On this episode of #Influencer, Sherry is joined by the dynamic, senior brand marketing leader in the healthcare industry and one of our brand partners, Dave Goodman, who’s known for his work with Bayer Consumer Care managing brands such as Aleve, Alka-Seltzer, Miralax and Bayer Aspirin. Currently, Dave is managing Kerasal’s brand portfolio on behalf of Advantice Health. 

Kerasal is an emerging, fast-growing foot care brand that has a variety of solutions to hydrate, repair, and protect your feet and help tackle common foot problems like dry and cracked heels, calluses, and nail fungus. 

Through his vast healthcare experience, Dave’s success stems from his ability to develop high-impact strategies and innovations for brands as well as securing transformative mergers and acquisitions.

You have spent your career as a Brand Manager focused on healthcare products. What drew you to this space?

Yeah. You know, that’s it, it’s a great question. About 20 years ago, I was at a little bit of a inflection in my career and I had actually popped out of brand management for a couple of years and I was about to get back in and I actually was down in Atlanta and I had a unique opportunity where I was choosing between two different roles. One was in the healthcare space with Novartis consumer care, and the other one was for a company down in Atlanta that makes some really sweet bubbling drinks.

And I thought to myself, why would I rather work on brands that help people and facilitate healthy lifestyles? Or would I rather not work in perhaps what might seem like a sexier waiting area of carbonated beverages and more recognized brands, but I said, you know what, let me, let me go in the healthcare space because that’s clearly going to be around for a long time and just, you know, not to sound corny or cheesy, but the, the idea of helping people improve their lives was, was it, you know, It’s amazing.

You’ve been with Kerasal for close to 3 years. What did the brand look like when you first joined compared to where it is at today?

Yes. So it’s a really interesting brand. So carousel is in the foot care space and it, at the time it had two primary areas where it offered consumer products. One was for a post-op ring from nail fungus, and the other one was more for dry cracked feet.

And they were nice little businesses, but one of the things that inspired me was the opportunity to try and take them to the next level. And they seemed a little bit under marketed as me. And I felt like if we got more marketing muscle and investment behind them, as well as innovated, I thought we could take it to the next level.

And, and now we close to doubled over the past two and a half years. Through increasing our efforts, both in TV and traditional marketing vehicles like TV, but then also working with, with folks like yourself, the digital and social space. And then on top of that, we’ve also launched a really exciting new products that are extending the carousel brand name into other areas of foot care, such as what washes, what soaps.

But masks. So really catering to consumers, desire for care. And it’s been really exciting because just over the past year or so, as much as the pandemic has been such a tremendous drain on a lot of businesses and vibes from a category perspective. But care has really and self care has really taken off as people have had more time to engage in, in taking care of themselves, but also because a lot of traditional means salons and pedicures and things like that.

Haven’t been quite as, quite as accessible. So it’s been kind of an interesting intersection of. Of opportunity and growth to make the brain into an even higher level.

So you’re saying that a lot of this growth in the past year at least is just because people are at home because they’re not going to the nail salon. So they’re doing all their, as you call it, or as we came up with on one of our calls, “Sole” care at home.

Yeah, I think, I think that’s been a big part of the trend that we’ve been able to, I think, promote as well as leverage. So it’s been somewhat of a rising tide for us in that consumers, just not having access to the lines.

And then also just taking more time to take care of themselves, I think has really contributed to a lot of our growth. And I think with a lot of consumers, Migrating to shopping online has been another really positive trend for categories like foot care, where it’s a little bit more of what we call like a shy to buy type of category, where it’s nice to be able to go online and make a discreet purchase versus making a separate trip to the store.

And maybe being a little bit embarrassed to put a nail fungus. Brought up the, on the, on the on the cash register and, and, and pay for that. So, so it’s been, like I said, this really neat intersection of opportunity and trends and then leveraging that has really been fantastic for the growth of this business.

Can you tell us more about Kerasal’s unique product line?

There’s, you know, there’s so many different ways that consumers can take care of their nails and there’s also by the same token, a lot of different ways. Nails can be damaged can be anything from nail fungus can be causing the damage too much gel manicure, your processes and also damage.

Now, sometimes it’s just a function of, of, of age that could cause you know, then an age it could be nail psoriasis. So we came up with a product that helps consumers who are kind of confused about. Like, gee, I mean, I’ve know what’s wrong with my nails, but I know I need to do something about it. So we actually came up with a specific product called Kerasal multipurpose nail repair that helps consumers address this confusion about what’s going on with their nails and how to properly remedy those, those challenges.

How has Amazon contributed to Kerasal’s growth and success?

Yeah, it’s been nothing short of remarkable. It’s been breathtaking at me. I come from the traditional world of. Having a certain expectation each year for how much product I’m going to sell through Walmart or Walgreens or CVS target.

