Jake Bjorseth is the CEO at Trndsttrs Media, an agency that connects brands to Gen Z customers. They have worked with companies big and small—from local retail shops to McDonald’s—devising strategies for reaching the world’s fastest-growing consumer group.
Prior to Trndstrrs, Jake Co-founded and was the Chief Growth Officer at Social Apex.
In episode 8 of the MOV Podcast, Pranav Chimulkar ( Cofounder at guch.me & Host at the MOV Podcast) and Jake discussed how Gen Z’s new-age marketing tactics have fundamentally changed the existing marketing landscape; and how it’s all downhill for traditional marketers if they don’t respond to the constant shifts in consumer dynamics.
Jake also spoke about his story, as well as his projections for the marketing industry.
So without further ado, tune in to learn more such interesting marketing insights only on the Mad Over Videos Podcast by guch featuring Jake Bjorseth.
Pranav Chimulkar: Hey guys, welcome back to the MOV podcast, we are on episode eight. We’ve done seven before, it has been a very good journey for us. We’ve improved and over time, we’ve also learned a lot. Right. And I think today, we wanted to do something a little different. So we have a guest from us. Right. So like, I think we’ve been covering a lot of different topics on the podcast about videos. We had marketers, we’ve had communications specialists, we also plan to bring sales professionals, etc. And again, today, what we plan to do is so we’ve encountered some small glitch. I think we should be back. Right, sorry for the interruption. Yes. So today, I think today’s episode, we are going to talk about a different audience, the segment of the population, which is called Gen Z. And for this, we’ve invited someone on the podcast as a guest, who’s a true representation of the demographic. So today, we have Jake, who’s the founder of Trndsttrs, right. Like, and without much ado, I just want to add Jake to the stream and get started because we already run. We are running a little behind our schedule. So I’ll quickly add Jake to the stream. Jake, how are you doing?
Jake Bjorseth: Fantastic can’t complain at all. Thanks so much. For the invite. Is it midnight, your time right now?
Pranav Chimulkar: Yes. So it’s six past where we are at midnight in India? I think we still have a few people watching the podcast though. So that’s interesting.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, that’s fantastic to hear some. Some, I guess, late sleepers. But yeah, that’s awesome to hear love the hustle man for hopping on late.
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure. I think I think without much ado, we should start with a conversation. I might have not done justice to your introduction. So I’d just like you to start with that. If you could just give you give us a background about you. And trndsttrs in a couple of lines, because then I think we’ll come back to what trndsttrs do towards the end of our conversation.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, of course. So, I’m the founder of an agency called trendsetters media, what we do is help brands understand and reach Generation Z consumers, which is that generation that’s now described as the generation between 13 and 25. So myself, I’m a 21-year-old individual, we have a team of about 18 right now, all between the age of I think our youngest is like 17 to 26. So it’s certainly it’s a Gen Z, you know, led and owned operation. And we’ve put a lot of brands in the s&p startup space. We’ve also had a, you know, privilege to work with brands, like Mike McDonald’s, like Danny’s, North Face UnitedHealthcare, Coca Cola, some of the biggest brands in the world. And so it’s certainly been an interesting experience. And, you know, we’re all about understanding and being able to reach our generation of consumers, which consumes not only content, not only social media, but even the products and brands around us so differently. And so, I think it’s vital everything that we do and really our mission is to create better, more badass experiences for Gen Z consumers that are simply fed up with how things have been done, for the last decades and centuries. And you know, what’s something new? And what’s something fresh and we can provide that to them?
