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When it comes to building a brand experience, is it better to build your own platform or to use someone else’s?

There are lots of bigger platforms claiming to have everything you need, from product drop-shipping services to third-party apps, rental spaces to all-in-one design solutions. Building your brand on another platform has its benefits, but it also has its costs.

When you build your own platform, you control the entire experience. You make all of the decisions, you control the time table, and you can fully customize everything your customer experiences. Of course, this takes a lot of time, capital, and infrastructure.

In this episode, we look at what a platform is and how you can leverage your platform to enhance your audience’s experience, whether you use your own or a third-party platform.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • A platform is where and how your brand is experienced.
  • As your control of a platform increases, so do your responsibilities.
  • Consider your long term goals when choosing a platform.
  • The biggest downside to using someone else’s platform is that they will get the recognition you deserve.
  • You can use someone else’s platform, but if they want to change the rules, they can.
  • With your own platform, people know where to go regardless of what happens to social media platforms.
  • Use other platforms to repurpose content, but don’t let your brand reside there.
  • Your customers’ experience is more important than what you experience.
  • Think long term and be intentional about the steps you take to be a sustainable brand.
Show Notes
  • 03:07 Cory: At it’s most basic, a platform is where and how your brand is experienced. When I think of the word platform, I’m a very visual thinker, so I imagine scaffolding. Maybe somebody is speaking. Maybe you’re downtown in a city, and someone is on a platform with a megaphone trying to get their message across. When you’re on top of this platform, you’re more visible. You have something to carry you because you have something to say or do. When Kyle and I talk about platforms, we typically think about online platforms because our primary presences are online. That’s where we have our audiences and where we communicate with people, but you can have a physical platform as well, and we’ll talk about that.
  • 04:40 Kyle: We do use other platforms. It’s inevitable. To say that you completely control your platform would be to say that you code everything from scratch, set up your own servers, and things like that. The platform is the hub of your brand experience, and that could be online or physical. You might have a social media presence, in which case you would be using other platforms to bring people in to your platform. If you’re a physical location, that’s easier to see. You’re sharing things online, but you’re trying to attract people to a physical location. Oftentimes, for brands working solely online, it’s harder to see at first that you need to invite people somewhere. It’s important for people with online businesses to realize what a platform really is—it’s your “storefront,” the place you’re bringing people to.
  • 05:52 Cory: Where will people show up to experience you or have a conversation? Before I got married in 2012, I worked for a few years for a local phone retailer. We had a couple of different locations, so when people asked, “Where are you located?” I was able to say, “We are on this street,” or, “We’re by this parking lot next to Macy’s.” We had a physical location, but if we didn’t, I couldn’t have said that. You have to have someplace to send people, and there are different ways to accomplish that. People use the internet in different ways or rent out a physical spot.

Platform Options

  • 07:07 We use other platforms, tools, and resources all the time, and that’s not a bad thing. I can’t code my own payment gateway. If I’m running an eCommerce store, I can’t be my own merchant. I need to use a company like Stripe or PayPal, because they’ve already got that sorted out. I can use those, but they’re not my platform. It’s not just about using other people’s solutions, but it’s about how you want to be perceived by your audience. All of that goes into what your platform ends up becoming.
  • 07:47 Kyle: A lot of this boils down to the experience, and that experience goes beyond the visual. In the last episode, we talked about your visual identity and rebranding (Related: e015 The Pros and Cons of Rebranding). We talked about the importance of visual identity and the role it plays, and it does play a big role in your brand. I’m going to use the example of Squarespace. Squarespace is seemingly more like your own platform, and you are in more control than you might be with other solutions, but you can only do so much. You don’t control the entire experience.
  • 08:29 They’ve got these certain ways that people can interact with things, and you can’t really change that. You can change colors and a few other things, but you’re not in complete control of that.

As your control of a platform increases, so do your responsibilities.

