S2 E21: Luke Kingma (Bored Cow): Making your brand stand out by doing something fun and memorable


Today, we’re joined by Luke Kingma, Head of Brand at Tomorrow Farms and Creative Director at Bored Cow, the leading brand for animal free dairy milk. We talk about

  • demystifying lies around the new food industry like precision fermentation or cell based meat,
  • the waves of social media from legacy platforms to new platforms,
  • creating political commentary that isn't divisive,
  • basing a marketing strategy around edutainment,
  • collecting consumer insights across the journey, and
  • doing something fun and memorable in marketing.

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


people, cow, love, brand, milk, dairy milk, dairy, consumer, starting, animal, product, branding, milk protein, board, big, purchase, world, tick tock, question, retention


Mariah Parsons, Luke Kingma

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. So hello, Luke. I am so excited to chat with you today and learn more about you and board cow, I have to tell you first, thank you for sending us some board cow products for us to try. So before we get into more about your background, I wanted to just tell you, we did try it everyone loved it. It was funny seeing people's like different flavors, which one they liked the best. I personally like chocolate and then my coworker, Noah who he hosts the podcast as well for our partners, partner side. He was also chocolate chocolate lover and then our other coworker Kurt, he really loved the vanilla. So it was fun. I gave them one of each. So yeah,

Luke Kingma 01:41

it is always cool to see what people drift towards. We have a lot of people I'm a strawberry milk person personally, and I was okay. There's like there's so few plant based or animal free strawberry milk brands on the market. And so like a lot of people are like, Finally, I've been waiting, like 20 years to be able to drink strawberry milk again.

Mariah Parsons 02:01

Yes, yeah, that's I so I actually okay, maybe this is giving too much. But I like growing up. I don't know what it is about me. But I was just like, I never really liked the taste of milk. Like any any milk. It was just, I was like, oh, yeah, it's alright. Like cereal. I'd have dry like, whatever. I was like, Okay, maybe weird. Yes. But now like as we talk, I'm like, oh my god, I love it. And so I'm trying it. Yeah, it's definitely definitely fun. Interesting. Do you think like with strawberry, just because you grew up with strawberry. That's why like, that's your favorite?

Luke Kingma 02:35

I think so because it like, we see this happen all the time when we do taste tests where somebody will take a sip, and you can just tell that they've been like instantly transported, you know, back to the 90s or the early 2000s. Or whenever they grew up. And strawberry gives me that sort of like transport potato moment, you know, and so it's nice, yeah, it's just as much about the nostalgia and the memories, I think as it is the flavor and texture and things like that, you know?

Mariah Parsons 03:03

Yeah, that's so fun. That's definitely I like I see that coming across in the branding, which we'll we'll talk about as well once we got off of the flavor test. But yeah, that makes it makes a lot of sense. Like, just the we actually interviewed two perfume brands. So define me fragrances and dossier, and they were both saying how, like, obviously, your senses are really connected to your memories, right? Like, that's how we progress throughout the world. Evolutionarily, you just needed that as a hunter gatherer, right? Like, so it's so funny that it's like, oh, you know, you're drinking something like milk, which is really nostalgic as a kid, you're totally like, drink now can you know you'll get strong and your bones break and stuff like that. And like, same thing with cereal, too. Like, it's just a couple of these different I'm trying to think of other other examples of food that's like really nostalgic believes kids like candy, the same thing to

Luke Kingma 04:00

even like soda pop. And like, it's why ollie pop and poppy have been doing so well. Because they've managed to like capture the nostalgia without the sugar and without the you know, the corn syrup and without all of the stuff that we left behind for a good reason, you know?

Mariah Parsons 04:14

Yes, yes, exactly. Those are also perfect examples. Thank you. Yeah, it's like as an adult, the things that you care about, you know, leaving out all the bad and green ingredients that you don't want to consume. So it's, it's perfect and yeah, the nostalgia, the branding, it coincides so well, I think that's you know, that lens into success as a brand because if it makes sense from a messaging standpoint, and it correlates with your own experience, it's like oh, yeah, that that checks out. But more about that later so let's let's jump into it. I know we picked it up with starting with the samplers and thank you again for sending that super, super nice I know we we enjoyed it, but it would be great to have you give like your background, introduce yourself. I'm so happy to hear with Leslie

Luke Kingma 05:00

Yeah, me too. Thank you for having me, I have my background. So I've been in, I guess creative and brand marketing for my whole career, I started out in the social and digital marketing space, I graduated in like 2010. So it's like, right as Facebook was starting to become a major marketing tool for brands. But it was also the time when brands were getting onto social media for the very first time. And so very interesting time to sort of begin entering the job market. And so all of the jobs, it seemed like back then, at least from a marketing perspective, where social media marketing jobs for big brands, and so I did that for about five years, I worked at a company called VaynerMedia, in the very early days, which was interesting and exciting. And I learned a lot. From there. Like sort of in the mid 2010s, you had this like big wave of like, digital media, publishers that were sort of like blowing up the like Buzz feeds, and refinery 29 's of the world. And so I was really interested in that space, I was a little burnt out. And jaded to be frank with, you know, big brand marketing. And so I decided I wanted to, you know, pivot to digital media. And so I joined a very small startup called futurism, which was a digital media publication, and still is, that writes about sort of, like future science and technology trends. And so everything from artificial intelligence to, you know, lab grown meats, to machine learning to self driving cars to blockchain at the time, just like, you know, trying to help demystify, you know, these technologies that were promising to change our lives in major ways. And some cases have in some cases, haven't, you know, looking back now, years later, and so I ran the credit team there for a couple of years, which was a very fun time, we got to produce documentaries. And we made a comic strip brand that eventually, you know, got published, we built a weighted blanket brand called gravity, you know, all internally. And so it's just like, it was that time where, you know, digital mediums, were just figuring out how to make money outside of just like advertising, because at the time, you know, ad dollars and revenue were sort of shrinking for digital media companies. So I learned a lot then decided through the, through the weighted blanket and gravity work that I did that I actually really liked building and scaling, consumer brands. And so I decided that I wanted to learn a little bit more about what that looks like. And so I got to work for a company called seed, which is a probiotic startup, run by an amazing marketer named Eric Katz learned so much from her, I was at home for a little while, got to learn from Michael Acton Smith, and Katie shows the leads marketing there, and as a former colleague of mine, and then I went to Twitter, pre pre Elon Musk stuff.

