Brand Building in a Post-Amazon World

In the wake of the e-commerce revolution, the consumer value system has shifted. Consumers want brands that support a “social good” and products manufactured in the United States. But the great brands we grew up with have gotten lost in their cost structure, focusing on sales, real estate, and big marketing spends. So how can today’s smaller brands navigate the new environment and avoid going the way of brand dinosaurs?

In the latest episode of Voices of KPCB, Kleiner Perkins partner Randy Komisar speaks with American GiantCEO Bayard Winthrop about these and other topics – including what makes American Giant’s sweatshirt “the best hoodie ever made.” (Randy and Bayard are also co-authors of the book I F**king Love That Company.)

You can listen to an extended version of this interview here.

Show Notes


1:45 – Introducing American Giant and the problem with the current apparel industry model

3:53 – The importance of thinking about quality and value for your customers instead of focusing on retail locations and scaling

5:30 – Investing in the customer and the importance of building brand and customer love

6:58 – Customers are voting with dollars, and they want quality

9:20 – Getting named “The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made”

12:01 – “You talk about values a lot. How do you think about values at American Giant, and what do consumers look for when deciding who to buy from?”

15:03 – How do you generate customer love when you only have online products?

16:06 – Is there a risk of loss of brand control for “love brands” on social media?

17:59 – How do the new small or online brands keep themselves from becoming like the old big brands?

19:38 – “Capital wants to scale and get big. Smaller brands focus on customer love and quality”