  • 08:56 Cory: For the most part, people aren’t going to see what’s going on in the back end. Most people aren’t going to be able to go to your website and think, “This one was done on Squarespace. This one was posted on SiteGround. This is a Wix site. This is completely self-hosted and coded from scratch.” Most people won’t see that unless they dig in the code. There are ways to create an experience through using those kinds of platforms, but you have to understand that there are going to be limitations. One of the most popular CMSs out there is WordPress. If you’re on the internet at all, you’ve heard of WordPress or you’ve been on a website that has WordPress as it’s core structure.
  • 09:54 WordPress is an open source framework that you can install on your website, and you can do blogposts and create a whole web solution. It’s open-ended, open sourced, and you can code and manipulate it to be whatever you want. Kyle’s example was Squarespace, which is a little bit easier to use, but is a lot more contained. There are a lot more limitations there. When you’re looking at platforms as solutions, every option has a cost. You can either sacrifice your freedoms or your abilities. With Squarespace, you get flexibility and ease of use, but with WordPress, you have all of the flexibility and all of the control because it’s all self-hosted. There will always be costs to measure.

Starting Out

  • 11:04 Rafael said, “Considering that your own platform always comes with a cost, high or low, what is the best way for someone who is starting without any previous investment? Start in another platform and then change to your own platform when you have money to invest in a tool or a developer, for example, or do you do something else like client work to build money and do your own thing, already in your platform?” What do you think, Kyle?
  • 11:30 Kyle: It really depends on what your goals are in the future. Using another platform is easier. It’s easier to go to Squarespace, sign up, and you can even get a domain with them. All of that is set up for you, and it’s ready. That comes at a premium cost. There’s a monthly cost of owning the site. If you’re selling physical products, they take a cut of all of the sales, on top of charges for running cards. If you accept payments through credit cards, there are more fees. They take a cut of what you’re doing no matter what. Don’t get clouded by setting up your own platform. Don’t get bogged down in the details.
  • 12:36 In a previous episode, we talked about getting things off the ground and going (Related: e012 Too Much Planning, Not Enough Execution). If you’re a new brand and you’re just starting, it might be to your advantage to start with a different platform and not build your own from scratch. Making your own varies. You could have a developer make a theme for you for WordPress and highly customize everything, or you could grab an existing theme and work off of that. It’s more flexible than something like Squarespace, but it’s more of a time investment. I started on Squarespace. That’s where I was a long time ago. Eventually, I grew out of that. I realized some limitations I didn’t like, and I moved on from that, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with starting there.
  • 13:42 Cory: I have an apparel line on the side, and I had that all built through WordPress with a custom theme I developed and designed myself. It took months. There were a couple of issues I ran into later on, and I spent a weekend transferring the whole thing over to Squarespace. It’s all hosted through Squarespace now, which has been great, but it’s kind of ironic. The main thing to keep in mind is the cost. Cost is not just financial. There’s also the cost of time. Can you pay a developer $10,000, or are you going to spend 100 hours learning how to do this thing so you can then do it on your own?

There’s always going to be a cost, so consider your long term goals when choosing a platform.

  • 14:41 What is your customer going to experience? There are a ton of eCommerce websites using platforms like Shopify. I’ve never personally used Shopify, but it’s a built-in solution. You register on the website and you do all of the management through their site. You can custom code your own website and attach a blog, but you are on their platform. I’ve gone to websites and never known that they were hosted on Shopify because my experience with the brand on this website allowed me to be all invested in the brand and what they had to offer. I wasn’t even thinking about that other stuff. You can use other platforms to your advantage. You won’t always have the freedom or expansiveness building your own.
  • 15:45 The best solution you could have in the most ideal world, if you had all the money, would be to build something from scratch that perfectly aligned with your audience and customers’ needs. There are businesses that do that. There’s also something to be said for using someone else’s platform and still delivering a fantastic experience to your audience. You have to think long term. What do I want to accomplish in ten years? Where do I want to be? Is this going to get me there, or is this going to hold me back?

