Elite Daily Co-founder Gerard Adams: “Here Are 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image”
Become an in-house Media Agency. Nowadays we don’t want to just see your ads on facebook or commercials during the superbowl — we want to see a brand have it’s own personality online. Create a consistent content marketing strategy for social media and watch how that changes how the community engages with your brand.
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Gerard Adams.
Gerard Adams, co-founder of Elite Daily, one of the top news platforms for Generation Y, is an experienced angel investor, millennial thought leader and social entrepreneur who overcame early adversity to become a self-made millionaire by the age of 24. Devoted to turning dreams into reality, Gerard has made it his mission to inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs on what it takes to be successful. Gerard continues to expand and diversify his investment portfolio backing businesses across multiple industries from technology to digital media to fashion and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Gerard! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up I was always fascinated by stories, I would immerse myself into documentaries, films, books, and history. At a young age I didn’t understand how but I was a naturally confident storyteller. At a young age, I was able to tap into my emotions when telling a story and take the other person on a journey. My parents thought I should have gone into acting for my career but I was too intrigued by the internet and the ability to tell stories online and the effect they had for marketing brands and business. Also, I felt that with the social media space starting to boom around the time I was 17 years old I could tell that there was a massive opportunity to become successful telling stories online. At first, I had no idea how or what I would do, all I knew was that I was extremely passionate about creating content online and understood how to tell a story that moved people to take action. Also, I realized that my generation significantly needed help learning about our world and economy as the majority of them were obsessed with watching Reality TV (KUWTK, Jersey Shore etc) which as we know is not “reality” at all.. this inspired me to start creating documentaries and short films online.
This led me to create a marketing agency to help innovative companies to tell their story online to create brand and investor awareness. This company went from getting its first client at $500 a month and grew to budgets of $300,000 hitting $10 million in revenue by the time I was 24 years old. This led me to eventually get tired of telling everyone else’s stories and I was inspired to leverage my skills and go all-in on taking a risk by building my own brand- an online media publication by millennials, for millennials. I remember thinking of a name in my apartment with only 3 wooden folding chairs and a folding table where me and my two interns brainstormed until it hit me …. “Elite Daily”. I knew I wanted this to be a reliable site covering all trending news daily so it just made sense and we thought elite was a cool way to say that we were the best. This is when the moment of truth happened as we went to godaddy.com to see if the domain name was available… we hit the search button and i’ll never forget the word “AVAILABLE” for $9.99 — I knew in that instant it was meant to be. We bought it and with no college degrees in journalism we started the publication that would eventually be known as “The Voice of Generation Y”. Within 5 years, we grew the business from 3 of us to 200 employees, 80 million unique millennial visitors per month, won an emmy for one of our short-film documentaries, and in 2015 we sold the company to a Billion Dollar Media Conglomerate. After the sale, I finally decided it was time to start using what I have learned about storytelling, branding, and content marketing to build my personal brand and become a platform myself.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest story I can think about in the beginning was when we decided to create a Christmas themed video to help us go viral on social media with a model who would be changing from outfit to outfit without any visible wardrobe changes… well, when the day of the shoot came (and by the way, it was our first ever video we created for Elite Daily) we had NO IDEA what we were doing! We had no wardrobes or props, so I ran out of the apartment to Party City, Victoria’s Secret, and Guess to get whatever I could quickly find at the shopping center. I remember buying this fake snow, large candy cane props, and Santa hats. We started shooting and I started throwing the fake snow over the camera and on to the model but I was so bad at throwing it in the air that I just kept getting it in her mouth and I’ll never forget all of us belly laughing at each other. It was a great memory of the beginning of creating content for our new brand Elite Daily that later would master content at scale. The lesson here was that it’s okay to be naive in the beginning and just start. So many people are afraid to fail or being imperfect that they hinder themselves from even trying. I am all about progression over perfection!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
As for a TIPPING POINT… I can honestly say the real tipping point for me was when I got an offer to have my brand Elite Daily acquired from a billion dollar media company. That was when it really hit me that we have built something extremely special and worth $10’s of millions of dollars because of all our hard work, perseverance, willingness to master our niche, and fail fast. The biggest lesson was that it’s truly about not giving up, going all-in, supporting the team and making sure they too believe in a big vision that aligns with their goals, while leading by example as a founder. Another lesson I learned is that things can change for you in an instance… so always keep your finger on the pulse and be data driven not emotional.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Since the sale of Elite Daily, I started asking myself some tough questions… Honestly I was depressed after the sale because I was like “now what”, “what if I made the wrong decision”, “who is Gerard Adams without Elite Daily”, “what is success for me now”?
This all caused me to go on a spiritual journey within. I started to think about purpose and legacy.
