients? Could you sort of I know it's probably very specific to each industry, but are there any sort of broader level tactics that you've implemented?

Zaid: Yeah, the best way to think about my adventures, even for the people that are watching at home is AM Group is a marketing agency that really stemmed from my involvement with Christian Paul and Christian Paul is a fashion watch friend. And I know you probably think of why am I wearing an Apple Watch today but with the amount of notifications I'm going to be getting for a good idea to have this on. So Christian, Paul is a fashion wash brand, primarily a female brand, that launched in 2015. And I started there as a marketing manager, later to become involved as one of the directors in the business and shareholders had a lot of success, you know, with a lot of strategies that we implemented across social media, which I'm sure we're gonna go into. And now a couple of years later, I was able to grow a marketing team that was probably greater than what Christian Paul required and was able to start my own entity separate to Christian Paul. And now we have a strong marketing team that looks and does what we've done for cushion pour across it. many industries. So they both have been impacted by COVID. very differently. For example, Christian Paul is found in 600 stores across the world. Literally every single one of them stores has been closed now, for the last 60 days. Myer included.

George: For those overseas Myer is one of the big sort of department stores in Australia.

Zaid: Absolutely. Yeah. One of one of the biggest, you know that when it comes to department stores, my one of Australia's most recognised stores, but then all the retail are the independent jewellers, they're also close so they're all their focus has moved to if they have the resources to online, but in terms of retail business pretty much stopped. That's the truth. But what we've seen which was interesting at traffic online spot and by spike like ridiculous numbers, because people weren't able to find us instal. And you know, With being sensitive to the situation, profitability wise, it's actually a good thing for Christian Paul, because we've ever watched sold online, the profit margins are far greater. But of course for the brand aspect, we like to be in stores like Maya, you know, and found on brains like the iconic etc. So whereas ame group immediately panicked, you know, we've got a good strong list of clients across fast food and QSR shopping centres, everyone started to panic. The only people that weren't panicking was one of my hand sanitizer companies. Yeah, so essentially, they both were impacted very differently, but both had opportunities to adapt. So I think the biggest advice that I'd have was being sensitive to the situation like a lot of people were coming out and just, I don't know, just using a microphone to just keep on Pushing the message. But I think taking it on as a community and serving a, you know, more in depth purpose than just using because everyone is now. Okay, let's use our social platforms more. Let's get more messages out there. And the first thing they want to do is show that they've got at the moment. Oh, and it's such a desperate call for like, Oh, look, we're still open. Please, please, please. We were doing some moments. But I didn't feel like that was the way about it. Even though I do think that safety measures and communicating that safety measures are in place for businesses that are still open. It just such a small difference between sensitive messages and insensitive messages across social media. That I feel consumers just picking up on, you know what I mean? So we were trying from a marketing agency point of view and let's just think of Christian Paul was one of our clients in that pool of in our pool of clients that we look after as marketing messages. Our mission was to make sure that we still were able to serve all our customers, some didn't some stopped revenue. You know, like that we have customers that are gyms, they literally stopped revenue overnight, and we wanted to still be able to serve them. So we were able to negotiate deals in a lot of circumstances where we would be able to use, you know, certain amount of work, but then, you know, taking the photos and communicating that message in a sensitive way that didn't look like a desperate quarter. So we're still open or please don't abandon us. And rather than serving a bigger purpose, a prime example is as an agency, we look after a shopping centre. This is for me, this is one of the most you know how you're not from Sydney.

George: Yeah, I'm from Sydney.

Zaid: Where abouts in Sydney?

George: Randwick.

Zaid: Okay, it's a bit further out. Right. You know, whereas Sydney Southwest, yeah. Anyone international This is the what you would class the rougher areas right compared to

George: Come on.

