eCommerce Podcast

Podcast: Find (or Create) Your Adversary / Mythical Monster

In this episode of the Commerce Journey Podcast, Brian and Cory discuss how you’re going to create a mythical monster to represent your adversary and why it’s important to the success of your business.

In this episode of the Commerce Journey Podcast, Brian and Cory discuss how to find your adversary — or create one — and why this kind of storytelling is crucial to the success of your business.

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Machine Transcript – Finding or Creating Your Adversary

Brian Krogsgard  00:04

Hello, and welcome to Commerce Journey in the Commerce Journey podcast. My name is Brian Krogsgard. I'm here with Cory Miller. Hey, Cory.

Cory Miller  00:12

Hey, another podcast episode.

Brian Krogsgard  00:16

That's right. And we are talking today about finding or creating if you need to your business adversary, or your mythical monsters, the alliteration that you used today Cory in describing what we're going to be doing today, what we're going to talk about today. So could you introduce us to this concept, and then we'll go about how to form this idea for ourselves. And, and, you know, establishing exactly what we want to do here that's going to help drive us to more and better business.

Cory Miller  00:49

Yeah, if you really want to, and thank you for the alliteration. That's my former bat Baptist preacher, boy, you know, actually, I don't write everything. But I think great businesses, great organizations, great leaders, champion the causes and beliefs of their tribe of their people. And for business, the best way to think about that is what is the mythical what is the real monster? What is the enemy, the adversary, that your customer group, your customer, community, your tribe, faces or wants to fight against, and this has to do with their beliefs, what causes they have something that your business can hold the flag up and say, we fight against that, or in the positive, we fight for this, which is against that?

Brian Krogsgard  01:38

So you're saying in an adversarial sense, but oftentimes, we'll see this in a mission driven sense, though, right, like, but it's some most, you know, I don't discount online, so take it or shoot it down. I don't know if you watch the Michael Jordan documentary or the the Chicago Bulls, the last dance on Netflix. So they would talk throughout that documentary about how Michael Jordan especially he would figure out something that he could put on as a chip on his shoulder, and it would carry his carry his mental state through the game, to where it was almost like he couldn't lose because he had to take care of this chip on his shoulder. And this, I guess, in a way, there's a mythical monster for him, because he could have taken something that was a tiny slide by another player, or, you know, what he felt as disrespect from the GM or something, and he let it carry him through a series or through a game?

Cory Miller  02:37

Is it? What a great example, by the way? What a great example.

Brian Krogsgard  02:40

So is this the same kind of concept, but we're talking about applying it to our eCommerce businesses

Cory Miller  02:44

right on to our business, that we should stand for something or stand against something? You know, Jordan, even one time he was like this, they've mentioned this player, and that he had slighted him. And then like, a couple days later, or something he was they were asking him like, hey, what what be what did he say to you? Yes. I made it up.

Brian Krogsgard  03:04

Yeah. He created it for himself.

Cory Miller  03:07

I think having something to fight for, and fight against gives us teeth for business. And but what it does is give us a message, a cause that we can that reverberates resonates with our customers. And it's a next level part of a business. And if you bake it in from the beginning, that your products and your services have something you're fighting for or against for your people, then everything starts to play. This is next level entrepreneurship, but I want you to bake it in now. And that's why we're we're talking about the mythical monster or having an enemy or adversary to fight.

Brian Krogsgard  03:44

Yeah, that makes sense. What about in the sense of it being positive versus negative? Or not negative, but like, positive versus adversarial, I guess is the way to consider that what what benefits are there for it being adversarial versus like a go get them only type of message?

Cory Miller  04:05

I think it's like you said like, maybe this is in our pre talk but about this but that most people have like mission statements. And I think it's cool mission super cool, for sure. But the teeth of this if you think it's not a person necessarily. It is a more abstract concept that your people fight like, you know, for trying to think of a good example here. But you know, me in my service entrepreneurs, whether it's through our mutual partnership, Post Status, or other venues, I'm always fighting for the freedom fighters. Those are the entrepreneurs like a Commerce Journey here. That's what we're doing. Part of that is helping you know, part of this whole building your eCommerce store is we are fighting for your freedom. You want freedom. You want to be this many of you out there that want to quit your full time job and want to do this full time and we are in the fight for you. We know it's a journey. So we call it Commerce Journey. But our part of our fight could be said, we're for we fight for your freedom, like your freedom, your flexibility, your opportunity to do anything you want with your work life, and build this awesome lifestyle. And so I would say that's funny, or in or fighting against some things fighting against the fact that maybe you know, at your work, you don't get to tap into all your creativity, or something like that. So just having this belief, this champion thing that in the adversary, I think, just thinks like, think about it, what is your product really fighting against, for your people?

