How to 10X Your Growth With Psychology-Based Growth Levers

Good bones aren't enough to grow a business anymore...but here's what is.

How to 10X Your Growth With Psychology-Based Growth Levers

I work in marketing, my husband works in tech. We're both highly involved in our industries, so you can imagine how many random, "freebie" products we have lying around the house.

Early last year though, my husband was gifted a particular product that he promptly regifted to me - not because he didn't want it, but because the product came with a certain...stigma. One that he wasn't sure he was allowed to participate in. 😂

If you've been in marketing as long as I have, you've seen just how powerful a product stigma (or, as I like to call it: "persona") can be for a brand:

  • Some products take on a character all their own, amassing millions of followers and obtaining celebrity status (like Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World).
  • Some spawn new social media trends that last for months and are referenced for years (like Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like").
  • Some can even sway millions of people to adopt an entirely new, real-world identity...and put $750 million in the pocket of the brands who make them...

This product mastered all 3.

Let's get into it...

The birth of an icon

Well-established, known for their durable outdoor gear, and particularly their iconic thermoses and rugged camping cookware, the Stanley brand went 110 years before they hit what I would call a "pivotal cultural moment".

Their outdoorsy, blue collar customers made the brand into a $70 million dollar business. Growth was steady and the legendary brand was stable.

But early 2020 marked a new era for this brand, turning one of their least popular products into a cultural phenomenon that would grow the brand into a $750 million dollar behemoth.

Stanley had just launched their "​Quencher​" tumblers...which almost no one wanted. The product sat stagnant on the shelves until new president (and former chief marketing officer at Crocs) Terence Reilly came up with a brilliant strategy - one that very few brands had attempted before...

He listened.

Reilly sat down with each employee to get an idea of what was/wasn't working for Stanley's new mugs. One employee in particular mentioned a possible partner in Utah - a group of women who ran a commerce site called "The Buy Guide" - that could be useful, since the original owner of the site had already purchased and gifted hundreds of Quencher mugs already.

Stanley partnered with The Buy Guide team who purchased 5,000 wholesale Quenchers to sell to their audience. The products sold out within days, and the rest (as they say) is history.

But there's more to this story than just a good partnership...

How to 10X your growth (and change an entire culture) in just 3 years

Stanley's success with the Quencher product was more than just a good business move. Their attention to culture laid the foundation for an entire societal shift.

By placing their product in the hands of a specific type of person, and doubling down on that identity, they completely changed how an entire generation of women behaved, and sold millions of products worldwide.

That's the power of good product-to-culture fit.

Don't believe me? Just search "Stanley cup" on TikTok. 😂

The "Stanley cup" phenomenon is powerful, widespread, and running almost entirely without Stanley's help. Millions of people are producing and consuming content around this identity - the "Target Mom" - and the Stanley mug plays a huge part in making that character so iconic.

The Stanley mug isn't just a physical product to this audience. It's the sole status symbol of the modern-day "Target Mom."

This perfect marriage between culture and brand took Stanley out of the male-dominated industry they grew up in and dropped them right in to the epicenter of a female-centric audience who were ready and willing to spend $45 on a pink cup (which 10X'd Stanley's growth in just 3 years.)

The Culture Attention Equation

Generating a multi-million person strong movement and 10X-ing your growth over 3 years is a feat within itself...but it isn't difficult as long as you understand how the cultural attention equation works.

The cultural attention equation looks like this:

(Good business structure + unique, high frequency content) x trending cultural phenomenon = growth. 💰

If you take nothing else from this email, remember this:

Good bones aren't enough to grow a business anymore - we're past the days of building a brand on grit and business sense alone. Some of our growth in 2024 and beyond will come down to how much cultural knowledge we have.

Stanley was able to capitalize on this because they understood:

  1. How important product-to-culture fit is.
  2. How to trade money for attention.

Here's how to do this for your brand...

How to do this for your brand:

  1. Identify an audience that already loves what you've got. If they loved you in the past, that's where you need to be in the future. Half the battle is getting attention - and attention is best focused when you prioritize the small enthusiast over the large semi-interested. Find an audience that already loves what you've got, and do whatever it takes to partner with them.
  2. Identify the "character" within that audience. Once you've got your audience selected, there's only one thing you need to do next - and that's listen. Best way to do this is to start consuming any/all content the community creates, and be vigilant in your search for a main "character" - it'll be obvious when you've found them. Go deep in your research here. The more you know about this "character" the easier it will be to become the status symbol for that character.
  3. Place your products in the hands of anyone who's making "character" content. Stanley identified a lucrative partnership early on, which was one of the main reasons they were able to generate as much success as they did. The women within their chosen partnership were already the "Target Moms", and were already creating content around that lifestyle. All these women needed to round out their identity...was a Stanley cup.

TLDR; Stanley's success serves as a testament to the significance of aligning products with cultural movements. As we strive for growth, let's remember the formula:

(Good business structure + unique, high-frequency content) x trending cultural phenomenon = growth.

Here's to embracing the dynamic relationship between business and cultural influence in your brand.

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