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EPISODE 68

What Should Your Ads Look Like? Diving into the Data on What Drives Performance

With R.J. Talyor, CEO & Founder of Pattern89

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Think about the last ad you saw an ad that had an image of someone’s living room. What color was the throw pillow on the couch? Was there a dog present? How many people were pictured? You might not know the answer to those questions, but the marketers who put that creative together sure do, and you better believe that they thought long and hard about each of those aspects and dove deep into some data to decide exactly what to include in the ad

Those minuscule details may seem frivolous to the naked eye, but the data proves that every decision you make in your creative process has an impact on the bottom line, and the ecommerce businesses that pay attention to the data while still putting their own spin on the creative aspect are the ones that are rising to the top.

R.J. Talyor is the founder and CEO of Pattern89, which uses A.I. and machine learning to analyze advertising and guide marketers toward the performance metrics that matter. On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, R.J. takes us through the most recent trends report that Pattern89 put out, which includes some important information about why businesses should be paying particular attention to copy and hashtags. Plus, R.J. gives tips on how to avoid the trap of following “best practices” and why creativity will always win.

Main Takeaways:

  • Big-Time Creative, Small Time Dimensions: Marketing creative is made up of tens of thousands of dimensions, all of which can be measured and distilled into performance metrics. And when those metrics are measured, you can utilize that data to inform the decisions you make about what elements are more beneficial to include in your ads (like an orange pillow versus a blue pillow and a cat versus a dog).
  • #WorthIt?: Including hashtags in your marketing copy is a method to improve performance. The flip side of that argument is that hashtags have a cost, particularly if you overlay a hashtag on an image or video. 
  • The Same… But Different: When developing creative, marketers are often looking at the same data, trends and industry reports, and they are following the same “best practices.” The trick is to take the information and make it your own in order to develop creative that stands out rather than just gets lost in the sea of “what works.”

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

Key Quotes:

“Our machines, they don’t actually look at anything that’s identifiable. Instead, they’re looking at 49,000 different creative dimensions of a piece of creative and tying it to a performance metric.”

“It’s funny how best practices intersect with performance in good and bad ways, and what we’re kind of distilling down is how the algorithms at the individual platforms prioritize or deprioritize content, based on supply and demand, like what’s popular and what’s actually performing. If you think about it from the platform perspective, they want creative diversity. They want you to be producing something that creates more thumb scrolling and more content engagement. So they’re looking at how much of X do we have, how much of Y do we have, and then prioritizing content that favors newness and differentiation and engagement.”

“If we all do the same thing, then the advantage goes away. Instead, we need to think about data and creative A.I. as a recipe…. You can give Michelin star chefs the same recipe and they all make something different, even though the recipe components might be the same. I think that’s how we have to think about creative. How does our brand interpret these recipes? How do we make it distinctly ours and so our brand message shines through while also honoring those creative elements that the algorithm cares about?”

“So many marketers have been told to act like machines and just make only data-backed decisions, and of course that makes a lot of sense, but I think we’ve kind of over-indexed under the data side and it kind of left creativity out to dry.”

“In a cookie-less future, ultimately we’re going to lose some of the sight of the data that we were able to pull before, and instead, creative is going to win. Personally, I believe that creative is going to really matter as we head into the next 5 or 10 years.”

 

Mentions:

Bio:

R.J. Talyor is the CEO and founder of Pattern89. Previously, he was a VP for GeoFeedia, Salesforce, and ExactTarget. R.J. earned a BA in English from DePauw University and he earned an MFA in English from Purdue University. He resides in Indiana with his family.

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Transcript:

Stephanie:

Welcome back to Up Next in Commerce. This is your host, Stephanie Postles. Joining us today is R.J. Talyor, the CEO and Founder at Pattern89. R.J., welcome.

R.J.:

Hey, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I’m excited to have you on the show. I just downloaded your report, as you saw, right before the interview and I feel like there’s some good juicy stuff and the things that you guys are doing and we’ll have a lot to talk about today.

R.J.:

Yeah. Great.

Stephanie:

So tell me a bit, what is Pattern89 and how did you go about creating that?

