Technology is the New Content

I remember when I first interviewed with the three Quest founders to join as the head of marketing. I laid out a plan to earn their first million fans, and explained that, to do it, the company would need to create a content studio. They thought I was joking.

Back in 2011, a branded content studio was a pretty crazy idea, especially to three guys who just put their houses on the line to bootstrap a protein bar company. A content studio? To sell protein bars?

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The Power of One Fan

I’m a bit obsessed with real time sales data. At Quest I’d always have a window open showing our daily sales and I’d refresh it frequently – especially on big days like a new product release or Cyber Monday.

It’s not the dollars but the indicator of progress that I love.

With RLTY CHK we get that data through the Steam partner portal. We’re in the very early stages of our game releases so sales are consistently low. We’re focused on creating great games through our fan development process, not unit sales. Those will come next year with our full release.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this on Monday morning…

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Spilling all the Quest Marketing Secrets – Interview on Growth Everywhere

I had a great time on Eric Siu’s Growth Everywhere show. See embed below for the full episode. Eric knows the space better than most, so he asks great questions and surfaces a lot of actionable advice.

We cover content creation, hiring, culture, SEO, the media mix and more!

Pro Tip: Playback at 2x speed. It doesn’t look like that feature is live yet on YouTube embeds, but if you click through to the episode page, the settings icon appears and you can select 2x there. It’s how I listen to all interviews and lectures on YouTube. All the info in half the time!

Chips commercial

It’s very exciting to finally release our 30 second spot for Quest Protein Chips! We created this entirely in-house from script to screen. Our design, media and 3D teams came together to make this something special.

The spot will run organically on YouTube and Facebook first and we’ll follow it up with targeted media buys. Depending on performance we’ll bring it to other platforms across the web. This is our first ‘traditional’ ad so we had a lot of fun working in the 30 second format.

Check it out below!

The Return: Building a Brand in the Social Age

When I last posted in 2011, I had left Michael Eisner’s new media company, Vuguru, and was recruited to lead marketing for Quest Nutrition. My decision to join Quest, a young and unknown protein bar company, seemed crazy to most. But I saw it as the perfect opportunity to combine my passions for community-building, innovative storytelling and technology to help create something great. My vision was to build the Quest brand by creating a dynamic online community fueled by high-quality content. From the beginning the company’s founders knew that social media would be the key to the brand’s success. It was never a question of IF we should do social, it was only how we would do it and how far we could take it.

After joining Quest things moved quickly. By tapping into existing communities in the bodybuilding space we got instant feedback and early adopters. Word spread and soon there was a grassroots movement, powered by the fans, to get Quest Bars stocked in specialty retail like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe. By providing high value niche content our fan base grew by hundreds – then thousands – per day. Super fans emerged. People engaged with Quest – and those interactions turned into conversions. Our vision of leveraging the power of social to build a strong brand was becoming a reality.

Quest is now the best-selling protein bar in the sports nutrition category with more than 1.2 million fans across the primary social networks. Our headquarters has a 10,000 square foot soundstage used by a team of full-time directors, editors and producers creating world-class branded content. Social is at the forefront of our every decision, from product release strategy to how we discount our once-a-year sale. Nearly every marketing dollar goes toward our online platforms or product sampling and events. Quest has achieved best-in-class status while completely avoiding traditional marketing channels. And I’ve made quite a few protein bars along the way.

The journey at Quest has barely begun. By working side-by-side with three incredible entrepreneurs, and pushing myself and the brand everyday, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to walk the path. After a three year blogging hiatus I am excited to relaunch so I can add to the social marketing conversation. So join me here as I explore brand building in the social age…