Brian Krogsgard  05:37

Yeah, now I get that, that makes sense. You, uh, now that we started talking about this, it's reminding me of a couple other examples from movies or tv or sports. One in sports I hear of all the time, it's like Aaron Rodgers, apparently he carries this chip on his shoulder as a quarterback. You know, he got slighted in the draft or whatever, you know, some of these other things. And he always has proven himself. Another movie that it makes me think of, and this is a fun one, because it's, especially if someone's involved in like a corporation, but they're like little small, little cast away portion of the corporation. The movie Major League, the owners were trying to tank the team, they were the Cleveland baseball team. And they just obliterated the team. So then throughout the season, the players rallied together. And their mythical monster, or their adversary was the team owner who was trying to tank the team so that they could do whatever. And that reminds me of why you can take a negative concept of you know, someone's rooting against you, or someone doesn't believe in you. And you use it to kind of rally the troops and say, Hey, we can do this. In eCommerce, that makes a lot of sense to me. Because a lot of times we may have competitor products, or we may be in a product category, where there's just somebody that is dominant, you know, like we are the tiny little player in this big old market dominated by big corporations or people that just they don't even think about us like we are, they are the only thing we think about, but they don't even think about us they don't even know it exists. And establishing them as our business adversary feels like the type of thing that for the most part can be a really healthy type of thing to to give us drive, right?

Cory Miller  07:29

Oh, yeah. And healthy is the name of the sport, even though I say against an adversary. It's not necessarily a particular person on earth. It's it's more abstract than that. But you hit it on the head as you're rallying the troops. So think about this, whenever you've been in a fight with somebody else, like your brother, even your spouse or significant other, you know, it's always it comes to you. It's like, it's nice to have a common enemy. Because instead of fighting against each other kind of thing, especially with my brothers, it's like, okay, when there was a comment in the outside of us, it was so much better your staves. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So rallying uniting each other, it's something to say like it's us versus them, US meaning my business, the products are for you, and you against this, the, you know, leveraging and leaning into all of the golly now monitoring and everything brand, but like leaning into the story of conflict of us versus them, David versus Goliath, the years these are classic stories, but when you can make it about it come combined some of the topics we've kind of hit on with like belonging and identity. But when you can, like really capture the theme of what you're for Oregon's and it might be both to on behalf of your people, then it's us versus them. It's it's saying like, Hey, everybody on this side of the battlefield, is pointing against that over there. And, you know, we talked about like WordPress, we love WordPress, and its mission is to democratize publishing. And I love that it helped me. These are you and I stories, you know, this piece of software in the community helped us changed our lives. Well, the democratizing publishing is huge. That's a four word for this right? Now. What are we against them? We're against everything that takes away the freedom and power of someone being able to publish their thoughts, ideas, even if they're, like literally ludicrous and crazy on the web. So we're against anything that hinders someone so see how that has a focus for what you're doing? Yeah, absolutely. The same thing with post status we, we don't want, you know, what we fought against is our current version WordPress don't have a place to talk, to gather, we provide that. So lack of, you know, groups and community like a special place with just us to talk. Also, we want to have multiple Well news outlets, not just one ones that are owned by one source. So it now now our positive we may state our mission in the positive, but we kind of fight against some of those things like lack of camaraderie with entrepreneurs, okay, that's where you come to post status and you don't feel alone. So it's the beginning aim is just an exercise to really get start to get clear about how you can rally those troops together. And that is where you build in loyalty because you're fighting for my cause. And I identify with you.