R.J.:

Pattern89, what we do is we predict creative performance with machine learning and AI, and I’ve worked in digital for almost 20 years now. I worked at ExactTarget and then at Salesforce and then at another social startup, and learned quickly that marketers are spending so much time creating journeys and figuring out who their audience is, but still use a lot of their gut on what creative to put in front of those audiences, or in the places in the journey. While data is being used to figure out what and who, it really is on the creative side, still kind of a gut decision. And so set out about four years ago to help marketers use AI and machine learning, to predict creative performance, and now we’re a 25 person strong scale up and serving customers all over the globe.

Stephanie:

That’s awesome. I was reading a bit about your data co-op and how many brands you have that you get to look through all the data, so give me a little bit of like the behind the scenes of what kind of brands do you have in there, if you can share, how many do you actually have, and how do you go about looking at all of their data?

R.J.:

Well, when we started the business, we knew we needed a giant data set in order for the machines to find patterns and outliers that would actually help creatives, and so we started offering a free scorecard or creative assessment in exchange for joining the co-op. We’re almost at 2000 brands who-

Stephanie:

Wow.

R.J.:

… have connected their accounts to Pattern89. And our machines, they don’t actually look at anything that’s identifiable. Instead, they’re looking at 49,000 different creative dimensions of a piece of creative and tying it to a performance metric. As an example, it might look at a picture of a living room and say, “All right, there’s a couch, plants, window. Is there a human or not? What color is the couch? Is there a blanket on the couch? Is there a dog in the picture?”

R.J.:

Then associate that with a performance metric, like, did it drive X purchases or Y video views or X views, so then we can understand in aggregate what are the patterns and outliers that we’re seeing across massive amounts of data, so that we know living rooms actually perform better when there’s an orange throw pillow on the couch, for example, like the one small detail. So massive amounts of brands, massive amounts of data, and really granular creative insights.

Stephanie:

Very cool. How do you go about, if you’re looking at that kind of anonymized data and you see something doing well, how do you know it’s doing well? Maybe because it’s a Nordstrom where it’s like, well, of course they have brand recognition, it’s very easy to buy from them, versus a brand new D2C company where maybe one of their ads is doing well, or it’s not doing well and it’s kind of getting skewed because they don’t have that brand recognition.

R.J.:

Yeah. That is a big question. The first thing to know is that our data science team uses a set of statistical tests to kind of ferret out what is actually driving the performance or not driving the performance, so that we’re not chasing after kind of red herrings. The other thing is from an audience perspective, the history of that audience use, so is it a brand new audience or is it a legacy audience? Is it a customer loyalty audience or something else like that? Those are all the components that are also taken into account so that we can distinguish between maybe the brand legacy of a Nordstrom versus an up-and-coming D2C startup and still provide statistical significance at over 95% competence.

Stephanie:

Got it. What things do you think are going to work in 2021? I mean, I was just going through the report that I mentioned earlier and I mean, it was cool because it’s all the way down to “Here’s certain emojis and colors and imagery is up, but maybe with multiple people or one person and video’s down.” So tell me a little bit about what you guys are seeing and predicting to work well when it comes to advertising and copy in 2021.

R.J.:

Yeah. Well, the first thing that it’s important to notice, the creative lifecycle has shrunk and rom a creative life cycle perspective, it’s just a lot shorter than it’s ever been. In addition to the creative life cycle shortening, what is performance in those creatives is changing as well, so the best advertisers have a 2:1 image to video ratio. While video performs a lot better in general, image to video 2:1 is the best performer for top performers in the dataset, and we’re seeing more and more emphasis on video and video performance, but videos tend to be more expensive, so 2:1 is a good framework.

R.J.:

Then taking a look at what’s trending and what’s forecasted to be a performant in 2021, we see things like TVs and electronics really improving cost per clicks, also spas and massages, those types of things. And then maybe not surprising, we’re seeing a lot of isolated people, so one face in creatives and those people are reading or studying or doing something by themselves, which kind of reflects the world that we’re living in, especially as we head into 2021.

R.J.:

One of the surprising things, and sorry for all the cat lovers out there, is that pets typically do very well, dogs and cats, but we’re actually seeing cats driving performance down. So it’s more expensive to advertise with cats in 2021, so just keep that in mind as you’re here.

Stephanie:

That’s funny. Don’t put a cat in your ad.

R.J.:

Yes, exactly. Yeah. But consistent performers, things like images or videos of those people exercising, phones, images of cities, those types of things are really staying flat. This is all going to change by audience and by brand, but in aggregate, those are the things that we’re seeing rise, staying steady, and then underperforming in terms of predictions.

