Solving Marketing Puzzles with Puzzlcrate

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Keeping your brain active is just as import as regularly exercising your body — it is a muscle after all. One great way to do that is by solving puzzles! One of my friends from Walsh University (another guy named Josh, but not the Josh from This I Am), started a puzzle subscription company. If that’s not a fun company, I don’t know what is!

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 —

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

Before beginning our episode, I’m going to share a fun fact with you. I lived in Dublin, Ireland for a year. It was amazing and actually green all year round. If you ever make the trip, ask me for some recommendations!

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 you finish listening to this podcast. A quick note, if any of you can complete a Rubik's cube, you’re going to love this episode. Also, can you teach me? I’ve always attempted but would sit there for hours. Well, the company we’re going to be looking at today deals with all sorts of tricky puzzles like the Rubik's cube, but before I stress myself out about my lack of cubing ability, let’s get specific. Real specific.

— Marketing Chat —

I don’t care if you’re a personal brand or company, you need to have a specific value proposition. You can go around saying you have the solution to every problem. There’s not a single person, product, or company that can claim that. The sad part is, too many entities go around claiming that false message. First, it would be impossible to have all the knowledge and skill to be able to solve every problem ever. You’d have to be God. Straight up. Second, if you did try to solve everything, your quality would not be as great if you were focusing in on one issue at a time.

Think about it, companies that get specific and target a niche market end up being quite successful. Dollar Shave Club, focusing in on subscription shaving, ended up selling for one billion dollars. That’s right. Billion with a “B”. There are a ton of other success stories that have the same “specificity” characteristic. Think about some of your favorite businesses, I’ll be willing to be they have targeted focus that makes you like them — even if you didn’t realize it. Why do people have favorite bakeries or coffee shops? Because they make the best doughnuts around of the perfect cup of coffee. That’s what they focus on.

Okay. You get the point. But I’m going to hit home one final example. Why do you prefer to go to a steakhouse instead of McDonald's? Hopefully, because you like the quality food the prior offers. McDonald's has an extremely diverse menu but not the best quality. A steakhouse has a small menu but great quality. Yes, McDonald's does focus on keeping prices low, which is a factor on food quality, but I’m willing to bet if they only served hamburgers, they’d be much higher quality.

I’ve had some people call me out and say, “But Andrew, what about Nike, Pepsi, and companies like that. They offer a massive amount of different products.” My first response is to ask if these companies really offer the best quality. But I’ll still entertain the question because it is valid. There are large companies that sell an array of products and still uphold a decent level of quality. The key difference between these companies and small businesses is money and resources. If you have a multi-million dollar operation budget and an army of employees, you can afford to produce multiple products. Unfortunately, small companies don’t have that luxury for their first years of operation. That’s why getting specific is so important.

My marketing agency, Twillful, is the perfect example of this. We began by wanting to offer every marketing solution under the sun. We had the team and skills to make it happen but soon realized that we were getting spread pretty thin with all of our extremely different products. One hour we would be developing an employee social media guide and the next we would be designing a digital billboard advertisement. All of these projects were fun, but we needed to focus on what we were really good at and passionate about. We sat down and looked at the way we can create the most value for our clients. That’s how we realized social media was a huge pain point for small companies and that we had the skills to relieve that pain.

Twillful now has a core focus on social presence management, social media advertising, and video production. That specialization has helped us produce higher quality work and target exactly how we can help companies. Your brand needs to do the same. Figure out how you can best provide high-quality value and focus in on that. Your bottom line and customers will thank you.

Now that we’ve gotten all that taken care of. Let’s whip that Rubik's cube back out.


One great example of a company that has a specific focus is Puzzlcrate. They’re the world first twisty puzzle subscription box. How sweet is that? They send subscribers a new twisty puzzle every month. And no, they don’t run out of options. You couldn’t even imagine the multitude of different twisty puzzles there are out there. Just check out their Instagram page for a few examples.

This wonderful venture was started by one of my good college buddies, Josh Clark. We were in the same entrepreneurship class and that was where the Puzzlcrate concept first came to life. Pretty cool to see it thriving! Since you now know what Puzzlcrate does, let’s get creative. When I say get creative, I don’t mean sitting down and trying to figure one of these puzzles out, We’re talking about marketing.

When it comes to puzzlers, (Can I even call them that?) people that love to puzzles, they want to conquer them all. Have beaten everything in their path. Maybe even collect a few that they really enjoy, especially if it’s a limited edition model. While creating your own twisty puzzle is probably quite difficult and expensive, it’s still a good idea to customize your brand as much as possible. Take one of your favorite twisty puzzles or the most popular. Measure out all the stickers that make up the puzzle. When looking at a Rubik's cube, for example, you’ll have 54 small square stickers. Design some Puzzlcrate branded Rubik's cube stickers and get them printed at Office Max. I just Googled it, there are a ton of templates out there to help you make your own Rubik's cube stickers. Clutch. Now just snag a few generic cubes and toss your stickers on them. Sure, you could sell them as limited edition products or something like that.

I’d recommend giving them away as prizes for contests. Have your followers and customers submit one-minute videos via Instagram and Facebook about why they love Puzzlcrate. The most creative three get one of your limited edition Rubik's cubes. Not only are you engaging with your audience and giving them a reward, but you’re also generating some legendary customer testimonials that you can use down the road.

Since your market and products are so specific, working with influencers in the industry would be awesome. There are some heavy duty puzzlers out there that generate some fun content on social media. Reach out to them and see if they would be willing to develop a partnership. Maybe you can sponsor one of their videos or they can talk about your subscription service. Send them a t-shirt and see what happens. If everything lines up, perhaps you could offer them a free three-month subscription for talking about the Puzzlcrate service. The best part is that these influencers have a passionate and hyper-specific audience. The people that watch their videos love puzzles. You sell puzzles. Pretty good combination if you ask me.

If you want to take the influencer marketing concept to the next level, you could start sponsoring events. There are tons of competitions out there based around the concept of solving puzzles. Some are specific to twisty, handheld puzzles. Others are more generic and focus on problem-solving, but they still fall under the premise of solving a complex scenario. Start small and try to sponsor a local event, like the Collegiate Leadership Competition. It’s an annual competition for college student leaders who face off against other universities in critical thinking and creative based challenges. I think it would be a great fit and maybe you could help design one of the events. I was a competitor back in the day and it was a blast! When it comes down to it, you want to sponsor activities that involve people in your target market. Brand awareness is wasted if you creating an audience that doesn’t like the product or service you’re selling.

Why not host your own competition? You could supply the twisty puzzles and have people pay $5 to enter. Offer a variety of challenges and the winner gets a free year subscription to Puzzlcrate. You could even do this competition on a global scale, just make it virtual. Have all the entrants submit videos of themselves completing the challenges. The event could span a single day or a week, the digital aspect opens up a ton of opportunities and I’ve never seen anything like that done before. Sounds pretty legit. You could even get other businesses to sponsor your event! Go live on Facebook to announce the winners. Make it a huge celebration. You could do it annually. I’m interested.


Boom. Josh and Puzzlcrate now have creative marketing ideas that won’t break the bank and will get even more people pumped about their twisty puzzle subscription service. Just producing this podcast got me excited. Looks like I’m going to have to snag a subscription and get practicing for the world’s first twisty puzzle virtual completion. If you want to pick up a subscription for yourself or a friend, head over to and check it out. I’ll see you at the competition!

— 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, look into some flights to Ireland. If you really are planning to make the trip, hit me up for some recommendations!