Levels of Platform Independence

  • 16:26 Kyle: That’s easier for people to relate to, even if you have a business online. Everybody goes places for the experience. Maybe you go out to eat one night or you buy something at a store. Everyone has experienced physical locations. One great example is Apple. In this context, they have a very specific experience at their physical location stores. You go in, and there’s always someone upfront asking if they can help you. They all carry around phones, and that’s how they schedule things and do everything. Even the checkout experience is much more personal. It’s you and the employee, and they use their phone as the payment gateway. They don’t have a register that you have to walk up to.
  • 17:21 They have this very controlled, specific experience, and that’s not even the visual portion of it. That’s just the experience. They also sell their products at other platforms. For example, Target carries things like an iPad or an Apple Watch. You can go there and buy Apple products. At that point, if you want help with these things, you have to talk with a Target representative to help you find the Apple product you’re looking for and tell you about it. They may not know everything about it because they’re not as well trained, so that’s a much different experience. Then there’s something in the middle, like Best Buy. At Best Buy, Apple has its own section, and an Apple employee runs that section. Any Best Buy you go to, there’s an Apple employee you can go to.
  • 18:30 Best Buy employees could help you with Apple products, but they usually have a representative there. They kind of have their own thing, but it’s not, because it’s still in someone else’s store, so it’s controlled by that store. It’s a little bit more like their own thing. There are varying degrees of how you can control your platform, and that applies online, too. Let’s say you just set up a Tumblr account. You’re sharing your content, but there’s hardly any customization to that. It’s a very generic experience. It’s cheap, and time-wise it could be a saver. You’re sacrificing a lot of experience. If you move to Squarespace, now you can have your own experience, but you’re still on someone else’s platform. You can’t completely do what you want to. When I was using Squarespace, any style change you did went across the board for your whole site.
  • 19:53 If you wanted to make a landing page for a book you wrote and you wanted to use a different color than the rest of your site, you can’t do that. Maybe it has different interactions than the rest of your site—you couldn’t do that. Then, you move on to something like WordPress, and it’s all back end. From the outside, it looks like it’s completely your own platform.
  • 20:28 Cory: Kelly said in the chat, “Apple is very controlling of their displays in all of their stores. I used to work at Toys R Us, and their iPod display had so many rules.” Yes, but that doesn’t mean that they’re in full control of the experience the customer gets. For instance, when I worked at this phone store, we sold iPhones, as well as Blackberry, Android, and Windows 7 phones. We operated off of hourly and commission, and we didn’t make as much money off of iPhone sales, so we weren’t incentivized to sell iPhones. When people came in, if you sold an iPhone to somebody, it meant that you were a sucker and you weren’t a very good salesman, because you couldn’t get them on Android.
  • 21:28 We still tried to get the right solutions to the right people, but in that case, of course Apple would want us to sell their products. I didn’t work for Apple. I worked for this other franchise, and I wanted to make the commission. “Sure, here’s your iPhone, but you know that the Android can do this, this, and this so much better.” I was more incentivized to sell Android. Because Apple allowed their products to be sold in other mediums, they may be getting a higher profit, but they’re losing control of what the customer experience ends up becoming. People would come in with their iPhones with issues, and we would make snide comments. You would never hear those things at the Apple store. Count the cost.

If your involvement in the platform where people experience your brand is diluted, you have less control over their experience.

  • 22:46 Kyle: You’re essentially handing over the front end of your brand to someone else. A great online example of this is Amazon. If you have a product, you can sell that on Amazon. You can describe it and put a video up about it, but at the end of the day, if someone has a question or concerns about things, they talk to Amazon. When it ships, Amazon ships it from their warehouse. When it arrives to the person, Amazon makes sure of it. You’re just receiving income, because Amazon is taking over the whole experience. Every Amazon page looks the same as the others, so there isn’t a specific experience for your brand.
  • 23:48 I’ll see something on Amazon that looks interesting, and a lot of the time I’ll actually try to find their site for a description. Their site, if they have one, is the experience they want me to have. It makes me excited about the product, it gives me the right feel, and it might go into more depth or detail than they can on the Amazon page. I might still buy it on Amazon because of the cost, but the experience is so different on their site vs. on Amazon.