R.J.:

The other thing that we analyze is color and the importance of color driving performance in 2021. In December, we’re really seeing kind of teal colors and blues perform best, but what’s trending up in 2021 are, it’s kind of this peachy color, and I can give you the exact hex code for the designers out there, but peach and dark green are really trending up and they’ve been trending up over the last three years, while kind of a pinky and a brown color are really trending down for the last three years and will continue to trend down. It’s kind of funny as we think about what background colors or what shirt colors our models should be wearing, or how we should stage a photo shoot, or even what stock photo or image or video to pull, these types of decisions can impact your CPMs, your CPCs, and your click-through rates and ultimately your performance, so it’s good to have the data on your side.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s great. The one thing a lot of guests have mentioned is that more organic videos, iPhone videos, even iPhone photos have been performing better for them then-

R.J.:

Yes.

Stephanie:

I mean, because a lot of them couldn’t stage things anymore in their studio, or didn’t really want to use the stock photos. Are you seeing the same thing?

R.J.:

Yes, and especially selfies, really driving performance up. So when influencers take a selfie video, which might’ve seen sort of not have been as polished as in the past, but selfie videos in the data is actually spiking in performance as well as popularity, so yes is the answer to that.

Stephanie:

Cool. Any other trends in that report that stood out to you that were maybe a bit surprising and you were like, “Why is that happening” or “Why is the data showing that” where you had to dig in a bit deeper?

R.J.:

One of the other things that’s really surprising when you deep dive into the report is copy and the impact of copy alongside your creative. Oftentimes we spend a lot of time developing what the creative would be, and then maybe we’d just go with a standard message, but the impact of performance when you have copy that’s like 5 to 15 characters long, that’s what’s going to drive the best performance for awareness or top of top of funnel campaigns, whereas body copy needs to have between like 40 and 60 characters and should include a hashtag.

R.J.:

What’s a little bit surprising about hashtags specifically, is that including a hashtag overall improves your performance, but it’s going to be a little bit more expensive. And then even further, if you put a hashtag as a text overlay on an image or on a video, you’re going to see the costs go up even more. So it’s funny how best practices intersect with performance in good and bad ways, and what we’re kind of distilling down is how the algorithms at the individual platforms prioritize or deprioritize content, based on supply and demand, like what’s popular and what’s actually performing.

R.J.:

If you think about it from the platform perspective, they want creative diversity. They want you to be producing something that creates more thumb scrolling and more content engagement. So they’re looking at how much of X do we have, how much of Y do we have, and then prioritizing content that favors newness and differentiation and engagement. Anyway, some of these things are like, need to put a hashtag in there because that’s actually going to drive your performance up, but it might also drive your cost up so you’ve got to kind of weigh the pros and the cons of each creative dimension.

Stephanie:

Cool. I’m thinking about all this data and feedback that you’re giving to customers, and how do you make sure that they don’t all start doing the same thing where it’s becoming like a self-fulfilling prophecy? Because I know a couple of guests prior who’ve been on the show previously have mentioned, like, “Don’t go in the Facebook ad library and try and get inspiration from there, go to the books from the 1960s and check out what was happening back then. Don’t just look at what your competitors are doing, because the second you start just doing what they’re doing, you lose.” So how do you make sure that your clients aren’t just all doing the same thing, driving the same trends, driving the rates up or down because they are all hearing like, “Oh, the color green is like the way to go”?

R.J.:

Yeah. Well, I love what you’re saying there because I have really railed against “best practices” as a way of doing marketing, and so much is changing that I think a lot of marketers go to “best practices” and then look at a creative forecast from Pattern89 or some sort of other data source and say, “All right, that’s what we should do.” The problem is exactly what you’re saying, which is that if we all do the same thing, then the advantage goes away. Instead, we need to think about data and creative AI as a recipe. Every chef gets the same… I love watching food TV, like Food Network and all that stuff, and you can give Michelin star chefs the same recipe and they all make something different, even though the recipe components might be the same.

