🧑‍🔬 From Nearly Bankrupt to $350M Revenue

Using this powerful psychology tactic...

Hexclad CEO, Danny Winer, spent his savings, 401(k) and paychecks to keep his company afloat in the early days.

His cookware company was in “financial terror” as he put it.

But now it brings in $350 million a year.

So how did they turn things around?

By leveraging the psychological power of a celebrity endorsement.

And anyone can learn the psychology principle that made them millions, regardless of celebrity endorsement.

Here’s what I mean:

🧪 The Authority Bias

The Authority Bias is a cognitive bias that describes our tendency to be more influenced by the opinions and judgments of authority figures.

It can lead people to accept information without actually evaluating the content for themselves, simply because it comes from a perceived authority.

🤳 How HexClad Uses The Authority Bias

Hexclad started to see success once it started selling their cookware in Costco in 2018-19.

But then 2020 hit and amidst the pandemic three things happened:

  1. Costco shut down

  2. Gordon Ramsay partnered with Hexclad

  3. Hexclad spent its budget for Costco on paid social

The result?

Hexclad made $5 million in a single month.

And almost all of their ~1,300 ads on Facebook mention Ramsay in some way.

Because Ramsay is seen as an expert, his opinion holds credibility.

And credibility is one of six factors that help make ideas stick (according Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made To Stick - remember last week when I mentioned I was reading it?).

Hexclad squeezes as much as they can out of Ramsay’s endorsement:

Now I know what you’re probably thinking:

People will see right through this type of marketing, right?

And Hexclad knows that too.

That’s why they’re ready to counter those objections:

🧠 How You Can Use The Authority Bias

So how can you use The Authority Bias?

The key is strategically aligning yourself with experts, authoritative figures, and other credible sources in your industry.

What if you can’t?

Maybe you don’t have the connections?

Don’t worry, you can still “borrow” authority.

You can use what an expert has said and angle it in a way that highlights your product.

Here’s an example from Phox Water:

They use a quote from Dr. Andrew Huberman, whose podcast regularly ranks among the top 10 podcasts on both Spotify and Apple and has 3.5 million YouTube subscribers.

Huberman never said anything about their product.

But they’ve cleverly used what he has said to borrow his credibility.

Or, for another example, here’s how the book summary app, Blinkist, borrows authority:

They don’t have celebrity endorsements. They simply connect the authority figure to their product.

(**Note: you have to be very careful to not get into legal trouble. You can’t use their photo and likeness. In fact, another company, A&D Performance just got sued by Andrew Huberman for using AI to make it appear like he is endorsing their product.)

Another route to use The Authority Bias is using “anti-authority” figures, a term mentioned in Made To Stick.

Who’s an anti-authority figure?

The exact opposite of an authority figure.

In their book they mention the example of using a dying smoker to make the point that smoking isn’t good for you.

Find the type of person that’s the exact opposite of your ideal authority figure and use them to make the point that the customer needs your product.

So here’s how you can use the Authority Bias:

  • Testimonials by experts

  • Find credible information in relevant research papers

  • Use a celebrity or authority figure’s name or quote in your ad (legally)

  • Find or create an “anti-authority” to highlight the importance of your product

And here are some hooks you can use, without a celebrity endorsement:

  • “The secret to becoming a [quality] like [authority figure] is…”

    • For example, an education platform could say: “The secret to becoming a creative genius like Steve Jobs is…”

  • “Are you a [character trait] like [authority figure]?”

    • This could be used to direct customers to a quiz. A good example of this is the Blinkist example above.

  • “[authority figure] once said…”

    • For example, a fitness brand could say: “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson once said…” and then tie it back to their product.

So, how will you use the Authority Bias?

Let me know how it goes!

Until next time,

Josh

Oh also: I changed the design because some people we’re having issues with legibility on mobile and when forwarding it to others. I may play around with it over the next couple of weeks. I’m still all for Dark Mode.

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