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure. I think while we’re at it, I think let us set up the context for the audience. I think a lot of people might not actually know, what’s the difference between a millennial and Gen Z, right. So I have a quick infographic to throw on the screen, if you can walk me through the difference between the two demographics? That’d be great.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, certainly. So you know, one of the biggest differences between millennials and Gen Z. And whenever we approach this, we challenge our brand partners and anyone in the marketing realm, to really understand that Gen Z is not just millennials, Millennials on steroids, you know, we can’t just take the attributes and characteristics of millennials and say, okay, with Gen Z is going to be just double that there’s actually a lot of differences, and Gen Z is often paradoxical in their differences with millennials, in particular, what you can see with growing up in an economic boom, which was the millennials, per se, from growing up in a recession, we’ve seen that very much change how both millennials and Gen Z think about not only money but also their career, Gen Z, comparative to millennials is saving earlier, they’re trying to advance their career sooner, they’re taking on one if not multiple jobs as early as 14,15, 16, thanks to a digital economy. And so you know, that’s a big driver for them. Whereas with millennials, we saw the generation that, you know, kind of just wanted to enjoy life and a little bit more altruistic and happy and avocado toast, and so on. Whereas now with millennials, or with Gen Z, rather, what we’re seeing is this generation that they are very much nose to the grindstone, they want to work hard, they want to advance their career very soon. And, that’s going to cause a lot of problems in the market. But it’s also going to create, you know, Vince opportunities for incredible individuals out there. So, for all the Gen Z’s out there, just know that you’re doing a great job. And any of the flack that comes from Millennials are boomers or Gen X, just ignore that, because, at its current pace, Gen Z is the most diverse generation ever. It’s also the generation that is set up to be more financially successful than any generation in the past. So right track, you’re young, you don’t have to be a millionaire by the time you’re 25. You guys got this.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, but I think I think what you said is true, I think I have a few more statistics to add to that argument. One, I think it is close to one-third of the current world population, right? It’s about 30. Right. And it is also projected to command nearly 40% of all the consumer shopping. Right? And, and a $44 billion in buying power 40 billion with a B, as reported by the National Retail Foundation. That’s that’s a huge number for any brand that is looking out to target these guys. Right. That said it, that number could be even bigger. I’ve also read that this could be somewhere close to 600 billion, when you consider that they also have an influence on the household purchasing decisions for the previous generations, because they are more digitally savvy. I think they also make a few decisions for their parents and their grandparents. I think that amounts to a very, very big number.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, yeah, certainly, I think their influence on household buying is probably the biggest takeaway to understand their value. You know, baby boomers as parents, which raised millennials, and younger Gen X, they were very much more disciplined, strict parents. And we saw that with a very rebellious generation, and millennials were Gen X and millennial parents of Gen Z, or the generation you know, so called as being friends with your kid, which has certainly become the norm, at least in countries like the United States, where kids are disciplined as much. And it’s very much more of a friendly relationship, which I think in the net can create some good things as long as you have a disciplined framework around that. But what that allows for is their influence on buying power is greater than ever. This is a generation now when you think about trends that have ultimately changed our markets, think about healthier products, think about sustainable products that are happening in every industry. Think about the first specific example. Think about kombucha and how that got into the market. And when you look at all these trends what you’ll see is oftentimes it is the younger generations 16 to 24, that they start consuming they buy into it. And then what do they do they get their parents hooked on it. And that Thanksgiving, holiday season, and all those different things. That’s when it’s passing everywhere. And my favorite example, hands down his Facebook in 2010. Who was your average user on Facebook? Who was a 20-year-old college student, right? Well, now it’s 2020. And my grandma spends more time on Facebook than I ever will. And you know, that it’s only a 10-year difference, I’m 10 years older, she’s 10 years older, but she wasn’t 20, you know, 10 years ago by any means. So that kind of shows you how quickly things can accelerate. But it also proves are some opportunities where something can become a trend with younger generations, maybe sparkling water, you know, maybe kombucha maybe it’s avocados as a whole, like the entire, you know, just fruit or vegetable or whatever they classified as so I think it’s really important to take that into consideration, like how it affects massive global trends.
Pranav Chimulkar: So I think what’s also so we’ve spoken about the positive side, about the consumerism of the generation, what’s not so good about this is the flip side that Gen Z doesn’t remember a time before the internet, right? They were born with iPads and iPhones in their hands. So they don’t remember, like, an era before the internet. And also that makes it difficult for marketers because they can smell the obvious sell.
Jake Bjorseth: Yes, yeah, one of the biggest difficulties in advertising right now is ad insensitivity. It is this notion that you see an ad, you know, it’s an ad right away, and you blatantly ignore it. And if you’ve ever searched anything on Google, and the PPC ads, come up right away the sponsored ones, right? What do you always do you go right past those, you can get to the real answer that you’re looking for. Right? And that’s a really good example. But the thing, the same thing happens when you are, you know, say you’re watching an NBA basketball game with your buddies, right? And a commercial comes on in between breaks, what is the first thing you immediately do? Are you still sitting there glued at the screen? No, you’re pulling out your phone, you’re checking Twitter, you’re seeing what all the analysts are saying, You’re seeing what’s on Instagram about the game? What are people talking about? And what they’ve actually studied is, there’s actually more traffic that happens on Twitter during a big game, then does within the commercials for those that are actually watching it. So, you know, that’s a really good example of ad insensitivity, which is a serious problem for brands. And the other thing too is inauthenticity. You know, we can sniff that from very far away, we know what that looks like. And this is a generation that has had brands that they’ve grown up with, think about brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, that have blatantly just been feeding our children at a very young age, these products made from blatantly crap. And the same can be said about fast-food restaurants, and about clothing companies that have sweatshops and other you know, other countries and things of that nature. And this is a generation that those flaws are now being exposed because we can go on the internet anytime, in fact, check it. And so what you’re starting to see is new brands and new spaces bubble up with solutions to those problems. And you see Gen Z, moving away from traditional brands that we grew up with that our household, at least in America, household brands, I mean, these are staples, globally, some of the biggest brands in the world and saying, you know what, I’m sick of that I want something new, I want something that’s gonna align with my morals, my responsibilities. And so it makes it really difficult for a brand because you can no longer hide. You know, and I think that’s the biggest thing in the market taking place right now is there’s nowhere to hide anymore. You have to be transparent, you have to be honest with consumers and you’re not gonna be able to hide artificial high fructose corn syrup in your product, you’re not gonna be able to hide the fact that it was manufactured off offshore in this other area, even though you say it wasn’t, you’re not gonna be able to hide those things anymore. And so, as that bubbles up, I think it’s really vital for brands and for consumers alike to understand that.