Mariah Parsons 07:52

And I'm gonna say,

Luke Kingma 07:55

I got to work on the brand strategy team there. And then this opportunity for tomorrow farms and board cow came up. And I had been sort of desperately looking to get into the climate space, because I wanted my values, you know, to align with the work that I do on a day to day basis. And it's obviously such a big an important problem. And so, so, you know, sort of decided that I wanted to dedicate like the better part of the rest of my career to helping work on solutions for the climate and biodiversity crisis. And so I didn't think it was going to be food. And that was sort of the the way into that. But as I've learned about the food system, and how much, you know, disruption and changes needed, there, um, it became clear that it was a really good way to get involved. And so, yeah, I feel very fortunate to be doing what I'm doing.

Mariah Parsons 08:43

Yeah, there's so much to dive into there. And I love that so much. So. Okay, quick question for you with, like you said, when you first were looking for jobs, like in social media, you felt like everything was like social media management? Do you think that's changed? Because I feel like there's still such like, I feel like any jobs out there, it's like, any people I see on LinkedIn, who are hiring, it's like social media management or content creator for specific platforms, most of the time, it's tick tock. Um, what would you say to that?

Luke Kingma 09:16

It's a great question. I don't think it's, I don't think it's changed overall, I think at the time, it was such a novel thing to do. And you had all of these like, seasoned, you know, brand leaders who had been building brands, you know, primarily through traditional channels for their whole careers. And suddenly, you know, they had to figure out how to translate that to social media. And so of course, it made sense to go to young people, you know, who sort of are fluent in social media to do that. And so, I think that that still happens today. But I also think that social media marketing is is seen as a much more important and critical pillar of any brands success in the world and so Yeah. And so I think it's the same, but I actually think it's, I think it's viewed as more reputable now. And I think people understand how hard it is, and, and how rare it is to be great at it.

Mariah Parsons 10:13

Okay, cool. Cool. I love that response. And I completely agree, I do think there's way more acceptance for the importance of organic growth and branding and messaging and your presence online. And as you're speaking, I was just tying like the correlation. Because a lot of the times on this podcast, it just comes up naturally, like, tick tock, I'm fascinated, I think everyone is kind of fascinated by the platform. And so I just, we chat about it a lot. But I kind of see like the same thing happening on a little bit of a smaller scale for the platform itself. Because I feel like now people are like, oh, there's time and time again, like different brands, different, you know, apps, even like Duolingo they're seeing success on Tik Tok. And I think it's some of that, like, it's not as reputable right now, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, like, those have been around for a minute. And so the same like transition or cycle that you were saying, when social media management first kind of started making its way around, and now it's, you know, years out more reputable, I think the same thing is happening with tick tock and like, all of that. So it's really interesting. It's like, history repeats itself, right?

Luke Kingma 11:27

I'm we're at the point now, where like, even Facebook is seen as almost a legacy platform. Yeah, it's like, everyone is been on Facebook forever now. And, you know, obviously, young people are shifting away from it. And so it's funny to, you know, I think now, a lot of brands are looking specifically for people who are fluent in Tik Tok, because, you know, they came up in the age of Facebook and Instagram, and Tiktok is just a completely different culture and a completely different content creation style, and completely different social norms and rules. And, you know, it's hard to learn those things if you didn't grow up with them. And so, yeah, it's always easier to just hire smart driven people who like want to, you know, pursue a career in marketing and also happen to know these platforms fluidly, you know, and so it's a great way into the industry, for sure. Although I do agree that like, tick tock, and tick talkers do need to be respected more, because it is hard to do tick tock.

Mariah Parsons 12:29

Yeah. And to it's humbling, you know, for sure you Like anyone who is trying to make content. Like, you can say, you can have like a piece of content, you're like, Oh, I really think this is gonna go over so well. And then it doesn't. Oh, my God, and then random stuff. It just it goes really? Well. There you go. Like wasn't anticipating it? Yeah. Um, it's a

Luke Kingma 12:53

little bit of a black box for sure. Which is why you need to just like experiment, you know, huh.

Mariah Parsons 12:59

Yeah. You can't have a ton of pride, I think in that, in that role, especially ecommerce to like, DDC, things are just changing. I feel like so quickly. So. Yeah, and marketing. So it's wonderful. Okay, so we've talked about your background, which is a great background, by the way to like, calm app and Twitter and tomorrow farms and poured cow now it's so amazing. So give us an overview of both tomorrow farms and then board cow as well.

