Ep124: Viktoriya Dolomanova

Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Viktoriya Dolomanova from Portugal and we're talking with her on behalf of her husband Hugo, who's a graphic designer, creating amazing labels, bottles, and packaging mainly in the wine and the spirits area.

We had a really great conversation about how to differentiate and stand out in that marketplace. I think we all know that design matters, and we are definitely more attracted to a beautiful things, leaning toward the well designed products, but it's difficult to get quantitative proof of that.

We talked a lot about how could you close that gap and bring assurance to people that design really does matter, and how to be the leader in bringing that voice to clients. Not only being now a designer that has incredible work to show, but also documented proof that your designs make more money.

That's really the way to go and where we focused a lot of our conversation and I want you to think about that for you and your business. If you're doing something that is hard to prove, there are some great ideas on how to go about proving your worth in these conversations.

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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 124


Dean: Viktoriya Dolomanova

Viktoriya: Hello? Hi, Dean.

Dean: How are you?

Viktoriya: I'm great. How are you?

Dean: I'm so good. Where in the world is Viktoriya today?

Viktoriya: I'm calling from Portugal.

Dean: From Portugal. Okay.

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: Nice. Well, good evening, I guess, is what it is there.

Viktoriya: Yeah, its 5:00 p.m. Good evening.

Dean: Nice! Well, I'm looking forward to talking with you and figuring out what we can do here, but let's; tell me the whole Viktoriya story here.

Viktoriya: This call is actually not for myself, it's for my husband who has a graphic design business, and I've been listening to your podcasts, both I Love Marketing Podcast, and More Cheese Less Whiskers podcasts for a while, and then I thought this would be great to talk to you and discuss some ideas for my husband's business. He's running a small graphic design studio here in Portugal. He specialized on premium packaging and label designs.

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Most of his clients are from, like beverages industry, gin, wine, whisky, but he also does, here and there some Boomey products, Boomey shows, or Special Vanilla, or Premium Honey, stuff like that.

Dean: Yeah. Okay.

Viktoriya: Yeah, he designs the packaging.

Dean: Okay. In that bottles/labels kind of thing. Yes.

Viktoriya: Majority is bottled labels, yes.

Dean: Okay. That's awesome. Viktoriya, are you on a speaker phone, It's very echoey where you are.

Viktoriya: I'm actually on my mobile phone with a headset.

Dean: Okay.

Viktoriya: I'm not sure why.

Dean: Actually, that sounds good. Okay. Sorry about that. Excuse me. What is the method that he uses right now to get clients like this?

Viktoriya: Actually, right at this moment, we're not running any active promotions or anything like that.

Dean: Okay.

Viktoriya: Majority of his clients would be coming from that like organic sources because he has his works displayed on portfolio websites. The biggest one would be Behance, Behance like a graphic design platform where they display their portfolio, so many people will come from there, we also have Instagram profile that he's quite active on, so posting all of the newer projects, some people are coming through Instagram, we also get a little bit of referrals, so some clients would speak to some other people and they would be interested.

But, yeah, mostly it's finding us on platforms where the works are displayed. Also, on Packaging of the World, and Dear Wine, those are like specialty websites where you can find food packaging, so people who would look for packaging they would go there. I'm not sure people are coming from Pinterest, although he has his portfolio on Pinterest as well, but I don't recall any lead coming from Pinterest, so I would say like Behance would be the biggest one.

Dean: The number one. Mm-hmm?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: Is that a predictable and plentiful supply of people for him to work with, or is he looking to grow this out? Or are you looking for more?

Viktoriya: Yeah. At the moment it's completely unpredictable, as you can image. We are not actually promoting it, and there's actually to way to actually promote it. On Behance there's no actual self-serving app, platform, or anything like that, so it's only when people actually need us and they start doing research they would come across some works and they'll, "Hey, I really like your design, I really like your style, can you give me a quote?"

Dean: Yes. Yes.

Viktoriya: But it's, yeah, totally unpredictable. We never know. I mean, his studio is really small, it's just him and another girl that's helping him out, and at the moment he has enough work, but he's mostly looking to move towards clients who have bigger budgets, and not only for his services but also to have more budget to play with because he seems to care about more premium packaging, it's all about the printing as well.

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Not only design, but how do you print, if he uses like better paper, or gold foils, and stuff like that, so when clients come with the bigger budgets even for the physical part of the work itself, it's also more fun for designers to work with, and then it leads to better portfolio pieces as well.