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure. So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I think the video is being the medium to play around with for Gen Z’s, I think they consume a lot more video than any other condition out there. For obvious reasons, I think smartphone penetration or data penetration in terms of ease of access to resources, I think it’s been like the video consumption has been so high in the past few years. And talk me through the journey, I think. I think you generally saw a lot of Instagram, they hopped onto Snapchat after that post that Tik Tok came to go the world, and then I think there have been a few changes of late for tik tok, I think there have been some controversies in India where they are the banned right now in India, they are having some trouble with the like, with Trump, etc. in us, right. So, and so Instagram is going to make a comeback with reels. Right? Why do you talk me through that journey?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so, you know, this is a generation that is video first. And the reason why is because all stuff over here, grab a book off the shelf. This because here’s a book, way too many pages, right? I don’t have time to read this for eight hours, I can go on here, watch a YouTube video summary in 10 minutes. So the generation, we want our information fast, we don’t want to have to call up anything, we want to go do it ourselves. And, and so that’s the reason why video is so popular. And that’s why a platform like Tik Tok that is 100% video drive, fills up your entire phone screen. And it’s quick, short to the point videos. That’s why it was so popular. And so, we’re gonna continue to see more video consumption. And what’s been interesting if you actually study and look at like consumer usage in terms of watch time, and started back in 1960, with a TV, and then you take that through all the new mediums that we’ve had, since what you often find is when there’s no introduction of a new medium, our watch, time is not going down. It’s not being displaced across those, it’s just we spend more collective time on all of them. And so, you know, I think the place of phones in the place of social media has very much replaced a little bit like how we would treat TV and things of that nature. But it’s also amplified our efforts because when I go to the bathroom for 30 seconds, I can pull up that phone and watch 10 videos real quick. So, I think that’s something that is only going to continue to trend upwards. And now I think it’s vital that not only brands but also consumers, must know how to communicate through video effectively. You’re not going to navigate waters without it, especially in a world that is now 100% Digital because people are on lockdown. So I think that’s step one. And then you know, in terms of Tik Tok right now, with India, there’s definitely a lot of concerns. The recent Oracle kind of partnership is at least showing up concerns in the US we have a lot of client partners on Tik Tok so I’m in close contact actually with Tik Tok reps to stay up to date on everything happening there. You know, the sad reality is there’s a lot of what’s happening in the market right now is simply just political conversations and, and kind of stances and such. You know, when you think about a US-China showdown, when you think about it, India, China showdown of which I know, at a political level had some problems recently, which I love to me, by the way, that India is really fighting over there. You know, I think it just goes to show that like how much politics weigh in on these problems, and just the magnitude of them, like the fact that Tiktok is staging, what will be, you know, not world war three, but the next war of such, which, which end, you know, 2020 and so on the environment, it’s not going to be hand to hand combat, it’s not going to be war, it’s going to be a war of knowledge, it’s who can acquire the best technology and information and data, whoever does that is going to win the most over the next century, not who can acquire a bunch of lands and go, you know, fight wars, that that is antiquated stuff that’s not going to take place. So, you know, I think we’re seeing a really interesting movement happening there. And in any a particular, I don’t know, I don’t know enough information as to, you know, does a competitor take the place does take come back, I think Tik Tok might come back in India after some privacy, regulations and such. But if I’m India, I’m also like, why am I not launching my own version of Tik Tok? The source code is pretty simple, the algorithm, very elementary, you know, this is something that you could probably buy a similar algorithm from Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for $10 million. I’m sure they charge more but and create your own version of it. And, what’s your population right now? Is it close to a billion? Is it over a billion?
Pranav Chimulkar: Somewhere around that.
Jake Bjorseth: Exactly. So why are you letting us small countries like the US with only 300 whatever million people run your guys’ social media, I know you guys need to own that. So I really like to move from a nationalist perspective and I can’t wait to see the innovation that’s going to come out of India over the next 10 years. If they do stay true to that band. And I’ll tell you firsthand, we’ll be the first agency in there when they launch their own version of Tick Tock to see what we can do there because that that that Asia market, particularly India and Gen Z, There is really fascinating to us I see this next booming market you know, it’s already booming in terms of business but it’s gonna boom in terms of like consumer usage and just the median spin that’s going to take place at from 18 to 20-year-olds there.
