Viral Factor

+ the role of discounting, the survey on packaging & more

The brand world today revolves around audience, and there’s a number of ways to engage with it and harness it to your needs, on every scale.

On Instagram, simple aesthetic versions of normal products used to dominate, then last year more avante garde “shocking” versions of products became the norm, and now we are in the year of multi-function.

Any founder who has a product that can be used in multiple ways and is ripe for content creation can break the mold into accessing audience. By telling their story again and again in video, viral winners can bypass the traffic and notoriety of established players in their industry in a matter of weeks.


Cointel - make an eye-catching bag that turns into a jacket. Show it creatively. Repeat in perpetuity.

Elise Daniel - This bag doesn’t even look that great, and it doesn’t matter. They made 40 mediocre videos to start, and then you can see in the red in the bottom right, a new format did better than usual… then they redid it on the latest video, and ultra massive virality ensued.

In major brand news, GAP, once known for leveraging celebrity as their primary marketing, from Spike Lee to Madonna, has done a far departure from that and their prior collab with Kanye - and has now smartly dropped to a mid-tier influencer set to lead their new campaign. Their latest multimedia campaign is part music video, TikTok dance performance, and influencer studded lookbook, leveraging musical artists Tyla and Jungle to tap directly into their target demographic versus shooting for massive celebrity that inherently appeals to no one.

On TikTok, many feeds are dominated by content from and about Tarte’s “Trippin with Tarte” - an influencer trip from the mildly controversial cosmetic brand where the brand brought 30 influencers to Bora Bora.

Importantly, the trip was made without deliverables of the influencers, they were asked to simply come and participate, and then gifted incredible amounts of product, luggage from other brands, the ability to bring a husband or mom, and so many trippling down on the amount of content they’d make if under contract.

Tarte has eternally gotten the plot, they’ve become one of the biggest names in cosmetics and one of the biggest brands on TikTok shop by having users in their demographic be forced into an inescapable influencer reality show that has a life of its own across thousands of accounts - an endless stream of content of actions executed at Tarte trip locations and endless response videos to the brand and individual influencers action analyzing and creating takes on every move. For every consumer that enjoys it, there are probably two that don’t, and at least one negative critical thinkpiece about them every hour, but they’ve adopted “all press is good press” into 300k+ TikTok shop orders as of December.

We see this non-stop influencer reality show concept in cosmetics, who are years ahead of other industries in marketing, right now. This same methodology of intense influencer courting, powerful storylines and relentless reality-based engagement at scale will play out across every industry you can imagine. The first mover players in vehicles, B2B Saas, agencies, food groups will see incredible results. Every major brand group needs to be abandoning their current influencer efforts and thinking about storytelling at scale in a way that will inevitably go beyond their control.

And last, in the world of neue-celebrity, fans in the comments are getting fatigued at just how many brands Kylie Jenner has, as she launches her ready-to-drink alcoholoic seltzer brand Sprinter.

When you have influence of a certain size you can act on, your advantage is so outsized that its hard for companies and people to comprehend. Almost anything well executed can work because of the sheer scale organic content enables. Kylie’s team executes it to the point where fans don’t even know all the brands she owns, and we can prepare of far more of that from the digital-native influencer crowd.

Whether a big brand, a new designer, or an established influencer, the new attention economy is still in its infancy.

Leverage it.


A few weeks ago I broke down bundling strategies for brands and here's another perfect example of how to use data to understand strategy in your niche online. 

Looking at the same Craftd screenshot I shared prior, you can also see that in my chosen time period (over the Holidays) every single one of their top product's average sale price is 20-25% off.    This discounting column shows by product and can be looked at over time, and is one of my favorite Particl features.

Seeing this is a perfect catalyst to dive into the role discounting plays as part of your brand strategy. 

Discounting is often a tool for consumer psychology and less about the actual price of the product.  Since the Particl data shows Craftd is discounting all of their best sellers 20-25%,in this period, we can assume seeing they're leaning towards buyers who wanted to get their holiday shopping at a discount.

Some brands take an "always on" approach to discounting, they'll price at $95 vs $75 and then always have coupons easily available, or a sale running on the site.  There are compliance concerns to be aware of about always having sales running live, but using discounts as a lead capture tool and assuming the majority of your sales (both initial and followup) will have them in your business model is an effective strategy for not just converting consumers looking for a deal but also growing your contact lists.

With Particl's ability to monitor discounting over time  you can compare discounts over different periods. For instance we can see if a company has a seasonal strategy they always use, or just did this last year, and they go back to full price during Valentines Day or Summer, and begin to see the impact it has on sales velocity. 

Discounting is a tool, and there are lots of brands who have worked out a strategy there that works for them, and starting from that data point. Particl gives you the ability to leverage what brands have spent years testing to find a sweet spot into your own ecommerce strategy.

Learn more about Particl HERE.

This segment sponsored by Particl.


We make a lot of content about packaging and brand presentation, but what do consumers actually care about? We’ve launched a survey (powered by Survey Monkey) and would love your input on how you shop, what you care about, and how you engage with product packaging.

We cover:

  • sustainability

  • share-ability

  • texture

  • exploratory versus recurring purchases

  • & more!

We’ll be sharing all the results with everyone who participates! Already at about 300 and would love to get to 500 so we have a nice big dataset to work from, so appreciate any takers!


Customization options for popular electronics is a game of aesthetics x speed to market x social distribution.

The butter renaissance:

The power of a limited color pallette:

The catalog aesthetic. Who is bringing Eastbay back for the lads?


The next Cut30 content bootcamp with Oren and crew that’s helped 200+ creators and brands launch and improve their short form video skills for Instagram, TikTok and Youtube Shorts starts in April, learn more here.


Check out our market reports. We spend many, 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

Market 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.