Zaid: Meantime, Minto marketplace is a very humble, it's not small, it's actually increased in sizes about 60 plus retails there. We look after their social media, we've always been, you know, pushing them to increase to their marketing efforts to go into email and whatnot. But they've been a marketplace trying to sort of become a shopping centre bringing in Kmart bringing Woolworths. So the first thing that happened was all retailers in their centre were asking to stop, right? Oh, no COVID we have to close let's just stop paying rent. So it was a little bit of a panic time. But instead of panicking and becoming insensitive, I would say to what's happening. We were able to assist the entire marketplace at tweaking the message and utilising this time to to serve another purpose, which is what I keep coming back to. So we started an email subscriber list and that's called the daily by minto marketplace. We were able to get like thousands of subscribers within the first couple of weeks. And every day we were sending out updates on what's happening with COVID. What stores were open what everyone needed to know in a summary point like, and being just adding value but not asking for anything in return. And that really showcased a good friend and mintos traffic is through the roof. Like I don't have the numbers in front of me, but people are still going to the shopping centre more than ever. They're obviously practising social distancing. They put measures in place, but it's not something that they keep shouting out about, you know, they put posters in the shopping centre. They've put hand sanitizer temporary, they policing the 1.5 social distancing rules, but rather than just saying, you know what, let's pull back spend, or let's, let's, let's keep showing how many hands in sizes we have. They are appreciating the customer and saying, you know what, we're going to keep you updated on what's happening on a greater level, and the customer eventually will look to minto marketplaces. As a source of information that's reliable, and useful. And that's what's really what's happened. Now our engagements going up, you know, and that talking about the same customer, they usually have an event every Mother's Day, which Mother's Day has just passed, and they decided to do a usually they have like an Elvis impersonator walk through the shopping centre, and sing for all the mums. And it's a great event that's very well known to small community minto. But this shopping centre has become so central in this community, because they're doing cool things, but not asking them for anything in return. They're just trying to add value to the customers. So we actually, we thought, you know, why should we cancel this event? It's a big event. Let's do a Facebook Live Stream. So we set up professional cameras, done it through, you know, a live streaming software, and we're able to give an amazing and I think it's had you know, thousands of views, which is more than any amount of traffic at once two to two witnesses, but moms love that everyone was requesting songs and the shopping centres just over the moon more people know about the event than ever because of disturbance. So it's about adapting. And minto was a great example of someone who a business that said, okay, affirmative marketing you. What can we do more now? And how should we do it in a way that serves value? And I think that's where a lot of our customers, were able to get something out of it. So yeah, that that shows you I guess, my advice on how to approach and some examples of what we've done there.

George: Yeah, I think that customer centric approach, you know, understanding updating your customers, knowing your industry and vertical, you're in and tailoring your message to that. Did you see a lot of your clients with am group, you know, maybe you've had, as you said, just them, you know, we've been thinking about email for a long time and then COVID comes through and then boom, you know, everyone's pivoting fast. Did you notice there was that rush for everyone to figure things out, and maybe some of those projects would You've been harping on for a while was like, okay, now's the time to pull the trigger.

Zaid: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, the government's offering incentives now, like, around in Sydney, different councils offering incentives about digital adaptation. And people were just scrambling to sort of have a quick solution. The truth is, there isn't a quick solution. But from from the work that we've done across different industries, we sort of had a little bit of a formula that started to work about letting our customers know what's happening, staying active, not, you know, not crying out for customers during this time, but letting people know that we're still here. That's the sort of feeling that was working across the board, and still and sort of invoking support from the community for especially for a lot of the small businesses. So yeah, I definitely noticed people rushing. You know, you would know in this space, that's the worst thing like when when you know, especially from an industry from a marketing agency point of view. We hate when customers rush, you know, it's all about planning, but COVID needed a little bit of a fast response, you know, but within reason, you know, I think customers were like, We need 50 of these posters, but it's like, okay, relax, where are we going to put them? What are they going to say? As everyone cross checked him, you know, there's measures that you still have to go through because sometimes when you rush, there's no purpose served from from that, from that specific task, you know, but yeah, they were rushing. A lot of them. A lot of customers switch their marketing off. That's the truth. I think.

George: I think we have exactly the same thing.

Zaid: Then I would say of our customers had switched off their marketing, despite, you know, and I think that was probably the worst thing that you could do at this time, is literally go solid, and then come back at the end of the day, because specifically like food ventures, like customers want to know that you're adapting in some way that you understand what's just happened and you've responded, you know, we look after a cafe, disease cafe, we shed it every day. And their marketing was absolutely no, you know, there's such a part of the community. They basically practice stuff they never closed, they extended out a boarding delivery, introduce masks and gloves. And I have never seen an influx of support from the community like these people were driving out getting coffee, just to support the team, they're there, stop. Now, there's so many layers to the marketing, and people who start up COVID Z, let's shut shop or let's just do stuff that's just random. I think everything you do should complement your brand and should be should should contribute to your overall objectives. Because otherwise, it's just like throwing a dart with your eyes closed sort of thing. Yeah, so those are some prime examples of, of how some customers responded and we're proud mark of some of our customers who have stuck with us and we stuck with them. And, you know, this customers that their revenues want to zero, we've continued to support them with ongoing social media management, building ads for them still, you know, consulting on strategy, and still regularly meeting with our clients. Because at this time, I think it's definitely the money sort of had to get out of the equation, you know, dollars had to sort of be not spoken about first. And that approach has really helped us keep the lights on.

