Crocs Are(n't) Cool, The Top 3 Challenger Themes for 2022 - Scratch Special

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Scratch is a production of Rival, a marketing innovation consultancy that develops strategies and capabilities that help businesses grow faster. In today's episode, we record at our first live event (Zag Out) and wrap up the top Challenger themes of the year and what the key takeaways are for your brand. It was an incredible conversation in front of a live audience and we debated everything from if Crocs are cool or not to if we should be investing in Pickleball... tune in for a special Scratch this week.

Scratch is a production of Rival, a marketing innovation consultancy that develops strategies and capabilities that help businesses grow faster.

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Find Eric on LinkedIn and tweet him @efulwiler.

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Eric: Hey everyone. This is actually our last scratch of 2022 and we have a bit of a special episode for you. So last week we hosted our very first zag out, our rival community Challenger Marketer meetup. We did this in London. We had some amazing people come hang out with us, spend some time with us, and we actually recorded a live episode of Scratch at the Event, and that is what we're sharing with you today. So it's myself, Jenna, and Dubbos. We are the three co-founders of Rival. We're talking about three of our top challenger marketing trends of 2022 and some of the brands that really embodied them and have showed them off and have helped to drive growth of their business based on these trends. We talk about how they tap into culture, how they're purpose led, and how they build community around their brands. I think you're really going to enjoy this one and the conversation that we had. It's also, it's also pretty entertaining, I have to say so myself. So please enjoy. Have a great break, a great holiday if you're celebrating. Really looking forward to connecting with you in 2023. We've also got more events lined up for 2023, so do make sure that you're signed up for zag. You can do that from our website. We are to be in the know about all the things that we have planned for next year. Enjoy and speak too soon.

DuBose: It's an interesting one when we talked about Colabs because I think, yeah, from what we saw in NFTs before all of them went to the value of kind of dirt. There is that idea that collaboration was part of N F T culture, the idea of bringing different people in, picking up the community as a whole, pooling innovation, pooling creation. And I think it's what you're seeing from brands nowadays. I think cultural relevance is a very hard thing to create on your own. Cultural relevance is a very easy thing or easier thing to create when you pull together with other people to make your footprint larger. And I think that that is something we can take away from Crocs and NFTs despite the fact that Crocs are the NFTs of shoes.

Eric: I'm Eric Full Weiler, and this is Scratch Bringing You marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rule book from scratch for the world of today.

So I think everyone here knows us, but as way of introduction, I'm Eric. This is dubose and Jenna. We're the three co-founders of Rival we're the reason that you all had to come out tonight. I did not think that we knew this many people. Actually, I did not think that we would've this many people show up. So thank you for coming and thank you for supporting us In our first year as a business, we said that we wouldn't make this a rival birthday party and it's not really a rival birthday party, and Jenna was adamant that nobody can sing happy birthday, but we did just pass our one year milestone and it's been, thank you.

It's been really fucking hard. It is really hard to start a company. It's really hard to start a company. There's no butt, no. And I just want to let that sit because personally I feel like that doesn't get talked about enough and it's okay that it's hard. It's a feature, not a bug. What we're trying to do and what a lot of other startups are trying to do is something really special. Try to build a company, try to build something out of nothing. And it's still very early in terms of the journey for us and we still have very big plans and very big ambitions. We're going to talk about that a little bit tonight, but I think where we've gotten to and certainly where we plan on going is in large part thanks to you all our community, our rival friends and family as we call you.

So thank you for coming out and this is as much a celebration of you all and what you've done as it is celebrating our first year a little bit indeed. So with that, we're not going to keep everybody standing and away from the food and the bar for too long, but we did have to do some content because that's what we do. We do, we do podcasts and I guess we do other things, but we're going to do a quick podcast for you and it's going to be about some of the trends, some of the key trends that we've seen with challenger brands over the course of this year. So we're going to talk about three trends. We're going to quickly introduce how we think about challenger brands. So there's a quick overview on our business. So we started the company a year ago. The core of the business is essentially a management consulting firm FO focused on marketing.

