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Ep. 106 - The Foundations to Starting Up Your Content Creation Engine with Ryan Kanaly

Smallhands Creative is a photography studio that specializes in consulting and photographing brands and products. 

In This Conversation We Discuss: 

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:55] How Smallhands started
  • [02:50] Chase’s and Ryan’s band beginnings
  • [03:54] Sponsor: Avalara avalara.com/honest 
  • [04:43] Content strategy for growing brands
  • [05:38] Planning is key to success
  • [06:35] How to fail fast
  • [07:13] Realistic competitor comparisons
  • [08:33] When should you consider photography
  • [13:09] Sponsor: Klaviyo klaviyo.com/honest
  • [14:38] The “empty house” analogy
  • [15:24] The brick and mortar principle
  • [16:13] Why people hesitate to invest online
  • [18:13] You don’t need to be “special”
  • [18:54] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.grsm.io/honest
  • [19:43] Where should you start with photography?
  • [21:59] Have a content production system
  • [23:07] The importance of quality assets
  • [25:39] Sponsor: Rewind rewind.io/honest
  • [26:16] Paid media strategy reality
  • [27:28] Frequency of organic content
  • [29:35] Brand voice vs customer voice
  • [31:00] Smallhand’s creative process
  • [32:27] Mood boards and creative inspiration
  • [33:28] Strong brand voice and revisits
  • [34:34] Have the foundation before spending money
  • [35:39] Where to find Ryan


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Ryan Kanaly  

If someone is going to click purchase on your product, you have to show them that you're trustworthy; That you've created a trustworthy product that's going to enhance their lives or fit that lifestyle that you're trying to sell.

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And today we're welcoming to the show, Ryan from Smallhands Creative. Ryan, how are you doing?

Ryan Kanaly  

Alright. How are you doing?

Chase Clymer  

I'm doing fantastic. We're going to be nerdy today. I don't know if I've shared this much with the audience. 

But Ryan's team over there at Smallhands, they're essentially helping brands create amazing photography, awesome content assets, for use on your websites, for your socials, your advertising, all that stuff. 

But fun fact about me is I actually went to school for photography. So I'm gonna get nerdy on this episode. I'm super excited. Ryan, just give me a quick rundown of what you were up to and how Smallhands got started. 

Ryan Kanaly  

Yeah, so I had a passion for music. And I had a passion for marketing. And I went to school... I went to University in Nashville, Tennessee and I realized pretty quickly that I did not want to do music, business or anything in the music industry at all. 

But being in Nashville, you grew up around a lot of young musicians that need photos and need cool visuals and have a desire for those things and being cool artists. 

So I've fallen into that world with a little camera and really fell in love with not only taking photos for them, but just creating really cool stuff and getting my hands dirty with that type of work. 

And so I started Smallhands at first. It's like a little portrait studio, taking photos of musicians, helping them plan out their content strategy as an artist and as a person. 

And then as the business started to grow and we started to  expand a little bit we specifically like I realized, I really liked the content strategy side of photography, and felt that working with Ecommerce brands more fit the mold of what I wanted. 

And so I just started doing that. And yeah, that's how Smallhands started. So I started in a band and ended up with a camera. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

That is so eerily similar to my journey as an entrepreneur. I grew up here in Columbus, Ohio, at the peak of the Ohio Metalcore rise in 2008. So we had like all these crazy bands, I'll drop them. The Devil Wears Prada, Attack Attack, I See Stars out of Michigan. 

So all these terrible bands were coming out like over 10 years ago. And I was in that scene. I had a mohawk. All these kids would pile in my Delta '88

And we'd go to local punk rock shows together. That's what I was doing 10 years ago. And that's how I got my teeth started. That's how I cut my teeth with just the music industry. And I was doing photography as well. The quick run of it is the band didn't pay the bills. 

Photography, you couldn't really do on the road. And I started to learn marketing. And that's how I ended up here with marketing and Ecommerce and strategy. Like you, I love the strategy element of it. 