The Pros & Cons of Using a Third Party Platform

  • 24:35 Cory: We talked about how you’re not in complete control of the experience, but I know a lot of people personally who do sell on Amazon. They have businesses, and a large amount of their revenue comes from selling through Amazon. I have Amazon Prime, and I have bought too much stuff through it because it’s too easy. When someone sees something I bought and they ask me where I bought it, I say, “I bought it on Amazon.” Amazon is the brand that I see. I don’t say, “I bought it through this third party who sells through Amazon,” or, “I bought it through Skippy Joe’s Barber Shop.” You’re using their platform for distribution, exposure, and ease of use, but I don’t see that.
  • 2:53 It’s the same thing on Etsy. I go on Etsy and I see some stuff, and I think, “Wow, this is really cool. I’ll buy this from Etsy.” I have to dig a little bit deeper to find out that someone is selling this who has their own business, but I won’t remember that. I don’t remember their brand name unless I have an absolutely phenomenal experience with them. Sellers on Amazon have been sending out personally branded emails saying, “Thanks for buying our product! Just want to make sure everything is okay.” That stuff is great, but it’s not going to be the same as when I wear my giant Ampersand crewneck sweatshirt from Ugmonk. When people ask me, I say, “I bought that from Ugmonk.” They say, “Ugmonk? What’s an Ugmonk?” Then they go look it up. If I say, “I bought it on Amazon or Etsy,” no one’s going to care. They’ll think, “Oh, okay. I could probably find that someplace.”

The biggest downside to using someone else’s platform is that they will get the recognition you deserve.

  • 27:00 Obviously, there’s the management side of things that you can offset. If you go through Society6 or Redbubble, if you get a drop-shipping company, they can handle all that. Guess what? Your customers won’t experience you the same way they would be able to if you were using your own platform on your own space online, your own storefront, that you control completely.
  • 27:46 Kyle: It’s going to take time to build your own platform. Cory’s talking about traffic and a bigger buildup of audience, and that’s because you’re utilizing something someone else has built. Yours won’t be that way at the beginning. You won’t have as much traffic, and that’s true. That’s why a lot of people default to these other platforms, because they assume that it’s going to grow their business faster. What it really does is it grows Amazon’s business faster and not necessarily yours. You’ll get some people who are excited about what you’re selling, and it’s not that it won’t grow things for you at all, but there’s the factor of Amazon. Let’s say you do sell your own thing through your own site, but you also decide to make it available on Amazon so it’s readily available for people. It seems like a convenience thing.
  • 28:49 One downside to that is the fact that you’re making it so people say, “I bought this on Amazon.” Ugmonk, for example, doesn’t sell things on Amazon. If you say, “I bought this from Ugmonk,” they have to go to Ugmonk.com and purchase a product. I have the messenger bag from Ugmonk, and I get a lot of people asking me about it. A lot of times, people will say, “Is that available on Amazon?” They want to buy it there, because they don’t want to look at this other platform and learn something new. If you’re making your things available on different platforms, the downside is that you end up in that “I bought this from Amazon” loop even if you have your own platform.
  • 29:48 Cory: Ugmonk uses Shopify. You could say that Ugmonk uses someone else’s platform, but there’s a space I can go to to see Jeff’s work. I can go there and have a crafted experience that he’s designed for his audience. That’s really fantastic. With Amazon, you type something in and buy the stuff. I say all this stuff, but I love Amazon. Sean and Ben say this on their podcast, too—you can use someone else’s platform, but if they want to change the rules, they can because they own it. If they suddenly want to raise their rates, they can do that. iTunes is the biggest music platform out there right now, but musicians have to pay a percentage of what they make selling their music to them. It’s something like 30%. Obviously, there’s the benefit of audience, traffic, distribution, availability, and ease of use for the people getting your music, but you still have to pay for that.
  • 31:14 If iTunes suddenly said that they were going to take 50% of the musicians’ profits, they couldn’t say anything about that, because if you want to be on iTunes, you have to play by their rules. In the same way, if you have your whole online video presence on YouTube and all of a sudden YouTube went away, where are people going to go? Back in the day, it was all about MySpace. Get your band on MySpace, get your company on MySpace, get your CEO on MySpace, and get your dog on MySpace. Guess what? It went away overnight. We have to move on. People who put all of their investment in MySpace didn’t have anywhere to go, and they had to re-learn how to do their own thing.