Dean: Of course. Yeah.

Viktoriya: It's a like a perpetual-

Dean: It's almost like you’ve got to have a patron in away, right?

Viktoriya: Yeah. Exactly!

Dean: Because it's certainly an art?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: What makes his work different? Why would somebody choose him over other designers, for instance? Is that something that you guys consider?

Viktoriya: Yeah. It's a really good question. I try to think about it before many times because I, myself, work in the advertising, actually my day job is, I work for an advertising agency based in the U.S., and on Facebook advertising, but I'm so close to these specific studio that I cannot see outside of my own head anymore because I've been so close to it for so long, I need some perspective on that side.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right!

Viktoriya: That's why we're having this conversation. But yeah, I thought about it before. Why would it be? Well number one it's … there are of course many designers, but there are very few designers who are, like specialize in that niche. There are only a few of them who have real quality work, so I would say objectively … not objectively because he's my husband, but because I've seen so many designs at this point, but I can with confidence say that his work is really high quality, and there's not many-

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You can see it on … yeah, just on the portfolio that I saw on Behance, it's very high end, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Viktoriya: Yeah. It's high end and he's very, very dedicated and really striving to be top quality, and there's few people like that. If you ever want to produce a bottle of, let's say, premium gin or premium whisky, and he would want to work with the label designer, you would find maybe a handful of people all over the world, like through the world, right?

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Viktoriya: There's not thousands of people who offer the same services with the same quality. There's just a few of them. Plus, for specific style of design, so he's not producing like any type of designs, he has a very specific style that he works with, he's like, which he calls "The Modern Vintage," it's about modern vintage, but it's more like happy, more detail oriented, really attention to final touches, the finishing. If you are in that … If you personally, yourself, like that style you'd be drawn to that style. if you don't like that style you wouldn't even consider working with that designer, because that's not something you would visually appreciate or like.

Dean: Right.

Viktoriya: That's number one, like design itself, quality of design. Number two is that he's, as I said, specialize in that niche, and also his portfolio is very consistent, so many times you would find designers that do a little bit of everything, and then you cannot … as a client, you cannot get like a notion, what his work could look like, or would look like, that's where the consistency of work helps really to get a feeling of how … what is the possibility for your product, or your packaging to turn out good, because you can see portfolio that's good, consistent, and you can see different types of bottles.

He's done whisky, and he's done gin, he's done wine, and he's done draught beer, so you kind of see that he's versatile, he can work across different products, so that also gives confidence.

Dean: Interesting. It's so funny. I recorded another podcast earlier this morning, and one of the conversations we had was specifically about narrowing to a single focus like this, and the example that I always use is there's a website in the U.K. called WeShootBottles.com, and all it is, is a commercial photographer who shoots photography for packaged goods that are in a bottle.

The entire website is dedicated to just sample after sample, example after example of really nicely-photographed bottles, and so if you're thinking about the equivalent of We Design Labels, is kind of what you're thinking about, that if you’ve got something, that comes in a bottle that needs a label, that you're going to look for somebody who appears to have a specialty in that, that's going to be reassuring.

Now, how much of a difference does the packaging make? How much of a difference does the label make, do you think? How important is it?

Viktoriya: Well, logical thinking, we know that it's very important, but the area where I struggle is that it's not directly measurable. Do you know like in advertising we like to do at least three tests, and we like to test things?

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: With packaging it seems, more naturalistic, or at many times not possible, right?

Dean: Right.

Viktoriya: Because you want to get one shot at making the packaging, right?

Dean: Yeah.

Viktoriya: People would come and say, "Yeah, I know that packaging impacts my sales, but I cannot say to what degree, or there is no direct measure of ROI on packaging," and we assume-

Dean: Yeah. It's an interesting … Yeah, now do you think, because it seems logical you would say to yourself that if somebody said to you that one design over another can make a 50% difference, that seems plausible, right?

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: I mean it seems like you could say, "Yeah that makes sense."

Viktoriya: Right.

Dean: Because especially when you're a new brand trying to break into, where you're trying to get somebody's attention the first time, the packaging that it's wrapped in is going to be the precursor to somebody actually trying the product, and the fact that, how are they going to feel putting that bottle on their table, or serving it to their friends, or ordering it in a club or at a restaurant, or whatever.

