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Chip Neff is the VP of marketing at Neff

Today, Neff is growing faster than ever as it continues to evolve into active fashion. Neff recently has teamed up with NBA superstar Kevin Durant to launch NeffWear, an active lifestyle underwear collection designed for those who live to play. Neff continues to evolve through recent collaborations with Disney, The Simpsons and Richard Sherman, adding to their impressive list of celebrity endorsers. Previous collaborations include Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5, Wiz Khalfia, Mac Miller, Kate Upton and Scarlett Johansson. Neff continues to grow and stay on the pulse of youth culture while living by the anthem “Forever Fun.”

You can follow him on twitter at @chipneff

He will be live on April 14 starting 930 AM for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • MM

    martín medina

    over 3 years ago #

    Chip, I have been a Neff fan and customer for quite some time. I really respect brands who are constantly collaborating with artists and I was wondering how you guys go about connecting with artists and then marketing that collaboration. Additionally what are some strategies that have really worked for you guys regarding online video?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Yo Martin thanks so much for the question.

      Ya collaborations have been a huge part of our brand and have really set us apart from the norm. At Neff, we have always been about doing things different so 6 years ago, we decided to branch out and partner with Snoop Dogg. We did a collection with him and the timing was perfect he wore the product we designed on the MTV Music awards while performing with Katy Perry. Peep it here https://boxeddistribution.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/neff-snoop-dogg.jpg After that based on the traffic we received to our website and socials we knew we had discovered some magic.

      The next step was then to build relationships with artists/managements one at time. This is a crucial stage as the artist/celebs gets tons of deals so you have to prove you are legit and that it will benefit them also.

      Online video is super important to us. As we all know this is where the youth spend there time. We have produced 100s of videos over the years and I have learned some key insights into why some are successful.

      1. It’s all about the Hook
      - One of our most successful videos has over 2 Million views and is a live performance of Snoop and Wiz performing “Black and Yellow.” The hook being at that time no one had seen a video of Wiz and Snoop perform that song together. So timing was everything and we still never spent any money to market it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XoxjxDc-UI

      2. Create Shareable Content
      - No one wants to watch another boring video. So make videos people actually want to see, or will shock them, or create some emotion. Here is an example of a video we did with Riff Raff who is a rapper, we took him out of his element and showed off his tennis skills. Again never spent any money to push it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U303_cFkECU

      There are other keys but hope that helps.

      6 Share
  • AB

    Andrew Bridgeman

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    Thank you for doing this!

    1) How do you determine what kind of things your audience wants to see?
    2) Any miscellaneous advice for someone relatively new to their marketing career?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey Andrew,

      1. Our brand was born with grassroots marketing so we always had a really good pulse on our audience and what their likes, interests, dislikes were. So when marketing went more digital/social we have tried to stay as close to them as possible. We constantly do polls, DM our Instagram followers questions, and hold mini focus groups. We also play off pop culture and whats trending at the moment. If we see a big spike in interest for a new app, or dance move we are quick to react to that.

      2. If your new to marketing I would tell you two things:

      1. Be outside the Box - The more wild your ideas are the faster you will be noticed

      2. Become Great at a Few Things and Not Average at a Lot of Things - The quicker you can discover those great things the more successful and effective you will become.

      4 Share
  • TS

    Terence Strong

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip:

    Thanks for doing this!

    What strategies do you employ to keep up your customer retention and customer referral?

    -Terence

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey terence,

      For B2C we use a couple tactics.

      1. We try to make our shopping experience unique and fun. We include little prizes/gifts inside of packages to help boost happiness when a customer recieves a package.

      2. Package Type - We custom make our bags for ecom and switch them up every 3 months to keep it fresh and fun.

      3. Reviews - We use Yotpo for our review platform which works seamlessly with customers in reviewing products.

      4. Referrals - We use Friendbuy for our referral program to reward people for gifting.

      Hope this helps

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    Very cool to have you here.

    What are the main marketing channels for Neff, and what are the metrics you use to evaluate how the marketing team is doing? Thx!

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey Hila,

      Thanks for asking.