And when I first started know two and a half years ago, which now seems like a lifetime ago, the amount of business we were selling through Amazon was a very, very small fraction of what we’re doing in a. That’s a by-product of Amazon’s growth in general, but I think also the pandemic putting that growth on warp speed and just contributing to this hyper-growth where people that are much more on the Amazon platform and then this category in particular of foot care and nail care lends itself even, even more.

So, so now to the point where. No Amazon, I spend at least a third of my time working on my Amazon business. And that is highly appropriate for, for me as a resource and for my team in terms of allocating their time, because Amazon has just become this enormous beast and incredibly important. That’s wild.

I I’m not in the, so do other pharmaceutical companies, are there too many regulations that they can’t or do they sell on Amazon or because you’re over OTC, like, that’s a great point. I mean, all over the counter products can definitely sell on Amazon. So, so if something’s in Walmart or Walgreens and CVS, And is available over the counter.

It’s just as accessible online, but that being said, we still have to operate by the same rules and regulations that we would of the bigger pharma. Yeah. Actually, technically our Kerasal products are actually technically cosmetics. And so from a regulatory perspective, we’re actually technically not a drug.

So we operate under the cosmetic. Guidelines because we, they people’s nails and feet look better, but we don’t actually deliver a drone if that makes any sense. No, I get it. It’s just interesting. Is there so many nuances that I can imagine, like the big pharma companies, even if you’re one of their OTC brands, you might still not be able to be on Amazon because the broader company, you know, you have to abide by their rules.

When did you first noticed a spike in sales from an influencer endorsing your products? 

It was insane.

We went from settling. Let’s say, and I’ll just make up numbers for conversation’s sake, 5,000 units of, of one of our products a week to all of a sudden, since selling 25,000 units or one influencer. Yes. And so actually before my grants, because this was such an incredibly new dynamic and completely unknown, I was.

Entirely missed by what was actually broadening it. And it took a lot of digging and investigation to actually figure out that it was coming from an influencer, a celebrity quote, unquote dermatologist who was on YouTube and did like a 30 minute video on all different types of foot care products. And about five minutes of it.

Because on my product and it really, it was, it was stunning to see the reaction and what we call almost like a direct response. So I’m so used to thinking of direct responses, like when you’re up in the middle of night and you can’t get to sleep and you see one of those PBS that says, I just bought an air fryer a few weeks ago.

Yeah. It’s sitting in a box.

So really what we’re seeing now is if a, an influencer with a high degree of credibility or a high following, or some combination thereof really lands a message. I’m seeing some incredibly respond to. And, and of course, mostly on Amazon, because it’s so easy for them to just search it up on Amazon and buy it immediately.

Like I’m actually even seeing the power of influencers transcend. Retail channels. And I’m seeing not just spikes on Amazon when influencers post about my products, but even I’ll see the spikes at a Walmart or a target as well. Hmm. And spikes and search too, for your products? Probably. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s insane.

I mean that first video came and I thought that was a lot. And then about a month later, I thought we had reached a new, higher level of baseline sales based on that first influencer. And then maybe a month later, I actually had to double, triple check orders I was seeing and the sales levels because they didn’t even look real.

I was so stunned by load, and that was a tick tock video where somebody. Who had a following posted a before and after of using my products and it wouldn’t make the overuse more completely viral with millions of shares and lights. And I completely blew out of stock of the product. It was unbelievable.

It should happen to everyone. Yes. Yes. It felt like a lottery ticket. It did.

What do you think the state of influencer marketing in your space looks like, post COVID?

Yeah. Great question. I mean, I think, I think you can be compliant and you should be compliant and be influencers.

Yeah. Great question. I mean, I think, I think you can be compliant and you should be compliant and be influencers.

She had open these, talk about the products. And when we work with companies like yourself, we of course guide people and the influencers you speak about the prominence in only the most truthful, inappropriate ways. And I think that’s important for a variety of reasons. Number one as a reputable organization, we don’t want to get into trouble with FTC.

So we want to follow it and be compliant with all the guidelines and regulations. Number two, you certainly don’t want to over promise. Or consumers, the last thing you want is claims being made that can’t be delivered on. We guarantee this is gonna, you know, you’re going to lose 22 pounds in two days.

Exactly. Right, right. So, so why over promise and under deliver that, that that’s just the very short-term path to success. It’s certainly not sustainable. So I think, I think you can certainly play by the rules and win at the same time.

You seem to be taking a two-pronged approach by working with Macro and Micro content creators. Why do you think this strategy works for you?

Yeah, that’s interesting because it’s actually from a variety of sources. So this celebrity dermatologist, I think we were 300,000 followers at the time YouTube video had I think about a hundred, 150,000 views. So fairly robust amount of followers and.

The person had 30 and that’s the one that really went well. What’s out of stock and that’s, that’s basically a micro-influencer because it’s like someone who doesn’t even have a hundred thousand followers, which is crazy. Yeah. And that was, that was stunning because it was counterintuitive, right. Because you’d expect the larger following the yield, the higher results.