George: Yeah, I mean, we've had, we've seen exactly the same thing. And we've had a number of measures put in place. And actually, we've got a survey coming out a report coming out should be coming out today, actually, where we surveyed 130 agencies and got their picture on what happened to COVID. What was their approach and interestingly enough, the agencies that saw growth in this time were actively spending on marketing like 90% of them or something. So, you know, the rich, everyone freaked out, everyone pulled their spend, and it was almost like reduced competition in the market, and those who were able to take advantage Have it. I've seen a lot of success stories coming through.

Zaid: It's crazy because what my first opinion of COVID was, okay, this has happened. That means you cannot talk to people face to face, or you're less likely to be talking to people face to face or socialising then your only means of communication turns to social media and other forms of digital communication to keep your message alive, you know, and you're not having those face to face consultations anymore. You're not you're not travelling from store to store to remind customers about your business or you're not on the road doing sales anymore. This is in now, you're going to push people to a digital place that feels like you. And that's why it's more important now than ever. And you know what? This will be ongoing. I think that digital people have invested so much now in the digital or need to invest that much in the digital because I'm conscious about getting close to people. To be honest, I don't really. I don't really care. Like, I do care, but I'm really not that germaphobe kind of guy, you know. So, for me to be thinking about all I want to keep, I really do. Yeah, I don't want to shake hands with these. It's a big deal. People are thinking like this now. They don't want human contact is my paradigm shift.

George: It's a complete change. It's a fast, it's like the tech the internet revolution has come from 1993 like it's a slow burn. And this one is like, within two months, we've had the world turned on its head and I don't think some things will go back. Some things won't.

Zaid: Yeah, absolutely. It's crazy. It's crazy. But there's opportunities to adapt and completely places. You know, now more than ever get on your emails and start talking to customers. And the truth is that space was always far greater opportunity than what you can Do in person, or what you can do on a storefront, you know, your store has a sign that breaches 1000 people. Facebook can reach 500,000 people, you know, that may be relevant to your message. So yeah, people are now looking places, they probably didn't plan on this quickly. But customers have changed like a click of a button. It's not even like we use the word shift. And I think that's a great way to put it. But it was like, feel good about being close to people. Now, no longer we don't feel good about it. So businesses that are all about close contact, think about a different way completely.

George: Can we go back a few years now to when you started Christian Paul. So that was 2015. And you guys were, you know, the e-commerce revolution was starting to really pick up then I think and and now it is what it is today. Could you talk a little bit about the differences that you see in your tactics from 20 15 to now and some of those evolutions in the way you digitally market Christian Paul.

Zaid: Absolutely. It's very interesting. Because the change is so dramatic like when we launched Christian Paul wasn't really a secret formula. It was. It was a bit of luck and hard work to be honest with you, we handed out. So we're the first people to do a marble style watch. And we called our number one piece, the $1 mark. And we're an Australian inspired, a shown designed watch brand. So yes, great branding, good concept. The name Christian Paul is actually the founder, Tim Carolina, his son's name, and he was born and 1125. And the see actually in our logo represents 1125 story of family. They're all these things were tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. But the truth is, there's millions of companies out there that tick all these boxes, and don't establish that virality Well, that momentum that we were able to get, and the way we done it was very simple. It requires resources. We had to reach out to influencers. 2015 was the hottest year of influencer. Probably before that was there's more of a build up, but I think 2015 was the peak. Yep. And I'll tell you my opinion, let's just make sure that everyone understands my opinion. Of course, other marketers may have different opinions or maybe a combination of opinions and so on and so on. But in 2015, we handed out 600 free watches. Now one watch is valued at $200. So we had a 600 before we sold one watch, we marketed out Instagram. We went to manufacture, we invested money, this is what people need to understand. You need to invest money to make things happen. And we invested money into manufacturing 600 timepieces and we invested time and money into getting into the influences and communicating what we wanted from them. So now you About 600 people without watches that we believe are influential. And in 2015, people were a lot more influential when it comes to brand promotion. And we started converting the day we launched until this day, nice now 2020 we have not gone a day without selling a watch, you know, everyday online, were selling And from that day, you know, a week later, the iconic picked us up a matter of weeks later, later, Maya picked us up to the beast distribution in Australia, to exhibiting in Basel world alongside with brands like Rolex and tag. You know, I was pinching myself thinking how the hell am I involved in something?