Brian Krogsgard  10:30

Yeah, that makes sense to me. Hey, Cory, we're just a few minutes into the show. But we want to not forget that we have a great partner that's gonna help you fight for your mission and fight your mythical monster. That's GoDaddy Pro, go to Commerce slash go and GoDaddy Pro will help you get started with your website, and your eCommerce business for only $1. For three months, there's no better deal on the internet, especially one that's going to package you up a whole bunch of like literally dozens of extensions to enhance the functionality of your store and help you really get going. fighting the good fight with your eCommerce business. GoDaddy Pro can help a slash go. Alright, so I want to dig into more of the tagging the mission, what we have what you've helped to describe, and then turning it into practical steps for our eCommerce businesses. How do we how do we take let's say, we've got the troops rallied everybody's bought into our, our idea of the adversary, you know, like, let's say we're like a sustainable shoe company. Okay. And our adversary is, you know, we want to, we want to we have people making a fair wage, and, you know, there's sustainable manufacturing practices, and we, we believe in our shoes. And our, our MIT, our adversary is, you know, big shoe manufacturing practices that we believe are unethical or something like that. How do we take the rallying the troops, the people in our teams, and our crews that believe in this idea, and turn that into practical steps to take in our eCommerce business? Do we use it in our marketing? Do we use it just internally? Where do we use it? How do we use it? What do we do with it?

Cory Miller  12:23

Yes, all the ways. They differ a little bit when you're talking about a team, to customers, because then the adversary becomes anything that the cut gets in the way of the customer reaching their goals and dreams and hopes that they're trying to solve with your product with your products and solutions. So, you know, we were the we were helping it I themes for 10 plus years helping people grow and build their business. And it all came back down to this fundamental concept we just talked about, which is freedom. We wanted to give them freedom to go build their business, we wanted to give them all the tools so we fought against anything that would trap them, or hinder them. The best way to start with this is start with customers don't start start with your product can say what common things to people, you know, talk about when Vida Bars rolled out. And it was very passionate, though, about sustainability, making sure we had low waste, low or zero waste as best we could. packaging and other things for our bars. So sustainability was baked in just like your shoe example. Now, it's so awesome, because we put that on the front. And a lot of this stuff is going to be trial and error, but we put it on the front page, and we talk about it that they're all sustainable, you know, from the packaging to the ingredients. To hear back in our comments. We just did a webinar on getting your first reviews, that people that resonates with people just like your shoe concept. Now, so start with your customers. Hey, this is a passion of ours. Could it be a passion of our customers that we could even lean in on on like you said, met from everything messaging, internal teamwork, customer emails, I mean, how how you build a product should be all baked in. Oftentimes, this is a discovery not necessarily something you set out like Anna. Like I think she had a really good bead and obviously people I mean, it's the right thing to do we believe but it resonates with customers. So like in your shoe example, you know, that resonates with customers, are they are they to the if you think about your just think about one person that your ideal customers if you can, yeah, what floats their boat? What gets them moving? You know? And if it's something like this sustainability, you can lean into that with your messaging, packaging, manufacturing, everything you do from end to end.

Brian Krogsgard  14:36

Yeah, I think one other thing when you get to this idea, it really is great if you can narrow that down to something that's really simple to communicate. Yeah, and taking the shoe concept. I mean, everybody in the world now knows Tom's Well that's because Tom's took this idea about sustainable manufacturing and Access to shoes being not good enough for a lot of people in the world? Well, they, they turned it into a very straightforward message one to one, you buy a pair, you give a pair, and the sustainability of the manufacturing and the way they're sourced and all that was kind of inherent behind this concept that you're also giving to the world, you're being a net benefit to the world. And when you would think about Tom's you don't think of it like a greedy Corporation, because hey, they're given a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes they make. So the one to one concept, not only were there like hundreds, and probably thousands of clone businesses and other other realms, but they built in a lot of things that the customer would be able to assume, purely because they established this simple, straightforward one to one message, you buy shoes, you give shoes to someone in need. And that one idea, took their adversary, baked it into the marketing message and then translated well down the pipeline for all the other stuff like you don't have to get into. You don't have to have paragraphs and paragraphs of copy about the sustainability and all these other things, because you're like, these people get it, you know, they're, they're, they're doing this one for one campaign. They care, they're compassionate. And in my mind, that was a way to establish the adversary, like you said, without it being negative, it's still positive. This is pro Tom's this isn't anti Nike or something.