But there was actually a situation where somebody with a smaller following ended up yielding the breathtaking results. It just, they just had very strong authenticity and credibility. And I think. By showing a video of how they use the product, what their foot looked like before, and then showing the after and the dramatic difference that carousel and sensitive foot repair made for them really ended up being incredibly compelling and very sharable.

Yeah. Yeah. And so there’s no environment reason. I mean, we always talk about. You know, is it, do you work with the nanos you work with micros you work with, so you’re taking like an approach to kind of testing and trying, working with all different sizes of influencers. Yeah. It’s almost kind of like a portfolio.

If you think about it, it’s like you don’t buy the same stocks, right? Different types of stocks and hear different types of influencers to diversify and give yourself a chance to win. Across a variety of different approaches. Okay. And so in that, you know, cross functional cross, you know, what are, what are some of the categories of influencers?

Because you know, to me, I’m naturally going to say, Oh, well, you know, beauty and lifestyle influencers, but then when you start to talk about the products, there’s gotta be other types of contact criteria that you’re looking for in the types of influencers beyond just beauty and lifestyle. Yeah, I, I think that’s a, that’s a great point.

I mean, I think what I’ve seen work is when the person has the credibility and the authenticity. So the folks that have moved the needle so far have ranged from obviously a dermatologist has a high degree of credibility being a doctor, but. The woman who had 32,000 followers on tic-tac, she was the nurse.

So that probably helped, but I don’t want people to think that because it’s a healthcare product, they had to be a healthcare expert. I’ve seen folks that just are very down to earth and very authentic and believable, who we just talked about the product in a really natural sort of way. And. What it did for them and how it made their ebook better, how it made, make their nails look healthier and shiny, or like it wasn’t necessarily one particular category, as much as it was more about the personal approach and their delivery.

What format of content (video, static posts, stories blog etc) and which platform (IG, FB, YouTube etc) yields the best results for the brand?

Yeah. I think more are brought up. I think, I think both video and static could work. I think. I’ve seen video work where people talk about the product and if they do it with passion and authenticity and they show literally, Hey, here’s what my quote looked like before. Here’s what it looked like after I’ve seen that be successful so far.

I’ve seen it be more successful in video than in static, but I think we kind of live in a little bit of a video society. But if people love looking at video. So I think that helps, I think a lot depends on the product. So one of my products is very experiential, so I’m looking to see that more in video.

One of them is more about the before and afters. So static images might be okay for an outline. So I think it just kind of has to be thought through. And what is your product? What are the benefits? What is compelling, and then looking at your product again to customize you. And what’s the right way to tap into an influencer to bring that to life.

Super helpful.

How can people find Kerasal?

Yeah, I mean, you know, Kerasal is interesting. Having worked on more households, high awareness brands that I mentioned earlier, the weaves the outfit, so to respond can here.

I was like really unfamiliar with the brand, but it turns out. Yeah, that’s really, really good distribution. And so that certainly wasn’t an area of opportunity. You could put a Kerasal like pretty much any major drove store or mass merchant, like Walmart and target were online. And I feel like it’s this little best kept secret out there.

And I, I think that’s one of the reasons why I think influencers have been so successful for us because. There’s this share-ability and there’s this untapped potential. And whereas I don’t think that influencer would be really telling anybody anything new. If they said, Hey, you know, or you already know that.

But if an influencer says, Hey, I’ve tried this Kerasal stuff. And wow. It made my feet go from dry, cracked and flaky to baby smooth. Or this problem now I’ve had is now. Nice that I can wear sandals. I feel like it’s this, it’s this secret that is starting to get unlocked and shared. And so that’s, what’s been really exciting for me as a marketer and, you know, working with folks like yourself and tapping into influencers to share the secret and spread the word that’s, what’s been so exciting and inspiring and rewarding for me.

Well, I will say that, you know, it’s been a very hard year for everyone. And when I look back on the year, we kind of started working together right before COVID. So I’m truly, we’re truly blessed to be working with you. We love your passion and your energy, and it’s just been just so nice to have you as part of the Babel blocks family, as we say, well, I mean, we, we, we thank you guys for the partnership.

We’ve learned so much from you guys and, and it’s been one of those ideal agency relationships where, you know, there’s just been a natural chemistry and, and a really great synergy and a lot of, a lot of positive results. So, so thank you. Thank you.

Name an influencer you love to follow, but hate to admit that you do.

Oh, yeah. You know, it’s Jenna Fisher. I don’t know fanatic. I do admit, even though I’m happily married to my beautiful wife, I have a little bit of a crush for, for Pam Beasley. And I think she’s such a great parasol endorser because I just love when she posts her videos, it always feels like she’s talking to you one-on-one and letting you in on a little secret.

So. And she’s just adorable and fun. And so, yeah, that’s my that’s my painful hate to admit, but, but that’s who I follow. All right. So we’re going to tag her when we share the podcast. Thank you, Dave, for everything and great to have you on the show and wish you lots and lots of success with Karasal.

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