So we do strategy, capability building brands, go to market or design things like that to help businesses change the category. That's kind of why we exist. We want to enable any business to be able to change their category, to be able to think and act like a challenger brand. DuBose is going to talk a little bit about the difference between a brand, a challenger brand, and what we're calling a rival brand. And then we're going to get into the show and talking about a couple of the trends, and then we've got a special announcement towards the end and then we'll everybody get to the food and back to the bar.

DuBose: Amazing. Well, it's so great to see everyone's faces slightly happy, slightly wondering how long this is going to go for. Apologize. We'll be very quick. Generally some of you may have heard the spiel before. We kind of believe there's a level beyond challenger brands, which are the ones that have scaled to the point where they aren't as sexy as an exciting anymore. They're not just kind of the new news. They're actually changing the market, they're changing the category. Those are the ones that haven't just had the press release in the beginning. They're the ones that actually start to change behavior at scale. And that's the thing that really excites us, not just kind of a brand having a point of difference in the market and challenging it, but actually delivering impact to shift and change the way people buy, the way people think and the way people consume. So a lot of what we'll be talking about tonight is just the things that's hard to shape rival brands. So it'll be a great three hours, just settle in. Lovely.

Eric: All right, let's get into it. So we've got three trends that we're going to talk about. I'm going to give a quick intro, talk about a couple of the brands that we've seen this year actually portraying these traits. And then Dubbos and Jenna are going to do their thing, which is basically say super smart stuff. Dubbos has also promised to work a Simpson's reference into every answer that he gives, so y'all need to hold him accountable to that, please. All right. Theme or trend number one, building cultural relevance. So building a brand people care about has to do with what you offer both functionally and emotionally as a brand, but also the cultural context around your brand and within the lives of the consumer audience you're trying to reach a brand. So if anybody's in the rival Amp group, which if you're not, let me know and I'm happy to add you.

It's a WhatsApp group of very close friends and family of rival, and we have a bit of banter slash trash talking about challenger brands in there. The one that I think is really interesting that's happening, and I'm just trying to see if I can point to any here. Crocs. Yes, Gihan getting you a pair of rival pink Crocs. So Crocs has been around for a while, but actually we've been looking at their share of search recently and they're starting to grow. And so what part of what's powering that is they've done a ton of collaboration. So they open a virtual holiday store. We're not a huge fan of metaverse activations. We actually have a virtual square jar. Every time you say Metaverse, you got to put a dollar in it, but they did it. They also launched a partnership with Sweetie, they did a collaboration with General Mills for a cinnamon toast, Crocs, and even made an appearance in front of the king of England, England. So as they say, Crocs are heart are hot right now, and it has had an impact on their business as well. Everything that they're doing, their stock has risen 110% over the last five months. What do you think about Crocs and their ability to drive cultural relevance?

DuBose: I think it's funny that you looked around to see if anyone was wearing Crocs in December in London but generally I think they're two different conversations here.

Actually that kind of looks like a crock on the ceiling. I think that counts. I'm going to count

That nothing looks like a crock that's ever been on a ceiling but generally, I think there's two interesting arguments that to be made here. There is the idea of cultural relevance, trying to stake out a larger claim of consumer's mind than you normally can get through just straight product innovation. And I think Crox is doing that well, right? Cinnamon toast, Crocs definitely kind of earns its keep as good copywriting, even if the shoe is basically a TiVo with some plastic melted on top of it. But I think as far as the idea of how far you can take it, I think it's an interesting one when we talked about Colabs, because I think from what we saw in NFTs before all of them went to the value of dirt. There is that idea that collaboration was part of NFT culture. The idea of bringing different people in, bringing up the community as a whole, pooling innovation, pooling creation. And I think it's what you're seeing from brands nowadays. I think cultural relevance is a very hard thing to create on your own. Cultural relevance is a very easy thing or easier thing to create when you pull together with other people to make your footprint larger. And I think that that is something we can take away from Crocs and NFTs despite the fact that Crocs are the NFTs of shoes. <laugh>

Eric: Well played. I'm not sure I got a Simpsons reference in there, but

DuBose: It's more of a Shelby Villa idea

Eric: Too. It be two on the next answer. Jenna Crocs. Yay, your nay.

