David Nicholson of The Good Patch: “Listen and engage with your customer!”

Listen and engage with your customer! View them as the true experts. This means on social, phone calls, emails, retailers. Lots of times companies are so close to their product they make excuses when customers aren’t pleased. That is so dangerous. If you address every complaint as if it is true you will find you […]

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Listen and engage with your customer! View them as the true experts. This means on social, phone calls, emails, retailers. Lots of times companies are so close to their product they make excuses when customers aren’t pleased. That is so dangerous. If you address every complaint as if it is true you will find you always live up to your customers’ expectations.

As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview David Nicholson.

David Nicholson is the proud owner of Natural Body Spa Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, an organic award-winning day spa, as well as being a Co-Founder and the Chief Branding Officer of The Good Patch, a wellness brand that offers a variety of plant-infused patches. He has been in the spa industry over 21 years, opening his spa in 2000 directly out of college. David’s passion for the spa industry comes from his passion for a balanced healthy lifestyle. He believes that the path to true happiness is through practicing mindfulness, self-care, gratitude, exercise, and eating healthy (at least most of the time). His friend Kelly Brock reached out with an idea of creating a plant-based & hemp product line, now known as The Good Patch, for their spa customers, and David jumped at the opportunity. “I spent the last 20 years working side by side the most talented and passionate spa technicians as well as a fantastic client base that rightfully demanded excellence. When creating The Good Patch with Kelly, and our third partner Betsy Scanlan, my contribution was what I learned from my staff and clients.”

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started working for Atlanta Sports Marketing right out of school and quickly realized I wasn’t interested in a traditional corporate career. At the time I was also very interested in eastern medicine and philosophy so when the opportunity arose to take out a loan and open a boutique wellness spa, I jumped at it. I love the wellness industry and I love working alongside people that love this industry for the healing and self-care aspects. What brought me down The Good Patch path is a lifelong friendship with Kelly Brock, co-founder of The Good Patch as well as fellow spa owner. We had always talked about creating something together so in 2017 when Kelly called me about hemp/CBD we jumped at the opportunity.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

YES! When it comes to designing the packaging I tend to drive people crazy because I’m never happy and feel it can always be improved. I ask for endless changes (even ones nobody would notice but me). I’m a people person so people tend to work with me but I was making graphic designers go mad… so much so that they had to very politely and sweetly break-up with me and The Good Patch. Have I learned a lesson here… yes. Do I still drive designers mad… yes. I think what I learned is to be more forthcoming of what it will be like to work with me, but more importantly, I’ve learned to not compromise on the details because the details are where I believe it becomes great.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The Good Patch stands out from other wellness companies on the market because of the experience and life lessons we had as a collective group of founders across similar industries — spa and CBD. We saw our clients come in asking for natural remedies to help certain common ailments, such as joint pain, stress and fatigue — we listened to our clients and saw the opportunity to create something unique, but necessary. Between myself, Kelly Brock and Betsy Scanlan, we had a wealth of knowledge in the natural wellness spaces and understood our target audience’s needs. We were also all business owners prior to The Good Patch, so starting a company with a strong foundation like that set us up for great success. We all went through those learning curves earlier on in our careers, so we could pave the path for this new company by using our shared learning experiences.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, The Good Patch is expanding our retail partners in order to reach as many consumers as possible that are looking for relief to their common ailments. Additionally, we recently launched our newest patch — Relax. This patch is complete with ashwagandha, passionflower, black pepper extract, and other powerful plant-based ingredients to help users unwind and decompress. Due to the state of the world, more and more people are looking for ways to de-stress after long work days or just whenever they feel overwhelmed. At The Good Patch, we believe that self-care is essential to true happiness so we’re excited to welcome this plant-based patch to our existing line of patches.

In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

I define brand marketing as preparing your product and company for the marketplace and ensuring it aligns with brand values and company strategy. Branding is the foundational work done for your overall business — determining the company’s mission, messaging, packaging, audience and how your product differs from competitors on the market. It comes down to the company’s logo, color scheme and messaging — all of which are ways the brand is represented in the public’s eye. It’s the image you want associated with your brand. While advertising is taking that brand image and spreading the word and message about your products and company to the marketplace.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

Branding, marketing and advertising all relate to each other and work together for a common goal, that being said it’s important to determine branding strategies before diving headfirst into advertising and marketing. It’s important to have the brand foundation that I mentioned above of deciding everything from overall message and goal down to the logo, color scheme of website and packaging. Once you have a brand strategy in place, you can work toward deciding where to spend advertising money and getting the word of your company/products out to consumers or whoever you’re trying to reach.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

Love this question!

Be Authentic! I think now more than ever you have to be authentic. We are so lucky to have started a business in a field that we truly enjoy and believe in. If you are pretending to care and it’s just about the dollars, you most likely won’t enjoy your work and will lose to someone who does care & have that passion for what they are doing.

You have to surround yourself with people that truly care about their expertise. Take Betsy, co-founder and ingredient guru, I know she will spend sleepless nights working on ingredients to make it perfect…she never settles. In knowing that everyone in our company can speak confidently about our products and that shows.

Never ever settle! When someone says something is good enough that is a sign you have a long way to go.

Listen and engage with your customer! View them as the true experts. This means on social, phone calls, emails, retailers. Lots of times companies are so close to their product they make excuses when customers aren’t pleased. That is so dangerous. If you address every complaint as if it is true you will find you always live up to your customers’ expectations.

Focus more on relationships than conversions. If you only worry about immediate sales you will find you may have a spike, but long term your business will suffer. You must be willing to forgo sales today and build a business that people trust down the road.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

Patagonia! They 100% practice what they preach. My hope is more businesses will take their lead and focus on sustainability.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

I don’t really know the answer to this question. I think what is important to me is how the brand makes you feel. When interacting with our product do you feel uplifted and positive? Second, does it stand out from everything else? Is it unique? If the answer is yes, then that is a successful brand in my book.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

Social media allows a company to interact and communicate with its consumers on a personal level. How your social channels appear and operate can help improve your branding efforts and also influences how consumers perceive your company. Engaging with existing and potential customers regularly helps to enhance your image and is important for any business. One recent example I can highlight is an Instagram post we shared right before our launch of the new Relax patch I mentioned above. The day before the announcement, we posted an image with an engaging caption asking readers to guess what our newest patch would be for a chance to win a free sample. Our likes and engagement proved this stunt to be a success, which is a prime example of how you take your brand image to the next level through social media. It provides you a space to be creative and find your own voice, and hopefully engage with like-minded customers along the way.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you are passionate and skilled in an area, double down on that one thing and hire people to do the rest.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would have meditation and mindfulness taught in schools from 1st to 12th grade. In today’s hectic world, students are struggling with the demands of school and personal life. Many times, they end up feeling overwhelmed. External factors, such as social media, peer pressure, and family problems, only make things worse. According to the NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), meditation helps reduce depression and anxiety. In the long run, it improves mental focus and brain function. This makes it particularly beneficial for young people.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I will give you one that is hanging up in my 7 year old daughters room: “Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.” — Anonymous

I just believe life is too short not to surround yourself with people that bring you up. We spend 40+ hours per week with our coworkers so I think this is very important.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oh wow! I would love to sit down with Pete Nordstrom, Chief Branding Officer of Nordstrom. I worked at Nordstrom selling suits and loved every minute of it. I learned so much about company culture, raising the customer service bar, and above all about the importance of loving what you do. How they hire year in and year out people that connect and care is so inspiring.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


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