But it's just so funny. I'll tell the truth to everyone out there that loves music, like the music is a rarity if it's going to pay your bills. And working with actual brands, there's actual budgets and your bills actually get paid. 

Ryan Kanaly  

Yep, I agree. (laughs)

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Awesome. 

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Chase Clymer  

Alright, so let's talk about content strategy from a brand perspective. Let's try to dumb it down, I guess, for people that are just getting started. They're working on that product-market fit phase of their business. 

They're trying to get their sales up to like a million dollars a year. And there's somewhere below that. What does content strategy look like for a brand that's growing? I know that's a really open-ended question. I got some follow ups, but I don't want to...

Ryan Kanaly  

Sure. So the start right would be, who's your audience? Who are you trying to sell to? And who are the people that are doing it right now? And how are they doing it? And so actually paying attention to "Okay, if I'm selling a specific product, there are probably other people that are selling it right. 

So how are they making money? Who are they speaking to?" And then where do you fit in that equation? That's probably the first place you need to go as an Ecommerce business.

Chase Clymer  

So it's not even going out there and finding models or taking pictures. It's the step before that.

Ryan Kanaly  

It's the step of... Okay, yes, that comes eventually. You have to have a plan. Because if someone hands you a hammer, and you need a screwdriver, you're not going to be successful. 

You need to figure out what tools you need before you actually pay someone or try to figure out how to do it yourself. And when you have that blueprint on the front end, you're able to find those pieces that make sense. 

Chase Clymer  

Right there. That's why you hire a consultant. And that's not why you just say "We need photos." Let's go out and hire a photographer. 

A photographer is just going to probably take the path of least resistance and give you some photos, there's not going to be any rhyme or reason behind what these photos are trying to do for you. And that's it just goes back to anything in business. 

You definitely need to plan it out first. Your plan could be wrong. Who cares? At least you knew that plan wasn't right. But if you don't have a plan at all, you're not going to learn or grow from the experience.

Ryan Kanaly  

Agreed. And we live in the... We live in a time in life where, yeah, trial and error works. But a lot of people have taken that path of trial and error. And we have the opportunity to educate ourselves on the front-end. 

And it's always going to be trial and error in the end. But you have a lot less errors. I feel like nowadays, you're able to pay attention to how people have paved the way before us in Ecommerce and look digitally at the visuals they're producing and say, "Alright, I want to pick and choose this." 

And that is because someone has already gone before me and failed 100 times. It enabled us to fail a little bit less...

Chase Clymer  


Ryan Kanaly  

...and get our chops earlier. I guess. 

Chase Clymer  

That's the exact mentality that I have around reading business books. God, are they awful, but they're so smart. You just learned something so much faster. It's cheating. It's great. Just learn from other people's mistakes or from their wins. It always usually gets documented. 

So I guess when you're out there trying to reverse engineer what someone's doing with their content marketing strategy... I'm assuming you're pushing brands more towards maybe a company or a product that's like just 1 or 2 steps ahead of them.

Like trying to reverse engineer Nike's content strategy is probably not somewhere you want to start.

Ryan Kanaly  

(laughs) Yeah, that's a big goal. You can try to do that. But there's way more X-factors in there that you're probably going to miss. Yeah, you're totally right. Focusing on people that are close enough that that you can see yourself there within a year or 2, those are the types of people you want to look towards. 

Because if you look too far ahead, you're going to miss those really pivotal steps that you're going to need to take in order to get there. 

And the journey is not about what's 20 years ahead for my new Ecommerce business. It's what's next quarter looks like. What does next month look like? What are the steps that we need to do now to invest our time, our sweat equity, our money in order to launch properly? 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I couldn't agree more there. We're gonna get into more about how this translates to marketing, probably towards the end. Right now we're more talking about getting the groundwork started. 

So I guess like, let's just... A really softball question to you. Why is photography critical for Ecommerce? What makes it so important?

Ryan Kanaly  

Yeah. So in the world of online shopping, someone is not going to a brick and mortar shop, in order to touch, feel, smell, see the product anymore. 

