1798 – Building Iconic Brands with Chris Orzechowski

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Copywriter & CMO of 100 Year Brand, Chris Orzechowski.

Orzechowski Wide

Chris is on a mission to create enduring American brands in the physical product space, and he brought a treasure trove of strategies to the table.

Chris' goal is ambitious yet inspiring: to build the next generation of 100-plus year American brands. As a fractional CMO, Chris works hands-on with brands to scale their marketing efforts. He focuses on expanding their marketing budget, channels, assets, and infrastructure, all to drive substantial revenue and growth.

One of the core principles Chris emphasizes is transforming a brand into a lifestyle. This is about creating a culture and community around your brand. By establishing solid retention systems, brands can keep customers engaged for the long haul, encouraging repeat purchases and fostering loyalty.

Chris delves into the critical role of database management, mining, and segmentation. Understanding your customer base and identifying its opportunities are essential for revenue growth. By analyzing customer data, brands can tailor their marketing strategies to target the right segments with the right messages.

Regarding marketing, Chris concentrates on key areas such as advertising, customer acquisition, email marketing, SMS, direct mail, and influencer strategy. He advocates for a hyper-focused approach, especially with influencer outreach.

Instead of casting a wide net, Chris suggests building strong relationships with a select few influencers who truly resonate with your brand's values and products.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Mission to build 100+ year American brands in the physical product space
  • Fractional CMO's role in multiplying and growing marketing budget, channels, assets, and infrastructure
  • Importance of turning a brand into a lifestyle and building solid retention systems
  • Database management, mining, and segmentation for revenue and growth opportunities
  • Key areas of marketing focus: advertising, customer acquisition, email marketing, SMS, direct mail, and influencer strategy
  • Hyper-focusing on hand-selected influencers aligned with brand values
  • Providing exceptional services to maintain and grow the existing customer base
  • Email marketing and delivering consistent and valuable content to subscribers

About Chris Orzechowski:

Chris Orzechowski's trajectory from Division 1 wrestler at Rutgers University to one of the world's highest-paid copywriters is truly extraordinary. Despite initially struggling in a freshman writing course, Chris's journey led him through diverse roles, from teacher to bartender and bouncer.

With over a decade in marketing, he stands as a sought-after expert in copywriting, marketing, and brand growth. Chris has collaborated with 200+ clients, trained 5,000 students, and contributed over $120 million in sales.

Notable brands like Carnivore Snax and high-profile figures like Ryan Serhant have benefited from his expertise. Renowned for advocating plain text emails in e-commerce marketing, Chris is challenging industry norms.

As a fractional Chief Marketing Officer, founder of the 100 Year Brand, and author of “The Moat,” he's dedicated to shaping the next generation of enduring American brands. Featured in Forbes and Business Insider, Chris Orzechowski is a transformative force in the marketing landscape.

About 100 Year Brand:

In the quest to build a resilient and enduring brand, Chris Orzechowski introduces the concept of the 100-Year Brand. Rejecting the notion of waiting for a perfect time, he emphasizes the possibility of success in any economic climate.

The key is to establish a brand that not only weathers storms but consistently generates wealth irrespective of external challenges. Drawing inspiration from iconic brands born in challenging economies, Chris encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to aim for generational wealth and long-lasting impact.

The 100 Year Brand is Chris's initiative to guide individuals in transforming their brands into timeless icons, ensuring financial security for a lifetime and leaving a lasting legacy.

To embark on this journey, entrepreneurs can join The Foundry, an e-commerce incubator, or opt for consulting services to address marketing challenges and identify growth opportunities. Chris Orzechowski's mission is to help brands become enduring, providing sustained prosperity while making a lasting impression.

Tweetable Moments:

02:55 – “The best brands that last the longest tend to retain customers for a very long time and get repeat purchases over and over again.”

03:56 – “When you look at a mountain, there might be gold deposits all over; you just need to find the gold within the mountain. Your database is the same way.”

