373 | The Value of Bold Leadership with Nav Salimian

Bold leadership is the new normal in today’s fast past world. Change is constant. I got a chance to go in the trenches with a bold leader, Nav Salimian. Nav tells his story of growth by breaking from the old way to sell their bold clothing online. His story is remarkable. He saw an opportunity that required a family owned business to let go of the past. You talk about taking risks to test new ways. You have to be willing to play in your zone of genius. The story of this brand and the bold leadership is powerful. Today, we talk about the value of bold choice in leadership.

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Target Audience: Nav Salimian Head of Marketing Claudio Lugli Shirts. Claudio Lugli Shirts’ first AdRoll campaign delivered an unprecedented 27x ROI—giving them the confidence to turn their struggling shop into a thriving, digital brand.

Value of Bold Leadership: The Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Leaders in the trenches and your host today is Gene Hammett.

Gene Hammett: Hi, this is Gene Hammett. I am the host of leaders in the trenches. My question for you today, how are you? How bold are you at looking at opportunities and moving forward despite the fear that comes up, despite anything that feels uncomfortable, how old are you? So you may be thinking to yourself, darn bold Gene, like I, you know, I could, I could do be bolder, but I say that all of the smile because I really want you to think about what does it take to have bold leadership and what is the value of that? From my perspective, running a business is really hard because we’re challenged every day with things we’ve never done before. Things that are no not natural to us. Things that we’re told not to do by other people. Or on the flip side of that, we’re pulled in many directions and there’s so many opportunities, so many markets, so many types of customers, so many products or services that we could offer.

Gene Hammett: But being bold means being true to who you are and making those strong decisions and moving forward with it. I’ve got a special guest today here. Uh, I’m probably not going to get the pronunciation right, but he’ll tell you when we do the interview. Dave Solomon and Navy, when I talked to him, he just no something about marketing and it’s not because he has all the answers, but he’s willing to try new things. He’s willing to, to look at an opportunity and say, this is not working. We’ve got to do something new. Now. If I just left it right there, it would be worth just listening to this interview. But we talk about no, what he was facing when his family owned business, where his father had made all the decisions and called all the shots, made all the investments over the years was dying. And what they did to move into the online space is pretty amazing.

Gene Hammett: And the strategic decisions and some of the things that they used and the partners they had were just really helpful. And it helps to understand. Yeah, it didn’t all work out. In fact, we even talk about some of the mistakes along this journey, so if you are worried about things not working out, there’s a good chance that it won’t, but bold leadership is about moving forward anyway, learning from those mistakes and then getting back up and keeping going. So I’ve got a special interview with that will help you understand bold leadership. All right, that’s my peace today. Make sure you check out and give us a rating review if you’ve been listening for a long time on leaders in the trenches. Otherwise, yeah, here’s the interview. Hi Nav.

Gene Hammett: How are you?

Nav Salimian: Hey, Gene! I’m great. Thank you very much for having me on leaders in the trenches.

Gene Hammett: Well, excited to have you here. We’re going to talk about some of the challenges you’ve gone into growing the business, creating the mental momentum, creating the brand, if you will. And, and really it’s, this is a story of pivot. So before we dive in, I’d love for you to tell the audience a little bit about you and who you serve in this business.

Nav Salimian: For sure. The brand is cloudier lilly. Uh, my, my father is, the design is very much his brain sharp. It’s something he’s been working on for over a decade. I came on board with my father, uh, about four years ago when native Fossey we found out that I found that the final store that we will, that we had as a family what was going to be essentially closed due to difficulties in the high street and, and essentially not being able to provide a good enough turnover to say there we had about seven students growing up. We needed to spark a change. And um, my father is a very, very skilled designer and say it, I’m someone that comes from a digital marketing background and we have to meet in the middle almost like a news, news news going old school mash essentially find a new avenue in which to get my dad’s brand out there, which is a brand are really funky and a statement show brands which are trying to introduce to the market.

Gene Hammett: So if you are watching the video, you’d see an example of this because I’ve been on the website. That’s certainly an example of the brand, right?

Nav Salimian: For sure. A fun, vibrant quality pieces, uh, that the had 10 is supposed to, you know, gain a bit of attention and even be an icebreaker. What have you.