      The main marketing channels for us are:
      - Social
      - Print
      - In-store
      - Retail Displays
      - Catalogs
      - PR
      - Email
      - Athletes
      - Ambassadors

      To evaluate how effective the team is it really varies by team member and what channel they are marketing in. Obviously digital is the easiest to track cause there is actionable data and analytics. But for other channels the best indicator is still SALES. If it sells out then its all good. Other ways is discovering the ROI on a collaboration we have done or listening close to social channels to see if your message was heard and shared.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 3 years ago #

        So how do you go about deciding what to test/rejig/optimize for in those non-digital channels when sales are lower (or maybe even when they're way higher) than you expect from them?

  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Chip

    Thanks for joining us on the AMA!

    1. Is there anything that you've done on Instagram that really stands out as a successful, repeatable action that you do to drive either engagement or growth?

    2. Is Neff using Snapchat yet? If so, what are you doing to be creative and engage with your audience there?

    3. Neff works with some pretty high profile people. How do you guys establish connections with these athletes and musicians? How does working with them effect your following on your social channels?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey Brand,

      1. Ya for us I would say we have done some successful Instagram campaigns. It used to be way easier cause it was new. I remember years ago on Facebook, we did a contest with Snoop and we literally picked up about 30,000 new friends in about 10 minutes. Wild growth. Now a days people see through it and know that you are trying to pick up followers. So you have to offer some serious value for someone to enter a contest. We do something we call “Guess How Many!” and basically we shoot a big pile of a product we offer like beanies, then tell people to guess how many are in the pile and the winner gets the pile of beanies. Super easy to understand and the image is usually visually striking.

      2. Yes, we are on Snap Chat and use it daily. We have partnered with multiple large Snap Chatters with big accounts to help launch us and that was key in getting our foot in the door and being discovered. Now, we are all about being relevant. So for example this week its all about Coachella cause thats where every youth wants to be.

      3. We built a strong roster with names like Snoop, Deadmau5, Wiz Khalifa, Kate Upton, Mac Miller, Steve Aoki, Future and more by being unique and different. Every deal we did was slightly different and we found an angle that worked for each artist. Its all about being flexible and building your track record. It took more of a pitch at first and now that we have such big names and the collections have been so successful its for sure paved the way for future collabs.

      Hope this helps

      • CN

        Chip Neff

        over 3 years ago #

        The "Guess How Many" is a monthly contest we roll out. Our engagement spikes almost %1,000.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 3 years ago #

        Love the "Guess How Many" idea!
        How often do you'll do this?

  • SA

    Shaker A

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    Thanks for being here.

    1) What are some resources that you use to learn from and stay up to date when it comes to marketing? Any resources you'd recommend for those who are at a novice/intermediate/advanced level when it comes to online marketing?

    2)What does your marketing stack look like for online tools that neff uses when it comes to gathering and analyzing data?
    Can you list them out and also state your rationale for using each of the tools?

    Thanks,
    Shaker

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Yo Shaker,

      Thanks for asking and there are tons of resources out there its all about finding what works for you.

      1. Here are couple that I like:
      - GrowthHackers of course
      - Harvard Business Review
      - Adweek
      - One Month - Is great to start. There growth hacking course is legit
      - Moz
      - Some book I love are “The Tipping Point,” “Made to Stick,” “Contagious”

      2. Over the years we have tried tons of different tools for gathering data. Here are some that we have found useful.
      - Mink: It helps make our Workplace Happy.
      - Domo: We use it for Ecom and business Analytics
      - Nuvi: Its our social media monitoring tool
      - Optimizely: Helps us A/B test to see how to optimize our website
      - Exit Monitor: Captures visitors before they leave

      Those are a few

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    Amazing achievement with Neff and how you've grown it a couple of questions from my experience at Angel Investment Network for you.

    1) Tech has received a lot of attention we've noticed investors (incorrectly sometimes) have been harsh on 'the rags trade', what resistance did Neff when convincing people to get behind a more traditional business model and was exploiting digital for growth always at the heart of Neff?

    2) What have led to the biggest gains on your ecommerce side (i'm sure ambassador plays its part) e.g. have you seen big wins from exit intent pop-ups etc?

    3) How did you perfect your ambassador outreach?

    4) What new channels are you excited to explore next at Neff?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Edward thanks for the questions.

      1. Ya its true traditionally a clothing business doesn't have the same glamor that a tech startup does. But for Neff, we have always tried to not pigeon hole ourselves. We have always tried to adapt to trends and shift in the market to make sure that if one segment of our business slowed we could pick it up somewhere else. We call it our "permission" but it means that we are allowed to play in action sports, traditional sports, pop culture and other markets. This is what makes Neff unique.

