Eric Bandholz – Building a digital tribe: How to find your niche and build an epic following 

If there’s a few words this year that have been played on loop – I think they would be the words pivot, reinvention and digital deep end.

I feel like for many of us, as individuals and brands, there was a long list of activities we knew we needed to do in order to increase our influence in a digital world. However, the general consensus was that we had years right? 

At least a few years to figure out how to tell epic stories online, how to compete with Netflix by making our pitches and presentations utterly compelling, how to transition our sales strategies to include new market segments we can’t reach face to face. How to embrace different business models like subscriptions, memberships and digital tribes. And – perhaps most foundational decision – how to translate what we know, our expertise and message – in order to take your target audience on an Unskippable journey.

Well those years, turned into months, which turned into weeks – which for many – eventually became days to turn around some of these changes.

And those who did it well, who will come out with an edge for 2021 – having activated plans and strategies that may have taken years before the pandemic. If you look closely enough, they all tend to have one thing in common.

They went out to the edges, to people and brands in completely different industries – who have been perfecting these tools for years – and they listened carefully.

So that’s what we’re here to do today. My guest this week is Eric Bandholz. Eric is the Founder of Beardbrand, a men’s grooming company that I have been watching for years as they blaze a trail in a previously crowded space. 

Along with his co-founders, Eric bootstrapped Beardbrand to a high seven-figure company by focusing on (in their words) ‘badass’ products, digital storytelling, focusing on collaborations and building a community of fever pitch fans. 

In cracking the code of a new age of storytelling – Eric also built a Youtube channel dedicated to just answering the questions of his target audience – a channel that now has close to 250 million views, 1.5 million subscribers – and which in and of itself provides a pretty sizeable independant revenue stream.

In this conversation we dive into:

  • Pivoting from budgets to beards – his journey starting out as a financial advisor and finding his breakthrough idea
  • The myth that if you build it they will come – and the truth that roadmap is often more valuable to your target market than the destination
  • Why focusing only on ‘How to’ videos on YouTube was the secret of their success
  • How to forget the idea that everything we produce needs to be high production and perfect in order to create engagement – and why what works on YouTube (and I would argue most other platforms) is actually the exact opposite
  • And finally, authenticity vs Intention. How, during one of the most difficult periods of his life, he made the decision about what – and what not – to share.

What I want you to reflect on while you listen to Eric is how the path to cut through isn’t a straight line. It’s a series of listening to your gut, making moves, building things, reassessing and choosing to embody rather than hide behind a brand.

The most significant moments – the ones where you take leaps forward you couldn’t have imagined – they aren’t the result of a ‘this plus that’ equation. You can rarely pin point that exact things that made those particular doors open.

Apart from this one. You have to start. You have to accept that you will get it wrong – you might look or feel foolish – usually for a nano second before we all move onto the next attention grabbing thing. And in a digital world where everything feels so on display – that takes a level of courage and curiosity that isn’t easy. 

However – as we’ve seen this year – for those who are willing to consistently show up at that level, the opportunities are literally limitless.

So, on that note, sit back, stroll on, find a quiet corner or open that packet of biscuits that you’ve been hiding for the next lock down. And enjoy my conversation with the one of a kind that is Eric Bandholz.

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