George: That's all about leveraging opportunity, right? I mean, what Instagram was 2011 it came out. So it was post that acquisition and the influence. The thing was, as you said on that ride, and you saw the opportunity and you leverage the opportunity and 600 employees One to 600 pieces, man on a call. Imagine the spreadsheets you guys had going for that like, man.

Zaid: Yeah, no, it was still cleaning through. Yeah, um, but the influence of marketing in that stage. You're right, it was it was great. And of course, we have to complement that with good branding consistent, you know, the organic side of things. A strong Facebook advertising spend to to show people that weren't following us, you know, and reaching, you know, relevant people across even people that was come across our brand and was searching for us across Google and Google search. So and then your SEO optimising your website, like there was so many things that were complimenting that, but the Instagram influences were the only reason that we started like were with a primary reason that we started to sell large quantities of our watches and made money. We made $7 million in our first year of revenue. Of course, yeah. But what

George: Do you what do you see what what comes to your mind when you see these YouTube YouTubers and drop shippers and econ gurus you know, with these hacks and you know, obviously like you guys looked at the opportunity of the Instagram influences but I think the thing that's not considered is those branding elements you mentioned before, you know like a great brand with a story and a great product. Like if you went all in on the Instagram influences that's gonna dry up at some stage you've got to have a full complete package.

Zaid: I think, honestly, the most beneficial thing you can get out of these gurus is the motivation to start something because I tell you something like, man, when I think about the work that went in, I actually feel like crying. It's not easy. Look, there's no like my honest opinion is that there's no shortcuts. It's hard work like you need to put in time shitload of money. Like that's the way I think about it. If you if you don't have the time, you either need money to find the right people to invest. Because you need resources to make things happen. And, yes, you need to be strategic, you need to be creative, you need to understand the channels that you're about to market on. But what if you're an expert in every single channel, across every digital space, it's still not a button that you just click on, as the truth is still a lot of hard work. And there's a lot of optimization across every channel. There's a lot of conversations you need to have, you know, without example, for example, without, you know, the tasks involved in monitoring 600 influencers to post mammoth, you know, huge. Yeah, so making sure everyone posted posting the map. You know, when it came down time to Christmas orders that year. I actually we don't in a 30 days time. we'd done for Christmas 2017 orders. I remember the exact number because my goal as a marketing manager, I remember as a joke, you know the owners at a time and I was an owner. They said to me if you if you No, I don't think they think there are changes. They said if you sell more than 2000 watches we're gonna take you to Mercedes and buy a brand new car I said, All right, I'm gonna hold you to that. And I just pushed across email pushed across Facebook. And you know, I was I was assisting in packing the orders, because there's an element of if we delay orders getting shipped out, it's going to negatively harm you know, and we've mixed when our when our logistics for getting 2000 orders to check, pick, pack, packaged and sent make always in the warehouse at 4am to make sure that we can send these orders out and people get that fast delivery that we promised.

George: Did you get the Merc though?

Zaid: I did get it.

George: Mackenzie 25:00 Yeah, that's how it's done.

George: Yes, I that was a very good time. That was 2000 that's a good story. Yeah, yeah. Very good story that always I share with everyone you know, like

Zaid: it was, it was surreal. Christian Paul's definitely been an amazing journey.

George: So then and then So then why don't we compare that to now let's say you're launching Christian poll now or even if you want to go on your tactics that you're using now compared to 2015 you know, what, what are the key differences that you're you're in here and then are you using any new channels like tik tok or anything else?