There are so many psychological things that go into it as well, right, all the subtle things, and a lot of times the top brands are not … it's nothing to do with the actual product itself, but all the packaging, and all the brand, and whatever, that becomes associated with it. If you think about all the highest-end Tequilas, or the high-end Champaigns, or the things that there's certainly a segment of the market that buy it just because it is the most expensive one regardless of what it tastes like. It's never about the product, but the whole situation around it.

Viktoriya: Yes. Logically, it makes sense, but when we start speaking with the client, and he's like, "Oh, yeah, you know that's a little bit expensive. I'm not sure." You're like, "Yes." You say packaging is everything pretty much. People wouldn't even pick your product if you don't have the right packaging, you cannot grab their attention. Nobody would even give a chance for your product, if your packaging is not attractive. Logically they understand it, but at the same time, because you cannot directly say what the impact is going to be, people are little more reluctant in terms of packaging investment.

Dean: Because of the bootstrapping law, they're not really.

Viktoriya: Exactly. Exactly or-

Dean: They don't have to.

Viktoriya: Or they don't understand why would they pay, let's say, $2,000 to a designer, when they can get the designer on Upwork, or Fiverr for 200 frankly.

Dean: Right, exactly.

Viktoriya: They don't understand that.

Dean: My question would be: that I would be approaching this, or how I would think about it is: how could we get to be so different that wouldn't be maybe even a $2,000 design, but that somebody would pay $20,000 for a design that is the culmination of a set of research and psychological matrix, and all the things that go into creating the brand identity that's going to make the big difference there? Now, in order to do that, what you would have to be able to do is prove that design makes the difference.

Every time I talk to a designer on these podcasts my thought always goes to, "How could you create the case for a return on design?" Because one of the things, like if you're in advertising, and that's a world where people clearly measure return on investment, and you can see the impact of advertising; right?

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: Now, when you look at this, how difficult would it be to set up the … to set up experiments to test the return on design? Like, what you be able to say? If somebody knew that the design could make a difference of 50% or, who knows, whatever percent, even if it's 20%, or 10%, on volume that's a huge thing, but since it's so right now, unprovable, or in the general population it's not really that proven, but probably at the highest end of some of the biggest beverage companies, I'm sure have all kinds of research into the psychology of the colors and fonts, and images on a label that makes a difference, especially if-

Viktoriya: Yes, and I've been digging through them and actually wrote a couple of articles more like advertorial style articles, like pose me a question that packaging really matters.

Dean: Yeah.

Viktoriya: Show the signs that's been proven already, it says that, "If your packaging is visually differentiating, it's going to capture this many percent of attention of people who walk through an aisle, and stuff like that, and really it's times like this, and I've already taken them and converted them towards articles, and driven traffic to them, and often the end will be: if you want awesome design contact us, but then that article, yes, it poses like a logical case for: packaging matters, but there is no … like a case study, at least I couldn’t find a case study saying like, "You know this company had Label A and then they changed it to Label B, and that resulted in this many list in their sales, or brand recognition, or what not, like this-"

Dean: Let's talk about that.

Viktoriya: Tangible studies don't exist. At least I couldn’t find them.

Dean: Right. Let's talk about that. It's that you could see that there's lots of use for something like that, and since nobody has that, since it's not readily available, what if you created that? Here's the thing, if you look at it, what if, and this would be a total investment in the long-term route, certainly make your husband's credibility go up in the industry, by being the guy who knows about this, or studies this. That now it's not only just great looking design, but it's great looking design with a purpose, that it's actually money-making design, that becomes much easier to sell, and create demand.

If you start to look at this, that I would look at perhaps, I love how you and I are talking about your husband like he's … he's not here but we're kind of speculating for him, so the only way, because I can't ask him the direct questions, I'll just tell you what I would do.

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: I would look at it that you're in Portugal.

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: Are you in a wine district, or you're in an area where-

Viktoriya: Yeah, absolutely.

Dean: Okay.

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: Do you have any friends or know people who have vineyards?

Viktoriya: Potentially, yeah, some of our clients, that have vineyards, of course.

Dean: Okay. I'm just wondering: if there could be an interesting opportunity to do one of two things, to do a split test on a limited run of a particular batch that they have, or a turnaround. Now, what I mean by that is to take a wine that has been not selling well, because you’ve got an established sort of track record of it, and to repackage it and take it out again and notice the difference that that makes, like a makeover.