Jenna: I think that the nft that Crocs are the NFTs of shoes is a better analogy because I think that Crocs also is going to crater in six months. Some people are over the ugly footwear trend. I'm really glad that Yeezys and Adidas opened this door for what is on your feet. It looks like garbage. It looks like literal garbage on your feet. And I think that the main relevance is being driven by people love to hate on stuff. You can be very relevant when people hate what you're doing. That's kind of nothing unites people more than a common enemy and a common like, oh God, really? Are you really wearing that? Love to judge it. I'm not a brand strategist and I'm not a Gen Z. I'm wearing fucking red wing shoes. What the fuck do I know about it? But oh my God, they're hideous and I hate them.

Eric: All right, so you got two shorts on Crocs. I'm going long on Crocs. We'll see if it pays off for them. Let's Get another one. But what time horizon?

DuBose: Given an infinite amount of time, everything's

Jenna: given an infinite amount of time. Ugly will always get bag in. The fashion is no official.

Eric: Okay. All right. Moving on to another brand. So which is Evolution of Smooth. So they are a beauty consumer packaged good brand. We know the cmo, a woman named so Young Kang very well and she's a very impressive cmo. We had her on the podcast earlier this year to talk about some of, they've done a bunch of different cultural activations, and one of them that was actually amazing is they collaborated with a TikTok influencer within their culturally relevant space. They built an activation basically based on this woman did a inappropriate type of video about one of their products, and they actually jumped on the trend. They sent her a custom product just for her, and that collab drove a 2500% increase in sales of that one product. I know your thoughts on TikTok, Jenna, so why don't we start with you on this one. I know your thoughts on TikTok as an ad product.

Jenna: No, I'm going to skip the TikTok there. I'm not going to go TikTok

Eric: I'm not TikTok. No. TikTok Rans will leave those, For other. I'm pretty sure half the people here came for the TikTok rants, so that's -

Jenna: Fine. Going to give. You're going to be disappointed. They're going to be disappointed. I'm going to move it. I really am enjoying, I will say, the trend of brands leaning into the natural evolution of going with the weird cultural trends. Again about leaning into brands using words Coochie, I think, was that what they used in this collab? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where in 10 years when Gen Z is the primary income income earning audience that people are really going after, they're going to be like Ye Sun. And it's like all this Gen Z speak. I'm really into that as the next evolution of brands just talking in the most ridiculous way possible that I think that as all trends are pendulums again, we'll go all the way to the end of evolution of Smooth talking about Cuccis and Ye as we tried to explain to duo's English wife very unsuccessfully as to what YE is. Recently,

DuBose: she uses Yeet as a noun. Yes. It's been a thing.

Jenna: I still don't know what that means. That's fine. You don't have to. It's a Gen Z thing. And so I don't know. I'm honestly kind of really into that as a, that brands are just going to get so absurd and divorced from reality and the language that they use that doesn't really signify anything. I'm into this two thumbs up. Yeah,

DuBose: What can I say that builds on that? I think I'm disappointed. This is two products. I assume there's no direct kind of experience with that. You're championing Crocs and skincare, but I think the

Jenna: Thing I G Care are you saying Eric is not experienced with CCI Skincare? Don't judge. Reasonable knows

DuBose: Reasonable. But I, I'd say the interesting thing here is I think when we talk about culture there is the idea that people are going to take your brand into places that are pretty uncomfortable, especially on things like TikTok. I imagine I would love to be there for the first board meeting when someone's like, we found this thing on TikTok, and you're like, what is it? And someone's like, oh, it involves Cies. And someone's like, was that eat? I just learned that last week. So I think there is an idea that at a certain point you kind of either have to go with it or you have to be very, very scared. And I think the move that brand planning is going and the move that marketing is going in is fine. We're going to be uncomfortable, but uncomfortable with that and then comfortable with being uncomfortable at some point. So I think there's an interesting thing there that I think this kind of shows is just modern marketing working the way it should.