11:59 – “If someone's in pain and they have a problem and you have the solutions, there's no amount of content you could send them that would be too much content.”

Apply to be a Guest on The Thoughtful Entrepreneur:

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out 100 Year Brand website at

Check out Chris Orzechowski on LinkedIn at

Check out Chris Orzechowski on Instagram at

Check out Chris Orzechowski on Twitter at

Check out Chris Orzechowski on Facebook at

Check out Chris Orzechowski’s new book, The Moat: How to Build a Durable, Profitable E-Commerce Brand that can Last Forever at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Chris Orzechowski? Chris, you are a growth strategist. You serve as a fractional CMO, and you're found on the web at 100 year Brand echo. Chris, thank you so much for joining us.

Chris (00:01:14) - Thank you for having me. Josh, excited to be here.

Josh (00:01:16) - Yes.

Josh (00:01:17) - Um, give us an overview of like who you work with, what you do, what that typically looks like.

Chris (00:01:22) - Yeah. So I am on a mission to build the next generation of 100 plus year American brands. And, uh, in the, you know, physical product space. And I typically work with brands as a fractional CMO, basically help them with their marketing and really just sit in that capital allocators chair and say, you know, with our marketing budget and the channels and the assets and infrastructure and systems that we have, how do we multiply and how do we grow? So I help people with everything from advertising to retention, email marketing, SMS, direct mail, just, you know, look to find hidden opportunities for revenue and growth that a lot of people overlook.

Josh (00:01:57) - Yeah. Well, Chris, not every company makes it to 100 years. So I'm sure you know a few things about what it takes for a company to kind of stand the test of time. What is it?

Chris (00:02:09) - Yeah, I think the best companies that last the longest tend to do a few things.

Chris (00:02:14) - Uh, one of those things being that they turn their brand into a lifestyle. Uh, and a good example of this is you look at, like, you know, Polo Ralph Lauren. Uh, they're not 100 years old, obviously, but I have no doubt in my mind that they will be one day. But they've been, you know, business for decades and decades. And part of the reason why is, you know, you don't just buy one shirt from polo, right? You know, it's kind of an aesthetic. It's who you are. And people in the modern world tend to buy their identities. Right. And you look at Harley-Davidson, they are a 100 plus year American brand. People who are Harley-Davidson fans are lifers, right? They'll buy from the company for years and years and decades for their whole life because it's part of who they are. So I think the best brands tend to do that. And, you know, the way that you do that is by having really solid retention systems.

Chris (00:02:55) - Uh, obviously you always want to be acquiring more customers, and you should always be advertising and having those systems set up, too. But the best brands that lasts the longest tend to retain customers for a very long time and get repeat purchases over and over and over again.

Josh (00:03:08) - Yeah. What do great brands and great companies do to kind of maintain and grow their existing customer base? In other words, how do they provide exceptional services so that they keep their clients forever?

Chris (00:03:23) - Um, I think it's a big function of just doing really solid database management and database mining and making sure that you're putting the right offers and the right products in front of the right people at the right time, using, you know, segmentation tools, doing customer analysis, cohort analysis, things like that, to determine who's at risk of churning, who is a VIP that you need to take extra special care of, who are people who haven't converted yet, who are people who have only bought one time, and really breaking it down and seeing like, you know, within every database there's a lot of opportunity to there's a lot of money waiting for you.

Chris (00:03:56) - Right? Like if you just know, it's kind of like when you look at a mountain, there might be gold deposits all over. You just need to find the gold within the mountain. You need, like, an X-ray vision, uh, to go in and see where the money is buried, your database at the same way. And there's a lot of tools that you could use, especially now with the advent of AI that you could use to go in and do, you know, analysis on your database and see who's right to buy, who's ready to buy, who hasn't bought in a while and should be coming back and then craft specific promotions for the right kind of people with the right offer at the right time.