Viktoriya: Yeah, I was thinking about that before, I think I was reading some direct mail materials before, and that's why they say how in the old days they would say, like this place would get products, this packaging and this space would get products for that packaging, and let's see how the sales come in, right?

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: They're like with that.

Dean: Yes. But you could even do it in a two-week period, or a 30-day period, of a particular one just in one retail store to have to split the things where they're side by side even, and see-

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm. That's a cool idea.

Dean: Yeah, which one like: even though it's the same stuff in the bottle, just to have the different packaging, to see the difference like: well, all I would be looking for is to show the conversation, to show that helping you quantify something that would normally be viewed as just a qualitative thing, right?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: I think that if you could build the case for that, even in the little experiments like that, and documenting everything. If you did a mini, either a podcast or a documentary kind of, I think because it's visual it would be good to do a little video documentary about the process, that that would really garner a lot of attention in the industry. Do you know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: Even if you were to do, I mean you could set up things like this at markets, like where … Do they do seller markets in Portugal, like Farmers' Markets?

Viktoriya: Not for wines. They would mostly have a bit like a fair where you would go for a variety of different brands would set up there, like little kiosks and would sell different wines of their own, and you could go with there as a visitor and test different wines.

Dean: Yes. But it would be interesting to even set that up as the kind of experiments, just to look at the data of which one people would choose. You know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: It's an interesting approach to documenting and creating, being the source of the kinds of things. Especially, you could create a whole new category if you did a study, like a turnaround or a remodel that showed the difference, right, that you were able to revive something, and bring it back around with that, that that could be an entire segment of the market that might be a good opportunity. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah, for sure, because many people actually, would come for a modeling, not for creation of the new brand and new label.

Dean: Yeah.

Viktoriya: There are many of course like that, but the majority would come with already existing label, and say, "Hey, we just need a refresh, we need something more appealing," and there's actually, now that you're speaking it, and thanks for reminding me, there is actually a past client that had exactly that case. He was selling gin, and then he came and made a redesign, and now they're really focusing on, gee, how the numbers change, because that's was already an established business.

Dean: There you go. What is your husband's name?

Viktoriya: Hugo.

Dean: Hugo, okay. I think that what I would really look at, is if we could go about establishing Hugo, as not only someone who does really great looking work, now what seems like kind of moderate pricing for a design like that, compared to what it could be, I would imagine, that may be by being the established expert on the psychology of labels in creating attraction, the sales, attracting the right people, conveying the right message.

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: Because our visual cues are largely baked in evolutionarily, and so a lot of these things that seem like rational thoughts are baked in to us that we automatically are attracted to something, or value something, or devalue something, or are more attracted to something because of something in the way that our minds work about it. You know?

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: To identify those things it would be a really great thing to be the … it's almost like an institute in a way, right, where Hugo is also the President of the Institute for Label Psychology. Or something that seems like it's committed to getting the best persuasive practices in labeling, in design.

Viktoriya: Yeah. Actually, that's a very good point and a great idea.

Dean: Because that's what separates. There are so many people who are great design, there's a lot, and that's really, even though he seems to be among the best of them, it's still that little differentiator of: he's the best, and he's expensive, but he's worth it.

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: Because he's a guy with actual proof that his designs make money, and so that's, I would focus all my thoughts initially on that, and that, using that as awareness to not only have the conversation, I would say that the people who really… At the highest end of the market, there are people who just want really great design, and those are the ones that he's looking to attract, but they're also looking to be able to justify that. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: If you can justify it with the research.

Viktoriya: Yeah. That was my initial thinking as well, but I didn’t know how to go about it, because the standards in the industry right now is that who got the most recognition turns out winning the different awards, and who got the most diplomas.

Dean: Yeah, the different-

Viktoriya: But design is such a subjective experience.

Dean: That's exactly right.

Viktoriya: What I think is great, you might not think is great, but if you can put hard numbers behind it and say, "Design A was doing so many sales, and now we have design B and it's improved it, I don't know, by 10, 20%, whatever."

Dean: Yes. That's the conversation.

Viktoriya: Right.