Pranav Chimulkar: I think you brought up an interesting point I think if you look at the current market, I think there have been a few players that have popped out. I’d not like to name a lot of them, but then there are a few who try to become India’s Tik Tok is of Prime Minister Modi’s own campaigns where they encourage people to make them more self-dependent, and, and to make in India, I think there have been a few new entrepreneurs who’ve taken this route, I think a few pivots can happen from their existing business models, a few new entrants are there in the market. So I think that’ll be interesting to see. We’re also waiting and watching from the sidelines. We also are video first when it comes to our operations. So I think it’s interesting for us to also Wait and watch how that’s gonna play. But then I think I’ll just take you a step back, and then I’m going to throw this question at you. We started with Instagram, right? A lot of Instagram videos, typically, are about a minute long, like 60 seconds, the video was more common on Instagram. And then Snapchat came with Snapchat was like, it tested people’s content creation skills, right? Whether it was content creators, from the consumer side, or from the brand side. It just played around with the attention span and it just like, I don’t know, it was what, 10 seconds. That is what it was.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, Snapchat was about 10. I think they lengthen it to 15. But it used to just be 10 on sending something.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. So I mean, this is a statistic I picked up from the internet, I cannot really, like confirm the source. But then they say that the Generation Z attention span is somewhere close to eight seconds, which is four seconds less than the previous generation, millennials. I mean, what’s happening that I mean, according to me, that’s maybe not really an attention span problem, if I were to call it it is more of a very sophisticated filter, instead of lack of attention.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah. To me, there’s so much and you know, one of my favorite reads of all time that I challenge everyone to look into Yuval Noah Harari, any book he publishes, should be 100% read, but Sapiens the origins of humanity, and what that looks like, Homo Deus is another. And I have one here, 21 lessons for the 21st century. But everything stems from our origin of humanity, and how our brains like are ultimately put together how they function. And, you know, so much of marketing is now neuroscience, which is really interesting to see. But, the note of attention span is a conversation about computing power, and go look at the evolution of computers, and humans are gonna follow a similar trajectory. Now, is it gonna be as quick as computers ever? No, the reality is artificial intelligence can just move at a faster pace than any human actually can. But, you know, generations are a lot like, you know, laptops or computers, and the fact that each new generation that comes on board, they’re going to be able to process and compute information at a much quicker rate than previous generations. You know, it’s actually sad right now that in one day for the average American that is I’m sure this is the case for me, you know, digitally connected world for that matter. But the average consumer today consumes more information in one day, then a 15th century, individual would in their entire lifetime, which is kind of insane. I don’t know if that’s the exact right step. But you know, you get the point. It’s a matter of, there’s so much more information and so much more content and so much more to happen, that they’re just going to move at a faster pace. But we in marketing advertising have to do the same. I think there’s this notion that we just have to capture their attention first, and then we’re good. And what we’ve actually found is, we need to stimulate that interest throughout the entire process, because we’re going to lose that attention at any point. This is not a crack mind. And I think there’s also a negative stimulus put towards the fact that their attention span is so low, but I actually think see it as the number one reason why Gen Z is so impactful, because we’re going to be able to learn faster. If we’re gonna be able to communicate quicker, and we’re going to be able to make a change in a much shorter period of time. And that acceleration of change is the most important thing for humanity as a whole. I know I’m getting super macro here, but I think it highlights the importance of that. So from a marketing advertising and business perspective, we have to understand that we need our system, our consumer journey needs to follow that same trajectory. You know, it doesn’t have to be an eight-second window necessarily, but it needs to be one that is influencing speed, it’s getting to the point, it’s quick, because this is a consumer that they can see an ad real quick on their phone, and purchase that product within 30 seconds down, if not less, right. And so we need to align our business’s processes accordingly. And you know, that makes things challenging for marketers and advertisers. But it makes it all the more fun being Gen Z in this landscape.
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure, I’m thinking, not just that I have something to add to what the point you made, is also when they shop offline, there’s this habit of slipping out the phone, checking out views, or even doing a comparison of the kind of product that is available on the shelf. And on the online store. Gen Z is killing brands, which are not online, right.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so to an extent, I mean, you know, there’s a lot of macro data. And if you go on Google, this is what you’re gonna find to actually support Gen Z shopping and retail, obviously, pre-COVID. But what that data doesn’t, if you actually look into those reports, and those studies, they’re very antiquated. They’re not asking the right questions. And this is my biggest problem with marketing data. And when people just kind of pull things out of thin air to support like past observations, because then you actually have conversations with Gen Z, and you realize that’s definitely not the case, right? So you know, this generation that even if they’re not shopping online and purchasing there, they’re not going to just go to the shopping mall one day, and walk-in and go find a store and buy some clothes. No, they’re gonna they’re on a mission, they know exactly what they’re getting, they have reviews, they have referrals from their friends, and likely they are going to purchase online. But if not, they’re going to go in-store. And they already know that 15 articles of clothing they’re going to get, and they already got a discount for it. So, I think that’s something to keep in mind. But for businesses, not just in retail, but in any market for that matter. If you are not tailoring your brand and your service, product offering to engage Generation Z, you are asking for a death sentence. That’s just the reality. And that’s what we’ve seen with millennials when millennials so allegedly killed all these brands because they didn’t buy No, they didn’t kill the brands, you knew millennials were coming for decades. You didn’t shift your product and brand accordingly. And so, you know, for us, we’re always challenging our brand partners to do so and to do things that are out of the box creative and, kind of seem insane at the surface level. But then you look into it, and you’re just like it, it just makes sense.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think when you’re talking about adaptability to these trends, one major difference I’ve seen, is also getting influenced by celebrities versus getting influenced by more relatable faces. I think people don’t believe big celebrities anymore. They’re, like, possibly going to be more engaged by micro-influencers, someone that they can connect with. So is it like, should we say goodbye to paid actors?