Sasha Strauss is the founder and Managing Partner of Innovation Protocol, a full-service strategic brand consulting and design firm based in Los Angeles, with a presence in San Francisco and New York. Some of his clients include Google, Doordash, Nestle, Paypal, and Concur Endurance Group. Sasha also teaches Brand Strategy to MBAs at UCLA, USC and UC Irvine.
Highly recommend Sasha's TED Talk if you are looking for more resources about the power of brand and want to be inspired.
One book that inspired Sasha professionally is Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries. and one book that inspired Sasha personally is XXXX by Joseph Campbell.
You can also follow Sasha on Twitter @sashastrauss. You can also follow your host, Mike, on Twitter @mikegelb. You can also follow for episode announcements @consumervc.
On this episode we discuss -
What is brand? What led him to starting Innovation Protocol? When an entrepreneur is thinking about brand for their startup, what types of questions should they be asking themselves? If you were starting a B2C brand, what would be his starting point? Importance of positioning/competitive analysisIs building a brand the most expensive asset one can build and the hardest? How does he think about brand today? Consumers have more choice and can have more of a connection with a brand than ever before because of the various ways they can interact with brands (social media, D2C ecommerce channel). Does he think that this is the golden age of brands and consumers will pay a much larger premium than ever before just because of the brand or does he see due to competition and the fewer barriers to entry to start a D2C business online, that it’s going to be harder than ever for a brand to charge a premium?How does he think about brands that have a social missions or are eco friendly, because if brand is an emotion and if the consumer has a deeper connection to brands that have a social or environmental initiative, would consumers be willing to pay larger premiums for those brands? How does he measure the impact of brand on a consumer’s purchase decision?What is one thing he would change when it came to the perception of brand? What is one piece of advice for founders when it comes to brand?
Here's the full transcript
Mike Gelb 0:00
Sasha, thank you so much for joining me today. Especially during these difficult times how are you and your family doing
Sasha Strauss 1:10 glad to connect and my family's doing okay, everyone's huddled down and hunkered down I guess is the right word but huddled together as a family and indeed be making it through staying busy keeping our minds active all the things you need to do to make it you know,
Mike Gelb 1:25 absolutely it's that's really good to hear your brand strategist,
Sasha Strauss 1:28 what is brand brand is a relationship. It's the simplest way to understand its purpose, but it's a relationship which means that for spur human to have a have a connection to something, there has to be some dialogue or experience or understanding your interface and just like people knowing people, you you know someone by name, a product or a service also needs that same kind of identity. So a brand is just a mechanism that you use to bridge a relationship between a product or Service and the audience
Mike Gelb 2:01 got it. brand is not only external, it's also internal. Right? Right.
Sasha Strauss 2:05 So that's what when I say that a brand is you know, relationship between a product and service and its audience, the audience may be internal, it may be the the builders, it may be the salespeople, and maybe the HR department, it doesn't matter. Again, you work, let's say you work for a big company that manufactures products. If you don't have a dynamic relationship with that product, if you don't feel emotionally connected to it, you're just a transactional talent, you're j