R.J.:

I think that that’s how we have to think about creative. How does our brand interpret these recipes? How do we make it distinctly ours and so our brand message shines through while also honoring those creative elements that the algorithm cares about? A good example is we know that 40 to 60 body copy characters, so we should have a 40 to 60 characters in our body copy, and a hashtag. So don’t go copy paste some body copy from a competitor and just change the brand name. Instead, what’s the unique message that you want to tell in that? And then what hashtag can you use that actually spells out your brand message? Or if we know that images of people studying or reading books are important, what is the way that we can tell that brand story in a funny way, an engaging way, in a serious way? However it reflects your brand.

R.J.:

I’ve used this slide in a presentation where I actually have five different brands, Instagram posts, where they’re all advertising athleisure wear, and they literally all look the same. It’s all a woman who looks fit, who is exercising in her sort of ethereal-looking inside apartment. It’s like literally the same creative and you can’t distinguish between those ads, and I think that’s where we’re seeing kind of the “optimization to best practices” cause problems. Instead, we need to figure out how do we take this creative recipe and put our humanness or human creativity to tell that story in a new way? So be aware of best practices is the summary there, and instead use it as a recipe and create from there.

Stephanie:

Cool. Are you kind of guiding your clients when you’re like, “Okay, we see these emojis are trending, these colors are trending, here’s the copy limits that are trending, but here’s maybe how to apply this to your brand” or like, “These photos are trending, like you said, but here’s a funny spin that you can put on it individually.” You’re kind of giving like one-to-one advice instead of just like, “Everyone try that and figure it out for yourself.” How do you go about guiding your clients?

R.J.:

Pattern89 is a platform, so we serve as a data service, effectively. When we get on a call with a customer, our creative agency will often say, “Here’s what’s trending up and here’s how your data matches or doesn’t match that trend. And then also, here’s the counter-trend to it.” Some customers are like, “No, we just want to kind of play it safe and go with the trend.” Others say, “Hey, what’s the counter trend? What’s the outlier? What is the opportunity there?”

R.J.:

It just depends on if the brand likes to play it safe and predictably, or they’re willing to take some creative risks, and it actually depends on their level of risk tolerance there, because some people just want the sure thing and, “We can follow the trend or the best practice.” But then others say, “Hey, we’re willing to take a risk. Our brand is about risk-taking or about X.” So it depends based on that. Then sometimes we work through creative agencies and digital agencies and coach them to say, “Hey, here’s the risk of going with the trend versus here’s the counter trend” or “Here’s how your data intersects or conflicts with that.”

Stephanie:

Yeah, very cool. What kind of variables do your models look at to see? I mean, not only the cost behind things, or maybe what’s doing well, but how do you know something’s doing well? Is it engagement? Is it people clicking through on an ad? What’s the success rate in figuring out what a trend is based on? One good example is someone was talking about influencers on the show and they said someone can get like a billion likes on their posts, but that doesn’t mean they’re an influencer. You need to look in the comments and see are people in there asking like, “Hey, where can I buy that shirt from” and actually consumers who are ready to convert and do what that person’s saying. So what things are indicators to you in ads doing well and actually will create a conversion or a new customer?

R.J.:

Every prediction in Pattern89 or in the platform has two factors. One is who’s the audience, and then two, what’s the objective? The audience can be net new customers, it could be loyal customers, it can be previous purchasers, whatever the audience makeup is. Then the objective is what the machine understands. Are we trying to drive the lowest CPM? Are we trying to drive app downloads? Are we trying to drive purchases? Are we trying to drive likes and follows? Whatever that overall objective is, so the machine knows, “This is the audience, this is objective, and then this is the candidate set of creatives that we want to drive for one of those objectives for that audience.”

R.J.:

So if the objective is purchase, then we can tell you exactly what’s going to drive purchase. We can’t predict sentiment of comments. As you’re suggesting with influencers, that’s just a limitation. But a good point to note that what the AI can do and can’t do, so that you can set the engagement up for success.

Stephanie:

Is there any new advancements in tech data you’re looking at to kind of gauge that sentiment? Or anything else where you’re like, “We aren’t there yet, but we’re looking at this because we think it’s an important field going forward”? I mean we just had yesterday, the VP of data science at Stitch Fix on, and she was kind of mentioning just that there’s a new demographic coming on the market, they speak very differently, and so they need different types of natural language processing to figure out who this person is to then be able to respond to them how they want to be responded to. So is there anything like that that you’re watching right now or looking into?