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so, you know, in the origins of influencer marketing, day back a long time, to me, Michael Jordan was like the best original example. Kind of the problem that exists in today’s market though, is I call it the Shaq problem, which is Shaq and a Buick commercial, of which we both know Shaq one is not driving via can to there’s no way he’s fit in that Buick, a man seven feet tall to 80? I’m sure maybe 300 right. So I think with that in mind, it shows it goes to show. You know, there’s just a lack of authenticity there. And it’s like when Pepsi puts Kendall Jenner in a commercial to support Black Lives Matter. And it just doesn’t make any sense. Like why is Kendall Jenner here giving people Pepsi? It’s like we know she’s not drinking that she’s in perfect shape. Like she’s not going to be consuming a sugary beverage. So kind of With that in mind, what we’ve seen a rise in is micro-influencer marketing, not just influencers with 100,000 followers, but your friends, your family, and so on. You know, at least in the United States, the average 18 years old now, you know, there’s no data on this, but the average 18 years old now has anywhere from 500 to 1000 Instagram followers and they’re very well connected and they have 500 friends on Snapchat and another 2000 on tik tok and then you know, this many friends on Facebook so kind of when you keep in mind, what you can see is those are direct friend referrals that can take place. And if brands can activate that micro-influencers, you can influence consumer power a lot better than you could otherwise. So brands need to move away from celebrity marketing and move towards what I call micro-influencer marketing, which is getting everyday people like you and me to share the products that we’re consuming. Because when I share that I’m drinking bang energy right now all of my friends see it, and they get hype about it, and they can ask me about it. But when you know when Arnold Schwarzenegger shares that he’s drinking bang energy, because he’s a former bodybuilder and such that that doesn’t have as much influence on me, because I’m not Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I’m never going to be
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure. I think I think the most recent news that has been doing rounds in this particular segment is McDonald’s signing Travis Scott for the Travis Scott meal, and I just happen to read, I think it was about a day back when they’re falling short of quarter pound burgers because the marketing is done so well that the product cannot match up. Because I think once you do it right, you come up with a very good commercial. And the messaging is correct. People can relate to it. And there’s the obvious demand, right?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, I mean, that collaboration, which we’ve had the privilege to work with, you know, McDonald’s in the past, we did not leave this collaboration, which we did. But I think it really shows a good initiative by McDonald’s, which has been an old school brand, taking a step in the right direction to become more innovative, unique, connecting with younger generations. And anytime you’re selling a product for something, you’re doing a good job. And Travis Scott just has the ability to turn anything he touches into gold. And I think that’s shown here to the point, the fortnight thing, it’s cool, but like fortnight is popular without Travis Scott, McDonald’s, not so cool. And, you know, I’ve had conversations with their team over there. And what they’re seeing now is like job applicants coming in. They’re the people who actually work in McDonald’s, their friend thinks it’s like the coolest thing ever now. And it’s just wild that that one activation, which I’m sure cost him a lot of money, but probably not in the grand scheme of things, considering they’re gonna spend about half a billion dollars this year on marketing advertising. That was a good move. That was a good move. And a really good example.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. Coming back to messaging differently on different platforms. Gone are the days where you can just make one video and repurpose it across all the platforms, right? You have to create custom content for each platform, whether it is in duration, whether it is the landscape versus portrait resolutions, or whether it is the messaging itself, I think, you have to create, you have to be very particular about what you put out on each platform.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that we found is you have to tailor it to the platform itself. What I post on tik tok to my audience of 16-year-olds probably is going to be a lot different than what I should post on LinkedIn to my audience of 50-year-olds. And it’s also a matter of time and place in our head of social media. really does an incredible job, of outlining. How do you get people to follow you across all channels? Or subscribe? And how do you best break that out? Will you need to put exclusive content on certain channels, in order to best kind of promote that? Have them cross-promote one another? Yeah, you should be pushing everywhere, but don’t push the same thing everywhere, because then it’s not unique. So that’s what we’ve seen. That’s the philosophy we follow, we like to create that pillar content, love the Gary Vee content model, but then we really like to contextualize to the platform to make sure you know, what’s going out on Instagram versus Facebook versus Twitter versus LinkedIn versus a tik tok versus YouTube that only needs to be unique and needs to be different needs to be customized and tailored. And so if we are going to be omnichannel, we need to tailor all of our messaging, the copy the caption, even the video length, maybe even like what part of the video we clip and cut, that all needs to be adjusted to fit your audience.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. I think now we can talk about Trndsttrs. I think we’ve set the context for why Jake is on this podcast because he’s is a 21-year-old but way smarter than a bunch of other 20-year-olds that you would come across because you’re clearly influential in your circles as well. Well, adapt to the kind of knowledge that you need to be in marketing and advertising right. So tell me what made you start Trndsttrs? Like how did it happen?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so it was originally just me and some buddies that had a Snapchat account. And we got a lot of followers on it just by doing things and then having people add us and like we give away tickets to baseball and football games and concert tickets if you will add us on Snapchat. And then what we started doing was promoting like apparel companies, restaurants, other things inside of it, and they were paying us, it was only like, $300 at the time. You know, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. And you’re just gonna pay me to like, promote this. They’re like, yeah, and so then I kind of got introduced to the marketing advertising. And I was only 17 at the time. And then I found myself months later, consulting noodles and company, a big restaurant chain here in the US on how to engage younger people with their efforts, and Snapchat and all that. And what I quickly realized that their questions were, damn, they really don’t know what they’re doing. And this is really confusing for them. And they’re really smart in a lot of ways, but not these ways. And you know, I could kind of sense blood in the water. I could taste it. And I said I need to attack this arena. So through research and testing through exploring, we found Trndsttrs. And, you know, since then we haven’t really looked back initially, just working with small businesses, anything we could get, now, like very uniquely positioned to the agency space and continuing to try to make some, some waves over the next five years.
