In this episode we share how we created connections with our internal team and our customers. We give you full permission to steal our ideas. And if you do steal them and want to share them with us, send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS WEEK'S EPISODE IN A LARGE NUTSHELL:
When creating connection it has to be looked at from two different angles: how we did it internally and how we did it externally. We put on our creative caps and found unique ways to connect with our peeps, which hopefully inspires other businesses to connect within their teams. We also made a focus to not fall into the onslaught of Covid-19 emails, protocol and regulation overload. Instead, we made sure every connection with our customers was fun and authentic-- our two core values.
Granted, the employees at goodr were already working remotely 60% of the time pre-covid, but that missing 40% of IRL face time was felt. No more watercooler talk, or in our case, seltzer machine talk. Morale and fun are really important in a business environment, we needed to make sure that they didn’t vanish when we transitioned to working 100% remote.
Externally our efforts to build deeper connections have helped us short term and long term, on the D2C and B2B side. Selling to our retailers during this time is tone deaf, or “fucking stupid” as CEO, Stephen Lease expressed. They’re closed! But it doesn’t mean that we just ghost everyone.
On Slack, we started a “Team Thrive” channel. This is a space for us to connect, share silly memes to lift the mood (THANK YOU JOHN KRASINSKI), workouts, recipes-- none of that panic stricken germ infested political bullshit. As we settled in, and the “new normal” started to feel more “normal,” this channel trickled off. It really helped diffuse the collective anxiety from the start. We used drawnames.com to execute a mug exchange. People got random mugs that matched their spirit animal, enneagram test, or favorite dog breed. It provided an easy way for everyone to flex their creativity muscles, while bringing joy and connection.
On Thursdays we cheers… and sometimes wear pink… Every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. we pop onto Google Hangouts, do a cheers, and dance. You can drink, you can not drink, you can dance, or do a subtle head bop. It’s a chill way to say, “Hey!” to people you might not get to work with in your day to day.
Virtual team pizza parties were a blast. We were surprised at how many people made their own pizzas. Did pizza stones sell out like dumbbells?
Stephen also started Happy Hour with the CEO. Originally it was going to be lunch with the CEO, but you know… the world got shut down. You get to talk about life, it’s about as low key as can be. Stephen started with the people who have been at goodr the longest and has been chipping his way through the expanding list of flamingos.
Overall, everyone has leaned in and showed up, and we are so grateful for our Flock Leaders for spearheading all of these different avenues for internal connection. There was something for everyone.
goodrSTOCK is a play on Woodstock… heh heh… get it? Once a quarter, typically in person, we shut down the company for two days and do an all employee summit. We review and celebrate the previous quarter and plan for the future. Everyone completes a two minute speed dating slide, going over their success and favorite moments of the quarter. The virtual version included: Pajama Day, numerous virtual workouts, dance parties and lessons, craft time, a goodr game night, movie screening via the Netflix Party app, a cooking challenge, a Draw Carl Challenge via Strava, photo recreation challenges, team trivia challenge, virtual wine tasting night… and we’re probably leaving something off that list... Stephen was particularly jazzed about the virtual wine tasting night. “You can get as drunk as you want, and you don’t have to go anywhere,” he marveled. (Although he is kicking himself now for missing it).
Does your CEO rap? Virtual track night was another very different, very goodr, connection opportunity. You pick a beat, pick a topic, write a rap, and record it live. By the end of the session you have a rap song. In your head you think you sound like a Grammy Award winning musical artist… We were going to share the track with you but the world isn’t ready for it yet.
The Virtual Talent Show was our closing act. Each person brought something. A prime number rap, dog tricks, wine chugging, live music-- it was awesome. Name that tune, and trivia questions are always a big hit with our crew. We talk about “done is better than perfect” every day, an estimated 6.66 times a day to be exact. This was the perfect example of that. Stephen had no expectations but to have fun, and fun was had!
Let’s take a moment to pause and tip our hats to our distribution team and customer service team. None of this works without them.
“At goodr we talk about using the word ‘we’ not ‘I.’ Because it’s WE. The reality is, our sales team does not get commission and that’s for a particular reason. We have a product team that makes us products and works with our manufacturers. We have an ops team that deals with logistics, a DC team that’s the bloodline that ships everything out. Our amazing content, design, digital, and financial teams… this is all we. Commission is an ‘I’ mentality.”
Our sales team knew we could no longer hit our retailers up to buy products with their doors closed. They’re trying to keep their lights on regardless of us launching new products. So what did we do? We started a new lighthearted and happy go-lucky email newsletter called Sofa Talks with Carl and Teddy (a stuffed flamingo and his turkey cousin), along with a survey. We genuinely wanted to know, how can we help? What do you need?
We basically ordered a big ol’ bat on Amazon and beat fun and authenticity into the ground. That’s what we’re about. We know what the world is like. It is inauthentic to try to sell to people who don’t want to buy. So instead, we took the pleasure of inserting fun into people’s lives.
The Activations Flock partnered with Zwift to make indoor cycling challenges, they partnered with outside brands for giveaways, engaged our Flamboyance, engaged with local run clubs, hosted an indoor putt challenge, and worked with cancelled races. To no surprise, keeping it light and fun made the work that much more riveting.