Cory Miller  16:32

It's, it's, but it's okay. The four is for hit cues, you know, what they're against is poverty, you know, that they may not say that explicitly, but when you say buy one, give one, you're really saying, we're gonna fight against poverty, people that don't have shoes, like, you know, and so they wrapped it up one I can, it can be a status symbol of both hip and cool. And also the value of generosity in the world. But against poverty, like we're, we're, we're givers, you know, so they've embedded the best of all of this in that notion. And you're right, they've been copied, copied quite a bit. I think it behooves us to just say, what are our customers for? And what are our customers against, and just do some exploration with that. And oftentimes, you see it like the lukewarm stuff, nobody, that's the crickets. But when you really resonate, you're gonna get some responses, like when someone is willing to give a review, and then talk about the value you espouse. And you, you know, really champion. So let me give you another example, Brian, you know, back, this is his continual subject, but net neutrality, we knew net neutrality back in the day, could be harmful for the whole, that whole movement for our, our people, our customer group. So we did specific education and training, because we wanted to say, We're the shepherd, we, we Shepherd you, that's part of this concept. If you're against something that you're if you're your sheep, or your tribe and everything, then you're against the wolves that could potentially hurt or cause damage to the sheep. So this is your mythical monster, it could be your Wolf, you know. And so identifying that And just like that, that's abstract, right? It's not necessarily against the person. I'm not cheating. I'm not talking about that. I don't, I'm not suggesting you go against one particular person unless your political organization.

Brian Krogsgard  18:30

What that makes a lot of sense, I love that you brought up net neutrality, because this was no fault of anyone advocating for net neutrality. But the concept of net neutrality did a very poor job of this right, like, yeah, it's a confusing phrase. And it required all of the people that were pro net neutrality, to try to go through like jumping through all these hoops, educating people and stuff. So they didn't create a good enough mythical monster in establishing what this even means. And honestly, it allowed the competition the actual mythical monster to kind of steamroll the concepts. Right. And they could have benefited from from this type of thought

Cory Miller  19:08

Well, and when you can exactly they had a terrible, that terrible message. And it was hard. In fact, I'm still confused on it, you know? Yeah, honestly. But so if your business if you as the leader of your business, and your tribe, can name the emissary, I'm not saying single out of person, please hear me on that. I'm saying, if this mythical monster a name and talk about it over and over and over, we're fighting the, you know, just think about this. What I love is it captures identity and belonging and one of the best people, artists that have ever done. This is Lady Gaga. In fact, there's books written about it. She talks about like, her tribe is her little monsters. She's against some things now. I'm kind of getting into the social and political thing, but like, I don't necessarily think your business should be a political, you know, aim thing. I'm just saying take something that resonates that you can championing that doesn't get properly championed and named. And in use it, capture it, I'm telling you, when you bring this, you want do good in the world, like, you're gonna do good for your people extra good, because the flywheel effect of all of this is you don't just deliver your products and services, you deliver your products and services at an awesome level. But you do a lot of good in the world, because you're helping people with these key concepts. Like we're in October 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, isolation and loneliness is an epidemic. Is there something that you do that you can gather and chip away at that, you know, in as part of your business, I think posted instance, this, there's even a conversation or community over there talking about mental health and all of this, we have an opportunity to do something if we fight against our mythical monster could be loneliness, isolation, and that's where we're going to do this. This is our action toward something on behalf of you.

Brian Krogsgard  21:01

Okay, so we're setting this up, somebody understands, like the value of doing this, I say, Alright, we're, we're gonna find out what is our adversary. And in terms of turning that into business, you can whiteboard the idea, you can really take these mission statements, and then find out like, how does this define your mythical monster? Take the take this mythical monster, or this adversary? And then start testing it with your tribe, with your people that you trust and say, figure out, Hey, does this does this connect with you? Does it align with how you view us? And does it? Does it make sense Do you think it would catch with everyone else? And I think testing that will go a long way to one. You know, one of the things that this makes me realize some of the times when I'm turned off by like a big corporate campaign is because it just doesn't feel authentic. Like if they, they're, you know, they're a big e Corp, or whatever it is. And in that in that TV show, and it's like, Well, come on, you're trying to act like the small person here. You're trying to act like the the underdog, but you're not the underdog, you're like the dominant force in the market. And it doesn't click. So most of the people that are listening to this, you're probably a small business, small eCommerce business. So you have some inherent underdog advantages, because underdogs are going to have the easiest time defining that adversary, don't you think?

