Well Made

Jess Hatzis, Frank Body: Being Frank – Well Made E18

April 13, 2017 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

It's not often you hear of a copywriting firm, which is exactly why Jess Hatzis and Bree Johnson thought it was a great idea, and they started Willow and Blake. Their next big idea was also a foreign concept at the time — a coffee-based body scrub. 

As Jess recalls it, they were faced with the challenge of not only selling a product that looked like dirt, but they were going to do it with a brand that focused on voice and tone via Instagram. All this even before Instagram was even used as a real marketing tool. Judging by Frank Body's 690 thousand Instagram followers, it seems like it was a risk worth taking.

Jess is the Creative Director and co-founder of Frank Body, the signature coffee scrub brand that really pioneered a genuine, signature voice on social media, that's now a pillar of memorable customer experience. In this episode, Jess talks to Stephan from her homebase in Melbourne, Australia about launching Frank Body, crafting the signature voice of Frank, facing the challenges of the retail space, and the business books she's been reading lately.

 Jess Hatzis, Frank Body: Being Frank – Well Made E18
Jess Hatzis Frank Body Instagram Wellmade

You may not know it from their Instagram fame, but this coffee scrub brand started with just $10,000 and the simple idea that they were going be frank with everything that they did — from the tone of voice to the ingredients list. They insisted that there would be no jargon or overly trendy language, and they always keep it real. That's where the name Frank came from. 

After they established a voice and launched their first product, the Frank team got to work on a copy style guide. This is one of those projects that often gets pushed to the side and drawn out, but for Frank, it was a top priority. Jess said it takes a lot of time, but having that base to grow their brand from was invaluable.

Every new person they added to the team, from copywriters to customer service, needed to speak in the voice of Frank. The style guide covered words Frank would and wouldn't use (never "bae"), and states that he would never use corporate speak and he always speaks in first person. 

Jess Hatzis Frank Body Homepage Wellmade

“Being willing to be wrong is how you learn to be right most of the time.”

But of course, business isn't all about brand image. Behind the scenes, Frank dealt with problems of scale just like any vertical, direct-to-consumer business. They've had to adapt to fulfillment services falling through, global expansion to the U.S., and most recently, their journey into retail. 

Why retail? The #FrankEffect really comes full circle when customers come in physical contact with the brand, so they're launching in retailers around the world. The biggest challenge is grabbing a customers' attention when you're restrained to one sentence on a shelf amidst competitors instead of having a whole homepage to share you brand image and philosophy. Translating a brand for the retail space means losing some opportunity for impact. 

Jess says that most people fall in love with the brand before they even touch the product, so delivering on that experience in physical locations is the latest, exciting challenge for Jess and her team. You can keep up with Frank's newest adventures on Instagram and follow Jess on Instagram and Twitter.

Also mentioned on this episode: 

Images via Frank Body

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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