      2. Ecom is ever evolving. The biggest hack was to switch from Drupal commerce site onto Symphony Commerce. Just by switching literally doubled our conversion rate overnight which is massive to the bottom line. Exit monitor, is key too drastically has increased the emails we capture.

      3. We perfected the outreach by proving success upfront and then keeping good relationships in the industry. The entertainment industry is so small that news travels fast.

      4. We have actually seen a resurgence in Facebook. It slowed down heavy for a few years but seems to be picking up steam again. Curios to see what happens with streaming video and how it can adapt to e-commerce.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 3 years ago #

    Bonjour Neff,

    Nice meeting you!
    And thank you for your time to do this AMA.

    It looks like you did a lot of work with celebrities.

    Do you see a growth opportunity with livestreaming growth hacks?
    Could that overlap somehow with more traditional celebrity endorsement growth work?
    If so, how?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Arsene great thought!

      Yes for sure. We actually have done livestream Q&A events with artist before. Check out this video example here.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIqsVRf2EnU

      It was super successful and a great way to launch a product and interact with your consumer.

      And yes for sure mixes with a traditional celebrity endorsement. Kids are super smart these days and see through a brand when they work with a celeb. So the more interaction the celeb has with the brand/product the more authentic it becomes and besides being in person there is no better way then live streaming.

  • GM

    Graham MacLachlan

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    My Mother's side of my family are Neff's that came to Canada in the mid 1800's, so we have an affinity to the Brand!

    My background is in over 20 years of facilitating International Trade.

    My question is how do you approach the Canadian market, do you have any agents or do Canadian companies all order from your head office directly?

    Regards, Graham

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey Graham always good to meet another Neff.

      For Canada, there are a couple options either work through a distributor, they essentially represent, sell and market the brand in Canada.

      Or you can go direct, which basically means we manage the Canadian retailers here from California. We have done both actually. Direct is harder to do when you are just starting out cause you typically dont know the territory or retailers.

      Hope this helps

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Chip - so stoked to have you on!

    I have a couple of questions, which I'll ask separately.

    This may be a heretical thing to say (and apologies if it doesn't come out right), but to me, lifestyle brands are not "needs" but "wants".
    Clearly marketing plays a huge role in making a specific audience crave such offerings, making them almost be like "needs" to them.

    Could you talk about any specific strategies and tactics you've used at Neff to make that happen for your audience?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Ya first as a marketer you have to decide if your product is a Pain Killer or a Vitamin.

      For Neff, you could argue it both ways cause clothes are pretty much a necessity but the brands you choose are optional. We have always been in the business of cool.

      Here are some key tactics we have used:

      - Cool kids - If you want your brand to be cool you have to work with the coolest kids.
      - Hype - Your brand is built off hype and what people first think of it when they see it
      - Pulse - Your brand is only as cool as you make it. So you have to constantly be pushing the boundaries and staying top of mind.
      - Fun - Our mantra is Forever Fun. So everything we do at Neff revolves around fun and our consumers can feel that. You have to be transparent and when you are people can identify with you and want to join.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 3 years ago #

    It's no secret that getting the first influencer/evangelist/ambassador on board is really hard.
    How did the first ambassador partnership come about?
    What lessons did you learn from that first experience that you've applied towards all future ones that raise the odds of those partnerships being successful?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Ya the first time is always the hardest. Neff was basically started by using ambassadors. The first 4 years of the brand it was worn by the best snowboarders in the world. Then after that pop culture was the next step, so we were friends with Snoops agent and talked with him about working together and it was fairly new for him too so it made sense for both parties.

      I think the key takeaway is being flexible. Every artist is different and they expect/want different things. So being able to adapt and make it work for them while making it work for you is key.

      Timing is also key. We would do deals right around album time so we could help with promotion.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    over 3 years ago #

    Chip! Awesome to have you on here for the AMA. I'm a fan of what y'all are doing with video as medium for marketing, especially the Kevin Durant "Live To Play" feature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9FEkUlw888

    1) How are you leveraging this type of content outside of YouTube & Neff's website?
    2) What is your opinion on advertising on mediums such as Snapchat? Do you find it a viable channel for your younger target demographics?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      What’s up Logan!

