LessConf: David Hauser – Chocolate covered grasshoppers – Branding and empowering entrepreneurs to succeed

Next up here at LessConf, David Hauser (@dh), CTO of Grasshopper.com on Branding.

David founded Grasshopper.com, described as a quality product with “really ball-sy advertising”.  Grasshopper is beyond the startup stage, about 50 people.  First, David showed this great video.

How? The “core values” most companies have are BS.  Of course you want people with honesty, respect, hard work, blah, blah, blah.  Core values need go go beyond that.

Why? Why work here? Why buy our products?  Why from us and not others?

Culture? Grasshopper empowers employees and every employee knows the company’s core values. 4 weeks vacation when first hired, “Summer Fridays” – 1/2 days each Friday, healthy snacks, all lead to happy and enthusiastic employees. Visualize your culture and core values – makes them easy to communicate and remember.

Publish and publicize your goals everywhere. The goals and core values come through in everything they do and in all decisions they make.  “How will this decision affect the goals and values?”

Generating Buzz. You have to be actively communicating people in conversation, not pushing the conversation on others.  For example: in the chocolate-covered grasshoppers campaign Grasshopper.com did not include a letter or other information about their product. The packages had only the grasshoppers, nicely packaged, with a link to their url.  The conversation was not forced onto the recipient.  People receiving them created the buzz, they talked with friends, they took pictures.  User-generated content was key to the buzz.

Who? They made the list limited to 5,000 and exclusive.  People then were calling David to get on the list to get the chocolate covered grasshoppers.

Cost & Results: Total cost for the 5,000: $47,292 = $9.46/bag.  For less than $10/bag (including mailing) they had a hit campaign. Goal was not to make a sale, but to have “grasshopper” associated with “entrepreneur”.  Based on blog, tweets, user generated content, and other mentions, the campaign was a success.

Create a Movement. Don’t make it about yourself.  Create a movement that is bigger than yourselves.  Don’t talk about yourselves.  Talk about things that relate to you to find people that can relate to you.

See the details in this case study: http://grasshopper.com/5000casestudy/



– PR is a sales function.  Get on the phone and call people.

– Don’t spend you money on mugs and stickers, do something crazy different instead.

– Bad economies create lots of great companies.

– Create a movement that is bigger than yourselves.  The entrepreneur video is a great example of that.

– “Small firms are 13 times more innovative than large firms.”, “64% of all new jobs created by small business over the past 15 years., “Small business employs over 50% of the private sector workforce.”

– Focus is critical.

Thanks David Hauser, for a great presentation.

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