Josh (00:04:23) - Yeah. Um, and I know, Chris, you have a background. Well, obviously CMO ING is what you do. Um, but, uh, you know, part of what would be some of the areas of marketing I know of, one has to do with email, but what are some of the main areas that you generally come in and you're like, okay, guys, let me whip you into shape and here's some of the tools that I've got in my toolbox.

Chris (00:04:48) - Yeah, I mean, I essentially do the same thing with every single brand. Uh, I make sure that we're advertising to get customers. Usually for most people, that means Facebook and Instagram. But I've been experimenting with Twitter ads a lot recently and gotten some pretty good results with those. And then there's, you know, Google, YouTube, there's a whole different number of platforms, but making sure that we're advertising to multiply capital and have customer funded growth on the front end, making sure that we're utilizing one click upsells and other ways to improve average order value. And then from there on out, it's essentially just email, SMS and direct mail. You know, we'll do some influencer strategy to influencers and affiliates recruiting them and then turning them into, you know, commission salespeople essentially, so that they can monetize their audiences and that we're aligning the incentives. But that's kind of the whole playbook. Like there's other things you could do. There's a million things you could do, right? But if you just do those five things, five, six things really, really solidly and just focus on going super deep with those 5 or 6 channels, then you're going to crush.

Chris (00:05:41) - I mean, a lot of great brands have been built on just one acquisition channel and then marketing, uh, on the back end with email. So like the SMS stuff is nice. It's not necessarily need to have, but it adds another level. And then when you get to a certain size and when you're $3 million and above, you can use a tool like post pilot and start doing automated direct mail campaigns that are segmented to certain pockets of people on your list. And that's when things get really fun. Exciting.

Speaker 3 (00:06:03) - Um.

Josh (00:06:04) - Um, you know, you'd mentioned a bit about working with influencers. Um, how do you see influencer outreach working? Because I know, you know, as I've communicated and worked with folks that have built some pretty decent followings, they get hit up a lot. Uh, so how do you, when you're working with a client, like, how do you get them to kind of break through the noise and kind of build that relationship with that influencer?

Chris (00:06:31) - I mean, I'm a very much a big believer in the, you know, what do people say? Uh, you'd rather have four quarters than 100 pennies, right? So I think when it comes to influencers, it's like you don't need a lot because there's always going to be that Pareto's law distribution, the 80/20 of like if you have 100 influencers, only 20 of them are going to be driving any sales.

Chris (00:06:49) - So like instead of just spraying and praying and trying to get thousands of influencers under your belt like that might be the right strategy for some people. But in the beginning at least, you're going to want to find, you know, foster really strong relationships with a few hand-selected people who, you know, it's a hand-in-glove fit. You know, when I worked with Perennial Pastures Ranch, the regenerative cattle ranch out in, uh, San Diego, we didn't try to get hundreds of influencers. We just said, who are the people who are super into regenerative, who are super into paleo and carnivore diets? And how do we get them on our side and, you know, really take care of them as influencers and give them all the support that they need instead of going an inch deep in a mile wide. So I think it really just comes down to instead of just sending a mass amounts of product out to all these people and hoping someone promotes, what if you just hyper focused in on really special, personalized touch points with the right kind of people who you know your product would be a good fit for? Instead of taking a chance spraying and praying to thousands of different people.

Josh (00:07:42) - Yeah, yeah, I agree. You know, again, it's that idea of spend more time with fewer people, make it the right people. And then yeah, so obviously it's probably I would imagine then, you know, the approach is not a spray and pray approach. It's it's more of a try to build a relationship, try to, you know, reach out like a human, not like a faceless corporation that's reaching out, saying, you need to join our affiliate program, which, by the way, that's like 90%, I think of what? Of what, 90 plus 99% of what what influencers get.

Chris (00:08:16) - Yeah. I mean, what I do personally like and I've encouraged brands to do this is like, I'd like to I'd like to go first. Right. So what I'll do is if there's someone I want to get in contact with, I'll kind of like, force them to be my friend in the way that I do. That is, I just start saying nice things about them in public.