Jenna: The Radio Shack, Twitter, the Radio Shack, Twitter. That is too much though. Oh, no. Okay, you guys should go follow the Radio Shack Twitter.

Eric: There's no way that's actually growing their business.

Jenna:Who cares? It's absolutely hilarious.

Eric:Isn't that the whole point? Isn't any marketing

Jenna: The Burger King ads business, the Burger King ads about the moldy Whopper that won all those awards didn't necessarily drive their business. I don't know.

Eric: Oh shocker. A marketing award that wasn't focused on efficiency or effectiveness.

Jenna:Who's ranting? Who's ranting about things now? But

DuBose: Wait, the Moldy Whopper is different than when Radio Shack became the Twitter feed of the alt-right for about a month and hour. No,

Jenna: But I just mean that it's the evolution. It's the evolution of brands trying to adapt the vernacular and drive cultural relevance of generation. That the way that Gen Z and certain millennials talk is that Radio Shack. And these things are just the Wendy's Twitter doing clap backs on steroids. These are the next steps of these things for cultural But I just mean that it's the evolution. It's the evolution of brands trying to adapt the vernacular and drive cultural relevance of generation. That the way that Gen Z and certain millennials talk is that Radio Shack. And these things are just the Wendy's Twitter doing clap backs on steroids. These are the next steps of these things for cultural relevance.

Eric: I like how you're subtly selling the rival scrunchy to people. Yeah,

Well, I knock one God, well done.

Jenna: No, it came out it wasn't a secure scrunchy.

Eric: So we had a client at one point when we were in the age. We've had

DuBose: Several clients at one point. Yeah,

Eric: We probably had a couple, but we had one who may or may not be in this room. And he used to say, and I actually used this all the time, I want to see at least one idea in every pitch that's going to make me feel uncomfortable. And I think that's more of what needs to happen. I think in order to do something that's interesting, that's differentiated, that stands out, you probably need to feel a little bit uncomfortable, good uncomfortable, and there's bad uncomfortable like Radio Shack.

DuBose: He was the only client that said that twice though I think all the other clients, that was a one time request. He tends To repeat himself, but it works.

Eric: All right let's move on. So three key takeaways from this section. I think actually four, because one of them is if you're not a little bit uncomfortable with what you're doing in your marketing in particular your cultural marketing, you're probably not pushing things far enough. But three key takeaways that we had written down, understand the drivers of culture within your audience. Find ways to contribute to them in valuable ways and make it a habit, not a hack. So actually one of the things that's so young, the CMO AO AO said is she uses kind of a 70 20 10 framework with her team. So she makes sure that at least 10% of the budget and the team's time is going towards crazy ideas like this that might not work or we'll create something huge. All right we're doing Purpose is the second one, right? Yeah. Purpose. Okay, great.

DuBose: So if you whisper.

Eric: Yeah, no, I forgot. I forgot.

DuBose: That's how that works. We didn't just wear these, so we looked like a poor man's version.

Eric: We know to say this is way the way podcast on Wish.

The way we like to do podcasts is have a conversation and there just happens to be a mic there. But I guess maybe I'm taking that a little bit too far being purpose driven. So consumers increasingly want brands to take a stand and contribute to positive change in the world, but only if they can actually back it up. They need to walk the walk, not talk the talk. So I'm quoting a report from Edelman, the Trust Barometer that I think they put out every year. 81% of people expect brands to do the right thing, but not all purpose is created equal. Everybody wants to save money, and then the world is kind of our point of view on it. So DuBose, I'm going to let you talk about this a little bit because we published a piece of research over the summer about purpose. So why don't you talk a little bit about our point of view on purpose and then we'll get into a couple brands that are doing this well.