You have to create this element of trust on the internet, which is very hard to do. And so there's  foundational steps you can take on the front end, or even just ideals that you should probably have starting an Ecommerce business. 

You have to realize that in this day and age, content is king. And you're going to need content eventually. And you're going to need a pretty steady flow of that content. Because if you don't have a flow of content, you're going to be forgotten pretty quickly. 

Our minds are just at this point, we are the quickest thinking generation ever. And we have the attention span of a freakin squirrel. So like you have to keep speaking to your audience. 

But you also have to have an element of trust. If someone is going to click "purchase" on your product, you have to show them that you are trustworthy, that you've created a trustworthy product that's going to enhance their lives or fit that lifestyle that you're trying to sell. And those are on the front end the core pieces of creating a brand that has potential for success.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Even... Just put an asterisk next to this with accessibility and disabilities and whatnot. But most of the internet is being browsed by people that are only really having one sense to interpret your product, your brand, your messaging, your offer.. All that stuff is... It's visual. 

Other than copywriting, the only other thing that's visual on your website is  the photography and the design. These things are paramount for first impressions for just... There is something to be said about the professionalism of a well-designed website leads to the perceived value of the brand.

Ryan Kanaly  

Recently, I purchased a quip toothbrush. And what led me to purchase this product was... I heard about it, well, years ago when they first started making stuff. And I was like, "That's an interesting product. I don't need a new toothbrush but that's cool." 

Their mission was cool. They were making cool design products. And then a couple years later, I kept seeing them pop up every once in a while. And I'm like, "Okay, what is this brand?" And I was kind of doing my own case study on them as me. 

As like the individual who might buy this product? Why am I leaning towards buying the product? They're a fresh company. They're not owned by a giant umbrella? They are an Ecommerce brand that did it right. And so what did they do that they did it right? How did they make this money? 

And so you're totally... You hit the nail on the head, like the first impression when I went to their website was "Okay. Clean website." In my head, they spent money on it. So they obviously care about the product. 

And they're trying to make it this legitimate product by spending the money and doing great Ecommerce photography, great visuals over their website, great design, great product.

And then they're proving that legitimacy by the tried and true process of keep pushing content out, growing that audience, growing the brand. 

And so once I landed on those things, I was like, "Okay, I can trust this product. It's going to do well. It's not going to fail." I bought it. And now I love the product. And it took about a year to convert me to the product, but they did it. And that's when I really dove into it. 

They proved that legitimacy. They proved that trust factor through time and effort and having beautiful visuals that even though I had never picked up the product, or used the product, I saw it and I trusted it, that it was going to do what they were telling me I was going to do.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that's exactly that. And then you said, they had a clean website and they invested in the website or so you thought just from the look in the field. Essentially the user experience of the website. 

That's something that comes up often when we're consulting with people and they want to do... They're sending over examples like the Allbirds and the quips. All these beautiful websites and we're like, "Hey, here's something. All of these websites have amazing, gorgeous photography, videography."

"Look at all this cool content, you don't have that, like we can't create that for you. You're missing a point here. If you want to have a gorgeous website, you need all this gorgeous assets to go on with it. The design can only go so far."

Ryan Kanaly  


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Ryan Kanaly  

You're trying to sell a house. Outside of the house could be absolutely beautiful. You're like "Wow!" Set up an appointment with your realtor. Go see the house. [When] you walk in, none of the walls are finished. 

There's there's no toilets in the house. The kitchen is completely open and there's dirt everywhere and you're like "Wait a minute. This isn't ready. This isn't ready for me to invest in. This isn't ready for me to purchase." 

And that's similar to what you said. You have these well-designed websites or these great ideas, these great products, and they're trying to sell this empty house online. And you have to be able to show that that house is filled with great things that are going to add value to your life, or X, Y, Z. 

Whatever the purpose is that you're selling the product, you've got to make sure that the house is filled and looking good when you set up these appointments for people to come check it out.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Another thing that my project manager Andrew likes to relate this to is  think about your website... This is easy for brick and mortar stores to comprehend. It's like thinking about your website as another brick and mortar store. 