Chris (00:08:30) - So like, I might tweet about them, I might retweet their stuff, I might comment under it, I might, you know, if someone's looking for a vendor or a certain type of product, I might tag the company, be like, oh, you should check out this company right now. I'll do that five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten times. And eventually what happens is if you keep saying nice things about someone, at some point they'll be like, who is this person? Like, why are they saying all these nice things, right? Sure. Like there's no pitch yet. There's no it's because it doesn't need to be right. And what oftentimes happens is if I keep boosting someone else's signal and this works no matter what you sell, if you have an e-commerce brand, if you have a SaaS brand, it doesn't matter. Like if you find other people who are important and you start lifting them up, eventually they're going to start to notice. They're gonna be like, wow, this person has really, like done a lot to boost us.

Chris (00:09:08) - You know, they never asked for anything like, who are they? You know, maybe we should just reach out and just thank him for being awesome. And then again, even during that first initial reach out, if they reach out to me, which oftentimes happens, I don't pitch anything. I just say, hey, really big fan, love what you're doing, love this piece of content, love this product, blah blah blah blah blah. You're awesome. And I'll say, you know, if there's any way I keep supporting you, let me know. And then oftentimes they'll say, oh, this guy helps with these, you know, he helps solve these kind of problems. We actually need something like that. Let's talk to them and they actually reach out to you. So instead of doing the whole cold outreach thing when you're trying to like bang down the door and get your foot in the door, I just keep saying nice things about people, because here's what I learned when I was a wrestler.

Chris (00:09:45) - And when I was in high school, I used to run out to the edge of the driveway in my, you know, in my pajamas with bare feet. I'd run to the, you know, 30 degrees outside here in new Jersey. Right. And I'd run out and I'd look at the paper and I'd say, is my name in the paper, because, you know, we had a match last night and I want to see, like, what was my picture in the paper as my name in the paper. And I'll get so pumped. And I think everyone, you know, if you've ever played sports, you know, in high school, whatever. Like maybe had a similar experience back when people used to read newspapers. Not that they do that anymore, but I was always so excited to see my name in print. Right? And everyone loves seeing their name in print. Everyone loves seeing their name somewhere on public. It's like if you get mentioned Forbes, if you get mentioned Business Insider, like everyone's gonna be excited about that.

Chris (00:10:20) - So like, you don't have you don't own Forbes or Business Insider, but you own your own platform. So if you start boosting other people, you're giving them a platform. You're introduce them to your audience. You are giving them earned impressions for free. You're helping them out without the expectation of anything in return. It's very hard for that person to not see that and notice it and then initiate a conversation with you.

Josh (00:10:38) - Yeah, I want to share something, Chris, that, uh, someone had tagged you and was kind of talking about some copy from you. I actually love this post somewhat. I'm not going to read the whole thing, but just the beginning part. And then I'll let you kind of comment on this. I frequently review emails from clients who say things like, hey, thanks so much for signing up for our newsletter. We promise not to take too much of your time. Don't worry, we're not going to send you loads of email. I know you're busy, just want to quickly let you know that.

Josh (00:11:04) - And then meanwhile other people are like, I'm going to email you every single day. Some days I might even email you twice. Why? Because my emails are awesome. I just that's hilarious to me because I think, you know, part of us is that we don't want to be intrusive. But then, you know, if we do that and then, I don't know, just kind of negate the value that, that we provide. What is that signaling, uh, to folks?

Chris (00:11:33) - I think when people are in pain and they want solutions, there's no, you know, my mentor Richards, he talks about this, he's like, if someone's in pain and they have a problem and you have the solutions, there's no amount of content you could send them that would be too much content. Right? And that's my belief. And if someone's not in pain, they end up on my list and they're not going to buy from me. Well, then you can unsubscribe. Like it's nothing personal. I won't take it personally, but like, if you need my help and you know that I could help you and you're interested in learning about how I can help, I'm going to communicate that with you.