Dean: Because that, I think that first thing of the remodeling, where, when you look at it too, I would look at get so confident at this, that you would be willing to get paid only when they get result. Yeah, or look at that, that even though I say that as a thought a lot of times people think that's, I'm saying that exclusively, right, but I mean that as a thinking process that it could get to a point where: what if you could come in and do turn arounds, for instance, where that would be redoing label, and it makes a difference that that could be a lucrative thing, if you could get paid, not upfront for the designs, but an equity stake or a profit-sharing in that wine, or that batch, or that whatever, whatever they're doing. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: Especially on-

Viktoriya: As a focus insight, it's really great idea, and I really understand what you're saying, because I'll definitely sign up, if I was a client, I would sign up for anything like that, but I'm not sure how possible it is in the real world.

Dean: Well that's the thing, is that you're trying to, and this is what it is, is that that's … when I say that, you want to get … the first person that has to believe that that's true, is you, or Hugo.

Viktoriya: Yeah. Yeah.

Dean: That you have to believe that. You have to believe in it so much that you would be willing to do that, and that's why I'm saying when you first start this process, you don't go out to the world with that, you start just examining for yourself, what would I have to be convinced of: what evidence would I need for myself to convince myself that this is the way to go? Do you know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: What would that look like, what would be evidence that this is something that I can make a difference on? That's really, I think, an incredible place to come from because that opens up the big opportunities now, right? Rather than just getting a fee for designing and then constantly looking for new people, somebody could pay him $2,000 to do a design, but then they go on to make 200 million. Now that would be a different thing if … especially if he were to really get in as a collaborator with either a startup, or with an established vineyard, or distillery, who wants to do a special project who would come into it.

Viktoriya: Yeah, and there are a few people who, potentially, would agree to that, because he has a couple of ongoing engagements with clients where clients are very open to testing different things.

Dean: Yeah. I just think it would be, there's so much desire for people to … I don't think anybody can argue that we are attracted to beautiful things, that it just seems so logical Viktoriya that there would be a difference.

Viktoriya: Yeah, that's true.

Dean: That great design is going to make a difference, right?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: But there's nobody establishing that to be true, and so I think especially in that, in the bottle, in the label division, does Hugo get involved with the bottle choice in addition, or just the labeling after they’ve chosen the bottle? Or is he 100% from the ground up involved in that?

Viktoriya: He has some real project, the majority of times people would just say, "Here is the bottle we need a new label."

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Some of the clients would say, "We just want to complete redesign. What do you recommend? Here is the list of bottles that we looked at, which ones would you pick?" There was a couple of people who actually he had … well, there is one specific client that he's right now in the project of designing the bottle and the label, and the box, and the whole thing, for a branded product.

Dean: Yes, and the story, everything that goes along with it. You see, and that kind of stuff, that's what, I think, would make a really big difference. I mean the industry is huge, there's so much opportunity there. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: That if this were, I think you could shoot to the top with real evidence that design can make a difference, that's going to really establish him as a differentiator.

Viktoriya: For sure.

Dean: As a difference maker. Look, do you want to brainstorm a couple of ways that he could do that, really, practically in the short term? Because I think that you could do it.  Again, it doesn’t have to even be live things, it could be established as a psychological experiment like-

Viktoriya: There's actually one video on YouTube, I tried to find it the other day but could not. Basically, what the guy did is that he kind of made it a little kiosk, and he was giving people a taste of wines, and there were two bottles of wine, one was the really, really simple, cheap-looking label, and the other one was premium-looking, beautiful bottle. It was the same wine in both, and he would give to people, and ask them what's the difference, and of course they would drink from the bottle with the more expensive label, and they would say, "Oh, this is worth more, I roll my eyes, and all that." It was just so funny, because it was the exact same product, just perception of people based on the bottle.

Dean: Yes. Yes.

Viktoriya: It was so different. Doing something like that, even would … maybe like a promotional video would work really well, even the people who might not believe that it was true, because you can set these things up, right?

Dean: Right, I get it.

Viktoriya: People are skeptical nowadays, but the idea behind it is actually not bad at all, I think.

Dean: Yes. That as an established as a first thing, to show just to establish that preference, that people give.  They would rate something higher or it would be an interesting thing to have two wines, like as a social psychology experiment, to have two wines that are there but to have people establish their guesstimate for the price of that wine.

Viktoriya: Yes, exactly.

Dean: See what, because these are the foundations now, this is a really affordable, easy way to set up and test the hypothesis, then from that, if you do know, if you see and can show in three different experiments that people consistently rate the better-designed wine, or the better designed bottle as more expensive than the… that I think would then lend itself to doing actual live price tests, by putting, not only just people voting on it, but if they were at a market, or in a wine store or in a … somewhere where you could track and monitor the preferences or the experiment, that that becomes now more sort of validated, scientific proof.

