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Making social content that crushes, scaling affiliate programs, and more

Couple notes

First off, we’ve received so much positive feedback on the Luxury Report we collaborated on with Vaan—you can still get your copy here!

If you’re looking for our packaging factories from the other week and the interview with Tim from Bandit, grab it here.

This week, we’re discussing scaling affiliate programs, creating great brand social media content, and featuring an interview with Creative Director Sam Day!

How to scale affiliate programs for your brand

Look, affiliate and loyalty programs get a bad rep.

But that’s often got more to do with how they’re branded than whether they’re or not they’re any good.

Too many brands have affiliate programs with traditional influencers from the top down.

Problem is, you’re not always incentivizing those creators beyond what any other brand is offering them.

Instead, reward loyalty from the already loyal—bottom-up.

Your happy customers are the brand evangelists. So, incentivize them!

Here are a few ways that me and Oren would this out with our own brand:

  1. Engage them via IRL events or make a private group on Facebook or Geneva.

  2. Gamify loyalty by letting every customer create their own affiliate to accrue cash back, store credits, or gift products anytime someone uses their unique link.

  3. Set aside inventory each month you can allocate towards gifting random packages. That’ll only pay dividends (note: this also works great for re-engaging customers who haven’t bought something in a while).

You can do all of this with Superfiliate's awesome landing page platform, fully integrated with Shopify.

Viva Raw Pet is a textbook customer for them, having used Superfiliate’s product to build customer affiliate pages to amass an army of 25,000+ affiliates already, each customer with a unique URL.

Twenty Five Thousand.


Here’s what that page looks like 👇

Check out how their product works if you want to create your own custom landing pages.

This section presented in partnership with Superfiliate.

Making brand social content that works

Oren here, and this week I’m going to rant a bit on brand social media.

Over the weekend, a clip of me recorded on the Third Eye Insights podcast sparked some… passionate discussion.

It started with the idea that brands constantly will complain their content isn’t getting reach, or that they’re shadowbanned.

But the real answer—the majority of the time—is that their content just isn’t good.

Plenty of brands can suffer from the algorithm. Cannabis, prohibited items, and controversial content will suffer from reach. But for the majority of brands selling a service or product that is not restricted, the issue in their content stems from not giving consumers what they want to see.

The algorithms—Instagram, TikTok, Youtube Shorts don’t owe your art or brand promotion. They show people what they share with others, what they save, what they watch all the way through.

To succeed, your brand needs to make content that does these things.

Brands have a choice. Create content that:

A. Drives value

Genuine, useful content that improves peoples lives (how-to’s, education, motivation).

This can be value-related to your brand! The story behind it, how to use it, how to style it, the feng-shui or putting it in your home, recipes, games, whatever makes sense to your niche.

But at the same time, don’t be afraid to step outside of your product…

If you sell interior items, what philosophy or value can you drive to people who want a better-designed home? How can you help people improve in the kitchen if you sell olive oil? If you sell automotive themed apparel, want to help people learn how to rebuild a carburetor?

B. Entertains

Using humor, aesthetics or creativity, create something that is just as entertaining as any creator content or competitive entertainment. Remember, Instagram and TikTok compete with Netflix and Peacock as much as they compete with each other. This means, entertainment content needs to do the same.

Brand content can be entertaining on short form by being beautifully executed and adhering to social media principles (most importantly, holding people to view using a “hook”)

C. Fails

If you are not in one of the buckets above, your brand content will likely fail. You can have a combination of the two as well. The only brands that I’ve seen break out of organic social without this have incredibly viral products, which is a blessing not many of us have to play with. And even then…

Bear this in mind going into all planning.

Then, I love to look at content like a funnel:

  • The top - wide content meant for success and shareability, short vignettes and moments optimized for reels that bring consumers to your page - and most importantly, you'll notice when you like or follow someones content, you get shown more of it, particularly on Instagram. This content activates the way the networks work, in your favor. In the styles section below the “quick aesthetic shots” section is my favorite way to get moving

  • The middle - this is just great, day-to-day content designed to build resonance and credibility with your customers, the value and entertainment above, your product, presented in winning formats

  • Then, the bottom - content specific to sell things for you. Performance matters less than results.

Balance these according to your priorities, and you'll have a better strategy than 99% of brands on social

So where to begin?

I’ve written up a sheet from my personal swipe file of brand content with different concepts your team can work on.

I’m not focused on “building” content here at all; that’s a bit different. Instead, we’re talking about actual brand promotional content

Style References

You should keep these video concepts in the queue for your brand. If you are trying to figure out where to get started, take one of these videos you like and write it out shot for shot.

  • opening package 1.5s

  • closeup of label .5s

  • etc etc

This gives you a script to try, based on something already successful. If you’re just getting started, make your life easy by writing out existing formats and filling it with similar shots of your product. This works so well to break the seal!

The beautiful unveil - build suspense with your package, then focus on showing off your details. This works with artful application on Instagram. Nice cameras, interesting angles.

The key walkthrough

Pick an interesting component of your product and walk through it:

Or get on camera and educate with a little bit of personality:

The exciting use case

I love to incorporate action into tips and use cases. The combination of learning something while there is action happening is a recipe for success.

This is one I worked on at Gel Blaster. This tip could be done static, or it could be done… under fire.

Another one from when I was working on social at Lift. This tutorial video does 100x as well because the process is happening live on the water.