Luke Kingma 13:25

Yeah. Yep. So. So tomorrow Farms is, there's a lot of ways we describe it, depending on the way that I like to describe it to the average person is that tomorrow, pharmacists, sort of like the parent company, for the future of food. And so if you think about like, the logo marks, you grew up with the General Mills and the Kellogg's, you know, the Nestle's of the world, like those back then were like, what people looked for, you know, when they were looking for products, you know, to make sure that they were buying something with a certain standard of quality and flavor, etc. We think that those monograms are, are a little outdated, frankly. And you know, there's this entire new generation of food science and technology that is coming up really, really quickly. You've seen it with plant based food science. You're seeing it now with precision fermentation, animal free dairy, which is obviously what we're doing with board cow. You're seeing it with with cell based meats. The first cell based meat company just got FDA approval, the United States today. And so what's happening really, really quickly, and there's going to be all sorts of and there are all sorts of like food science companies, and amazingly smart people who are figuring this out. But I think what we've seen is most of them do not have, you know, if they have the experts, this sort of scientific expertise and technological expertise. They don't always have the sort of branding, marketing expertise in terms of like, how do I take this technology and act Slowly turn it into a brand and a product that people are going to want to buy in a grocery store. And so we sort of fill in that gap for those partners. And so, you know, we are looking for the next big, sort of like food science technologies and opportunities that will help create a, like better, kinder, greener food system. And specifically, you know, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, lowering land use lowering water use, obviously promoting animal welfare. And we are, you know, sort of the commercial arm that helps turn those ingredients and technologies into brands, and products that people will love. And so bored cow is the first of those brands underneath that tomorrow farms, umbrella. And we obviously worked with perfect day, who have sort of pioneered this animal free milk protein that we use as the base of our animal free dairy milk, which is what board cow

Mariah Parsons 15:59

is. Yes, that's such a good summary. Good job. I see like, listeners will be able to it's like, perfect correlation between, you know, like the big logo brands from I don't even know, like 67 days, I don't know when they found it, but like the Kellogg's of the world, and then how that's a parent company. And then what you all are trying to do with tomorrow farms, and bird cow. And so now let's get into a little bit more about board cow like we've we've touched upon a couple of times animal free dairy, milk, it sounds like you've read it. And it sounds like you first hear Yeah, yeah. Paradox. Yeah.

Luke Kingma 16:42

Oxymoron. Yes.

Mariah Parsons 16:46

Exactly. Which is the first time I read it. And it's great because it like catches your attention. You're like what?

Luke Kingma 16:52

Curiosity, you know.

Mariah Parsons 16:54

Yep. So applause there. Good, good job. And like, so we were also talking about just the branding. And these are more just like, just from briefly, anyone who's listening, like, I encourage you to go check out your website, because you get everything that you are supposed to yet as a consumer, or this is my assumption like that you're supposed to get or that you guys are trying to portray very quickly. And I love we've we've talked about it a little bit, the nostalgia. And so I would love to go into that, like, learn more just about the background, where that those ideas came from, like, the branding is adorable. So yeah, I just want to know everything, like the ins and outs. Yeah,

Luke Kingma 17:40

I think it's, I think always the best place to start is explaining what animal free dairy is, and why it is. And I think we can, we'll move into the actual branding decisions from there. But I think as a baseline, you know, animal free dairy is an oxymoron, you know, up until just, you know, less than 10 years ago, really, anything that was dairy was not animal free. And anything that was animal free was not dairy, right? Those two things were incompatible because dairy has always come from cows, as we all know. And so what has changed over the last 10 years is that we're actually using a technology that's been around for about 50 years called precision fermentation. And this is a process by which we can teach tiny invisible microflora, how to ferment different things. You know, 50 years ago, we started to use it to produce insulin, as most people know, insulin, you know, historically comes from pigs. But human insulin, which is something that obviously is much more compatible with our bodies, is something that we learned to teach microflora how to make. And so, you know, most insulin now is made through this process of precision fermentation. From there, it was actually cheesemaking that started using precision fermentation, there's an enzyme called rennet that traditionally comes from the stomach linings of like small cows and other kind of ruminants. And so now most cheese makers use precision fermentation to make enzymes without needing to slaughter a baby animal in order to get those enzymes right. And so now we can use it to produce animal proteins for food making and so perfect day, who's our technology partner with bored cow has figured out a way to make milk protein, specifically whey protein, which is one of the two main proteins found in cow's milk, through through fermentation instead of by milking a cow. And so, you know, and then, you know, the follow up question is always like, why, why? Why are you going through all of that effort to produce something that already exists? And the answer Of course, is that, you know, our food system accounts for around 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions, it's responsible for up to 80% of the deforestation that's happened over the last century, it's responsible for about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals. And most of that is because of the meat and dairy industry, which is an incredibly energy and resource intensive industry, that also produces a lot of emissions and specifically methane. And so, you know, by making milk protein, with microflora, we can generate up to 97%, fewer greenhouse gas emissions use up to 99%, less water, and up to 60% Less non renewable energy than milk protein that is sourced from cow's milk. And so, you know, obviously, that those are enormously, those are no mistake number options. And yeah, and those sort of environment, important environmental factors. And so the reason that we're making animal free dairy is because we love milk. And we love dairy products, we love how they taste, we love how they feel, we love how they act, we love the nutrition they provide, but we don't love, you know, the impact they have on animals in the environment. And so animal for your dairy allows us to keep eating and drinking the dairy products we love. Without, you know, this sort of enormous environmental impact that, you know, the meat and dairy industry and specifically factory farms now have. And so that's the background, it's always important to explain it.

Mariah Parsons 21:31

Yeah, I love it, thank you,

Luke Kingma 21:32

we take that milk protein, and we build a milk alternative around it. And so what you end up with is sort of a hybrid dairy plant based product, right? Where you have animal free milk protein that's identical to the animal to the milk protein found in cow's milk, to the degree that if you have a dairy allergy, you actually can't drink born cow. But then we build them, we add plant based ingredients around that to sort of replicate, you know, the rich, creamy flavor of dairy. And so you end up with a milk alternative is much closer from a taste texture and nutrition profile perspective to regular milk than most, if not all milk alternatives on the market today.