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: That now people actually did pay more for that bottle.

Viktoriya: Because I actually don't know how do they define price of the bottle, I guess it depends on the quality of grape, and then which region, and what year, and blah-blah-blah, but I guess there is.  They're more like also guesstimating even their own pricing the producers of wine, right?

Dean: Yes, of course.

Viktoriya: As they decide between EUR10 and EUR12. I'm not really sure.

Dean: Yeah, well people explained but it's been established again and again and again that people have no way of … very few people have the palate developed to rate and discern what wine … the value of a wine, the general public, the buying public, they're buying the whole environment and the bottle, and I mean, you’ve got to imagine that the label makes a difference in the choice of what. If somebody is having a dinner party, and they're going to have wine, or they're going to a dinner party, and they bring a bottle of wine, all the people who are doing that, they're not picking something based on an established, like the qualitative kind of thing, they're looking at the design of the label, or they're looking for a brand that they know has already established the value of it. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah, for sure.

Dean: Yeah. I think we're really onto something with that.

Viktoriya: By putting in back to numbers I think we respectfully couldn’t even do that study, because as I've already told we have a couple of clients, that Hugo has a couple of clients who came to him for their designs, and it's been a time since the design happen, so I would be really interested to look at their numbers before and after, to see the real difference.

Dean: Yeah. Yeah.

Viktoriya: Because there might be some nuggets there as well.

Dean: Yes. Well, of course there would be, and that's it, but then the other thing would be to research and look at what goes in to choosing the designs, right, like what goes in to what do different shapes, like there's probably well-established research about what certain colors or shapes, or fonts, or textures, or all of those kinds of things mean, and what impact they have, just to really sort of take that scientific approach to it.

That's I think a company called 90-Minute Books, and we did a book, we've done a series that follow this title format, we did a series called Return on Safety, and we've done Return on Wellness, and those kinds of things where, if you could think about Return on Labels as a mindset of what really makes an investment in higher quality design, and printing, and texture, the whole package, what that could be, that would be pretty, that would be pretty amazing actually.

Viktoriya: Yeah. That probably would be one of a kind, because I really, I was looking so hard for any hard data on this thing, just to use in our own promotional materials.

Dean: Yeah, right.

Viktoriya: I did not come across any hard, a numbered study saying, when X became Y, this is the growth.

Dean: Yes. What would Hugo say about all this? Or is he an artist?

Viktoriya: He's and absolute an artist because he wants nothing to do with marketing and sales.

Dean: Right, just nothing to do with that point, yeah.

Viktoriya: No. No.

Dean: I get it. That's why you're on the call, right?

Viktoriya: Exactly.

Dean: I got it, but you're a hardline Advertising Executive, right. I get it.

Viktoriya: Yeah, I know how numbers work and advertising, yeah.

Dean: Yes. I think that that could be a good thing. Do you guys ever work together? Or do you work with an agency or do you work on your own?

Viktoriya: No. I personally work for an agency.

Dean: Okay. Yeah.

Viktoriya: But he has his own thing, and we try not to mix.

Dean: I got you.

Viktoriya: When you’re not involved it could result in not so great discussions, and it's better not to.

Dean: I hear you. I know.

Viktoriya: Yes. I try to help as much as I can, but it was very valuable and even helpful because, really, I'm so close to it, that I don't see perspectives anymore, so hence they're putting things into perspective for me. That was really helpful.

Dean: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome. Well, I think, where else did you want to go with the conversation, because I kind of steered it into that direction, but if you want to get more practical and right down to it. What were the things on your mind coming into this here?

Viktoriya: This was great, because I knew something really out-of-the-box would come from you based on all your experience, and all the previous podcasts that I've listened to with you. Now that I'm thinking, if this strategy that you just outlined for me, creating this study, we could do substantial different spinoffs of this study to promote ourselves. It could be a simple as, documenting the whole experience on video and just posting it as, "Hey, here's what happened."

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: We could also use it to promote the studio, saying, "Hey, this studio did that."

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: It could also be used as educational basis for even building content around it, right?

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Like for instance, I have already in the pipeline a couple of articles that are written by a popular writer that would speak about: how to sell your bottles for $10 more without the changing the products for instance; right?