Zaid: I tell you, so the way I explain the way I explain now compared to before is that influencer marketing has become the brochure junk mail almost, if it's not done properly, right, that goes into your mailbox. You know, it's it's caught those all over and you probably never even regret writing one out there that you said. Look to the point where I'm wanting to people that in my own life, you know, younger females or males, and how are they responding to? They're not convinced now that because this person has said that they This is my favourite iPhone charger, and then they tag a brand, they're not convinced anymore by a lot of influences. So there's two issues. One is the level of influence has gone down that because we understand the space, the mechanism Yeah, that's right. And all customers understand you on being promoted to Oregon. And I have my guard up a little bit. And I want to understand if this is genuine or true. The second part that's a negative is that the influences have gone the other way. So their rate of influences has gone down. But they're understanding that the businesses are capitalising on on their influence and their price is going up. And it's sort of it keeps going this way.

George: The value proposition is off.

Zaid: That's right. So I'm not look, this is not a blanket that works for all this is not for all influences or influences out there that say something and people will believe it, because that's the kind of character they are that the audience is very engaged. I'm saying that this is now becoming more likely that someone with 15,000 followers, it doesn't mean that they're going to change your brand. Do not let them talk to you about the rights that you know, you need to look at their profile and assess their audience and assess their interaction and see what they've done before and look at the quality of posts because the truth is, a lot of people got fake followers. Instagram doesn't even show us the life now. So I'm not ashamed to ask for insights, you know, screenshot me insights I want to say them because, to be honest, I've had a I've had a there's been precious to keep doing what we've done. The first see And my approach has become more intense. But the results haven't. The results have depreciate. But the conversations with influences have become more difficult. And you know, I'm going to put it out there. Not sometimes, you know, George, I mean, you could be more influential.

George: You know, about that.

Zaid: Because some of the people that are following me even though it's not a lot of people, it's family and friends. Yeah. And if I say, hey, this child is really working for me. These are the reasons why.

George: Well, that's interesting.

Zaid: Yeah, to search for is no current searches for that. There are things that you can look at to help, even opinion but you need to have a good feel for influences now. And I'm all about now working with the big big influences on a paid relationship that works, that that may be connected to the prophets and Christian Paul is in a position now. Or the micro micro influencers that produce Amazing, amazing content that we can utilise on our space. And also appreciating the awareness that we reach with influence and reach that we get with influences, but understanding that they don't convert and having conversations with them that are honest and open and say, Listen, you want $1,000 to do a post, but you're not gonna, you know, you're not actually, that's not the value that I see in this relationship. And yeah, that's my opinion, I guess it is a different space 2015 people would see someone posting something and be more receptive to that message, and more influenced by now, dramatically less businesses need to understand that and when you do an influencer marketing strategy, take conversion out of the equation, and understand who you're going to get amazing photos off and who you're going to get amazing reach and influence from that you can leverage because you're going to get the audience from them, but you're not going to get the sale until now you do the next steps. Which is to continue to nurture that audience and and connect with them and add value.

George: I think that's really interesting because we had Taryn Williams on here as a guest who's the CEO of the right fit, where you can find photographers influencers models and whatnot. And she was mentioning how, you know, the trend that she's seeing is, you know, the Saturation levels up, you know, standing there with the, you know, with with whatever, your Bluetooth speaker, no, that's done. That's five years ago. Now. It's like that end to end integrated, you know, you're on the stories, then you're in the post and you're on there Tick Tock. It's like it's more in the light it's in the vlog, you know, it's like it's that end to end kind of thing. So yeah, really interesting to hear your thoughts there on how you've seen the differences and are you noticing like, you know, it's better to go with someone with you know, 5000 followers that's getting way more reach you know, as you You said, you know, Mum down the road, she's got influence, you know, within her group of friends.

Zaid: Exactly. So we look at our influence approach has. There's other directors involved, obviously and object like we're trying to look at crucial more than wire I'm not the sole decision maker. So to be honest with you, not everything they do is a direct reflection of the things that I wanted you. Yes, my opinion, Christian boy has pulled back on influences and is looking for that next step on a larger scale or a smaller scale just to produce content.

George: And what do you kind of what's in the consideration set right now for those who are still researching?

Zaid: Yeah, they're still as in as in

George: like, as in what do you think it's heading?