Mariah Parsons 22:09

Right? That's really cool. So I actually took a class on just like the environmental impact that our and this was way back when but like the environmental impact that your consumption has, like, on just the world in general. And I remember I was like, the, one of the things I took with that, from that class was like just the amount of methane that is released into the environment and like how little one person's consumption like you don't have to consume too much, or really make like a big impact on the world. And so I love hearing you, like walk through that. Because I think a lot of the times like I'm sure you relate to this, it's like education with the consumer is really important. It's one of the things we see time and time over with Malomo is the more Yes, yeah. And we're gonna be we'll we'll dive into that a little bit later. But that's really like the key component because you say that to a reader or consumer and what they're reading about board cow. And they're like, that makes sense like that is why would you not go with an alternative? If you can, you know, if you can, like drink dairy milk. So thank you so much for walking us through it. It's a great background. Yeah.

Luke Kingma 23:23

So yeah, so now let's move into the brand. So how do we get from? Okay, we're gonna make animal free dairy milk to, we're going to call it board cow. And we're going to create all of these quirky, strange, cow creatures that are going I love them so much products. So we we worked with a really amazing branding agency called manufacturer, they're based in the Raleigh Durham area. And we were looking for a very collaborative relationship. I think, going in, we knew that we wanted to build a nostalgic brand, that both sort of like harken back to the golden age of like cereal mascots, and like back of the cereal, box games and mazes, you know, and things like that, that sort of we grew up with, but also a product that could become in 20 years, the, you know, the brand and the product that today's kids look back on and say, I grew up with board cow, and I'm now in histology for board, cow. And so looking ahead to try to create a brand that is nostalgic in the future, at the same time. And so we knew that we wanted to build this like character driven, immersive brand universe, you know, I, I'm a writer by trade. And so like, I just wanted to make a universe that I could play into, you know, to be honest, but I also knew that like that was something that if you did it the right way that people would fall in love with and so worked with manufacturer and they worked with an amazing illustrator named Katie Perez, who drew all of the cow characters and universe herself. We went through a whole bunch of different types. Because of cartoon cows, I could show you like a dagger we have, that's like all the other different types of cow characters that we explored. But it was sort of like the simple round, sort of minimalist, you know, quirky cow that I think really sort of like one on one all of our hearts. And so, yeah, so we went with that, and then we decided to create archetypes. Based on, you know, the story of board cow is that for 10,000 years, cows have been working for us. These days, they're working in factory farms, producing milk for us, you know, they're spending very little time outside very little time with their calves. And we think that's wrong. We think that's sad. And we believe cows should be free to do whatever they want. We believe that cows should be bored. We think that board cows are happier cows. And so, you know, we've sort of taken that idea and run with it. And so we started to think about, like, what would cows do if they had all the free time in the world? And then we asked ourselves that question, you know, what would we do if we had all the free time? We want to be when we grew up, and it was, you know, things like our need to be an astronaut. I wanted to be, you know, rock star, I wanted to be a professional skateboarder. And we're like, well, let's just like nachos up. Let's make the cow sort of extensions of our inner inner child, you know. Exactly, exactly. And so that's how we got

Mariah Parsons 26:27

to where we did. Yeah, I mean, it's really cute. I'm looking at the packaging right now. That's why I held up like the chocolate. I know they have names to it. That's Clara. Okay, Clara. Thank you. Um, so? What's that?

Luke Kingma 26:41

I said Clara short for Clara Bell, of course. Oh, all based on traditional dairy cow names.

Mariah Parsons 26:47

I love it. Oh, my gosh, I didn't even make that connection. So I'm so happy. You just made that connection. For me.

Luke Kingma 26:53

There's a lot of little details like that, that are fun. But that's

Mariah Parsons 26:56

like, okay, so slight tangent. I love like little easter eggs or like FOMO marketing. I'm a total sucker for anything like that. Like, I love the Marvel Universe because of that reasoning. And Taylor Swift. Like, they're just there. When you're looking at Easter eggs and FOMO marketing. They're right in the way for

Luke Kingma 27:14

storytelling, right? It's like the best books are the ones that have the most vivid, exciting details and allow you to make connections in your brain and you're right. It's amazing. It that like it's one of the reasons she's, you know, one of the biggest stars in the world for sure.

Mariah Parsons 27:29

Yes, exactly. Um, so like I love just like, things like that where you can tie them together. And it's like, just even down to the smallest little detail of like, they all have the all the board cows have names and they have this storyline. Like I know there's the graphics that you all have on your website, like just telling their actual story and how you came up with the name board cow. Again, I'm a sucker for that. But it pays off because it's it pays into that entertaining right like that into entertainment factor of the nostalgia. It's like you can play the games while you're waiting for your board counter arrived. Like I noticed that and with the the pack as well. It's like all the different little pamphlets of games that you can play which you that you better believe I was fighting them.

Luke Kingma 28:14

I love it. I love it that makes us so happy to hear those were those were very fun to put together. Our former art director Devin Sullivan did all of that. And she's amazing. We had a lot of fun.

Mariah Parsons 28:25

Yeah. And I love it. And like the site too, it's animated. So like you're going on the site you're like it's it feeds into this is one of the reasons to going back to Tik Tok like and just short form video, like, that's why people are resonating with that content is because at the same time that it's informational or informative, it's also entertaining. And if you can get them coupled together, like you've won the lottery, right? And so like board, cow, I just I know, from a company standpoint, we always say it's like one of our, like, beloved tracking pages, because it just looks so pretty. It's so cute. And that really speaks wonders to your guys's branding, the messaging, and the details that you go into for each and every flavor and cow and storyline. So it's really cool.

