By Ido Leffler, co-founder of Yes To, Inc.
When it comes to branding, no one understands the magic of marketing quite like Ido Leffler, co-founder and “chief carrot lover” of Yes To, Inc., a health and beauty company. In just four years, Ido and his team built their business into one of the leading natural beauty brands in the world, securing their foothold in the competitive industry. Octane sat down with Ido to talk about tenacious marketing, how to build your brand and the secret to great customer service.
You went from having your healthcare products in 16 stores to 28,000 stores in just four years. How did you achieve this tremendous product placement in such a short amount of time?
IL: It boils down to four things: tenacity, chutzpah, relationships and quality products. At the start, we had a very clear vision that we wanted to become a big player in the industry, and we were not going to stop for a single second until we achieved that vision. We knew that we couldn’t win strictly by the numbers—some of our competitors are large multi-nationals—so we used some cheeky techniques to get our foot in the door. Also, we understood the importance of relationships. We would fly around the world for a coffee meeting with an important retailer, just so they knew how serious we were about a partnership. Finally, it came down to the quality of our products. We realized that while selling a product people like is one thing, developing a product people LOVE is very different. If we think our product is something people would just like, we would scrap it and try again!
You proudly wear orange every day to make a connection with your products. What other “outside the box” approaches do you take to build your brand’s cult-like following?
IL: Our brand’s success all starts with our staff. We throw impromptu cocktail parties, an occasional secret trip somewhere, one-on-one lunches with the founder, etc. Sometimes these simple things drive the team to be as obsessed about the success of the venture as you are, and in turn helps keep the brand strong and effective. Also, you don’t necessarily need Sir Richard Branson-like stunts to succeed— finding something that makes you stand out of the crowd can work perfectly.
What are some unique ways entrepreneurs can promote their brand and create a niche in their industry?
IL: Per my first answer, create a product that rocks. Also, make sure your offering has a significant value. We always made sure we offered a better value than our competitors. It’s important to truly live the brand, too. Show your team, consumers and customers that you live, breath and sleep the ethos! Finally, even if you’re a small player in your industry, fight above your weight class. Always go to industry events and become friendly with the ‘who’s who’ of the industry. If you feel embarrassed, kick yourself in the butt and do it anyway!
One of your secrets to success is having great customer service. What are a few of your best practices?
IL: Know your consumer intimately, and treat them as you would a friend or close family member. I am still excited to hear when a person has used their hard-earned money to buy our product, as I want them to feel special. We also hold regular video chats with our customers, letting them know what’s new and asking them what product they would like us to launch. And everyone loves a deal, so we regularly send out coupons and samples to our loyal fans and encourage them to share them with their friends and family.
How do you keep your brand ahead of the marketing curve in such a competitive industry?
IL: The bottom line is that we do the simple things very well! You don’t need to be a marketing guru to succeed; what you need is your finger on the pulse of your industry at all times, making sure you’re ahead of the game and quickly adjusting if you’re not. In our case, we want to make sure that we see international trends ahead of time. We do this by taking trend trips to different parts of the world in order to catch the latest trends and styles. It’s simple and effective.
Ido Leffler is the co-founder of Yes To, Inc., and a frequent speaker at EO events. Email Ido at [email protected].