Another digital initiative was Carl’s Distraction Attractions, a web page of ways to keep busy while twiddling your thumbs. We also hosted March Mania. Every pair of sunglasses have an icon, so we did a bracket challenge sunglass icon v. sunglass icon, and people vote. It was a way to recreate the cancelled NCAA Championship, although maybe not quite as popular, YET... Theresa, the Digimon that created this activation, dropped hilarious cat butt filled video recaps weekly into Slack. Thank you T.
Our digital team put forth an amazing effort in all of their initiatives too. No spooky Friday the 13th things, the message stayed light across the board. goodr sells $25 bundles of sunshine. The team amplified this with Happy Hour free shipping; when your audience is most active from 4-10 p.m., it makes sense to sweeten the deal at that time. We hosted a SWEATgoodr challenge, where you could earn up to 20% off for various workouts that you needed to record and send proof to Carl the Flamingo for a custom coupon code. We partnered with Goodwipes, and paired the offer with our Scumbag Scarf-- the perfect quarantine essentials. The day after May 3rd, as to not violate any copyright laws for the 4th of May, we sent our much anticipated Star Wars themed email. Upon the release of our latest pink Circle G round frame sunglasses named, Influencers Pay Double, we gave consumers the opportunity to actually pay double. Nobody did, sadly, because there was actually a cool reward if you did. Lame. We got Carl the Flamingo bot launched-- a new extra witty customer service bot on our website, and we launched a bunch of products.
Our retail boutique is not open right now, so we used the open space to host an IG Live Happy Hour, anchored around promoting a limited edition glass known as, Can I Tiki Your Fancy? The glass sold out in 24 hours, well before we had a chance to hit “live” on the iPhone. Going live was a blast. If you saw it, it was not perfect. It was authentic and fun.
Launching new products during a pandemic seems like it has potential to fall flat... this is the chance you take when you plan launches a year in advance. The gift is that it provides energy, but some products won’t get the energy you planned for. For our new Circle G round frame sunglasses, we made The Circling video. It happened to be about hipsters taking over the world, aka a hipsterdemic… weirdly eerie content choice during a real life pandemic. Of course it was shot like a horror movie trailer too. Would it be too touchy for our current climate? We had already teased it before Covid happened. It’s fun and lighthearted, so we let it roll. It got an awesome response. Thank you Karen for not getting your panties in a bunch this time.
“Plus, I bet, hipster testing kits would be a lot easier to get then a Covid test.” Haha, Shaun. Ohhh you’re a funny guy.
goodr never does discounts. Ever. No matter how much people beg. Up until this point we never even did free shipping. We pride ourselves on Black Friday Cyber Monday, we don’t do the lazy 20% off the site. Everything we make is affordable. $25 and $35 price points we don’t think we should discount. It was a successful experiment. We needed to adjust on the fly and it won’t be part of our long term strategy. Sorry Charlie.
We typically have a 58 week launch process, yup, that’s ~20 weeks longer than it takes to grow a baby. However, when there is a global pandemic we make exceptions; in some cases, cutting this down to a couple of jam packed days. We empowered our staff to come up with ideas and run with them on their own. When this happens excitement and speed might result in certain channels getting forgotten. And that’s okay. When you empower people you have to be okay with letting them fail, and see it as a learning opportunity for everyone. We never veered from who we are as a brand and were genuinely stoked for everything we did, even the stuff that we did that wasn’t perfect.
READY FOR THE LIGHTNING ROUND!??
What was your favorite internal connection initiative?
Favorite customer connection:
The release of the goodr coloring book. Our designer Liz made a coloring book for her purpose project. Seeing that come around to be something we could use was wonderful.
Something you thought wouldn’t work but did:
Flip the script! Derick, our amazing Partnership Architect, got us our first licensing deal with Wonder Woman. These shades launched during Covid, there were three pairs. One of the colorways, Stephen was legit the only person in the company that thought would be a hit. And they were. They sold out. FIRST. Sooo please excuse him while he pumps his tires.
One thing you would do again:
“I didn’t do it the first time, but virtual wine tasting, I want in on that.” Good thing we already have another one scheduled this month.
One thing that you think everyone should try:
Rapping, it’s hard.
Carving out the time for everyone’s individual CEO Happy Hour. We are a freshly large company and during this time everyone stepped up across the board-- getting to celebrate that 1:1 was powerful.
In crazy times lean into your values and behaviors the most. Do the work ahead of time so you know what your values are. At the end of the day, nobody cares what goodr is doing about Covid. Simply stick to your values.
Words of the wise old Stephen Lease (alright, he’s not that old… but it sounded good), “My advice is define your values and behaviors because when things like Covid happen, you need them the most and they will guide you through.”
And of course, his favorite quote #34, “If the goal is being authentic and people don’t like you it’s okay. If your goal is being liked and people don’t like you, you’re fucked.”
Your next actions are to start creating connections.
Internally, start setting up 1:1s, lower the bar and make it fun and easy. Those connection moments are really important. Empower people on your team to lead and create their own connection moments.
Externally, ask yourself what you want right now, and then do that for your customers. How many Covid-19 emails did you delete in the past three months? ...ALL OF THEM. Remember that.
Next week we’ll cover how we’re finding the new normal while things start to open back up.
Until then, be excellent to each other.
Yo, and review us. Please.