Gene Hammett: I love it. I mean, I think that, uh, the, the, the boldness of the brand, um, is something that I think it would appeal to a lot of people and it’s also, it’s okay if it doesn’t appeal to everyone, right? You’re not trying to appeal to everyone in this. Um, well you told us a little bit about that you have gone through ups and downs within the business. You said you’d been there for years with your dad, like coming into kind of a family business. What kind of challenges did you have to overcome?

Nav Salimian: It’s very much about explaining to my father who, who comes from a background of design and also looking after people and, and very much a physical storefront. Something where I’m trying, I’m coming from a more of a digital perspective from my previous jobs looking after social media for music distribution, trying to explain that things can be bought online without having to be touched and felt and the investing in some campaigns that are intangible, you can’t, you can’t necessarily see the reward straightaway such as investing in a facebook ad or even one of the retargeting platforms we use such as ad role or even an seo and CPC. So it Kinda explain that to my dad was probably the hardest challenge. But um, where we can meet in the middle and where we have helped us along the way, it’s led to us being where we are and we see an immediate results.

Gene Hammett: So, you know, it’s easy to see from the outside that a lot of companies get caught up into the way we’ve always done it. And you said that, you know, this is a family owned business. You used to have seven stores and it did give me, correct me if I’m wrong, it got down to one store and then you realize, okay, that’s not even going to work. Right. Okay.

Nav Salimian: Essentially, yes. One by one, the stores were closing and, and it’s no fault of our own. Essentially. It could just be the climate on the high seas migrates into purchasing online. I had a frank conversation with my father, you know, I know my shoe size and us as a European and UK dvds and gain from possibly Amazon. Uh, it’s these things where I’m not necessarily myself, but on the High Street, uh, I’m finding myself online that where we kind of butted heads is where he was saying, but my, my garments are suits and shirts and junk jackets. How is anyone online going to find this without knowing that size? Ultimately it was our mission to prove him wrong and show them that this is the way forward.

Gene Hammett: Um, you know, when I think about this, and I’m not sure you use these examples at one point in time, um, two of the biggest brands going on right now, one is zappos buying shoes online. Like, you know, who thinks of that every time you go to put on shares you have to try on one or two or three pairs, do I have the right size because it’s not a standard size. And then you have eyeglasses, which is, wait, how do I look, how do they feel and have, while it’d be parker that has both of those brands are crushing it online because they’ve, they’ve moved with the changing buying habits of consumers, which that’s the conversation you had to have with someone that was kind of seeing things like, but, but it’s only this way, right?

Nav Salimian: Yeah. Uh, and it’s not an easy conversation to have, especially when the final store, like we’d say our flagship store and it was a, it was older than me at the time, you know, it was another member of the family. So for him to take that risk and to join me on this journey, it is a massive testament to him not only believing in but believing in my, my previous work essentially. Sometimes you have to take an area, sometimes you have to, to speculate in order to accumulate. It is obviously a well known phrase, but it’s something that in our case it is something that had to be done.

Gene Hammett: Now, if I want to throw you a curve ball here because we didn’t, we didn’t send you a list of questions in advanced on purpose. Um, I wanted to be to catch you off guard here. So I’m going to ask you a question and think about it for a second, but what is something you did in that journey that didn’t work out right, to the move to digital selling this brand and changing it? Is there something that you can think of that just didn’t work out the way you thought it would?

Nav Salimian: Yeah, for sure. I’m going to be perfectly honest and say there was many things that I’ll be frank and transparent and say, looking back with hindsight, I may have wasted a lot of money in potential, uh, campaigns or you know, I feel like I might have spent heavily on the first set of platform that we built a website on. I can also say that I’ve sat down with many team pr teams and they sold me a dream and they’ve said to me, you know, we will manage your, your face. We will get you coverage instead some newspapers and sitting in these meetings, this is why me and my father worked well. I have to be held back because I’m so raring to go. That um, I, I want to say yes. All these amazingly sounding things, but sometimes you really have to take a setback, compare what’s going on in the market and don’t immediately jump on the thing that sounds better than what you already have.

