Getting Some Marketing Swag with This I Am

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Well, that was fast; we’re already on episode number five and I’m just getting started with all this creative marketing! This episode is special because I get to build a strategy for a company started by one of my best friends! Josh and I both studied at Walsh University and were one of the four students that founded the Garage — I’ll tell you more about that in another episode. Long story short, we’re both passionate about entrepreneurship and making an impact. You’ll understand that more after this episode.

You can listen to the episode and read the transcription below. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, YouTube, or anywhere else you get your podcasts by searching “Creativity Killed the Cat”.

— Intro —

What’s crackalackin all you beautiful people! Welcome to the Creativity Killed the Cat podcast. (meow) My name’s Andrew Chwalik and I’m going to be helping you develop creative marketing that won’t break the bank.

Before jumping into our episode, I’m going to share a fun fact since I’m a nice guy. I played five different sports in high school. Isn’t that crazy? If you can guess all five, I’ll buy you a doughnut.

Alright, on with the show!

Remember, I take one small business or brand and develop some creative marketing concepts that could be implemented as soon as they finish listening to this podcast. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about a company that helps you represent your character and look fresh at the same time. Isn’t that the dream? Actually, I’m repping some of their gear right now! I know you can’t see me, at least, I hope you can’t. But I do feel pretty baller right now. Well, before I get ahead of myself, I want to share an experience with you.

— Marketing Chat —

I recently needed to by a car. Sadly, mine got totaled in an accident where a dude ran a red light, hit me, and then ran away. Yeah, he actually got out of his car and sprinted in the opposite direction. Who does that? Thankfully car insurance exists for situations like these. However, yes, I needed to buy a car.

As any normal consumer would do when needing to make a big purchase, I hopped online and started doing research. If I’m going to be dropping thousands of dollars on a single go around, I want to know my stuff. After spending hours researching the type of car and what year would be best, I decided to purchase a used Nissan Juke. It looks sharp, gets good gas mileage, and honestly, I’ve wanted to get one ever since I saw the commercial my sophomore year of high school. Congratulations to that marketing team, you’ve had me hooked for nearly 10 years.

Once I narrowed in on the Juke, I began researching the various dealerships that offered them. After spending another day finding the right combination of car and dealership, it was finally time to schedule a visit. The car that seemed to fit perfectly into my price and mileage range, a 2013 Nissan Juke, was located near Cleveland so I scheduled visit with an intent to buy, as long as everything checked out.

This was my first time buying a car so I really had no idea what to expect, other than a few experiences I had when my parents bought a car years ago. The process was going fine. Met with the car dealer. Went over all the paperwork to make sure nothing was wrong. And went to actually check out the car for myself. It was beautiful, what can I say. Some people talk about experiencing love at first sight, I now know what they mean.

However, after getting in and checking everything out, there were a few things that didn’t seem right. There was only one key and it would cost over $250 to get another made. Great. The driver side floor mat was missing. And there was a crack on the outer covering of the engine. Nothing massive, but none of this was indicated online or in the multiple conversations we had over the phone. Even the photo online didn’t show a crack on the engine cover. Pretty sketchy if you ask me. We went back inside and had a heated discussion about all these issues.

Here’s the point: Be upfront in your marketing and sales processes. Don’t try to hide any imperfections and surprise the customer later on. It’s unprofessional and will put you out of business real quick.

If this dealership would have been upfront about these issues and told me going in that there was only one key, there was a matt missing, and the engine cover had a minor crack — my expectations would have been properly set and I wouldn’t have been surprised when I stumbled upon them. If that would have been handled properly, I wouldn’t have questioned the price because I would have assumed those imperfections would have been taken into account. Instead, the customer is unhappy and the dealership needs to lower the price on the car.

Simply being honest with your customers will save so many headaches on both ends. Remember that when developing marketing campaigns. Just saying.

Well, now that you know how to handle yourself at a car dealership, let’s talk about how sweet I look right now.

— This I Am —

This I Am is a brand that was created to help you confidently express yourself and all the interests, beliefs, and dreams that make you who you are. They’re an online company based in Canton, OH and one of their co-founders is actually one of my good friends, Josh Ippolito. He’s the man. This I Am sells clothing that represents your goals around the categories of faith, motivation, and fitness. For example, I’m an entrepreneur and hustle every day to make sure my business provides value for the people that interact with us. If I want a shirt that goes along with that mantra, I’d snag the Driven shirt that includes the hashtag #worktowin. If you are truly passionate about what you do, you can walk the walk and talk the talk, but maybe it’s time to dress the part as well.

Now that you know a little about This I Am and you know that I look super good in their hoodie, it’s time to get creative! Grab your lunchboxes because we’re hoppin’ on the magic school bus! Not really, I just love marketing.

The first creative marketing aspect that comes to mind are social influencers or people that have a large social following and can help you spread the word about your company to their specific audience. These individuals have built up their fan base over time and typically are experts in a certain industry. For example, I have a friend who started a puzzle business. An ideal influencer that he could partner with would be Ryan, the 6-year-old who does toy reviews on YouTube. If my friend could get Ryan to review one of his puzzles, he would be rolling in orders simply because each video gets millions of views. Tapping into Ryan’s audience would be life changing for a small brand. Side note, did you know this 6-year-old made 11 million dollars last year with his YouTube Channel? What is life?