Luke Kingma 29:12

Awesome. I'm so glad you think so. Yeah, I mean, we've just had the most amazing, brilliant, creative, you know, executional partners, both internally and externally who've just like, totally understood the mission. And, and the assignments, you know, and we're truly just, like, excited to work on a brand that they could just play around with, you know, and they could sort of, like, let their inner child out because that's the whole idea of this idea of like, you know, born cow being made for kids and kids at heart. And it also applies to, you know, the people that we work with, and it applies to us as a team as well.

Mariah Parsons 29:45

Yeah, no, I mean, from my perspective, which take it with a grain of salt, but it comes across and so, with that I wanted to ask so I know that well. Let me let me first speak to this. So um, The graphics like the cartoon aspect of it, on your website you have I'm forgetting the two that but it's like our story, right is one of them. And it kind of tells like, origin points, right. But it's in like a nostalgic cartoon layout. It's not like it's not all copy, like writing a blog or anything like that. So how did you like come up with that idea? I know you mentioned maybe is someone else a previous.

Luke Kingma 30:26

So I was at my previous, one of my previous companies, Futurism, I launched a cartoon brand, I worked with a really amazing illustrator back then. And we did single panel cartoons and resonated so strongly and it became such a powerful medium, to both create political commentary in a way that was not divisive, but also in a way that was entertaining and really sticky. And, and really shareable and things like that. And so, you know, through that work that I did futures on coming here, I was like, I want to bring some of that magic here. And I want to be able to tell our story in a way that is so simple, that anybody of any age could sort of read through this story and understand the problem that we're trying to solve, you know, the simplicity really of the solution when you really boil it down. And and the world that we can create, if, if we're successful in our mission, to scale that solution and solve the problem. And so, you know, a long form comic strip, I think, was the best way to do that in the most accessible way to the most amount of people. And so, yeah, I worked with with, with Katie, Pres, the illustrator on it, and we sort of partnered in terms of putting that story together, but I think it Yeah, it's, it's our manifesto in a comic form.

Mariah Parsons 31:49

Yeah, I didn't even think about the advantages to having it be a cartoon. And like you said, for it not to be like a divisive, you know, piece of content that you're rolling out, like, that didn't even cross my mind. Because, yeah, truly, it was like, Oh, my God, this is adorable. Like, I want to keep reading. Yeah. Um, and like, see what ends up like, where the cows end up? Right. So that's a really cool, like, insider viewpoint to have that it's like, oh, the part of the purpose is that it is unifying, and kind of brings people in rather than, you know, of course, keeps them on the outside.

Luke Kingma 32:32

Exactly. And this is a very, it is a very divisive products, you know, there's, and we understand why, you know, people have very strong connections, and bonds and memories built around meat and dairy. You know, I, we all sown, most of us, the vast majority of us grew up, you know, eating and drinking meat and dairy products, and many of us still do. And it's, you know, this idea that, Oh, you can't eat that anymore. Because it's killing the planet is a very, there's also often a very strong defensive reaction to that. And it's, again, it's understandable why And so figuring out, okay, how do we how do we illuminate the issues of meat and dairy in a way that doesn't make people feel better about themselves, but also, I think, ultimately makes them you know, open to alternatives that, that sort of solve some of those problems. So yeah, that was part of part of the reason that we we chose a comic.

Mariah Parsons 33:33

Okay, yes, we're gonna dive into the how you actually educate people. And a little bit, but I do want to ask, and so if you're not allowed to share this information, by all means don't but you guys kind of have like your core three flavors. So I was just wondering, is there any plans around like launching alternative flavors? Yeah, yeah. Okay. Are you?

Luke Kingma 33:57

This is my favorite question right now, because I am, I'm actually allowed to share now. We are launching, we're launching in original milk, which is to say, a plain milk in early next early next year, so Wow, okay. Yeah, in the February to March window, and so that is going to be it's an improved label, we've we've cleaned up you know, the label even more. It is truly a perfect substitute for regular dairy milk. And so, you know, we started with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry because they were ready to go, you know, last year and we wanted to get something out into the market just so we could start telling our story. We were the first animal free dairy milk in the market at that time, which was important to us. And so we've been working really hard, you know, since then for about a year to perfect the original milk, which we think will you know, be what you put in your coffee and what you cook with and what you bake with If and what you pour in your cereal and what you drink a big glass of in the morning, and we'll sort of, you know, all of the things that you love about dairy milk, this milk will be able to accomplish those things. We also have some other non milk dairy products in the market as well, which we'll be sharing more information about soon. But yes, forecasts will not just remain a animal free dairy milk brand, but we'll be making some other dairy products, which we're excited about.

Mariah Parsons 35:29

Okay, well, we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for that for those updates, because that will be very exciting. Thank you for sharing, and I love that it was your favorite question. Up until this point, hopefully we can talk that. That will be really cool. Okay, cool. Yeah, so quarter one. All right, big stuff. Like as if you guys don't have enough on your plate. Okay, so as promised, let's talk about educating customers. So we've we've chatted about a little bit about the, you know, from the consumer standpoint, getting the product actually in your hands, and you know, the gains that come along with them. post purchase emails as well. But let's start out with, like social media presence and sharing your story on social, like, organically. So like through the website, just the marketing strategy overall. Can you tell us a little bit? Can you inform us a little bit more about that?

Luke Kingma 36:28

Yeah, it's, you know, it's really all about, and this is such a buzzword, and so I'm sorry to speak it out loud, but it's all about edge edutainment.

Mariah Parsons 36:38

Oh, it's good to hear stories.