      1. Neff Wear was brand new so we needed content to establish what Neff Wear was and meant. So to leverage our Live To Play video we did a few things:

      - It was used to sell Neff Wear into retail, so before we did the sales pitch we played “Live to Play” to educate buyers about Neffwear.
      - We launched Neffwear at Foot Locker so we played it in-stores where the product was being sold to promote our brand promise.
      - We then also created about 12 social extensions geared towards each target consumer portrayed in the video.

      4 Share
      • CN

        Chip Neff

        over 3 years ago #

        Our consumer used to post on Facebook, then migrated to Instagram and now lives on Snap Chat. So its super important for us to be there. It helps us become more authentic and relatable as the content isn’t over produced.

      • CN

        Chip Neff

        over 3 years ago #

        Ya Anuj,

        For social extensions we marketed to multiple audiences. For example Skate, Basketball, and Lifestyle.

        1. So for Basketball we created social videos focusing just on Kevin Durant and pushed those out to an NBA audience.

        2. For Skate we highlighted pro-skater "Jaws" and made his own skate edits that were authentic to the skate world.

        3. For lifestyle, we used Trash Hand who is an amazing photographer and pushed him throughout his world.

        It was all about making content people wanted to see and share while highlighting a relevant ambassador in each audience.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 3 years ago #

        Can you talk more about these social extensions?

  • JL

    Jordan Lore

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Chip,

    I'm interested to know how your Deadmau5 partnership came about.

    Is there any other artists you'd like to partner up with?

    How important is a celebrity endorsement for a retail brand in terms of a marketing strategy?

    Thanks for the AMA!

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Jordan thanks for asking and I am assuming you are a fan of Deadmau5?

      At the time EDM music was just about to blow up. So we got in at an amazing time before anyone else. First to Market is always better. Also, the Deadmau5 icon was perfect for Neff as it matched up with our logo. So we combined the two and made an icon that was super powerful. https://www.google.com/search?q=neffmau5&espv=2&biw=1421&bih=1341&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjeu5z72o7MAhUY0mMKHX0xDSMQ_AUIBygC

      We are always looking for the next artists to partner with. We are talking with a few right now and super excited about it. But still little to early to spill the beans.

      Celebrity endorsements can be massive for a brand. Just think about what Nike was before Jordan and what they became with him. Huge deal. Look at Adidas today with Kanye, As long as they are on brand and it comes off authentic it can send your brand into super growth mode. The great thing about Neff, is we have a lot of permission where other brands don't.

      Thanks again

      • JL

        Jordan Lore

        over 3 years ago #

        Appreciate the response and insights Chip, big Deadmau5 fan here — he's the reason I recognize the Neff brand.

  • CC

    Chris Collinsworth

    over 3 years ago #

    What's up Chip.

    You touched earlier on a few resources that you use in your marketing and data collection efforts. I've used a few of those myself, but the one that intrigues me the most is Mink.io. How important is it for you guys at Neff to make sure your work and office culture is inline with the culture you are trying to sell your products to? How does Mink help you make sure that your employees are in touch and engaged?

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey Chris appreciate it.

      Ya Mink has been a game changer for us and our culture here at Neff. In our industry culture is everything. So the closer we can engage with our team members and hear their voice the more powerful and transparent we become.

      Mink is basically a morale and engagement platform that weekly surveys your employees to help remove roadblocks, celebrate wins and give praise. It has been super successful for us. Check them out here https://mink.io/tour/

      • CC

        Chris Collinsworth

        over 3 years ago #

        Awesome. I imagine with a tagline like 'Forever Fun' you guys are constantly checking your workplaces pulse to make sure it is inline. Cool stuff, thanks for the input man.

  • JI

    Juan Izq

    over 3 years ago #

    Hopefully you can answer this question...

    Could you please tell us a specific example, of the business structure and numbers, of a deal with a celebrity that you have a partnership with? (No need to name the celebrity obviously)

    Keep up the good work and content!
    Thank you!

  • LC

    Lance Cox

    over 3 years ago #

    Chip,

    I was unable to be part of the live Q&A, so hopefully you are still seeing these Q's.

    Does Neff currently use waterproofing technology on any products? I could see some great potential hooks coming into play showing off various nano treated Neff products!

    • CN

      Chip Neff

      over 3 years ago #

      Hey lance no worries.

      We only have waterproofing on our snow products like outerwear and gloves. I could see some other possible areas though.

      Thanks

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