Cory Miller  22:28

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I love that you. And again, we just hone in on the customer, everything starts and comes out of the customer. So one of the questions I thought about Brian is to ask them specifically, take the topic, kind of the category of your business and what you do, okay? And say, okay, it's productivity tools, or its community or its training, okay? Take whatever that topic is. And in, whatever, whether it's email, or it's a Facebook group, or, or whatever a blog post, and say, What irks you about product category, whatever you do, whatever your product kind of is, in the theme of doing and solving for other people, what are you? Aren't you about what design? What irks you about? The shampoo that you use? You know, what, what keeps you up at night about product category, what gives you heartburn about these are all like different ways to ask your people and just get that and then you start. It's the beating of the drum if or the ringing of the bell, if I keep ringing the bell, and I discover that then I can I can help benefit and champion in that. This is where I think business this concept is for me is do good and do well. If you do good in the world. And you've got a such a good point, Brian about authenticity, like we don't believe the big companies and for good reason we shouldn't probably trust it. This is why I love the entrepreneur world because we can we have the ability to do good, purposeful work for people. And as a result should do well in the world. Like if we do good if we help and serve people we should do well. But I think those are some of the questions you could ask what gets you fired up? Now you're getting people to say this is inside of me. And and yes, that I hate this about that. Use that turn that find a common theme in your marketing messaging and what you champion for your customers.

Brian Krogsgard  24:28

Yeah, and what this will at the end of the day do is it's going to help pull your tribe together. And that's another concept. These makes sense that these ideas come from you because they tie together nicely. So when you have your mutual adversary, and you know, you consider all the things we've talked about it not being a person, it's not a political attack. It could be political in nature, in some sense, but it's not a it's not a divisive thing. We're we're talking about an adversarial idea that you're using to rally the troops. For a positive thing and your business, but you're pulling your tribe together when you do that, and it allows you to communicate and connect, and talk to them in a way where everybody's kind of on the same path forward, you know, the sustainability in our shoe company, and what that does what we solve how we're, what we're doing is good for the world and gives you this positive spirit as you lead your business forward with your team and your customers on the same page. What are we missing here, Cory? What's the next step?

Cory Miller  25:34

I you know, it really comes in this, this, what we're trying to tell you to do is take a stand for your people, for your customers, and do it appropriately do it very, very, very thoughtfully, always, genuinely. And you will be better for it. The last thing you want to do is, is and the other. Maybe not as optimistic, you know, reason for doing this is because you don't stand for anything you get just put in a category of everybody else. Right. But when you do take a step four, we're just saying for your people, you have the opportunity to truly stand out because you're stepping up and standing up for your people.

Brian Krogsgard  26:15

Yeah, it's very important to highlight like, we're not talking about excluding someone or a group or something like that. And propping yourself above, it's about having a mission that people will inherently like, attract to and go alongside. So even we say adversarial, but your adversarial against a certain idea or in, in your in general support of, you know, your your mission and what you're talking about, but when you can get sideways on this, so we're not trying, you know, don't don't get sideways. I hope we've made it clear about the positivity that should come out of this.

Cory Miller  26:56

Yeah. It's a rallying cause it's not meant to be divisive. Or taking a political stand or anything, necessarily. It's, it's how do we do the best for our customers, our tribe? And that is what are the obstacles they're up against? And let's go against those things.

Brian Krogsgard  27:16

I like it. We'd love to hear from y'all about your mythical monster. The adversaries that you've established in your business, you can do that. Right on our Facebook page, go to slash Commerce Journey or Commerce slash Facebook will take you to the same link. And we really appreciate that and really appreciate your Listen, go to Commerce Journey dot comm slash go to check out our great partners at GoDaddy Pro and get started with your eCommerce site. I think that's all we got. We'll see y'all next time. Thanks for being here.

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