Luke Kingma 36:42

Go ahead. Oh, word, it's, I mean, it's the best word, unfortunately, to describe what we do, which is like, you know, what's so difficult about what we're doing is, you know, we are not just trying to introduce a new brands, or a new product to people, we're trying to introduce an entire new way of making food to people. And so it isn't as simple as saying, you know, hey, if we weren't oat milk Bran, you know, we could just say, like, Hey, where are so and so and we're making oat milk. And of course, you know, what milk is, you know, but it's like, Hey, we're bored cow, and we're making animal free dairy milk and the 100% of the time, or I would say 99.9, because there's some people who have been following, you know, animal free dairy for a long time, and I've been really excited about it, and those people are awesome. But most people are, you know, have no idea what that means. Right? And, and they want to know, which is a good thing, they're curious. But it also means that you, you're not just explaining a brand, and you're not just explaining a product, but you're also explaining an entire new method of making food, all with a very short span of time, given, you know, attention spans and the average length of successful content and social media, you have very little time to explain all of that to people. Right. And so, you know, we do that a lot of different ways. You know, we have great, interesting recipe content, where we, you know, have really inventive vegan friendly recipes, you know, that sort of utilize the product, which is a great way and for people, they get excited about, you know, the recipe and then they, you know, obviously, see that workout was a primary component of that. But I think, you know, what, what's also very interesting is we work with a, a creator named farmer, Nick, who is a big vegan, you know, influencer and creator on Instagram and Tiktok, he's amazing, you should go follow him, if you don't already gonna say I'm gonna check him out. Yeah, and he's both an investor in a company in the company, as well as a creative partner for us. And we've done a lot of series together, where, you know, it's sort of just like a light hearted comedy series, starring a dairy cow in a cheap mascot costume, who sort of just like, is free from the factory farming is trying to figure out how the world works, while also trying to get people excited about animal free dairy. And they're, you know, 30 to 60 seconds, skits. And not only are they just like, really funny, and really relatable, and really accessible, but there's always education baked in there. But it's it's education that you don't realize is happening to you, because you're just enjoying the story that's being told you're enjoying the jokes that are being told. But you're also learning alongside it. And, you know, I think that represents and we're still learning, right? There's still, we still have a lot of work to do to sort of figure out like, what are the perfect ways to tell our story and educate online, but those are some of the early successes that we've had. And we're really excited about them because, again, they're fun to make and they're fun to watch, but also, they get the message across in a way that sticks with people.

Mariah Parsons 39:48

Yeah, I love that. I'm gonna have to out because I was looking at your ads Instagram, and Tik Tok before and you're right, like, you don't really realize you're being educated while you're watching the content. And, and so to have like, I love that you also said edutainment like that, that perfectly fits. That makes that makes a lot of sense. Okay, so real quick do you get? Do you tend to get a lot of like questions from consumers who like just through social media or to your website or like email or anything, just asking for more details?

Luke Kingma 40:24

Yes, definitely on social media, I think one of the things that we've realized, again, I understand that people have very little time, you know, and they're, they're like, they have a lot of content that they want to watch. And so oftentimes, somebody will see, you know, one of our advertisements, whether it's a video or a short animation, or even a still, you know, and they'll read, you know, and you can only communicate so much information there, you cannot tell the whole story of animal free dairy in a single, like, 15/32, you know, Instagram or Tiktok ad. And so, you know, what you hope is that people will, you know, click through to your website and read everything and do all the research and like, and there are people who do that, and they're, and they're awesome, but most people don't have the time or that they don't take the time to do that. And so they'll ask questions that are easily answerable if you go the website, but of course, they don't want to leave the social platform. And so, you know, we spend a lot of our time answering the same questions again, and again, and again, and again. And we have an amazing customer experience team that, you know, is happy to do that. And to, you know, you really just have to have the same conversation 1000 times, you know, a week or a month. Yeah. Yeah, you just have to accept that. That is, that's consumer behavior, you know, they, they want to, they want to have a conversation with you in feed, they don't want to leave to go educate, you know, themselves. And I will say, again, there are exceptions to that rule. But largely, that is what we

Mariah Parsons 41:56

see. Yeah, I 99% confident that any other customer support or service, or success team would say the same thing. Like you just have to get comfortable. So I'm by no means surprised to hear that. But yeah, that that really checks out because like you said, you're trying to entertain about like an industry, and a new way of doing something and creating something as well as your products, specifically, how it differs from normal dairy milk to dairy free alternatives. And, you know, everything in between. Yeah, so that's, that's really interesting. Kudos to your customer support success team. And, yeah, responding to consumer questions, because you're exactly right. Like people don't want to leave, whatever, feed whatever app they're in. Or majority people don't want to do that. So major props to them. Yeah, for sure. So okay, cool. We've we've chatted about the marketing side, the kind of the pre purchase, acquisition side of education, can we talk about the post purchase side of it? So I've, of course, seen this having received my order and checking emails and whatnot. So can you walk us through how that education differs? If it does differ from like, the pre post, pre purchase side of things?