Zaid: Yeah. So for the influencer marketing side of things. We, I think what you said is exactly what we want to do. We want to work with someone on a large scale, like we're talking large scale but With a long term relationship, you know, only if they genuinely like our product. If you don't like wearing watches, doesn't matter if you have 100 million people following you, we don't want to work with you, even if it's free. Honestly, I don't want to. I want someone that actually likes that product, maybe co designs products without a and a partnership that says, Look, I know you have a big audience and I know you want to make money, you know, your finances are of interest to us as well. But as a business, we need to make money from this deal to be able to ever make a deal again with someone else and to continue to grow. But also we want don't want to overcharge our customers. We want our customers to be able to be tougher to be accessible to them. So linking them to the success of that particular collaboration. For example, if we partnered up with let's let's use a problem influencer is my marketing team may go off at me if I say the wrong person. But look, I like to look at Tammy Ambrose profile. Okay, that is for me. She's been a she's been growing from day one. Yep. She was probably one of the first influences in my eyes that went from just someone who was posting good photos. to, to, to prove what I would say a star, you know,

George: it's like that weird hybrid of like, celebrity influence, sort of

Zaid: celebrity influence. Yeah. And I believe she's, you know, like her her brand is a prime example was ASCII, you know, collection with its good quality you know, she she talks to the customers and she's selling out constantly is not one thing that doesn't sell out on a page. And she's the only influencer like she's not the only influence over she was originally the one that influenced that and started and influences are scratching each other's back, you know, I hope you bring their problems maybe helped me something one day, and they're probably getting more access to the to the, to the promotions with other influences, but that's That's a she's for me is a perfect example of someone who started as you know, as an influencer, you know, Mom, family, you know, very relatable and has grown her account, usually. And Greg content, pretty, pretty interactive with the audience without I think, faking it a lot. She doesn't work with brands she doesn't believe in to be honest with you. I've seen a lot of the stuff that she works with. We've worked with a sister and we've negotiated deals we've Tammy and we just didn't come to an arrangement. She's not the most suitable influencer for Chris and Paul, and the way we're heading. You know, we work with people at Cape Waterhouse, you know, Cape Waterhouse. he's a he's a celebrity. She's not just an influencer. You know, she is a celebrity that was that was someone that helped us in the early stages of our brand. So someone like that would be more ingrained for us anyway. But it's finding it's definitely finding the right person and is a Tamar Tamar event with

George: Taryn William Taryn?

Zaid: Taryn. Sorry. Yeah. Aaron from the right fit. Set it correctly like this such a big saturation of influences that we needed. We needed to be honest with them and say, Listen, I'm happy to work with you. But you know, we can't do this, we need to just bring him back down to earth, you know, collectively and to say, okay, you have 5000 followers, but a small cafe around the corner shouldn't be paying you $500 because they're not going to make that money back and they know they're going to lose money. You know, and even educate them about what the value is. And brands like the right fit should assist influencers to understand the genuine value so that businesses and influencers can continue to work. Otherwise it will be like push and pull, they just want to pull the pin. Sorry when I work in collaboration see later on a big deal. I've been approached to be honestly, that has been our approach. We've been relying our customers for content and Working with great content creators to keep the content coming in, and then looking for that one off, you know, big, big relationship is more of an interest to us now then, then a mass scale of negotiations with influences because you need a lot of resources. You know, we had 11 people at once, just talking to influencers that are staying at one stage. And then we realised that that wasn't viable. It wasn't profitable, and it was losing a lot of money and there's there was it's very difficult to assess every influencer to that degree, and we and we just seen the shift, you know, we've seen the change, people were having less influence. So if you're gonna put your money in influencer marketing, you need to capitalise on in other ways. Yeah, and really understand that value.

George: I think, what's the biggest takeaway from this podcast is you know, the authenticity like you said, you know, if the if the influencer doesn't genuinely love our product, and this is just literally a transaction of Money, you know, you're not necessarily going to see the full benefit of that activity and your audience will be able to see through that. You've got to have that genuine love. And that collaboration, if there is a genuine love and a mutual benefit, you know that that can be an ongoing relationship for years, potentially

Zaid: 100%. So, in comparison to 2015 handing out 600 watches today, to the people that we did on day one, no disrespect to them, I can't remember every single one of them, but generally speaking, we would not have the same impact as we are back.

George: Yep. And to finish off on this podcast, if someone were to say be, you know, maybe have an econ brand of themselves, and they're more maybe even starting or they're looking to get into some more influence, marketing, you know, what would be some of those key tips we've obviously talked about being authentic and finding someone with You know, a good ratio of engagement to number of followers because there's so many so many bots out there and whatnot.