Can you explain something about your running product… while running? Your food product… during dinner? Adding a second interesting component to an idea is a great way to get traction on social.

The viral use case

Ask yourself… what visual elements or through-lines would make our value content more viral? Making it comically oversized is a bit of a surefire winner:

The showcase - POV or thematic holding intro, then fast repetition

This is great for process unveils, showing off multiple products, or a physical location. You want a drawn out hook… a catchy first shot that holds just a second or so too long but makes people keep hanging, then a fast repetitive reveal that makes people want to watch again.

Introducing new branding:

A behind the scenes example:

The fast storytell

If writing is someone on your brand team’s strength, make a fully scripted, extremely fast moving version of your brand story. Examples of varying production value below.


Just 2 weeks later… thank you guys for all your support❤️

Big shout out to Spencer, whose crushed it on short form and is one of the OG Cut30 grads.

The quick aesthetic shot

This is my favorite brand top-of-full content, a palette cleanser of sorts. 4-8s, an interesting visual mechanism with the product incorporated, that injects a bit of fun. Doesn’t skyrocket sales but gets the juices back flowing and the eye balls coming, with something that is often just a few shots at most

The art piece

If you have a true creative team, get them to create within parameters that will stand out on social. What looks like nothing else on the network?

The artful edit

Similar to the unveil above, but without the packaging removal as the hook. How can you, in an entertaining, aesthetically pleasing way, show your product. Beautiful product shots, as entertainment

Hope you find some good ideas in the above!

I stayed VERY straightforward versus more off-the-wall concepts, and ignored “builder” content besides the storytelling videos, because I feel all these are easier to execute and test for existing brands.

A note on content types:

People have preferences in the content they consume, I released a video about this today with Artlist. Some of us see lots of green screen content and talking heads, others see purely artistic videos, or heavily edited fashion reels, or all viral clips… if you have just one account in one aesthetic style you can be limiting the potential of your impact.

There will be a lot of talk about this over the next six months, and the topic is just coming to a head.

If your brand hasn’t found success in a certain aesthetic style… try others. If you’re starting new… try starting with more than one account and working the angles on the content.

Lots to explore here.

If you want to work with a group on better content as a creator or brand, the next 30 Day Cut30 bootcamp starts Tuesday: LEARN MORE

Dissecting the creative process

In our second installment of this Creative interview series, we chat with the one and only Sam Day, a Berlin-based Creative Director from Vaan.

Sam has incredible taste, so we’re pumped to learn about his creative process, building a team around him, and how to improve creative operations at large.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I started my career in London working at huge creative agencies before quickly moving back to my hometown to make a bigger impact at a smaller agency just starting. I joined as the only designer and built the team up to become an award-winning agency that opened an international office in Berlin, Germany.

At that point, COVID hit, and suddenly, we were all stuck inside. Alongside Tiger King and online ab workouts, I decided to spend 2020 working on my own portfolio and creating something unlike anything I’d seen or that I thought was possible.

The result was an illustrated, scroll-based, zooming portfolio site that takes the user on a journey through my mind. This portfolio attracted considerable industry attention and won many awards, most notably Website of the Year from Dezeen.

It also got the attention of Xavier Armand, founder and CEO of Vaan, who was searching for a creative director to lead the design team and expand Vaan’s creative offering.

Fast-forward three years, and we’ve designed and built sites for Hailey Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Gordon Ramsey, and Jacob & Co. and have many more exciting projects coming out very soon.

What does the creative team composition look like on your team?

I try to keep the creative team of senior talent with a wide skill range, from analytical UX design to creative brand building, with every team member able to take on a diverse portfolio of work.

To achieve this, we heavily invest in mentoring and education to ensure each team member is growing their skills and remaining best in class.

As a fully remote team, we rarely employ junior talent (although there can be exceptions) as remote work requires a certain level of independence and a base skill level that’s difficult to teach without a huge amount of time invested on an individual level.

What creatives do you look up to and find inspiration from currently?

As individuals, Louis Paquet, Zhenya Rynzhuk, and Niccolo Miranda are pushing the boundaries and leading the industry.

Agency-wise, I look up to Build in Amsterdam, Locomotive, Obys, and Numbered Studio. If you don’t know these guys, I highly recommend following their work!

Where do you find yourself turning for inspiration?

Personally, I try not to look at other websites for inspiration; I try to get my inspiration from books, poster designs, illustrations, and packaging. I run an Instagram page for poster design in Berlin, which captures a mixture of DIY posters and high-budget agency work I get a lot of inspo from.

If I am looking online a mixture of Pinterest and Awwwards are the best sources of inspiration for me.

Any tips for teams trying to get better at creative operations?

Be flexible and open to change. Our process is always changing and improving, so don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment.

A lot of our process improvements come from Pitch work, where there is higher pressure and a faster pace, which forces you to come up with new approaches and techniques to present and explain work.

Where can people find you online?

Hyper Reports

Check out our market reports. We spend many hours researching markets, categories, and brands & products within the consumer space–all so that you don’t have to.

  • How to Source Blanks 101 — HERE — a guide to finding and producing your own merch

  • Reports on Running, Golf, and Tennis — HERE — a guide to each sport, the market opportunities, and how to launch your own brand

Inquiries? Shoot us a note here: [email protected]

We’d love to chat!

Oren & Clayton ❤️ you