You're not going to open the doors on that thing without a fresh coat of paint... Without having someone come in and help you with the layout of the store to make sure that the foot traffic is going the right places, make sure the experience is there, make sure that you have salespeople in place to understand the product. 

So there's all this stuff going into the experience of the retail store. You should have all of that and more online, because your online store is open 24 seven, it's not location gated by being within X amount of miles of wherever it is. It's worldwide. 

You can sell this stuff wherever you want at any time.  So why aren't people thinking about how much value that that website is going to curate for them over the longevity of their brand and investing properly?

Ryan Kanaly  

It's a scary move. You're trying to create a storefront, you're trying to make sure everything looks prim and proper, everything looks good. And it's also that investment piece. We keep using that word over and over again. It is an investment. 

And it's an investment that is needed. But it's a very large step, especially for a fresh Ecommerce business with [a] Kickstarter fund or something that isn't as huge or big as a ton of investors coming in and handing you a million dollars to start your Ecommerce business. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Yeah. 

Ryan Kanaly  

But there are ways around it. And there are ways to jumpstart business, even without those resources. And sometimes you gotta be wily. 

And sometimes you do have to take that step, and really invest in folks that can bring those visions to life and make your storefront as sleek and sexy, and prim and proper as possible for your clients.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And it goes back to what I was saying earlier. The people that are coming in.. I keep using Allbirds. I need to have a list taped to my wall...

Ryan Kanaly  


Chase Clymer  

... of other brands that are doing it great, because like when I'm in the... 

Ryan Kanaly  


Chase Clymer  

...in the zone, all fueled up on coffee, all I can think of is them. They do a great job. There's... Death Wish Coffee is another great one. 

But anyways, when you're just getting started, and you're in that first stage of your business, we talk about this. I had... I interviewed... From Trellis the other day. I believe his name was... I'm thinking Ryan, because I'm talking to you. 

But we discussed what your investment level should look like and where you should actually be spending your money in various stages of your business.

And we both agreed, if you're not making a million dollars a year, you do not need a custom website at all. Use some sweet off-the-shelf theme. And then fill that theme with gorgeous assets from... Either find someone locally and have a plan, hire Ryan's agency, there's a million ways to do it. But make sure that the assets are quality is all I'm saying.

Ryan Kanaly  

Yeah, your assets and the quality of those assets are the foundation of your business at that point.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And then here's the thing. Everyone's like, "I don't want to be like everyone else." And it's like, honestly, if you're using different colors, different fonts, different images and a different logo, no one's gonna ever know that your website's built upon the same structure as another one. 

Ryan Kanaly  


Chase Clymer  

There's a hidden gem right there for everyone to understand. No one gives a shit. 

Ryan Kanaly  

Straight up. 

Chase Clymer  

And again. It's like, you're not trying to reinvent the wheel either. It's like just letting people shop, the internet, how they want to shop. And all these themes are built the correct way. And that's the experience that everyone's used to. 

Just focus on your marketing, your messaging and your content at that point. You don't need a custom website. Any advanced functionality, you can start bringing that in as you grow your business. 

Ryan Kanaly  

Very true. 

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Chase Clymer  

Alright. So let's go back to the beginning here. So like where should an Ecommerce brand start with their photography? What's that first initial playbook look like?

Ryan Kanaly  

You have to have great Ecommerce for... Simply your Shopify or whatever kind of whatever you're using to actually sell the product. You have to have great, clean, "on-brand" --you probably hear that a lot-- type of Ecommerce work that people can trust. And people can look at and be like, "Okay. Yes. Click. Purchase." 

And then following that you have to have good strategic branded content. Content that is the blood flow to your brand. If you're the heart, you need blood flow.

So you have to be able to pump out content and use content on your website that speaks to your brand and speaks to the audience. And that is consistent. 