DuBose: Well, Eric, purpose is a bit like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how they got it and damned if they knows how to use it but generally that that's from the Monil episode of The Simpsons for anyone who missed it. But generally, I think the thing we kind of found with this, and you can't go to a marketing meet without someone talking about the metaverse and about purpose, and now we've checked those two boxes and we've become real boys. But I think one of the things that's interesting here is really at the end of the day, I think especially in an economic downturn, especially with economic uncertainty, I think it's going to really mature the conversation around purpose in the next year. I think there's a pragmatism to it that has to come through. It's interesting I think Les Bennet, Adam and Eve was putting some research out in the last few weeks where they were talking about the idea that previously, I think his partner, Peter Field had put some stuff where he was talking about brands that had tried to attach themselves to purpose were actually less effective in the long term. I don't think that's because doing good means people buy you less. I think it's more the idea that doing good is then an excuse for incredibly lazy marketing a lot of the time because good intentions tend to excuse kind of scrutiny. And I think there's an interesting point with this in what we found with our research, which is doing good requires more scrutiny. At the end of the day, I think we had a client who rightfully said, once a purpose isn't on the balance sheet and it's not believable. And I think there's a point to where doing good and then making good profit off of it should be the goal. But that's two things you've got to contend with, not one. And I think at the end of the day, we've tended to underestimate the difficulty of which to do it. And I think that's one of the things that struck us over the last year. And I think one of the things that a lot more people are going to be talking about over the next kind of six months to a year,

Eric: And I really liked what you wrote in the report where you talk about brand purpose comes as a value multiplier, not a value creator. So it's unable to override the more basic economic consideration factors that drive purchase, but helping to drive choice once the price is held consistent between products is part of the decision set. So let's look at a couple brands that are doing this well. So the first is Star Face. Star Face. Star Face is a fast growing challenger brand in the acne treatment personal care space. I'm just thinking of Space Balls. I'm just, I think it's Space Balls.

DuBose: That's where you, I'm pretty sure it was in, yeah, my references are a little bit older than yours, it seems like. All right. Space Balls is a movie from the eighties.

Jenna: Thanks for telling me

DuBose: No worries

Eric: The interesting thing about Star Face isn't just the brand and product, it's the conversation and cultural shift that they're looking to drive. So Star Face wants to promote acne positivity. They want to change the perception that people in society in general have about acne. Sure, it's not exactly saving the world, but it's claiming and owning authentic sharp point of difference in their industry. They raised a few million dollars a couple years ago led by Boston Consulting Group, and they've kind of taken off from there. You want to elaborate on either Star face or brands that are kind of doing this thing. They're not trying to save the world, but they're claiming and owning an authentic purpose that's relevant to the profit of their business.

DuBose: Well, I think it's funny, right? This is the only time I'll ever quote PJ Overwork non ironically, but I think there was a thing where you kind of said, everyone wants to save the world, no one wants to do the dishes. And I think it's down to the idea that at a certain point there are things that you don't have to have the most grandiose of purpose to just be a better brand to just stay ahead of the moral curve. And I think there's a real challenge that as marketers, we get a real pressure that the world's on fire. Everyone does want to go, I'm going to change something. I'm going to deliver a giant impact. But all you really need to do is just be better than everyone else within your sector, deliver a small change. If everyone does a little bit of something, then actually we're going to get a way bigger impact than if a large amount of brands try to make very, very big moves, which are very risky with low probabilities of success. And then you're just building consumer cynicism when they peel back and those things don't actually have substance behind them. I think nihilism within consumers on a lot of causes is a much bigger concern now than actual engagement with those causes. We've crossed through the idea of is climate change real to the idea of can we do anything about it? And I think there are a lot of causes that are going that way and a lot of marketers with the best of intentions who have gone too big or not authentic and aren't actually contributing to the discourse or the conversation. So when you see stuff like that, I think a lot of people tend to go, oh, that's a bit small. Is that something we should really celebrate? And you're like, yes, not being evil and doing small valuable things should be as celebrated as giant things because a lot of the time they're just as difficult because the small things aren't going to gather people around a boardroom table to talk about them or fund them.