With your own platform, people know where to go regardless of what happens to social media platforms.

  • 32:24 Kyle: It’s interesting that Cory mentioned the iTunes store, because about a year ago they came out with Apple Music. Apple Music is their way of competing with something like Spotify, where you have your music there, people play it, and Spotify gives the artists a percentage of how many times their songs play. It’s a streaming service where people have access to all of the music in the library. That happened, and then all of the artists on iTunes wanted to know if all of their music was just available to people and they weren’t going to get $0.99 a track now. “What’s going to happen with my music? How am I going to be compensated?” All these questions come up, and as harsh as it sounds, Apple can do what they want. Those musicians decided to put their music on Apple’s platform.
  • 33:29 At one point, Taylor Swift, who is a very professional musician, said, “I don’t want to be on Spotify, because that degrades the quality of my music. It’s handing it out, which doesn’t bring in revenue for me. That means that I can’t do as many things, and I don’t want that.” She left Spotify and got off the platform. There’s an industry mentality that says that there are certain platforms you have to be on, because that’s what the industry does, but that isn’t always necessarily true. A good example for our industry is Creative Market, which is a place where you can go and sell assets for design work, photography, and stuff like that. A lot of people use it and say, “Why wouldn’t you put your stuff on Creative Market?”
  • 34:48 Personally, I don’t want to do that. I know less people will come buy my products than would if I was on that platform, but for my main products, it’s not a great place to go. They take a cut of that and they change the experience, like Cory said. The iTunes example is really good, because they recently went through this platform change and everyone was surprised, although they shouldn’t be. That’s how they’ve chosen to distribute things.

URL Real Estate

  • 35:27 Cory: Rafael asked, “What are the biggest differences and takeaways of writing your own blog on your own platform compared with a more general platform like Medium or WordPress.com?” The biggest takeaway for me is URL real estate. What do you see when you type in a website at the very top? Do you see me or someone else? I have an account on Medium, and you can go on and see that I’ve been posting there at Medium.com/@corymiller. It’s a really nice platform, but it’s very limited. They are controlling the entire experience for people. There are very limited amounts of things you can do with images, your text, and so on. There’s a large audience and ease of use, but I’m sacrificing something. Ironically, I’m doing that because I eventually want people to go to BehindtheBrand.com and see updates of podcasts, blog posts, and other content. That’s ironic because Invisible Details is on someone else’s platform.
  • 36:49 This podcast is part of the seanwes network, so I have to adhere to the structure and limitations of being on someone else’s platform. Right now, we’re undergoing a website redesign so it’s less about Sean McCabe, who owns seanwes, and more about the network, the Community, and all these other things. Because I have to wait for that, I don’t have a place to put my online content right now, like blog posts and things. Right now, I’m using Medium, because that’s a place where I can do that. Eventually, I’ll shift to be on the platform where you find Invisible Details. When I look up there, I see Medium. I see their logo and Medium.com, and that’s what I see. What are people going to see and what will they remember when they search your website? They probably won’t remember Amazon.com/your store name. They’ll remember Amazon.com. There’s always going to be a give and take and a financial or attention cost.
  • 38:21 Kyle: For someone building a brand and a business, usually that writing is supposed to lead to other things. It’s there for someone to consume, and that should be the intention. Maybe someone’s going to read this, and maybe they won’t do anything else. Ultimately, it’s there to show some sort of proficiency of the brand or something. For example, I can’t imbed a custom sign up form to my newsletter where I can directly contact people at the bottom of my Medium post. I can’t put the menu bar at the top that goes to my store, the work I’ve done as a designer, my portfolio, case studies, or anything like that. It has to be linked within the article and hopefully clicked by somebody. It’s not as much of a call to action.
  • 39:30 I’ve considered Medium. My strategy there would be to repurpose older content that’s already been shared on my blog, that I don’t want to copy and post again on my own blog feed. I could do that on Medium, which could get people interested in what I’m doing. They would go to my site and see the newer content (Related: e008 The Power of Exclusivity). That would make my brand more exclusive, because they could get the new things, my newsletter, and a guide I’m coming out with for making icons on the site.