Consistency is kind of key with any sort of branding, whether it be design... Like you said, if someone's getting a brand design done, then the logo needs to be consistent with the typography they're going to use for their layout. Their colors have to be consistent, whether it's Instagram, website, Facebook... Any sort of marketing content. Email. 

It has to all be consistent, because if you have this weird email campaign that looks completely different from your website, or even just a little off from the website, you're gonna lose people's trust pretty quick. And so those are the first steps when it comes to photography, and video, and design. You just have to have that consistency. 

And you have to plan out what makes the most sense for us. And what's going to sell us quickly on that front page of the site. Because you're right. You can get away with a Squarespace 5-page site when you're first getting started. 

Save a bunch of money on these because websites are expensive, and start there, and then invest in those media assets that are going to communicate your brand to the people that are actually going to pay you for your product. And yeah, the first step is Ecommerce. 

And then immediately following, you have to figure out "Okay. Allbirds. What does our brand look and feel like? And how are we going to communicate that through socials through our website through our marketing, whatever it is. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. It's not the first time and it's not the last time I'm going to say this: The brands that have figured out a content production system for their business are the ones that are winning. 

The ones that are stuck trying to hit that stage to that scaling part, the ones that are stuck in that product-market fit area of growth, it's because they haven't figured out this content production system properly yet. 

And once you get that figured out, you're gonna start reusing that content, through your emails... Like you said, through your retargeting efforts, through paid social, through organic social posting, through updating your website content, through using it on your product pages to help  people understand more about the product... 

You're going to be using this content everywhere, forever. It's the best investment you can make. 

Ryan Kanaly  


Chase Clymer  

But a lot of people try to shortcut that content. 

And like what we said at the beginning here is they'll hire a photographer with no plan, and then just dump that bucket of assets on some consultant, freelancer, agency, whatever and say, "Make me more money with Facebook ads." And that just leads to bad times. (laughs)

Ryan Kanaly  

Yeah. If you're going to spend 20% of your marketing budget, on actually creating the assets, and the other 80% on marketing those assets, you're not going to be successful. You have to be able to realize that those assets are actually more important than the actual marketing of those assets. 

Because if you're marketing shitty assets, no one's going to end up trusting you. And yeah, you might get hundreds of a thousands of eyes. But if your product looks bad, it doesn't matter. You're marketing a product that looks bad. No one wants a bad product. 

They want a product they can trust and that they can believe in and that they think is going to enhance their lives and not be a weight in their life. So you have to find that balance. 

And for certain people, the balances, you absolutely have to like to invest most into the assets. If you have an Ecommerce business that is adjustable or something that is going to be on people's skin or clothing. 

You have to have something that people are going to trust. Because if they're like, "Oh, it's gonna either hurt me or fall apart in 6 months." Because these photos make this product look terrible.They're not gonna buy your product. 

Chase Clymer  

You're preaching to the choir there. And it's actually usually one of the first questions if someone comes to us and they want us to run Facebook and Instagram advertising for them "We say, how often are you producing content? How often can you get it to us?" This is a 2-way street. That's the first question we have. 

And if they're like, "Oh, we don't." Then we're like "Good luck. We can't help you." Because you need to be constantly refreshing that stuff. Because it's not like us saying it to try to make you go do something, it's because Facebook will stop showing it. 

Once the frequency gets so high, Facebook stops showing it. You have to pay more to show it. That's the algorithm. That's just how it works.

Not only that Zuckerberg and his team of smart people over there have now set up... It's pretty much a penalty. [If] you're using garbage assets and it looks like crap in the social feed, that makes... 

Okay, so if the social feed looks bad, they have drawn a direct line between the social feed on either Facebook or Instagram looking bad, people will leave the app. That hurts their bottom line. 

So now they're penalizing people that are putting bad stuff into the feed through paid advertising. If it looks bad, they're going to... Again, they're gonna make you pay more to show it and they're gonna... It's not gonna work well. You'll get penalized for it. 

So they're really, really pushing quality content in the feed that looks like it's supposed to be there, that raises the value of what's going on in the feed all this good looking content. You're gonna get rewarded. 