Gene Hammett: But I will clarify like you couldn’t have got there just being, in theory, you had to actually take action to figure out what was working, what’s not working

Nav Salimian: precisely. It’s on a process, you know, once the platform is this new website, it’s something that’s already been been built. You may find that essentially you are, you’re using the backend of the site and you’re finding out that you can’t access to the customer data, that you can’t edit things in the background and trial and error process. But thankfully, uh, the time you realize what your pitfalls are and what you need to adjust them. And we’re able to nurse nurse to see things quite quickly.

Gene Hammett: So now that we’ve kind of talked about that and we’ve got the camera back positioned, what is one thing that you know, stands out above all else? Like of all the strategies that sort of works kind of worked. Um, what is one thing that really made the biggest difference or moved the needle in the company?

Nav Salimian: If you look, if I’m going to be Franklin is going to be one. I’ve got one notable campaign and it’s something that I discovered using, um, one of my lunch break to end up buying a pair of jeans, which wasn’t my own brand. Uh, I got targeted by a business via a retargeting platform called APP role. I ended up spending about 125 pounds on a pair of jeans and my lunch break thinking why on earth and however books of or spending money in my own lunch break, how did this ad getting. I then went on to find out the company, is it a retargeting ad? And I spoke with them and I wanted to do is essentially find customers that were coming to my website and then. And if they went essentially purchasing straightaway, I liked the ads to follow them and essentially be a gentle reminder to say, Hey, cloud is a fun, vibrant, check out the rest of our connection.

Nav Salimian: If you didn’t see it all. And the company is called Ad Roll. And on my first campaign overturned 27 times the Roi on the first attempt. And it’s something that blew my mind.

Gene Hammett: And so I’ve actually been looking at different products, let’s say shoes or something, and you look at, I love boots wearing a pair of boots right now and you’ve realized that boot follows you around and sometimes whether you bought it or not bought it right. And if you didn’t buy it reminds you like, do you really want those boots and stuff? You Go, oh, I guess I should be having those boots. But it’s, it’s a little freaky to some people to have that retargeting. So explain what you mean by retargeting for audience.

Nav Salimian: Essentially, if you land on a website and you, you spend a considerable amount of time or even a short amount of time on the site browsing some products, said there’s a pixel that is planted into the backend of the website, which kind of assesses your behavior on whether you’re a high intensity use. Potentially these ads will then follow you based on your behavior on the site. It’s essentially a gentle reminder, uh, but to some people it can be, it can throw you off the, can be a little bit scary. But those, it can be, again, something that reminds them of their experience on the website and in most cases on my side of things, I find that people then come back to the website and conversion, which is a purchase.

Gene Hammett: Well, another example of retargeting for you guys listening in here, if you’ve ever gone to my website, gene Hammett or leaders in the trenches, we use facebook retargeting and we will even take this interview and actually get it out there for you when it goes when it’s live and you’ll see little pieces of it showing up in your social feed and across the different channels as well. And that’s, that’s, that’s a different version of retargeting. But you, you explained it really well as it relates to this, like I’m really curious around how did it, what was the specific thing that you’ve done that just within, you know, getting them to show the ad again? What’d you get them to do differently or is that’s all you needed to do?

Nav Salimian: Sometimes it can be in the way in which you create the content, how creative it is, how engaging is it? Do you have to have an incentive to bring somebody back? Could it be that black Friday’s around the corner? It’s Christmas around the corner. Um, I’ll be having a sale. Are we introducing a new lines? So sometimes the creative content in the form of your work is, is what engages the customer with optimizing these things. We’re still trying to find the formula, but there’s no right or answer. I just feel like you have to be engaged, engaging in the actual content that you make.

Gene Hammett: One of the things that, I don’t know the answer this, so it’s okay if you don’t have, have the, the exact, um, if we’re not doing this, but a lot of brands right now are using digital to create a community around their brand. Are you doing that? Are you leveraging that, that possibility?