Use other platforms to repurpose content, but don’t let your brand reside there.

  • 40:36 Cory: If you’re using those sort of things to point back to your home base, like BehindtheBrand.com for me, then you can use it as a tool for exposure and gathering attention. There’s power in that. It’s the same as using Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for that. Just don’t put all of your eggs in that particular basket. Don’t make your entire online presence on Facebook. Don’t do that. Kyle, why do people do these things? They do it because it’s easy.

Who Has the Control?

  • 41:10 Kyle: Cory, imagine tomorrow that Medium comes to you and says, “Medium is going to transition to a paid model, and it’s going to be $10 a month for you to own your blog feed on Medium.” Or, maybe it’s the opposite, and they’re going to charge people who read Medium, making it a subscription-based service for people to read things. Maybe they won’t do that, and you’re probably thinking that they won’t, but they might at some point. Twitter, at one point, had no ads and nobody was being promoted. It was a place you could go to talk to people, and at some point, they realized that it wasn’t a sustainable business model and they had to monetize somehow. They chose to do that through advertisements, and no one was entitled to be upset about it, because it’s someone else’s platform and they needed to generate income. You may disagree with how they did it, but it’s still their platform.
  • 42:30 Cory: It’s not so much that they might. It’s that they could. They can, because they own it. They’re in charge.
  • 42:38 Kyle: All these platforms that you use will stick with what they’re doing now. If you send Medium an email and ask, “Are you ever going to charge for me to have my blogpost appear?” they would probably say, “We don’t plan to do that. We’re free.” Next week, it still might turn into a paid model.
  • 43:03 Cory: The ultimate control is doing everything from scratch, and that’s rare and very expensive. A lot of people can’t do that, so count the cost. Figure out what it’s going to look like. Figure out what the experience for your customer is.

Your customers’ experience is more important than what you experience.

  • 43:40 I know that we’re using “customer” and “audience” interchangeably, but it’s the same thing. The experience someone has as they interact with your brand is more important than the hassle you have to go through to make that experience happen for them. It’s worth the burn. You have to feel that, because it’s going to make it better.
  • 44:06 Kyle: If you’re just starting out with this thing and you’re beginning to build a brand, I understand if a lot of this seems overwhelming. We’re making it somewhat black and white—you’re either on someone else’s platform or you’re on your own. A great thing for someone to do is to sit down and look at what they’ve planned for their business. What are the most important aspects of your business? If you can’t afford to go into a highly customized experience, pick and choose the things that really matter for your brand. Hopefully, you’re working toward a future goal of becoming more and more your own platform, but there may be some things you’re in more control of and other things you have less control of because of cost, time, or some other factor. There’s strategy to this. It’s more than just, “everything is my own platform,” or “everything isn’t.” If that’s what you decide, that’s fine, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Learning Insider Information