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Just tweak a label and it will be; print it on a little better paper, use this printing technique that visually makes it look more expensive, so you could sell it for a higher price, and stuff like that, so there's a lot of different things that could come out of this little study that could be used in a Facebook ad, or in a YouTube ad, or some PR in a magazine, or in some specialty magazine, or a wine magazine would be interested to publish an article like that.

Dean: Yes. Yes. I get it; mm-hmm.

Viktoriya: There's a lot of ideas that could come out of it. I guess then the other question is, like when you, say, speak about the books and the book title, and the only reason to write a book is to make a prospect raise their hands.

Dean: Mm-hmm.

Viktoriya: My question would be: how do we make people that we would like to work with raise their hands? Because it's not as easy to come across and find those people, like I tried to do targeted Facebook and things, we tried their AdWords campaigns, and actually nothing really great came out of it ever, not just in case of the money.

Dean: Well, the thing that you have…

Viktoriya: …but there's the awareness-

Dean: Yeah, I get it. The thing that you have as an advantage is that you have what I call visible prospects, meaning you can get a list of people who make things that come in bottles, right?

Viktoriya: Right.

Dean: That's not, yeah, it's not a mystery, you're not trying to find people with a sort hidden desire for something, you’ve got, or back pain, you can't get a list of people with back pain, or planning a trip to Portugal, or whatever. But you can get a list of people who have bottles, and so even if you did a … even if you took an approach like a one-off approach, I think bottom line, it's got to start with just getting some of these experiments out there, that you're showing just indicatively, even if not conclusively, but indicatively that people prefer better-looking design, and they rate them higher. That would be level one. You could do that this weekend with a stand at a shopping mall just to do the research of it; right?

Viktoriya: Right.

Dean: Two different ones of which one tastes better, I would run the experiments in shifts kind of thing, run one shift: the great-looking bottle with one, the average-looking bottle with the other, and maybe even do it with three, so you could see how people rank them, and so it's not so obvious that one is so much nicer, and the other one is so much nicer, but you could rank them in #1 outstanding design, and #2 mediocre designs; or what would be even good designs. You know?

Viktoriya: Right.

Dean: Just have people rate them one to three, or on both their taste, the testing of it, then have them do the same experiment. Instead of rating the taste rate … put three different price tags on them, one is whatever, one is another price, and one is a lower price, and have them predict which one is which. Do you know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: Of course, all three are exactly the same wine, exactly the same, so they're predicting, and our hope would be that the nicest design would be perceived to be better testing and to be better, higher priced.

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: That, on the basis of that, if you have 100 results of that, that's the basis for a study. I mean, you could then write a package, or write an ad, or a PR thing that says, "Study shows this, an outcome. Study shows better, fancy packaging means fancy price." Or whatever you'd have to wordsmith it.

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: Yeah. That people think beautiful design tastes better. Those kinds of things that that is just controversial enough that that is going to get noticed. Then if you did a whole deck about it, or a whole video, or the interpretation of the study, or show the whole thing, that becomes a … that would be really good way to now get together to get yourself established as the thought leader in this.

Viktoriya: Yeah, sure.

Dean: That alone, you package that with Hugo's portfolio and now with this science-based data that you’ve taken.  If you set up the experiments and use the scientific method it becomes, it's a scientific study that way. You know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: Maybe with that, armed with that, if everything indicates that you might be on to something, then you just start leveling up, and you start now getting it to where it's more and more conclusive. You know?

Viktoriya: Tell me more.

Dean: Then you start now getting into, we're doing like you're not charging people money, you're just getting their thoughts and preferences so anytime somebody is doing something like that, there's an element of a game in it, in that people try and outsmart it, in that a certain percent of people, probably 5% of people are going to think that they're gaming the system by thinking that they're part of an experiment and that, they're going to rate the less packaging as the better tasting, just because they think they're outsmarting the game. You know, right?

Viktoriya: Yes.

Dean: That there's like, "Oh, they want me to say that this package makes this wine tastes better, but I'm going to say this other one." You know?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Dean: But most people, most people, 80% or more of the people are really going to make their true preference. But those are just like indicative, but you do it where you now set something up, where you’ve got two different packages of a wine that's actually for sale, in a wine store, and you're tracking now sales without the environment around, you could, armed with your data there, from the scientific, like the casual study; right?

Viktoriya: Mm-hmm.