I decided I would go on a long journey around the world in search of today’s modern day leaders to tell their stories of how they found purpose, activated success in their lives, and overcome adversity through an online YouTube show called “Leaders Create Leaders; it’s more than just a show, it’s a movement.” It would be released in episodes as a docu-series with 16 episodes per Season. I am currently filming Season 6. I decided this would be my passion project as I untangled my purpose in helping others find what success was in their own lives and helping them activate it while working with my team to create a movement around their mission through the art of storytelling, content marketing, and business & branding fundamentals. Currently we offer a 6 week accelerator, workshops, and a private year long mastermind.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
To avoid burnout my advice would be to master your rituals and habits daily. I believe in protecting your energy at all costs. I do this by owning my mornings with no social media when I first wake up, making my bed, cold therapy “wim hoff method”, meditation, journaling, reading, exercise, juicing, and music. During the day, I time block the tasks that are my most important priorities as a CEO and Personal Brand and delegate everything else to a highly trained VA, and my team of Avengers using Slack and Monday.com. This allows me to have the space needed for creativity and flow state which is the kryptonite for any marketer. In the evening, I go to a sound healing or breathwork class. All my meals are plant based except for Sundays.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
Brand marketing vs Advertising. Simple — one is for brand awareness which is extremely important to BUILD TRUST which is the core of what builds a long lasting business. I believe brand equity is significantly undervalued in many businesses yet could be the far most unique differentiator any business has that creates culture and community — two critical aspects of any successful brand and business. Advertising on the other hand has one core objective; to catch a potential customers attention and convert them to a sale. Without effective advertising you will have a problem with scale.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
As I have mentioned, branding can not be undervalued by your company. It is extremely important in building a movement around your business meaning raving fans, hacking word of mouth, community, and culture that takes a life of its own… building a brand is directly correlated to how successful of a thriving business you will have as long as your product and customer experience are world-class. Investing in branding and advertising is critical to validating, optimizing, and maximizing your growth potential. Without advertising you will have a very hard time reaching ideal customers at scale.
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
Rebranding could be very beneficial if 1) you notice people have a hard time understanding what it is you do or what the product solution is… sometimes when we overthink a brand we can complicate it. A great rebranding strategy would be to simplify your messaging. A lot of people think of branding just as a logo, and yes that matters too, but it’s so much more than that and most importantly it’s your messaging and positioning to consumers that matters.
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
I believe if it’s not broke don’t fix it and the same goes with rebranding. Also, include your community and customers in the process which can not only bring more creativity but make them feel invested.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
1. Upgrade your messaging to become more concise. For our clients we have them complete a fill in the blank exercise “I help _____ do _____ so that they can _______.”
2. Become an in-house Media Agency. Nowadays we don’t want to just see your ads on facebook or commercials during the superbowl — we want to see a brand have it’s own personality online. Create a consistent content marketing strategy for social media and watch how that changes how the community engages with your brand.
3. The people working at the company and founder should build a personal brand. This creates connection with your customers and audience that there are real human beings that care behind the brand. Let your inner-weirdo out too! You don’t have to be all polished… a personal brand means personality! I remember when I finally got the courage to start my personal brand how much this not only grew my business 3x but it brought fulfillment to myself, our team, and a connection like I’ve never had before with our community.
4. Upgrade your video production. 80% of content consumed online now is video. It’s time your team takes this seriously and brings on board companies like Indirap to create high quality videos that can go viral and blow up your business like it did for Leaders Create Leaders guest Suzy Batiz for her company Poopouri to $500 million using high quality videos on youtube.
5. Take your logo to a new level by making it more modern and ask your customers to vote. If you really want to pick it up a notch, do what companies like Geico, Mr. Peanut, Julio by Pringles, and many more do… bring a character to your brand- whether a real influencer like how Sprint used me or a cartoon.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
A great company recently who rebranded was Dropbox, a service our team uses. They went with a more colorful and complex brand, all to create a message that Dropbox isn’t just for sharing files but a creative place for teams to live. This rebrand is simply because they realized they wanted to spark more growth- like any company thinking of a rebrand- and I think Dropbox’s bold move to a more creative style will cause customers to rethink how they use dropbox moving forward as they evolve. I think every company should do a deep dive into a rebrand but like Dropbox, if you decide it’s time then don’t be afraid to be bold and make a statement.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As far as a movement to help people, it is my legacy to build my movement “leaders create leaders” and will do everything in my power while alive to have it become a platform, accelerator, and community for impact driven entrepreneurs, conscious creators, and heart-led leaders to grow their brands and business. We will continue to do this through our online coaching program, immersive workshops, and year long private mastermind “The Trusted Advisors Network”
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson would be, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden and my Father would always say that to me and teach me that a leader is about character in all areas of your life and how you treat people. I want to be remembered by my character, not reputation.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me on instagram @GerardAdams and DM ME “Authority Magazine” if they found value in this article. You can learn more about the Movement by going to LeadersCreateLeaders.com and watch the show on youtube.com/GerardAdamsTV or the Podcast “Leaders Create Leaders” streaming worldwide on iTunes and Spotify.
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.
Elite Daily Co-founder Gerard Adams: “Here Are 5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.