Eric: Jenna, maybe you could also talk about the sheep incorporated or sheep included, whatever the

Jenna: Yeah, sheep included. Yeah. Yeah, sheep included. If when you buy one of their things, you get a little coat, you got to follow the sheep that made your sweater. So that's really fun.

Eric: Do they only sell them in Brooklyn?

DuBose: No, they're a New Zealand company. I bought that. I think

Eric: A Brooklyn Insurance.

Jenna: No, they have happy sheep. They have Happy Sheep. Not right after. It's Sean. I imagine it's like, I Don't, you feel nice after you get a haircut and then you kind of move your head around and there's not so much weight and you're like, oh my gosh, I'm like a bobblehead. Don't you have that experience when you lose the weight of your

Eric: So brand purpose.

Jenna: Brand purpose. Anyways, I was going to say, Dubbos really unbroke the ice with that subtle, can we do anything about climate change? They just slipped into that conversation. So lemme talk about Chewy and how delightful it is that Chewy leans into the fact that people love their pets. That seems like an appropriate segue. Yeah, I do really like the purpose thing. Again, when it fits with the it, the character of the brand. Chewy is one of the other ones that does really well with purpose around. I think that they've done so much better than other pet brands like PetSmart or Petco in the United States. I can't believe that Shoey was the first brand to lean into who people really love their dogs. Maybe we should really work that into our marketing because we serve as dogs and they do a lot of things for a category that otherwise suffers from very little brand loyalty where it's like if you say, oh, my dog didn't like this toy. They want to know what your dog does, and they'll surprise and delight you with toys that he might a little bit better. I guess on the topic of other sad things like climate change, if your dog dies and you tell them that your dog died, they'll give you a refund for the food and those types of things. And those are relatively small customer service expenditures that probably, again from a customer loyalty and a commercial perspective, make a ton of business sense for them. And like I said, I just think that's a really great example of, again, purpose being core to their values. That again, also sort of actually is a nice fun surprise and delight sort of thing. I wish more brands like Star Face again that they were the first brand to lead into, oh my gosh, what if we just made the little acne patches look a little bit nicer? Nobody figured out before these guys in the year of our Lord 2020 that maybe if we put some colors and shapes that people wouldn't be so sad about the blemishes on their face. What a revelation. Congratulations to them. Yeah, <laugh>.

Eric: All right, so key takeaways from this section. So in the report that Dubbos wrote and that we published, you talk about this brand action model, which is kind of summing up what we talked about. You need to start with responsibility. What's the responsibility that you can own as your business, then move into purpose, but have it be tied to the balance sheet to actually how you generate profit. And then you can move into activism. The kind of realms of the Patagonia is of this world that everybody likes to talk about aiming to outperform the moral average. So really, really inspiring. Just try to not be as bad as everybody else. A good purpose doesn't fix a bad product, but a good product makes a stronger purpose. And then this is probably my favorite. Get cape wear cape workup to flying

DuBose: Exactly. Get Cape Wear. Cape jumped too soon. I Thought that we all learned from the Incredibles.

Jenna: No capes or no capes. Yeah. Edna mode. No capes.