Dean: The scientific study of it, you could get enough evidence to get somebody to underwrite that, or to allow you to use their wine, or even a brewery, something you could make a difference, two different packages, or a turnaround, or something where they're side by side-

Viktoriya: Yeah, for sure.

Dean: To see which one people, which one people choose, monetarily, now that they're making … now that they're voting with real dollars, which are the ultimate proof. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah, for sure. These two combined would be a real good idea.

Dean: I think so. I think so.

Viktoriya: For sure. That's a great idea.

Dean: You do. Oh, good!

Viktoriya: Yeah, that should be something doable, because he had a really awesome platform that would be up for aligning for an experiment like that.

Dean: Yeah. I think that's really, I think that's fun. You know?

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: Because actually, you could really have that, I just think there's something about that, even, we all love proof, we love certainty, we love these kinds of things because now we know that this is what works, or this is what people prefer.

Viktoriya: Yeah, for sure.

Dean: That will become valuable.

Viktoriya: Yeah. That's really great. Thanks so much, Dean.

Dean: I like it.

Viktoriya: I like it a lot.

Dean: Why don't you summarize then for me? What's your thoughts, your parting thoughts here?

Viktoriya: Yeah. My parting thoughts about showing numbers behind design is not only saying: you know we are a design that sells, but actually proving it by demonstrating how people make a preference, not in terms of taste and opinion, but also monitor with the base … go and vote with their dollar, that's the ultimate proof that a design actually is worth considering as a serious part of your brand, and it's not only the product but also the packaging, and also the packaging is more important in certain way than the product itself, because it's the first touch point with the audience.

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: If we find a way to actually show in a number that packaging makes a difference that will be great. That also would give more confidence to the producers themselves, because they also are throwing it out there. You know?

Dean: Right.

Viktoriya: Without knowing that it's really makes a difference, so it's not only a case for showing that our service is important, but also give more confidence to producers, which is always nice to have a peace of mind and think, "I made the right decision."

Dean: Yes. Yes.

Viktoriya: This is great. Yeah, so the action points now is to set up these base experiments and then to have the actual sale experiment and see whether people buy more with the better design.

Dean: That's so awesome. Well, will you send me your results? Because let's do a follow up on this, because I'd love to see the outcome of it.

Viktoriya: Yeah, absolutely. We might need some time.

Dean: Of course.

Viktoriya: I cannot promise to deliver it in like a month or two, but maybe three, four months from how?

Dean: Absolutely.

Viktoriya: That would be something interesting, because I already see-

Dean: I think it's perfect over the holidays, because people are out and about and making those kinds of decisions right now.

Viktoriya: Yeah. For sure, but it might be a bit more difficult to get people, the actually producers on board with this.

Dean: I get it. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Viktoriya: Yeah, because they already made their packaging, and made up their minds about what they want to sell over the holidays. These things start … people start planning on what they're going to sell for Christmas right about August.

Dean: Yes.

Viktoriya: Those decisions have been already, but after Christmas it would be people probably would be more open.

Dean: That's awesome.

Viktoriya: For Easter Season.

Dean: Well, that's true.

Viktoriya: Great. Thanks so much, and thanks for taking time, and giving me these awesome ideas.

Dean: Thank you, Viktoriya. That was fun.

Viktoriya: Yeah.

Dean: I will talk to you soon. Say hi to Hugo for me.

Viktoriya: Yeah. Okay. Thanks. Goodbye. Have a good evening.

Dean: Okay. Thanks. Bye.

Viktoriya: Bye.

Dean: There we have it! Another great episode! I really loved that conversation. It went by very fast. I mean, so nice Viktoriya has got an advertising/marketing background, so she is hip to this whole thing, but to see the … I really think this idea of staging these scientific experiments to really show in an indicative way, that the preference leans to beautiful things, both that people prefer them visually. If you can, it's almost fun if you can show that they perceive that something actually tastes better if it's in a fancier package, and that something is more expensive in a fancier package.

That kind of research would be the foundation for moving forward with some of the other experiments that we talked about, but I think that that sort of scientific study, if you can start thinking about what could you stage in your situation that would be really interesting data to have and start a conversation with people. Make yourself the center of attention for that. Pretty cool!

I'd love to hear what your ideas are on this, if you want to comment or continue the conversation here, we can go to: MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com, you can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book.

If you want to be a guest on the show, just click on the "Be a Guest" link, and we can have some conversations like this for you.

There we have it. Have a great week, and I will talk to you next time.