Luke Kingma 43:24

Yeah, I think you know, right. Now, we, you know, we've spent the last six months mostly just learning ourselves, who, who the buyer of animal free dairy milk is right, you know, we obviously had our theories and our hypotheses about we thought it would be you know, certainly environmentally conscious people, you know, focus on some sort of plant based journey, people who are starting to wake up, you know, to the, the impact of you know, all of their behaviors but especially the food system on the planet and their health and on animals, etc. But, you know, the question like Why did they buy animal free dairy milk I think is always really interesting to us. And so a lot of the post purchase experience right now you know, this early on in our company is actually just like getting feedback and insights from customers you know, especially ones who are buying the product and then and then buying it again, you know, we had somebody who bought a 12 pack of the or combo pack right, which you get chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, you get to try all three figure out which one you like. And then they ordered seven cases of strawberry after that, it's like, gosh, you have to talk to that person because yeah, like, I mean, we obviously know they love strawberry milk, but like, again, understanding why why board cow and why animal free dairies really important to us. And so we're spending a lot of time just chatting with folks right now. We just launched a consumer research and initiative where a customer experience team is actually getting on the phone with our sort of super buyers and starting to figure out, like, what was it that made you add this this product to checkout, what made you buy it again, what made you leave that great review, you know, what made you spend, you know, buy a 12 pack of milk online, you know, which was like, not a normal thing to do, you know, trying to make it a normal thing to do, but like, you know, historically not normal. And so, spending a lot of time on that. And also, like, you know, not just trying to, you know, in terms of like what we think about winning about retention, it's not just about for us getting folks to buy the product again, although obviously, that is great. And that's ultimately the goal of any, you know, direct to consumer slash consumer brand. But also just like getting people on our team, you know, it is just as powerful for somebody to post an Instagram story to their friends, saying, Hey, I'm trying animal free dairy milk for the first time, here's what it is, here's why I bought it, you know, I love that is just as valuable, if not more valuable than that person. But you know, certainly buying another 12 pack. And so I think a lot of our post purchase experience is also about trying to motivate, encourage and incentivize, you know, people to start advocating for our brand, because, you know, again, we're the first, you know, we're the first animal free dairy milk to the market in the US. And so we need that, that help, you know, and we need Yeah, we need those, like, we need that, that ally ship with our with our early customer base. And so I don't know if that answers your question, but that's kind of our, our, our, like, areas of focus right now with regard to post purchase.

Mariah Parsons 46:50

Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. I love the ally ship, like, you know, get that UGC, get that. Customer Feedback wherever you can because especially as a younger brand that is trying to find out what's resonating with customers. I think that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And so I can I can you totally Yes, answer my question of like, what is important to you in the post purchase journey? Like, what are you trying to find out? What information are you trying to give? And I think the like surveys, so are you? Or do you have like pop up surveys and whatnot? Can you tell us like, how are you actually getting that information? Just like a little bit more of the tactical side, in case anyone who's listening is like, oh, we should be doing the same thing? For sure.

Luke Kingma 47:34

Yeah, I mean, we have a couple of different ways that we collect consumer insights, you know, even even pre purchase, and even for people who don't purchase, you know, we have exit surveys on the website, you know, if somebody looks around and ultimately decides not to purchase, we ask them why, you know, because we obviously very curious, you know, was it price was it? Was there information you couldn't find that you needed in order to make a decision, you know, you decide that there's an ingredient that, you know, you're allergic to, or you're not interested in or something. And so we ask a lot of those questions, because she's, it's important for us to learn from the people who don't become our customers, as the ones that do, but then, you know, post purchase, it's simple things like, you know, incentivizing people to, to write a review for, you know, 15% off their next purchase, mostly, is just so we can learn what people's personal experiences, who they are, you know, who they're buying it for, you know, they're sort of like questions that we ask, as part of the review process, that I think are really valuable for us to see, like, you know, you know, if somebody is, you know, in California, and they're buying for their kids, you know, they're, they're abusing them very different than somebody, you know, in Chicago, who's just buying for themselves, right. And so, we want to be able to understand, like, why they bought it, who was for and then obviously, and obviously, what they thought. And like I said, we're also starting to reach out to, you know, multiple, sort of pack purchasers to speak to them, one to one on the phone. And then obviously, you know, surprising and delighting them on the back end of that, to reward them for the time that they took, which is obviously incredibly valuable to us and to them. And so, yeah, those are the primary tools right now. And we're always looking for new ways to, to source feedback. I mean, we're actually in the middle of a reformulation right now, that is completely driven by consumer feedback that we've received over the last few months about, like, you know, hey, I love this product, but there's this one thing that I wish you would change, you know, like, and so those sorts of, you know, we're obviously beginning to see that data on a macro level and so like starting to see trends like okay, you know, a lot of you know, there's a certain contingent of folks who like don't like the taste of stevia, and so like, Can we replace stevia with something without, you know, without add Taking too much sugar or whatever. And so those sorts of things are completely driven by pre and post purchase consumer surveying and insights gathering. We also use platforms like Suzy to do some, like more scaled, digital consumer research, you know, that helps inform decisions that we make, you know, about the formula, about messaging about UX, like, all of that stuff is, is people informed, because, you know, we want to obviously eliminate all of the biases we have. And we also want to make sure that the customer is like, is in the conversation with us, for every major decision we're making across the board? Oh, that's

Mariah Parsons 50:41

really cool. I love hearing about product iteration from, you know, just customer feedback, I always think it's so interesting, because, you know, you can you're, if you're so in depth on a product like you, you can drive yourself insane and being like, but what are we missing, right? And one consumer might be like, you know, it's just this and you're like, Oh, my God, there it is, right? Like, or what is like really hitting home, like, if you're so, so close, it's hard sometimes to take that step back and see that macro view, but it just might be like a consumer to you that you talk to, and you're like, Oh, my God, there it is, like the light bulb goes off. You know,