Utilizing an influencer in such a way would be extremely helpful for This I Am, especially because they’re solely an online business. Without a brick-and-mortar presence, it can be difficult to get people to know about you and your products. There are just under 2 billion websites on the internet. Digital companies need to do a bunch more than just have a website if they hope to break through all that noise. That’s where marketing comes in.

Since This I Am is a newer company, I’d recommend starting small and reaching out to influencers that have an audience of around 2,000 to 5,000 followers across social media. There are a few good reasons as to why this should be your first move in the influencer world. One, this level of influencer is more likely to respond to a smaller brand since they haven’t hit stardom levels like Kim Kardashian yet. Two, it will cost less to work with these people, as they have a smaller reach than larger accounts. Third, their audience is hyper-specific to a certain theme, which is a great thing for small brands. If I could choose the ideal social influencer for This I Am, I’d go with an up-and-coming entrepreneur that utilizes social media too much or a fitness professional that generates a majority of their clients through social. These two individuals would have a small but interactive following that regularly engages with their content. The more engagement the better. That means more people will be talking about your product if you choose to work with these people.

Let me tell you a little secret, a secret that many large corporations still don’t know, engagement is the differentiator when it comes to selecting an influencer to work with. If I had the choice to work with someone who has 30,000 followers and three comments per post or someone with 6,000 followers and 130 comments per post, I’m going with the latter every single time. Just some food for thought.

I mentioned that you should start small in the influencer game, right? That doesn’t mean you can’t swing for the fences sometimes. Every good marketing strategy follows a consistent pattern, but also includes a few attempts at making it big time. Here’s how I think you can make that happen. Research some celebrities in your motivational, value-driven niche. These people can be ultra famous around the world or just well known in their industry, doesn’t matter, as long as they have a large following. The first one that comes to mind is Casey Neistat. He’s a famous blogger on YouTube and often talks about his intrinsic motivation to succeed and inspire others with his work. Plus, he often opens up packages in his YouTube videos and generates massive exposure for the brands that make the cut. And if he were to wear your shirt at any point in time, you’d need to start hiring more employees asap. As I said, this is taking a home run swing. Chances are your package will never even make it to the desired recipient, but hey, if it does, you’ve just won the world series.

At this stage, brand awareness should be your goal. You need to get more people to know about This I Am so they are aware of your awesome mission and the products you offer. Develop a sponsorship strategy. This will be a plan on how to select, obtain, implement, and measure a sponsorship opportunity. The first event I would pursue would be working with a local 5K race. This will be a great way to test your strategy and figure out how to fine-tune each step at minimal cost. Become one of the brands that gets their logo on the finish line banner and website. Maybe get yourself included on the t-shirts that everyone gets. If you want to get really unique, have specific shirts designed that only go to the top three finishers of the race. Work with your design team to develop a shirt for winners of races. Partner with as many running events as possible and make this strategy a part of your marketing plan. Sure, a medal is nice and all, but you can’t wear it in public. Well, you could but everyone would think you’re weird. You don’t want that. However, everyone wears t-shirts out on the town. The winners of these races are able to proudly represent that they won the race with some sweet This I Am shirts, but still look like normal human beings. I know this is still just a concept, but it makes me want to go win a race to get one of these limited edition shirts! And isn’t that what your brand is all about? Encouraging others to achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality. Sounds like we just found another opportunity at a home run swing, and this one’s right down the middle with the bases loaded.

This I Am

Boom. That one’s smashed out of the park for a grand slam. This I Am now has some creative marketing ideas that can begin implementation this very second. I’m a huge supporter of the brand, especially because I always take the unconventional route when pursuing my dreams. Plus, I love motivating others to do the same. I mean, have you seen my #MondayMotivation videos on Instagram. I’m getting pumped just thinking about it! You really can do anything you set your mind to, it just takes a structured plan and hard work. Where would we be if Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak only thought about making the first Apple computer? I’d probably be recording this on a Dell or something. Gross.

Just start. That’s the best advice I can give. You can learn along the way, but you won’t be making progress just sitting there and thinking about how cool it would be to write a book or start a company. Sure, it can be difficult at times, but you’ve got me and Creativity Killed the Cat to back you up. If you need a little more motivation, go run a 5k in Canton, OH and maybe you’ll win a special This I Am t-shirt to take your determination levels to new heights. If you can’t make it to the great state of Ohio, head over to and start achieving your dreams.

— Closing —

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for joining me on this episode of Creativity Killed the Cat! I hope you had as much fun as I did and were able to take away some creative marketing ideas that YOU can start using right now.

If you’re still stuck and need a little extra creative juice, head over to to find some more content that will continue to get your creative gears turning. Plus, you can reach out and let me know if you want your business or brand as the theme for one of our future episodes.

Keep saving those cats. I’ll see you all on the next episode of Creativity Killed the Cat. In the meantime, keep guessing on all those sports I played in high school. This episode was fun of hints!