Chris (00:11:59) - Because I'm running a business and you're running your life, and I can help you in your life, right? So I'm never going to apologize for that. And people are weird because oftentimes I've had a few people over the years who I'm like, where's the value, man? First of all, my emails are valuable. I make people laugh, I tell stories, I share insights from experiments I'm running. So they are valuable people. Where's the value? You just sent out a straight pitch. I'm like, yeah, I did, and I look at your subscriber profile and you've opened one email in the past 90 days, so like, you're in the wrong place. I'll unsubscribe you. You know what I mean? Like get out, like, but it's always those people. It's never the people who are your true fans who say that stuff, right? It's always the people in the cheap seats. It's always the people who aren't paying attention. And they got yelled at by their boss. And your email pops in their inbox five minutes later.

Chris (00:12:43) - And what it is, it's two things. It's either projection or it's displacement. It's always one of those two factors, right? It's either they are projecting their own insecurities onto you because they're mad at their own failures, or they got yelled at by it's like the guy who gets yelled at at work, and then you go, somebody kicks his dog, right? That's displacement. They're taking that negative emotion, moving it somewhere else. And it always happens. And it always happens with an email. And there's nothing you could do about that. I mean, I wish those people the best. I hope they get the help that they need. But you know, that's not something that I can control and it's not something I'm going to concern myself with.

Speaker 3 (00:13:12) - Yeah.

Josh (00:13:13) - Uh, Chris, your book, which we didn't mention and we. Need to mention is live in. And congratulations on this. It's the moat. How to build a durable, profitable e-commerce brand that can last forever. And so again, this just hit the shelves at Amazon.

Josh (00:13:32) - Share more about this. And who needs to get this book.

Chris (00:13:35) - Yeah. So thank you. Yeah, I published it. It's essentially my system for working with brands. And moat is an acronym. It stands for mission Offers acquisition traction. It's kind of like the four phases that you need to go through if you want to start growing but happens. There's a lot of people, especially in the e-commerce world. They have amazing products, but they're not marketers and they don't like they think, I'll just get my store up and then, hey, why am I not making more money? Why isn't my store growing? Why aren't I getting more customers? It's like, well, you need to drive them there. You need to have a mission that people can get behind you to have the right offers on the front end and the back end. To monetize properly and profitably, you need to have the right acquisition strategy and know how to put together ads that actually attract people and get them to convert. And then you need traction on the back end, which means you are turning the flywheel.

Chris (00:14:17) - You're monetizing the audience that you built, and that is going to build a moat around your brand. Right? Because if you the main thesis of the book is that if you can multiply capital better than all of your competitors and do it not only at a better rate, but more sustainably, you're going to win, right? That's how brands are built. It's the brands that multiply capital most effectively. It's not even necessarily the brands of the best product. It's like if you can continue to multiply capital over and over and over again, and you're doing it at a better rate, even if your competitor is a thousand times as big as you. Eventually, at some point, because of math and how numbers work, you will pass them.

Josh (00:14:47) - Yeah, that book is on Amazon right now. And Chris, you know, for our friend that's been listening to our conversation right now and they want more Chris or is it kowski in their life. Where do they go from here.

Chris (00:15:02) - Yeah, I mean definitely check out the book.

Chris (00:15:04) - It's 25 bucks. It's a hardcover. It's really nicely designed. You'll like it. It's a solid book. And then you can also go to my email list. Uh, you got 100 year brand co and get on my list and read some of my essays that I publish every day.

Josh (00:15:16) - Yeah. Again, that website, 100 year brand Dot SEO, the book. You can search it right now on Amazon. It's called The Moat How to build a durable, profitable E-commerce Brand That Can Last Forever. Chris Orzechowski. It's been a joy having you as a guest on the podcast. Thank you so much for this conversation.

Chris (00:15:36) - Thanks so much, Josh. Appreciate it.

Josh (00:15:43) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence common Guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group.

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