An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

If you don’t have a strategy for PAID, EARNED and OWNED media you are dead in the water. POEM is a core building block.

As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Nick Kellet.

Founder Nick Kellet is a seasoned tech startup founder. His boardgame, GiftTRAP won 20+ awards and sold 100k units. He owns a lot of decks! As’s co-founder it grew to a top 5k website (per Alexa rankings). GiftTRAP and thrived on a strategy of crowdsourcing, community, and digital media.

He sold his Business Intelligence startup to Business Objects, now part of SAP. He’s an evangelist and community builder with a love for cardboard.

Deckible is backed by a world class development team and a great team of advisors.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have an inch thick binder of rejection letters from 1984. Despite that, I got meetings with companies including Milton Bradley or MB Games.

I pitched them a computer version of Connect Four. I was an early tech nerd and a wizard on the Commodore 64. I nearly quit university to invent games.

Funny story…MB Games said “we don’t think there’s a market for computer games”.

IBM said there was only a market for maybe 5 computers. People turned down the Beatles.

How do you process it when the world’s leading game company doesn’t see the potential for computer games! This was 1984.

Clayton Christensen didn’t write his book Innovator’s Dilemma until 1995!

I got used to rejection really young. “No’s” got me excited.

My parents were super-critical and I guess I got thick-skinned. I became my own feedback machine and I lived in my idea-palace.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Holy, that’s tough competition. Mistakes are where the bullion is buried.

I placed an advert in Lotus User Group’s Magazine. We were advertising training for Microsoft’s database product. Microsoft and Lotus were rivals.

The ad had killer-copy. I got a 200x return. I’ve yet to trump that. And they wouldn’t take my next ad. That sucked! I should have booked a 3 year deal!

I learned; it pays to be controversial.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Standing out is all about story and metaphors.

We never explain anything from scratch. We use metaphors. Movie “X” is like the movie “Y”, but with a “Z”.

“x” is like “Jaws”, but in the jungle. Less is more.

Metaphors are gateway drugs. Powerful metaphors to get you curious and to try things.

Apple’s “1000 songs in your pocket” sold a lot of ipods.

I think of myself as a metaphor hunter.

I call Deckible “Audible for Card-Decks”. 4 words that pack a punch.

Deckible is about digitizing card-decks and that’s unique but the metaphor explains that.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I invent for a living. I’m always on to something new.

My new project is Deckible — “Audible for card decks”. We’re proudly repurposing the ipods tagline as “100 decks in your pocket”

You may be unaware of the size of the card deck market, but card decks are huge, and best yet, they have not been digitized until now. 100,000+ unique decks have been published. That shocks people who aren’t in the know.

People love decks, but they are bulky, so they get left at home. We fix that problem.

I love a good “Fro-To” — it should be a word.

From: Left at home

To: In your pocket

Movies, Books and Audio Books have all been successfully digitized. We know who won those marketplace wars…. NOT the creators.

With printing and shipping costs exploding, artists need new ways to sell their art. Digital Card-Decks on Deckible is a new profitable option for artists.

Deckible fills that void.

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 is about story. I buy into Apple’s story. You could call me an “Apple fanboy”. That’s brand marketing, but brand marketing is not infallible.

I thought the Apple watch sucked. That’s product marketing. They failed the product level, at least for me. I was not an early adopter.

The brand didn’t carry me into the watch category.

I’d buy an Apple car over a Tesla.

Our brains are made up of a bunch of complex decision trees.

Marketing is about decoding and leveraging these trees like levers.

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?

Passion is a proxy or pseudonym for energy and when it exists, you don’t need to pay for “energy”. So nurture, discover and gather an army of passionate fans.

Branding is about creating passion and curiosity for what you do.

Marketing budgets are finite and laden with friction. They come with burdens and responsibilities, so use them wisely.

Invest in removing friction so future marketing flows more easily,

I mentioned earlier that I believe in creating “living things”. Living things are alive and exude free energy. When your product is alive your customers propel you.

Create all the free fuel you can to launch your rocket. And you reduce the possibility of failure. Involve so many people that failure is not an option.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

I’m a big fan of “P.O.E.M.” Paid, owned, earned media. So that accounts for three elements of your media strategy.

If you don’t have a strategy for PAID, EARNED and OWNED media you are dead in the water. POEM is a core building block.

I prefer to use “S.C.O.P.E.” as a better model than POEM. SCOPE = Social, collaborative, owned, paid & earned media. SOCIAL and COLLABORATION are the 4th and 5th elements of my strategy.

SCOPE is about leveraging 1:9:90. Sadly many people haven’t heard of the 1% rule. It’s about nurturing the silent majority — the 90%.

1.9:90 is why social works. They are the building blocks that will lead you to success and make you mindful of creating a living brand based around audience participation and collaboration.

If your product/idea/brand is not shareable or collaboration-worthy then my simple advice is go back to the drawing board until it is.

My life experience validates SCOPE and this mindset.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

AlleyMan Tarot is the most funded tarot project on kickstarter. 22k units pre-sold.

I’m a huge fan of crowdsourcing and community and this project did it all. The deck was sourced from 100+ decks from 100+ creators. It’ was a mashup deck.

Their facebook fans group could not wait for the deck to arrive, so started mailing cards to each other to create their own mashup decks.

I used to love Jones Soda for this reason, but that’s an old example. Alleyman is a modern remake.

You can replicate this by stepping back from managing everything and letting your customers shine.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

I’d said it all comes down to SCOPE.

You want to nurture activity on all 5 dimensions. That’s like playing with a full orchestra.

The best thing about SCOPE is the elements all play off each other, perhaps Jazz is a better metaphor than a full orchestra.

I want my advertising to play into my brand and community and social.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

It’s woven in from the ground-up. It’s part of the DNA. It’s never lipstick on a pig.

Make it easy and compelling for anyone in your ecosystem to participate in social around your brand.

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. 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot about “artists helping artists”. I love tools that let people collaborate at scale.

There’s a huge gap between musicians that make a good living and those that don’t. Artists are the same.

I think there is potential here creating something.

I used to love Twitter in the 2009–2012 period. The twitter chats, #followfridays and the retweets. So many cool cultural norms .Perhaps there is new hope under Elon’s watch.

Go share 5 artists you love and pay it forward.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Who are you to the tiger?” is a question an early mentor asked me. I’ve used it on every project I’ve ever touched.

It’s just a great way of asking what is your role on the stage of life, where do you play in the picture. And who are the actors in your play?

Are you the hunter? The mosquito on the tiger’s back. The ringmaster at the circus. Or the audience at the Magic show in Vegas? Or the tiger’s next snack?

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’m a huge fan of Ryan Holiday. I’ve read every book he’s written since “Trust me I’m lying”. He got me into stoicism.

And now he runs a bookstore in Texas amongst other things.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’m @nickkellet on all the socials. And you can find me at

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Nick Kellett Of Deckible On Five Things You Need To Build A Trusted And Beloved Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Recommended Posts