Pranav Chimulkar: Brilliant. I want to ask you this question. I wanted to open with this, but then I thought I’d keep this for later. I want to know why Jake is Mad Over videos?
Jake Bjorseth: What’s that?
Pranav Chimulkar: Why is Jake Mad Over videos?
Jake Bjorseth: Mad Over videos?
Pranav Chimulkar: Yes.
Jake Bjorseth: Oh, I don’t know, I think, you know, the phrase I live my life by is ‘memento mori’. It’s Latin for the acknowledgment of one’s death. And, I think I’ve just experienced things in the past, not not like super traveling by any means. I don’t want to make it look like I come from nothing. But I just approach everything with such a level and intensity. Because this is so important. You know, whether it’s a podcast episode, whether it’s a meeting, whether it’s a conversation, whether it’s me working out in the gym, on a run, in a relationship with my parents, like at dinner, to me, life is so sacred and coveted and taken for granted. And I think lacking any sort of intensity in doing so is not going to get 100% effort. So I certainly appear very mad, pissed off on videos. But really, it’s just this inner sense of intensity that I have to go out, change the world, and do the best I can. So I apologize if it comes off super mad. But I can assure you, it comes from a place of, I just want the best for those around me. And I want the best for the audience. I want the best for people. And I need to make sure that that message is heard.
Pranav Chimulkar: Why dont you talk about your campaign that you did with Refer? And then maybe you can walk me through what happened?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so Refer was a competitor or social media app that was entirely audio derived. And so for them, we just developed a series of creative spots that we would then run as ads on various platforms to drive users. And that’s what a lot of our, startup SMB clients look like in terms of what we’ll do. You know, and then the fortune 500 level, it’s helping brands launch on tik tok, which is wildly interesting because they don’t have brand standards for a typical production for a company that big, you’re gonna plan the thing for two months, then film it, then edit it, and then it’ll be ready four months later, whereas Tiktok we got a new trend today, we got to film, edit, get confirmed, we can post it in 48 hours. And so for us in our campaigns, we’re always thinking about one, what is our strategy here that actually aligns with Gen Z, we don’t go into things blind and thinking, you know, this is the answer. Tik tok, Instagram, none of these platforms are the answer to the end all be all. They’re just the pipes to get you in front of that. And so what about the brand should we showcase what is the story we’re telling? What is our mission? What is our purpose? What is our impact? What is our new product innovation, we do a lot in that realm. And then ultimately, we’ll launch campaigns, with a message, with a mission, with a purpose that is creative that is out of the box that is you know, insane ideas. We launched a campaign earlier this year. Actually on Tinder. We got a mascot on Tinder and showcased the mascot in order to get free tickets to the game. And it was the funniest thing ever. But it works. And there’s a reason that it works because you’re going through Tinder and you see a mascot alligator in your feed, and you’re obviously going to swipe right. So it’s just out of the box, things like that, that we’re always trying to cultivate and come up with.
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure, I want to play that commercial that you did for refer. And maybe we can just talk a little bit more about that.