  • 45:16 Cory: Emily asked, “I know I want to have my own platform, but I have a hard time figuring out what I need. Sometimes, I ask an artist I respect how I should print, host a store, etc, and they always come back with a third party thing. The ones that don’t are tight-lipped. Is there a trick to asking someone what they do without seeming like you’re trying to steal their secrets? I don’t want to copy what they do but learn about it and see if I can adapt it to my needs.” Everyone’s different on this. I had the same thing with my apparel line. I would email people, and sometimes I would hear back but sometimes I wouldn’t. The right kind of people are pretty open about what they use. At seanwes, we’re open about the kinds of things we use. We use WordPress and Stripe for our payment gateway.
  • 46:02 There are a bunch of things like that, where you can say, “Oh yeah, I’m using this.” Maybe you use ShipStation to ship all your products out, or you go to Uline for the tubes to ship your posters. There are always going to be people who are open to sharing that and those who aren’t. You can always come to the Community and ask those kinds of questions. There are people with all sorts of backgrounds, either in physical products, development, code, digital, or whatever, that have experience and can help you with that. Send out emails or hit people up on Twitter—it will be different per person. The right kinds of people know that even if you know how they do it, you won’t catch up because they’re already ahead. If someone asks you how you do it, just share, because they’re behind. They can start their own thing, and you keep doing yours.
  • 47:09 Kyle: One thing I love about the Community is that there’s a pretty good understanding that tools don’t matter. It’s more about how you use the tools you have. If you come to me and say, “We use Stripe for seanwes,” seanwes as a whole understands that I’m not suddenly going to outdo them because I know that they use Stripe. There are ways to customize the experience of using Stripe on the front end, and there are so many things you can do with Stripe beyond knowing that you use it as a payment gateway or knowing that you use Uline to order packaging. There’s a lot more work that goes into it than just knowing who vendors are.

As a brand in a similar industry, it doesn’t matter if you know what vendors or resources other people use for certain aspects of their brands.

  • 48:13 Recently, Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk posted a new video of the behind the scenes of how his products are made through Black Anchor. He talks with them, interviews them, shows what they do in their workshop, and talks about his experience with them. It’s an awesome video. Jeff realizes that someone could come to that same company with their product or idea and it’s going to be a totally different result than what he has. Just because they know who he uses doesn’t guarantee them success.
  • 49:03 Cory: The design is still coming from Jeff. You can’t do everything on your own. You’re going to have to use manufacturers, USPS, or FedEx.

A Platform Is What You Make It

  • 49:48 Kyle: There are so many ways you can go about building a platform, and in the end, it’s about what you feel is best for your brand. This episode helps people understand what they’re getting into. Go into this intentionally, and understand why you’re making the choices you are making. In fact, in a previous episode, we talked about being intentional with your choices and what you’re moving forward (Related: e013 Approaching the New Year With Intentionality). Platform is a big piece of that. Even if you’re an established brand, you’ve been around for ten years and you’re selling things on Amazon, maybe it’s time to think long term. What’s going to happen when Amazon’s not the thing anymore? What if they start charging more fees? What if they change algorithms for finding things, you’re not at the top anymore, and you lose profit?

Think long term and be intentional about the steps you take to be a sustainable brand.

  • 51:13 Cory: Wouter says, “I love that a platform is a place where you can get attention, but you can also launch stuff from it. A platform is what you make of it.” That’s very true.
  • 51:26 Kyle: Maybe you have a store with products and you have some blog posts you share. What if you want to add something else? For example, seanwes.com was a store and a blog. Then Sean added the Community, and the Community wouldn’t have been near as visible if his own platform hadn’t been established. We see this all the time on other platforms. Maybe a new product comes out, and they can put it right there, front and center. Maybe it’s a new category of product. Maybe they’re selling digital goods, and they’re selling on a platform specific to digital download purchases, but then they start selling physical products. The digital download audience doesn’t see that.