Eric: All right, last theme. We're getting there. Almost food time, almost bar time. Technically it's food and bar time while we're doing this, by the way, if we need to buy more time, I think And swag time. Swag time is coming as well. Creating a community. So we live in a world of increasing openness when it comes to brands and content brands, especially challenger brands, are moving from the traditional storyteller dynamic where communities exist to consume brand to content, to a facilitator dynamic where brands can create communities and spaces around shared values of interest. Academic research is further shown, the power of community finding that when consumers feel they're part of a branded community, it increases their brand love as well as word of mouth and loyalty. So the first brand that we're looking at, we actually published the newsletter about this I think only a couple weeks ago Cortez. So they are a high-end challenger, street wear brand out of the uk. They're executing much of the tried and true challenger brand being purpose led, authentic differentiating themself, but they're also really creating a very active, engaged community around their brands and their products. So if you go to their website, you actually can't buy any of their products. You can't even get there. It's password gated. You need to have a password to even get on And they don't have a store. They do surprise pop-ups, which get kind of talked about within the community, and that's the only way that you can know where they're actually going to happen. So Cortez, what are they doing well, what else do you have to say about them?

DuBose: Well, I think it's interesting. We've covered Cortez and Crocs, so we've hit both ends of the spectrum. I think if you put those two things together, one explodes. But I think there's an interesting thing with Cortes and the idea that a lot of what we've talked about this year and a lot of what we've seen from trends are the idea that a lot of the time brands are renting an audience. At the end of the day, they're not giving enough value for people to stay long enough and to see a bit of their story and then wander off. And I think more and more when we see what was happening with kind of brands going on, places like Discord brands attempting to do something with the metaverse, but in general, more community building in general, what you start to find is if you can build something that people want to spend time with, if you can build a platform and a power dynamic where it's not just everyone watching you, but instead you've given other people a platform to enhance their own lives, tell their story bathe in kind of the same benefit, then what you really get is a space where you have a true community.

I think for years in marketing, we've been convinced by Facebook and others that community was a fan page on Facebook or an Instagram page, and that's not a community that's an audience most of the time. That's the idea that you're pushing something out to someone. So I think when you see brands like Cortes, what you see is when you can build something that's incredibly valuable and not overnight in a way that actually has substance behind it. You can ask people to do some crazy things like some of the jacket swaps they did. Those things are insane, but I think that's the power of community and I think that's where you really, as a brand manager, as a marketer, have to go. What can I add beyond just telling a story? What can I give to other people where they can do something that's exciting, interesting. How can I create that space in 10 years? We'll talk about it in the Metaverse now. It's much more likely that it's a jacket swa in Shepherd's Bush that got pushed on Twitter an hour before.

Sounds like

You've been there. I have not. <laugh> not yet. No, I don't like it's cold and jackets are plentiful in other places.

Eric: Jenna, do you thoughts on Cortez or should we move on to our next challenger brand that I'm very passionate About? I don't want to talk about pickleball.

Jenna: Oh, I don't want pickleball,

Eric: Pickleball

Pickleball. Oh no. Is probably my favorite challenger brand right now besides rival, of course. All right. Pickleball. It's a combination between tennis and badminton. Yeah,

DuBose: No one has ever asked for that combination.

Eric: They didn't ask for it. It's the Henry Ford. If you ask people what they want, they say a faster horse. This is the automobile of the sports world. A few months ago on our podcast, so our ex-boss on the current boss of some people here, a guy named Carrie Vaynerchuk bought a pickleball team. And now we actually know the person who's apparently the general manager of that pickleball team. And it seems that he has kind of started a trend. So LeBron James has now bought a pickleball team I think that Drew Bree bought a pickleball team, and it's fans include Bill Gates, Kevin Durant, and the Kardashians Pickleball expects to have 40 million players by 2030. So this is a sport, but that can be a brand. The brand of this sport is a challenger and is growing a challenger against some of these other sports that are kind of on the decline like baseball in America and a bunch of others. So Jenna, I know you love talking about pickleball and are we not going to sponsor a pickleball team? We talked about that last night.

Jenna: We, I Don't know, flat Earthers are also a community of people with,

Eric: Are you comparing pickleball players to I think the pickleball players just laugh. They Laughed out.

Jenna: Yeah, I don't like sometimes communities aren't good thin. No, I don't know. That's not really what I mean. No, I It's shouldn't poo. Whoo. Other sports. It's fine. It's just a weird big, there's drama in New York about pickleball players taking over tennis courts in New York. It's like a weird Brooklyn thing. I don't know. It was like when Quidditch was taking over too many spots in Prospect Park. I don't want to fuck with that.