Ryan Kanaly

As you should.

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Ryan Kanaly  

You're looking at the people that make the most money in the world and they're saying, "Well, we understand how this works. So we're going to put systems and laws in place that correct the people that are doing it wrong." 

And you don't want to be one of those corrections. You want to just *clap* right off the gate? Get it right.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Targeting on Facebook and Instagram... And just how the funnel works there is pretty straightforward in Ecommerce and where the fun is. And where you find wins is with the content with the copy and the creative. That's the stuff you play around with. 

And then you're always looking for new broad audiences. But nothing's changing in the middle and the bottom of the funnel ever. It's the same thing. It's always just how do we prospect more cheaply? And how do we find an offer that converts these people on the fence.

Ryan Kanaly  

Circling back to the trial and error thing, that's part of that. That first process of saying things like, "Okay, we understand that shitty visuals are going to make shitty money." That's that trial and error that's already happened that we can just argue... 

That is given to us like, okay, we have to make good stuff. Pretty straightforward. And so the next step in that process is figuring out brand awareness versus brand trust. And you can solve both of those issues with quality and consistent content.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. We skipped straight to paid advertising with that conversation. But let's, let's take a step back, though. And let's talk about organic and like how often and how much content should an Ecommerce brand be sharing. 

Ryan Kanaly  

When it comes to organic content, part of what I would suggest to a starting Ecommerce brand and especially if you're brand new on the scene, not even launched yet, or just recently launched, is that organic is normally a little bit slower going. 

But it is far more foundational. And when you're paying top dollar for ads, you're getting people that might be loosely in need of that product. Obviously, there are algorithms that we all have that tag on our IP address and we all get targeted ads. 

But when you're doing organic, you're basically introducing your product to a new audience through someone that audience already trusts. 

And so if they believe in the product, and you're paying them to do like an organic campaign, the conversion rate there is a little bit higher than if you're just paying paid ads. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Once you have that first interaction... That's the hardest one. And then everything after that, you should just be having more touch points, winning more trust, sharing more content that looks great, and hopefully resonates with that person and eventually pushes them over the edge. 

As long as you have a great product that people are actually buying, you just got to stay at it, and you're eventually going to win more customers. 

Ryan Kanaly  

Mm-hmm. With organic, it's...

Chase Clymer  

It's that simple. It's as simple as you said before. It's just like... Yeah, once you figure out a product people actually want it solves a real problem or creates more value than something else that exists out there, you're essentially just... 

You got to figure out a way to bring people into your funnel through, essentially, content and getting it out there. Finding a profitable way to do that and then just retargeting those people. That's Ecommerce in a nutshell. 

There's logistics, there's... "How many boxes do I need to buy from China during this time?" lThere's stuff like that. But if you really want to distill it down, it's just like finding a way to get more people to see the product, and then convincing people to buy the product.

Ryan Kanaly  

There's a voice from an audience and then there's your brand voice. We're on a zoom call. I see you have a Thrasher hat. I see a Blink-182 album cover in the back. So I would assume... 

And the internet --like Facebook and Instagram-- they all would assume that you are a certain type of person that you are interested in certain types of products.

And so when you're marketing, you have to keep in mind our brand is a lifestyle and who lives this lifestyle and who can we convert to live this lifestyle, and that's like foundationally, what a brand voice is. 

If you are pushing $100,000 in ads, you might make a couple sales here and there, but it's gonna be nowhere near the amount of conversions if your brand voice isn't on par with the brand. If you don't have a consistent brand voice, people aren't going to be able to actually connect with your product. 

And so that consistency that we keep going back to is part of that brand voice. And it's not just this pop off moment where, "Hey, we made all this money. And it's just now rolling in the racks." 

It's a slow process that within 6 months to a year, when you have that brand voice dialed in, you've been pushing out some content, that's when it's a lot safer.

And that tried and true process I keep talking about, that's when you start really pushing that dollar value behind marketing. And that's when that conversion rate starts to really grow. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. So let's talk about that visual brand consistency here before we go. I guess, well when you're working on that... What we do over here for brands is we establish mood boards before we get into design. 