R.J.:

Well, just on that comment, I need some natural language processing to handle my 12 and 13 year old nieces who I’m like, “I don’t… ” When we text with them, I don’t know really what they’re saying and I thought I was cool. So I’m just using that to-

Stephanie:

Oh yeah, my-

R.J.:

Yeah.

Stephanie:

I feel that. My mom sends me screenshots that her students, because they’re all doing Zoom calls right now, she’s a teacher, and she’s like, “These kids just talking, they’re like ‘NVM,’ what’s that mean? And then there’s a U and then there’s a two” and this and that. She’s like, “I don’t know.” And apparently they gave her the acronym for “Pony hair, don’t care,” but they just put PDC or something and she’s like, “What’s that mean?” I’m like, “I honestly don’t know.” I don’t think that means anything. And she was like, “I found it out. They were making fun of my ponytail.” I’m like [inaudible 00:18:44].

R.J.:

I imagine Urban Dictionary is getting a lot of site traffic from people like me these days.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I mean, yes.

R.J.:

Well, I’ll tell you, we’ve heard a lot of customers ask for sentiment, like you’re describing. The other thing that’s of particular interest is the multi-touch journey. With Pattern89, we can predict what people are going to do, like a one hop. So I can tell you if they’re going to download the app, but I can’t tell you if they’re going to use it, or I can tell you that they’re going to put something in their cart, but maybe not purchase it.

R.J.:

What marketers really want to understand is how do we actually predict creative against each of the steps of the marketing journey that they’re setting up for the customer, versus like a point in time? That’s what we are really locked in on, is how do we predict creative performance across that life cycle, versus just, they did one action on a social site or one action on as a result of seeing your ad on Google or something? So it’s this multi-touch attribution issue.

Stephanie:

Where do you see the future of attribution going? Right now I’m interested in it because I was just listening to a bunch of podcasts about attribution with TV and other types of media and how it’s very slow to evolve, but it’s something that people are going to be very eager to figure out over the next couple of years, about how to like measure things. Is there anything that you guys are looking into in that area or just keeping tabs on?

R.J.:

Well, I’m keeping tabs on kind of there seem to be two counter trends going. One is that everyone’s going to new payment options and new conversion options on their phone, and there just seems to be more and more like mobile payment, fractional payments, mobile wallet, Afterpay, all that type of stuff that I think is going to create even more data that we can understand the ultimate conversion especially in retail.

R.J.:

The counter-trend is a cookie list future and a highly-private world and GDPR, et cetera. Those seem to be counter trends to me where we could get to a fully anonymized world where you just have no idea what happens, or to whom, I guess. And then the opposite is we can know everything. So I don’t know that I have an official prediction, but I’m certainly interested in those paths, diverging and where we end up. Yeah, I think that that’s going to be super interesting as it accounts for attribution.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I’m definitely paying attention to the cookie list future, and I mean I think Facebook’s fighting pretty hard at that so it seems like it might be a long process if it were even go through, because a lot of people are against it. That seems like a scary place though if you really can’t show what you’re doing.

R.J.:

It is, but I think… I have a creative background, I majored in English, I have a master’s in creative writing, and I came into technology kind of thinking creative is the actual differentiation. But so many liberal arts people, so many marketers have been told to act like machines and just make only data backed decisions, and of course that makes a lot of sense, but I think we’ve kind of over-indexed under the data side and it kind of left creativity out to dry as kind of like, “Those are the crazy creative people over there” or something.

R.J.:

I think that the cookie-less future and all this, because ultimately we’re going to lose some of the sight of the data that we were able to pull before, and instead, creative is going to win. Personally, I believe that as the CEO of Pattern89, creative is going to really matter as we head into the next 5 or 10 years, because we don’t want to… To the earlier question about isn’t AI or machine learning just optimizing to the same exact thing, well, yes is the answer. How do you diverge from that while you introduce new creative ideas? You differentiate your brand, you tell a different story, and I think that’s super exciting. I think we’re in this a reemergence of creativity that I nerd out on and I’m optimistic about.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I’m optimistic. I’m just wondering how would you know it wins? How do you know what does well if you can’t even tell what happened?

R.J.:

That’s true.

Stephanie:

When you can’t track it?

R.J.:

That’s true, that’s true. That’s fair.