Eric: Quids never really caught on as a challenger brand in the sports world, though. I think pickleball has more legs.

Jenna: Well thought about FTX too and that had a bunch of celebrity endorsements than what happened there. You know what I mean? I don't know.

DuBose: I think the finer point here is at a certain point you can be really different from everything else that's out there, but are you actually a valuable thing to have? And I think at the end of the day, pickleball is somewhere between, what is it? What's the beach version of racquetball? People buy play once and leave somewhere on the beach and say, paddleball like Paddleball and Quidditch had a child. And I think until people are happy to go say I'm a pickleball player and not in the, I don't own a TV style of conversation, I think it's going to be a real challenge. So it it's the worst sports idea since the isotopes nearly moved to Albuquerque.

Jenna: Communities are good. They are important for your data practices. I really care about them. I just think pickleball is stupid.

Eric: All right, so quick takeaways to wrap this up. One plan for collaboration with your community, not just recall by your community, scale through partnerships to other businesses or organizations that have this audience in this community already. And then learn about your audience and adapt. That's all we got. We got through all of it. I counted what two or three Simpsons references. It's not bad. There's three. Yeah. You also owe at least $3 to the Metaverse swear jar. I do, but I'll collect on that later.

DuBose: Given the current conversion rate, that could be anywhere between one and five pounds.

Eric: Yes.

Jenna: How much in Bitcoin?

Eric: Oh man,

Jenna: nothing!

Eric: All right. So we're going to let everybody get back to the networking. There's going to be more food coming out. There's going to be more drinks at the back of this room. We have a table of rival merchandise. You saw some of it on display here today. We are partnering with Breaking Barriers, which is a charity that I'm very passionate about and have done what I can to try to help out over the last couple years. They are refugee charity, so they help refugees find employment in the uk. And so we have suggested donation amounts for the swag, but please give what you can. And all of that is going to go to Breaking Barriers and we're going to match it. We're going to match

Jenna: and the production of more scrunchies.

Eric: Yeah, before we let y'all go, last thing we have a little announcement to make that we're very excited about. So I'm going to let Dubbos talk about what it is. But when we started the business, we've always talked about starting as a consulting business, but with the vision of enabling any business to change their category, to grow like a challenger. We always saw technology and product as a way to scale that vision much further than we could with just consulting. So today is actually a very big day because

DuBose: Indeed. So thanks everyone for the support for the last year and more importantly, thanks for all the support in the last 30 minutes listening while we've been filming this for. To Eric's point, the last thing we'd like to say is we are incredibly excited to say, actually we're launching our first software product, so it is called kiro. It will be out imminently. Please go to the website to find out more about it. But generally, just to give you a quick overview, we're incredibly excited about some of the work that's been done in the space on Share search in the last few years as Predictor for market share. So we've taken some of the academic research that's there and worked that into a tool for marketers to understand market dynamics, share search for pretty much any brand in any market on Earth on week by week.

So whereas normally people would have to wait for things like retail depletion reports or to tie together market share in certain sectors, that's all now done dynamically. We're incredibly excited about its potential and where it can go as well. So some of the versions that will be coming soon are using such fuzzy terms as machine learning to start clustering together the different terms associated with the brand so we can understand what associations drive, market share, uplifts or declines, as well as what's trending on the internet and what brands are loosely associated with that to understand the impact of PR on market share. So we're incredibly excited. We've been working on it for quite some time, and we can't wait for all of you to see it

Eric: And identify new challenger brands in a category like Crocs. This is how we found Crocs.

DuBose: I deleted Crocs from the database while we were talking <laugh>, but other than that, there's lots of other brands that we'll be talking about with that. So please have a glance, see what you think, and we'd love to get everyone's feedback as it launches. So thank you.

Eric: Thank you so much for coming!

Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week

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