Luke Kingma 51:13

there's also this really interesting, like, vocal minority effect that happens, where you'll see a lot of people in comments, you know, talking about something, you know, that they that they don't like, or whatever, but when you actually do broader consumer research, you actually realize it is a very small percentage of people who really care about that thing. They're just very vocal about it, because they care, you know, but like, really 98% of people are, you know, aren't concerned with that thing. And so it also helps you sort of eliminate the bias of like, okay, we're receiving, like, a bunch of negative comments, you know, about this thing. But like, actually, when you look at the bigger picture, most people are totally fine with that, you know, and so, that's really helpful too. Because, you know, that can drive your decision making into wrong directions, potentially, if you're, if you're listening to something that most people don't actually care about, you know, when you have so little time and bandwidth and resources to prioritize, you know, what are the most important things for us to take care of right now. Looking at that bigger picture helps you and looking from multiple sources helps you figure out okay, what is actually at the root of this, you know,

Mariah Parsons 52:31

yeah, yeah, no, that's great. I love that you brought up like it, can your perspective can be skewed, like from wherever you're standing, right? And so being able to take a step back and see like, oh, is this a majority or minority that really think this about our product, or this about Brittany or whatever? People are expressing concern or, you know, it could be also like, somewhat like, people love this about your background. And then you're like, oh, like, we should really, really, like ramp that up. And then it's like, oh, wait, wait, that wasn't majority. Right?

Luke Kingma 53:00

No, 100% it goes both ways. And so like, the goal is to figure out like, okay, what are what are the like, the vocal minority groups that like, things that don't like things, but like, what is the majority actually care about, because what we are trying to do is make animal free dairy milk appeal to the masses, the only way that we are going to solve our mission of ending factory farming, and transitioning, you know, meat and dairy, away from animal base to animal free, is if the masses adopt this, right. And so we have to optimize in some ways for what the most amount of people care about, you know, because our mission is sort of that big. And while we always, always, always listened to everybody, it is important to figure out, you know, yeah, sort of like, what are the biggest priorities to actually moving the needle on our mission?

Mariah Parsons 53:54

Yes, yeah. I love that distinction, too. very admirable, as well, where it's like you want to, it's in good faith that you want to achieve this mission and support the world and support people and support animals. And so I love that it's like, okay, yes, we want to we still listen to everyone. But we have that distinction, where it's like, okay, what is propelling the mission forward? And that is, how is that aligning with our consumer base? I think it's a really juicy covering.

Luke Kingma 54:21

Yeah. And we and arranging arranging priorities, right? Because it's like, everything that customer tells is a priority, right? But it's like, what is the number one priority? If we, if we have time to address two or three things, you know, what should those two or three things be over the next few months, and then we'll revisit the stuff, you know, that is less of a priority, you know, when we have the time bandwidth, the resources to do so. And so, yeah, it's all about just figuring out like, what what will move the needle the quickest in terms of, you know, making product adoption happen at scale?

Mariah Parsons 54:53

Yes, yeah. I love that. Okay. One I know we're coming up on time. So one little laugh thing, it's very seasonal question that we've been asking people is credit for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, it is coming up, we are recording this literally, like, a week out. And so I'm assuming hopefully, like, most of the strategy is kind of up play is just really waiting and seeing, like how the actual holiday goes down. How's it how's it been prepping for the holidays?

Luke Kingma 55:23

It's been good. I mean, we, I think we acknowledge that, like, you know, dairy products are not at the top of people's list, you know, most of you might be

Mariah Parsons 55:34

now having tried it, I want it to be I love it. Honestly, we're so happy

Luke Kingma 55:37

to hear that. And it's why we are, you know, activating for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But we also understand, like, you know, the, this is not a conventional sort of stocking stuffer. And so, it's more about, like, you know, we're really inspired by brands that do something really fun and interesting and memorable on Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. And so like, you know, we're trying to create something that's, that's fun and engaging. You know, of course, our brand is all around, like, you mentioned it earlier, like adding the puzzles and mazes and games to our insert that goes in every box of born cow that's sent to everybody. In the spirit of that we're going to do this, like, really fun prize wheel where like you have, you know, a one in 100 chance to get 100% off. And like there's all sorts of other, like big, you know, tickets, sort of discount codes and things that you can win. And so, you know, it's it's our first attempt at figuring out like, what does it mean to have a annual Black Friday strategy that like people anticipate and sort of wait for I think, you know, brands like Cards Against Humanity have sort of like pioneered the, we're just gonna have, we're just gonna do something really fun and creative, and totally uniquely us on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we're not just gonna push out, you know, a coupon code, we're not just gonna pass out a deal, we're gonna try to create an experience that escalates and gets better every year. And so, you know, this is our, you know, this is our planting our flag saying like, this is what, uh, this is what board Friday looks like, you know?

Mariah Parsons 57:05

Oh, I love that. And also like the abbreviation via still the same. Exactly. That's really cool. This will be going out to after the holiday season. So if that was a worry at all, but I hope it went well. Yeah, no, that's Oh, my gosh, yeah, I'll do this. All right. It went so well. That's we're manifesting it. No, that's a really cool idea. I love the Cards Against Humanity example to you. We had real quick, we had a another guests come on paddle Smash, combination of like, round, round net, and pickleball. And they also brought up like Cards Against Humanity, for being like pioneers in the game game space. So really interesting also to hear your take on like their approach being pioneers in the Black Friday, Cyber Monday space. And I think that's more fun to write, like, switch it up. more entertaining for you all, I'm sure to just like, yeah, having to be creative with the approach. So that's really cool. I'm excited to see it this way. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. This has been great, though. Luke, thank you so much for coming on representing board cow telling us more. We usually focus on retention and sometimes dive a little bit deeper into it, which this episode we didn't do, straightforwardly, but educating the customer and everything that we talked about around just really having your branding sticking out in your messaging, all feeds into retention. So this has been wonderful. Thank you.

Luke Kingma 58:33

Yeah, you're welcome. Thank you for having me. And I had a great time. Yeah, and I love it. I love what y'all do. So

Mariah Parsons 58:40

thank you. We'll take that. All right.