Stephanie:

So as a creative, how do you go about sparking creativity? What does your process look like to maybe not only help you know yourself at your company, but also the brands you work with to try and also get them to think creatively?

R.J.:

Well, I mean, I guess ironically, it does start with data. We look at trends on a monthly basis and we forecast our monthly trends to understand what is it that’s trending up, trending down, and then move that into, how we… I mean in startup land, we’re always trying to figure out what is the counter trend? How do we stick out? Because we don’t want to say the same things that big, big companies are saying. We want to see something different and something risky.

R.J.:

So that’s what we kind of analyze the trends and then go against them to figure out how can we stand out? I’m a big proponent of running and swimming. I grew up swimming, I swam in college and I still swim, and running, swimming I think that provide that kind of meditative or that space to kind of let your brain sort of turn off, but still be on, you know? And then come back from a run or a swim or after you’ve looked at some of that data and then new ideas start to emerge, and start pitching them and then figure out if those ideas might work or not.

Stephanie:

Yep. Do you ever look through historical things, since what’s old is always new again, eventually? So you go back to the archives and be like, “Here’s something that worked in the 20s, let’s try this.”

R.J.:

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re actually doing some 20s based stuff for 2021 and the kind of Roaring Twenties is coming back. We just did a cool campaign called DonDraiper.com, that was D-O-N D-R-A-I-P-E-R. So like putting the AI in the Don Draiper, and looking at all these 50s campaigns and 60s campaigns to understand what actually would be predicted to win now, and it is kind of amazing to see like copy as well as imagery that was being used at the time and in-color, and how those were resonating using REI to predict whether they would resonate with this audience in today. Yeah, I think that’s a definitely a good place for inspiration.

Stephanie:

That’s cool. Do you see some of those more vintage ads and photos and things like that working over the next couple of years?

R.J.:

Well, I don’t know about the next couple of years, to be honest. I think in 2021 alone, we’re going to see a lot of nostalgia and I think that that is going to be a big factor because we’re all looking for comfort after 2020. I can tell you on 2021, yes, nostalgia I think is going to be a big, big trend.

Stephanie:

2021 will be nostalgia for 2019. “Ah, the good days. What happened in 2019? Let’s bring back those vintage memories.”

R.J.:

That’s funny.

Stephanie:

Are there any new consumer shopping behaviors that you guys are watching right now that you think are going to continue post-COVID?

R.J.:

I think touchless everything, even in store, is a big one. And the one I mentioned earlier about mobile wallet, I think mobile wallet adoption is just going to spike, and then I think all sorts of augmented reality capabilities are also going to, because going to a showroom for example, to see a couch may or may not be something that an individual is willing to do anymore, to make that separate trip. So, “I want to see it in my space. I don’t want to buy it without seeing it and then return it, have a hassle with the return, especially with a large purchase item for a home.”

R.J.:

So I think that mobile wallet is going to explode. It already has, but coming from mobile land in my previous roles, it’s amazing to see how that’s taken off. Then I think augmented reality apps, they’re just going to be driving the future of commerce.

Stephanie:

Cool. All right, well let’s move over to the lightning round. Lightning round is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, but this is where I’m going to ask you a question and you have a minute or less to answer.

R.J.:

Okay.

Stephanie:

Are you ready, R.J.?

R.J.:

I’m ready.

Stephanie:

All right. We’ll start with the hard one first. What one thing will have the biggest impact on ecommerce the next year?

R.J.:

Creativity is going to be my answer, because actually our data shows it. For example, masks in ads, this is an interesting thing. So masks in ads are being more popular, but they don’t perform as well because people don’t want to see kind of the ugly truth when they’re viewing creative. How do we creatively manage and creatively work through a situation that everyone is tired of feeling? I think the breakout brands and the commerce brands that find a way to tell an empathetic but inspiring story creatively are going to win.

Stephanie:

Yep. I like that. Yeah, that’s a good point too, of just because it’s happening doesn’t mean people want to see it-

R.J.:

Right.

Stephanie:

… everywhere they look like. Sometimes people might want to see what the future could look like and inspiration.

R.J.:

Yes, exactly.

Stephanie:

What’s up next on your Netflix queue?