Zaid: Well, my advice Yeah, not just in relation to influencer marketing but let's just look at it as e commerce or even in general perfect is map out your process like in really good detail. I think something that I probably genuinely regret is getting overly excited about a business concept that you dive quickly into and you're so excited to start selling this product or service that you almost the planning phase has sort of gone quiet. If you never if you don't have any process in such fine detail from from the point of you know, first connecting with your customer through the whole journey on what email they're going to get what message you want to send them. What do you want to say here? Why would you say is and full take your customers, your whole business process. And your customer journey. Think about it from beginning to end, sit down, don't worry about anything else and plan it and write it and look over and read it again tomorrow and check it because it always becomes an issue of not having a very good process and it's very hard to scale or grow. Once you pass that initial stage of growth, you know, you've sold a few watches or whatever it might be, you will hit that issue. And I think that the marketing and everything, the marketing the spend the media, spend the channels you're going to be on that's all great. And that's your comes second to your, your true value proposition and purpose of your business. What is your genuine mission and digging inside yourself for having a purpose? Because the truth is, customers are so smart, you know, they're so educated, they understand marketing, they understand When they're being offered something of value, and when they're not. So if you haven't mapped out every little detail of your process, they will see through it. And they will not trust your business at some stage in the lifecycle. My definite definite advice is, if you're starting a business, or you're starting an e commerce channel for your product or service that you my number one advice is, stop what you're doing, and get a pen and paper and pen and just literally write out what it is you want to do. How every step of the way, you know, to this day now, affirmative marketing group is only just over two years old, right? So it's generally a young business compared to Christian Paul, we're still updating our processes and procedures, and it's become a lot more complex. And when I first started, I had wished that I do that from scratch, and I spent a lot of time on it. You know, only now We started really uncover what our genuine mission is and what our attributes are and our personality and, and drawing that out from scratch. So my advice to anyone starting in commerce is really draw your business from scratch, what it offers, how it's going to offer to the business. And right every step of the way, you know, are you do you have a warehouse? How will you ship things? What will come in and map it all out and make it a system? Because then you'll always have something to refer back to. Because we're all human, you know, we make mistakes. And yeah, I think that's the most challenging thing, you will get initial growth because your family and friends will support you. And then once you bring that money in, you get excited and suddenly come across genuine issues once that product or service hits the real world and start to having to compete and other companies that come out and started before you are getting bigger and there's so many things you will address but the first thing I would recommend is definitely mapping out that process that would be and that We'll help later when your business grows, because the aim of every business is growth, right? Surely no one says, Okay, I want to start a Kindle business and I want to sell one candle a month, the rest of my life is I want to sell one candle now, three candles next month, 17 candles a month after that, and continue to grow. And once you grow, you will need staff. And my advice with staff is, you know, definitely test people on their skills. And you know, staff can be a big asset or liability. And for me, I've worked with some of the best people and some of the worst. And I think creating a process will allow people to be their best in your business as well as yourself.

George: So, yeah, that I think that, you know, very general, but I think that would be my strongest piece of advice for anyone. So if I could speak to myself, yeah, I would say hey, relax, calm down. Can you grab that paper and pen and That's really drawing out what you do. And what sort of am I talking? He's

Zaid: got a German Shepherd he sounds

George: he sounds happy. Yeah. Ready for a walk?

Zaid: But yeah, that would be definitely my boys and you know, invest money, money makes things happen. Don't you can't just, you can't not spend money if you want to get rich, it's just very simple. My best investments are the ones that I've committed to you know, I'm not saying be stupid with your money, but money makes things happen, you know, genuinely like time and money if you either have both or you have one of them, but you need to put it in so yeah, my pay your process and then you understand where you should spend your money to make some magic happen.

George: Yeah, I think that's great advice, breaking it down into chunks and make it relevant to what you're trying to achieve in the business. You're in. I think that's an amazing advice and Zaid, it's been a pleasure having a chat with you and some really valuable advice here. So all the best with Christian Paul moving forward and am group and is there anything you'd like the audience to know, just on signing off now?

Zaid: Now look, I'm grateful. What you're doing is great. And, you know, I wish I was able to watch a lot more of these videos talking to people who have been on the field and have worked. You know, I've faced issues and successes. So thanks for having me. I hope I've you know, been able to give you a good insight and happy to chat whenever you want me.

George: Fantastic Zaid, all the best. We'll speak soon.

Zaid: Thanks me. Cheers.