So, I mean, if I look at it, from a creator’s perspective, it’s not super high production. It’s brilliant messaging. It’s smart to use the sounds that are very native to our everyday lives. Who did the creative for this? Walk me through the process? How did you come up with something like this?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so that was led by a producer of ours, who was also guys sing in the beginning. He’s also a music artist. And the concept was this audio was the purpose of this app. Well, we’re trying to highlight sound drives on social media. That’s the goal. That’s the purpose. Well, you know, the best way to do that isn’t just to explain it, but how can we capture and cultivate attention. So we wanted the intro to really look like a music video, where it’s someone’s singing, and you’re like, what is going to go on here because these videos are some of those interesting videos ever. And then we integrated all these organic sounds that were literally filmed from iPhones, that we then integrated and mixed in showed where those are coming from to really show the power of sound. And what that looks like in everyday life, just like you said, and then kind of closer was an end with an ending screen. And you’re wondering, like, where the sound is located, and what was the purpose of this and then you go explore, download the app, and such. So that was a really fun creative piece for us because it’s so out of the box. And that was one where the client probably didn’t like it too much. Until but we just said, Hey, this is what needs to be done, we’re gonna move forward with it, and you got to trust us on it. And then it works out really well. And everyone’s happy. So you gotta be risky in the creative realm for sure.
Pranav Chimulkar: I wanted to come to that. I mean, as a creator, I love it. But what about the clients? I mean, it’s hard to convince people, especially brand guys, who are so particular about what they put out on their behalf. How do you convince a client to, step outside a certain boundary that they have set to try something new creative?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, well, we always refer to is this analogy that you can’t see the label if you’re inside the bottle, those that are inside the company, and the brand, far too emotionally attached to it to actually understand what it means to consumers. You know, when you ask the founder of a company, what that company does, and then you ask a client of that company, what that company does it two very different definitions. I’d even say the same for Trndsttrs, like, I’m going to give you a five-minute explanation client of ours can give you one sentence they’re a Gen Z agency. Cool. So I think it allows you to understand, like where consumers actually coming from, and then I would say, that’s the other thing. Ensure that the end consumer and the decision-maker is the consumer, not the client. For us, because we focus on Gen Z. When clients have a tiff with creative concepts. We just explain look, we don’t care. This is not our you know, yeah, it’s our idea, but we don’t care if you shut our idea down. This is what your consumers want. And we know that because here the insights and data and here’s the examples and we’re in that demographic and we know what means to it, you know what matters to us. So it’s just a story. Then Hey, what’s your goal here? So for us what I always explained, and this is a really backward approach, but one we really follow, for us, our clients are not the brand that is writing us a check. Our clients are the customers of that brand that are buying their products and services. And we answer that person first and foremost, and the client after them. Because the best thing you can do for your client is focus wholeheartedly on their customers and their consumers, then worry about what they had to say. So for us, we try to integrate that in everything we do. And if a client doesn’t love the direction we’re taking with something, and they for whatever reason, are sitting up their boardroom and say it’s not gonna work, then they’re not a good client partner. And we typically don’t work with those.
Pranav Chimulkar: I think I’ve been in a bunch of those meetings myself, trying to pitch concepts and then having those tiffs with those clients. But then I think I am curious to know, does being a 21-year-old help? Or is it like, has it worked against you, sitting in a boardroom, across a marketing head? Trying to pitch an idea?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, you know, it’s inherent, we, it’s an inherent problem, which can either be derived into a weakness or strength. And for us, we choose to have it be a strength. So we try to flip everything, every reason why you wouldn’t want to work with us, we try to flip on its head. Okay, let’s start with age, we’re young, why would I want to work with a bunch of young people? Because we know your end consumers better than you do? Because we’re young. Okay, what about the experience, you guys don’t have nearly as many experiences as these people with decades of experience our agency over here we go, exactly. That’s the point, I haven’t spent 30 years, but the same thing, not knowing what to do now. And, you know, it’s like spending 30 years learning English, and then you gotta go to Russia, or Russian, like, it’s gonna be a lot more difficult for you than if you just started learning Russian.
Pranav Chimulkar: Interesting
Jake Bjorseth: That’s our philosophy there. So for us, it is more beneficial. The fact that we are young, in every single meeting, and if we ever have a client that doesn’t want to work with us, because of our age, or is offended by that, or just want to entertain conversation, then you know, have fun, we’ll see you in a decade when we’re thriving. And when your business has gone.
Pranav Chimulkar: That some confidence. I like it, I also want to talk about a few other brands that you work with. Traditionally, I don’t know if brands like that would have placed their confidence in a new agency like yours. I’ve seen Apolo health on your portfolio. And I’ve also seen a banking company called Copper. Why don’t you tell me about those two? Like, what was that? Like? How did you land those kids?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so copper is a mobile banking app for teens. So for them, their core demographic is between the ages of 13 and about 17. So for us, it was a really good fit, just understanding that demographic, we launched that brand on tik tok, managed a lot of socials. And then now we’re actually conducting a lot of insights as they make new adjustments to the app. And then Apollo health. It’s a health insurance company, no young people are in. And so we approached that to really revamp what they’re doing in the insurance space and how it can be redone and better, and created actually a digital online system where you can go on get an insurance quote, and on average, about 84 seconds, as opposed to calling someone for 30 minutes to an hour, then getting a quote a week later. So among other things, right, so those two really fun, exciting examples, and really good industries, but we just like to have our Gen Z touch on everything we do. And it shows whether we’re working with an app that is specifically designed for Gen Z, or a health insurance company that couldn’t care less about Gen Z.