R.J.:

Ooh, let’s see. Mandalorian. It’s not my Netflix queue, it’s my Disney queue. I’m just like, eagerly awaiting each episode of Mandalorian, which is interesting because I’m not a big Star Wars fan, but I love that show. It’s imaginative, it’s creative, it’s kind of melancholy. It’s-

Stephanie:

I actually don’t know that one. I need to check it out.

R.J.:

I’d recommend it, and I’m excited about that show.

Stephanie:

What age group is it for?

R.J.:

Well, they say that Star Wars fans love it.

Stephanie:

Okay, I like Star Wars, I guess.

R.J.:

Yeah. But like my eight year olds’ buddy Charlie was like, “Man, that’s my favorite show.” So it also not only 40 year old men, but eight year olds like it. So it’s a family favorite.

Stephanie:

Big range. Good. So they did well creating a show for all overall.

R.J.:

Yes, yes.

Stephanie:

Good. What topic or trend do you not understand today that you wish you did?

R.J.:

TikTok.

Stephanie:

Yeah.

R.J.:

I don’t understand TikTok.

Stephanie:

I’ve gotten that answer a lot.

R.J.:

Yeah, I don’t understand it. It feels very voyeuristic and it feels… I’m all for fun, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t… I don’t understand why you would spend hours rehearsing a dance, for example, and then take a video of yourself doing a sort of ridiculous dance.

Stephanie:

I feel like your kid is probably listening and it’s like, “Dad, anyone who says ‘I’m all for fun’ is not fun.” If you have to start a sentence that way, you might not be all for fun.

R.J.:

I think you’re right.

Stephanie:

Yeah. But I have had a lot of people say they don’t understand TikTok.

R.J.:

Yeah. I think it’s the age group.

Stephanie:

But that would be an interesting data set to pull in data and see what’s engaging from there, because I have also had a lot of people say it converts really well and that there’s a lot of [inaudible] that platform.

R.J.:

Yes. Yeah. We’ve got customers who use our data on Snapchat, but we’ve not moved into TikTok just yet, but it is interesting to see what trends might apply there. I think that again, personally why you do that, I feel like that’s like a PhD or something that I could do is like, understand the motivation there or something. I don’t know.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Well, you let me know how that research goes. We’ll bring you back for your PhD on TikTok. What is a favorite book on business or creativity, or just one that you refer back to quite often?

R.J.:

Hm. My favorite author is a British author named Julian Barnes, who I love. I often try to not read a bunch of business books. I mean, I find some of them to be really good, but I like to look outside for inspiration, so I’m a big fan of Julian Barnes. His books are really creative and strange and weird, and he’s a well-known British author but maybe not known as well in the US.

R.J.:

Then on the maybe non-fiction side, I read that book Evicted, which is again, not a business book, but just in regards to kind of some of the social issues we’re after, I find that Matthew Desmond’s book is really, really good as well. But I look to those for inspiration or to kind of take my brain outside of business.

Stephanie:

Cool. All right, and then the last one, what’s up next in your travel destinations when we can travel again? Where are you and your family headed? Or just you if you’re like, “Peace, family.”

R.J.:

I don’t know that my wife would be okay with that, but we actually had the good fortune, we went out to Idaho for about five weeks this summer and rented an Airbnb and loved it, and we want to go back.

Stephanie:

Where’d you go? Because I was just looking at Coeur d’Alene, which I think is in Idaho.

R.J.:

Yes, yes, yes.

Stephanie:

It’s really pretty.

R.J.:

We were in Driggs, Idaho, which it’s on the west side of the Tetons, about an hour from Yellowstone, and it is beautiful. I mean, it was wonderful and we’re going to go back. We had all sorts of international travel ideas that my wife and I wanted to do with our kids, but I mean, we just had such a nice time out there that want to head back this summer and spend some time out there exploring the mountains.

Stephanie:

Oh, that’s great. I want to check that out too. Idaho is such an undervalued area. No one talks about it, but when I started looking at the pictures, I’m like, “This place is pretty, come on people.”

R.J.:

It is. It’s wonderful. Yeah, it really is.

Stephanie:

All right R.J., well, it was a pleasure having you on. Where can people find out more about you and Pattern89?

R.J.:

Sure. Yeah, just Pattern89.com or I’m on Twitter @rjtalyor and would love to hear from you, or come on to Pattern89.com and check us out.

Stephanie:

Awesome. Thanks so much.

R.J.:

Thank you.

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