Nav Salimian: This is something that I have spent a lot of time looking into and also nurturing. We created a community within the community, uh, essentially a private group with fluoxetine, cloudier. Um, what we wanted to do was take, let’s say 150 of our best customers and basically bring them into the community where they can share their experiences about the brand, possibly it could be posting photos on facebook with the favorite shirts on, it could be giving us feedback about how they find when they’re washing or clothing or ironing it. And this feedback is invaluable. It’s something where you’re directly listening to the customers and they’re engaging with each other. The key is to sit back and be a moderator and listen to your customer base and react based on what they say. And I do have a bit of a growth strategy to this. I’m trying to grow the community, but there’s a point of which you just got to let it organically build and essentially manage itself.

Gene Hammett: And you know, you can’t force that growth of issue, know that it’s something that has to happen naturally and that’s, that it will start to pick up even more momentum. Um, and the funny thing about it is we’re talking about retargeting in my opinion of retargeting in actually benefits that because as they continue to see the brand over and over, they’re going to continue to, uh, to have more affinity toward it and be a part of that community. You agree with that? So sure. I agree with that whole hearts. They are constantly, uh, obviously the speaking about the brand and the brand is, and the actual group itself as a community that specific to the brand. So it’s reinforcing the values.

Nav Salimian: Sometimes we have to, we have to accept that old feedback’s not going to be positive and at that point you have to make the right choices and addressing it and possibly making things right. A review is very important, whether it’s just a social media review in a post or an actual review made online, it has to be addressed, um, whether it’s positive or negative and we have to listen to as the branch.

Gene Hammett: So as I begin to wrap this up, uh, I could go on and on here because I’m really fascinated about what you’re doing and get more into the leadership and culture, but what was most powerful for me now this is for you to go in and say, look, coming into this business, we had to let go of the old to move into the new world and given it a try, like I could see the, you know, some of the conversations

Gene Hammett: because I know it wasn’t just one you had with your dad. You had to say, Look Dad, and maybe I’m making this up, but that our shirts are bold. We have to take some bold moves moving forward. And I think a lot of you listening in right now, you should go, where could I take bold moves? And you know, you said something that this is such, so hard about marketing and building a brand is not everything works out. It is so hard to know exactly what’s going to work out. Um, so the only thing you can do is designed test and move forward through that. And you know, you ended up luckily finding this technology of the allows retargeting and ad roll and I know the company very well. I’ve interviewed some of their leaders and just really excited to have you on here, but it really is. I’m great too for people to take into this that you don’t have to have all the answers, but you have to take action so that you can figure out and, and, and keep moving forward. And that’s what you’ve done here. So I appreciate you sharing that story with us.

Nav Salimian: Yeah, no, for sure. It’s an absolute pleasure to be on here with Eugene and um, you know, as, as a final note, I would say if you very much believe in the brand, you have to take risks, you will make mistakes along the way. It is very important to try new things. Whether, whether it is a product or a service you’re pushing. The digital has given so much happiness and joy now to my parents and myself and it’s allowed my father who a creative to be creative and allow someone like myself to this side of things. We try to play our best positions and ultimately, yeah, it’s, you’re going to come up with pitfalls and successes, but it’s very important that once you build a customer base, you can listen to them and then at that point,

Gene Hammett: so if our audience is listening in here and they’re interested in this, this brand, the Claudio Lilly, uh, where would you send them to?

Nav Salimian: A complete ClaudioLillyShirts.com. We are claudio newly on Instagram, twitter and facebook. We’re a fun, engaging and bold, vibrant brand. We will invite you to come and check.

Gene Hammett: Well, uh, I encourage you guys to do that. The shirt I’m looking at, it’s pretty damn cool. So, uh, I will be checking it out myself and uh, thanks for being here now.

Nav Salimian: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

Gene Hammett: Alright, fantastic interview. I really love being able to bring these kinds of conversations with you at the story, what he went through. You can just see that the doubt that his father had with him and the decisions he had to make, the test he put together to be able to drive new revenue growth for the business. These stories of bold leadership, you may have never heard of this company before, you may have never bought their shirts or like that, but you likely could learn something from this if you’re willing to do it all. That is my piece today. I really appreciate you being with me here on the journey with leaders in the trenches. As always, lead with courage and I’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

In this episode we’ll cover:

  • Purchasing Online
  • Conversation Online
  • Digital Selling
  • Retargeting Platform
  • Retargeting for Audience
  • Digital to Create a Community around Brand
  • Speaking about the Brand

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