Are you working with clients to help create mood boards or  like a gallery of inspiration just to get the ball rolling?

Ryan Kanaly  

Yeah. So as far as creative, we have a process that every single client walks through. It's  a process that is constantly being refined. But we've really found some success with some fresh faces and some freshened up faces. 

People that have been in the game a little longer, and they're just doing a rebrand, refreshment of the brand. And so we walk them through the same process. We start with "What do you have right now? What's your foundation? What has worked for you?" For fresh brands, obviously don't have that yet.

But then we move on towards something I like to say "What is your North Star? Who are the people that either inspired you in the product side or inspired you to start to launch this Ecommerce brand?" 

And what are they doing? "What do you see that they're doing that's working?" And then we pick and choose. "Okay. This fits, this doesn't. This fits, this doesn't." And then from there, same thing. We mood board it. 

We, actually, just to make sure we're on the same page, we go through a process of pulling in beautiful brand imagery, beautiful colors that fit that voice we keep circling back to. And when everything links up, that's when we finally feel comfortable enough to go into production.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And then for those of you listening, it's... We're not creating assets or making this mood board. We're like, just straight up stealing assets from other people. But this is an internal thing for integration. 

It's not like ever going to be publicly facing. People used to do this back in the day, when they were working on ad campaigns. They literally cut stuff inspiration out of magazines and paste it on a board. And that's where it comes from. 

This is the mood we're trying to get across. But yeah, it's great. If there's things that inspire you, make a note of them. And over time, you'll see patterns emerging.

And it will start to create this thing that you like that you're gonna draw a parallel between these kinds of colors, and these layouts of the photos or how the photos work. 

There's a lot... It's more visual and designing than it is tangible. But you'll see, all this stuff kind of fits into like a certain vibe. 

And then once all your content that you're creating starts to fit within that vibe that you've now created for your brand, people sometimes don't even need to see who tweeted the photo or put it on Instagram. They're like, "Oh yeah. For sure I know who that is."

Ryan Kanaly  

So let's say like Allbirds. Very focused, very pinpoint brand. When you see, it doesn't even have to be the shoe. It can just be a photo on Instagram. And your mind goes Allbirds. That is a strong brand voice. 

And when you are building out what your Ecommerce shop is gonna look like, what the Instagram socials look like, you want to be able to say like, even if you don't really make that sale on the front end, such as me with quip... I didn't buy it immediately. 

But over time, you're getting this revisit and this like, "Oh yeah. Actually, I enjoy visuals that look like Allbirds. I enjoy visuals that look like quip. Let me revisit." And that revisit, like planting those seeds on the front end. And the revisit is where you really get that attention from people.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. There's so much in here in this podcast thus far. I really think that this would be like, you know, one of the core podcasts you should listen to when you start to think about that content creation engine just from a strategic perspective there. 

But I mean, before we go, is there anything that I forgot to ask you that you think would be worthwhile sharing?

Ryan Kanaly  

I would say, when it comes to visuals, you have to pair it with good language, you have to pair it with good design, you have to pair it with all these assets that we've touched upon. 

And once all of those things line up is really when you're ready to put money behind the ads and behind the marketing of it. 

Chase Clymer  


Ryan Kanaly  

If there's like one thing I think we can both agree on is like you said. The first point of contact you have with a client of yours as you ask: What do you have? What tools are you coming to us with? 

And so before you waste a ton of money on marketing before you waste all of your Kickstarter budget or whatever type of budget you're coming in with, make sure you have the tools that you need before ever investing the money to  show it off.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So if people are picking up what you're putting down, how do they get ahold of you? How do they reach out? What do they do

Ryan Kanaly  

smallhandscreative.com. There's an email link where you can send us an email and we can do a 30-minute free strategy call to walk through and discover if we would make a good pair to work together. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Ryan Kanaly  

Thanks for having me, man.

Chase Clymer  

I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well. 

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!