Pranav Chimulkar: Sure. I mean, we’ve spoken enough about content that is being produced in today’s world. But then there are a few stories, a few ads that last a lifetime, right? I mean, you would have grown up seeing a few of those ads which were produced even before you were born. And you were so inspired by those. I mean, I think good creative stance on the test of time. Can you walk me through a few of your inspirations that you still happen to like, learn from?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so for me it’s less about ads and more about brands that have done just really incredible things. You know, for one, what Volkswagen And has done since the 50s. Especially advertising in America as a foreign company has just been remarkable. And, you know, some of their advertising really stands out, I think when you go and look at early cigarette companies, which obviously not good, but there was some of the best advertising possible because it wasn’t about selling cigarettes or smoke, it was about selling the experience and the socialness and the environment and female empowerment even would take place within the cigarette marketing. So those are some of my favorites. And then, you know, modern day brands that I look at that are just absolutely crushing it I think bang energy is an incredible example of a combination of product innovation, brand positioning, and then marketing that is so designed for Generation Z and a few millennials. And then I think about, new brands popping up that are challenger brands really challenging the status quo. So you know, another one would be like one brand is a protein bar company and they’re doing incredible work in that arena challenging muscle milk and quest and all these big boys that exist in the market and doing a great job. And then I think on the note of like that the health space is this brand that is a protein cereal, which has been awesome. I think it’s magic spoons. I just love when I see product innovation really hit the brand, easy buying process, and really cool marketing come together. And the entire DTC market direct to consumer eCommerce has really cultivated some awesome brands there. And another one that I’d say I’ve studied a lot is both Warby Parker and the Dollar Shave Club. I’ve just how you go about attacking that. It’s been incredible to see.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah, I think a bunch of internet marketers look at Dollar Shave Club commercial as a benchmark to follow or to sort of when they come up with their own campaigns. I’ve been also quite influenced by that campaign. I’m trying to get Adam Weber on the podcast as well, the guy who was the first mic marketing employee for Dollar Shave Club, and the reason they did that commercial I hope he responds. And if he is watching this clip, maybe he should come on a Mov podcast? Because Yeah, yeah, definitely. So I mean, I don’t I like to end the conversation. Looking forward to the future. What do you think? Where is the video heading? What are the new trends? And what should video marketers be looking at? In the future?
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, so in the short term video, marketers call it next one to three years, video marketers should be looking at definitely the Tiktok platform, not because of the platform, but because of that style of video. And Apple just released a short movie produce entire vertical.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yeah.
Jake Bjorseth: So how can you integrate vertical video and tell stories through that medium? And then also, how can you meet the speed that exists on Tik Tok and your ads in your social content, so on? You know, beyond three years, I think all of those in video and creative right now need to be looking into augmented reality and virtual reality. I don’t think you need to be executing on it. But I think you need to understand is a very real possibility that mobile phones for our generation are going to be like the AR devices for the next generation, which it’s going to be wildly used, it’s going to be the norm. And why not just exist, in this sphere, which is only going to be like 2d, right? I’m just looking at things. Why not in a 3d world, right? Look all around me and see everything going on. And I can jump into a Nike store or I can jump into a VR shoe gave it this keynote, not just watch the video clip. So I can’t wait to see how that comes to fruition. And I can’t wait to see how creatives get embedded into that connected with tech to make some interesting things.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. Last question before we end any plans for India for Trndsttrs and if at all. Love to collaborate as well.
Jake Bjorseth: Yeah, I would love to get doing some things in the Indian market as soon as possible. Right now. We’re building out our Philippines team where we have a team of nine now. So I’m actually thinking about getting an office there. I actually think we’re just gonna rent like a five-bedroom house and turn it into an office. I might move there later this year, early next year, at that point, I really want to see what we can do in the Indian market. But I want to make sure we do so working with established young individuals in marketing and advertising already because I don’t want to be the traditional white colonists coming and thinking he understands the market when he doesn’t like, I don’t know, the cultural trends, I don’t know what’s popular, what’s not. What’s Okay, what’s not okay to say the even the verbiage, right, what are certain words that your culture is going to use more often than ours? And is certain words that make sense here like that? Is that going to be global? Or is that like less? Is that confusing? Right? So yeah, I’m really interested to do some things for that market. And we’d love to stay in touch with you on that, and many others that I have connections therewith because it’s going to be the next market from a marketing perspective that’s going to take off. I know it already is I don’t want to sound like it isn’t. But I have so much more room to grow.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome that I think, let us round this up and wrap this conversation. It has been a great experience talking to you. Thank you so much for taking your time out. It’s been full of insights and a lot to learn about Gen Z, I think we’ve typically worked with a bunch of brands, who’ve maybe not so much and to targeting this particular generation, we’ve worked with slightly more mature audiences, but then I think it has opened up our minds as well. And I hope and then also get to learn a lot from each other.
Jake Bjorseth: Yes, yes, we’d love to let’s do something. I’ll let you wrap it up. Thanks so much for having me on. I appreciate everything.