You Should Talk To

Monica Fleury, CMO of 100 Coconuts -- Agencies are (Coco)nuts...sometimes, brands, too.

February 22, 2024 YouShouldTalkTo Season 1 Episode 38
You Should Talk To
Monica Fleury, CMO of 100 Coconuts -- Agencies are (Coco)nuts...sometimes, brands, too.
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of YouShouldTalkTo, Daniel Weiner sits down with Monica Fleury, CMO of 100 Coconuts. Monica tells us all about the changes coming to the marketing industry. She’s provided profound insights into the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, including the fact that customers care about what brands care about. 

Customers want to know what a brand stands for and if they can align with their values. 100 Coconuts, for example, prides itself on authenticity and sustainability. While that would usually live within the company’s mission statement, marketers are now making that information readily available to their customers because their customers are looking for information. Customers will then buy from 100 Coconuts knowing that they are a sustainable brand and they themselves align with sustainability. 

Monica also talks about the responsibilities that brands should take when an agency fails to complete a project. There are many reasons that a brand could have sabotaged an agency's work. Things like clear briefs, timelines, and budgets are on the brand to avoid overwhelming agencies. 

It’s also important to reward the vendors that invest in you. Monica tells us the story about how she was auditing her company's vendor list and increased the rates of the vendors who did consistently good work. And she raised their rates without asking them. Monica says it’s important to invest in your vendors because they invest in you too. 

This episode offers great insights into the current cultural shift in the marketing industry and agency dynamics. 


Guest-at-a-Glance

💡 Name: Monica Fleury, CMO at 100 Coconuts

💡Noteworthy: She believes in investing in your agencies and your vendors. The more you invest in them the more they invest in you. 

💡 Where to find them: LinkedIn


Key Insights:

Customers Care About What You Care About

Monica Fleury, CMO of 100 Coconuts, tells us how the industry is changing for both marketers and consumers. The mission statement used to be exclusively for internal use. Now customers want to know what you stand for and what you believe in. So now the mission statement is public and customers align themselves with you if you align with any shared values - like sustainability, for example. 

Unrealistic Expectations 

Monica believes that the unrealistic expectations of brands can traumatize agencies. She says there are good agencies out there, but you can’t expect too much from them when you’re overwhelming them with work and expecting the best results. Things like timelines, budgets, and clear briefs are the responsibility of the brand. 

Authenticity and AI

Monica talks about how she’s been grappling with the idea of using AI in marketing. Her current company’s mission is all about authenticity, and she feels as if AI goes against that mission. So, she’s removed AI from her marketing strategy. It may be more work, but she believes that her customers will appreciate the effort. 

Daniel: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the, you should talk to podcast. I am Daniel Weiner, your host, your sponsor, your everything. You should talk to Paris brands and marketers for free with vetted agencies and or freelancers for pretty much any marketing or tech need because finding great agencies is a pain in the ass and time consuming today.

I'm super excited to be joined by Monica Fleury, my longtime friend and newly minted first time CMO of 100 coconuts. Monica, how are we? I'm good. How are you? I'm good. I, you, you texted me last night that you were stressed and a little nervous about this. We're going to, we're going to make it easy on you.

So I hope, I hope this goes smoothly. Your first podcast. Wow. Well, now that you have a fancy schmancy CMO title, you'll get hit up every 12 seconds 

Monica: for one. I'm sure you keep saying that, but I should have been on this a long time ago. . 

Daniel: I try. You're you're tough to get in front of Monica. What can I say? But, uh, no, we are, we are here now.

That's what's important. I was gonna do like an Auburn soccer intro. I was gonna try to find some music or something that was like your, your walkup song essentially. I 

Monica: have the tiger. Is that what it is? No, that was not my walk. I think Poison could have been, I mean, would've been Poison. Poison. That Girl Is Poison was my walkup song.

Yeah. That's fair, 

Daniel: I'll see if we can edit that in, gotta check the copyright on that. But we will, uh, we'll dive right in. My first question I ask everybody, what is an unpopular opinion you have? In the marketing world or a hot take of sorts. Yeah, 

Monica: so this one hurts as of recently, but we've been diving into as an emerging brand, a lot of influencer marketing and the rates are just insane right now.

So I am a firm believer that influencer marketing is not for every brand and you don't just have to pay big influencers a ton of money to get reach. Um, So what I've been diving into a lot at 100 coconuts is who is that right ambassador for us, whether it's a celebrity, an athlete, um, or just those very, you know, true loyalists that are, you know, not influencers, but can have an impact on their friends, their family and their communities.

So it's just insane. These rates that we're seeing for one real one tick tock one story. Um, and I just don't think brands, especially in our space where we're emerging, we're new, sorry, I won't hit the mic, new at this. You can hit the mic, you can hit the mic. Um, it's just crazy and I don't think every brand has to do it just because you see other brands, you know, getting every influencer that they have at their pop up or um, sharing their cool sweatshirts that they sent them.

You 

Daniel: guys should get me to do, I'll do anything for a couple of months. There's some free product, truthfully. 

Monica: That doesn't mean you don't reach out. That doesn't mean you don't introduce influencers to your product. Because you never know. We had a lot of success at BioLite just sending product because the product worked.

Um, and these celebrities would try it. They might talk about it in their next interview. Or do a post on it that's very organic. Um, and not paid. Consumers are smarter than we think and they know what's real and what's fake. So I agree. 

Daniel: Consumers are smart. Uh, I do want to talk about your past a bunch, but for those who don't know, what is a hundred coconuts?

Monica: It is pure coconut water. Um, we, I've got it right here. 

Daniel: Yeah, let's get some product placement. Great source. You owe me, you owe me 20, 000 now for that product placement. So let's 

Monica: do it again. Yeah. How many times can I show it during the interview? I was gonna say I 

Daniel: could retire 

Monica: after this, but that is truly what it is.

So we have pure, we have pineapple and we have mango. Um, and this that I'm drinking right here is truly just coconut water. It's from Vietnam and it's sourced from young. green coconuts and it's delicious and um, it's exciting. We're in a really special place right now and we're growing like crazy. So I'm happy to be 

Daniel: there.

I expect some product after this. I'll post 

it 

Monica: everywhere. If you treat me kindly. 

Daniel: Okay. I won't bully you on the spot on your first podcast, but, uh, now you have had a, I would say quite, quite the journey. You've had agency experience. Uh, you worked at Hooters for a very long time. I think it was almost nine years, which is kind of unheard of in the marketing world these days.

You were at BioLite and now a hundred coconuts. My biggest question I like to ask is. Along the way, what's like the biggest change you've seen in kind of like consumer behavior across different types of industries? 

Monica: It, it's, it's been interesting. I think for me and where I am today, you know, back in the day, you'd write down a mission or a vision internally.

And everyone would, you know, align and move forward on that. But now that matters to your customer, and that matters to your consumer. And, um, what we're finding is that next generation of customers, they care about what you care about, and you have to put that in your marketing. Um, and make sure you're kind of telling that story.

They care if you have a purpose. They want to buy from you if you do. And so we're, we're, we're figuring that out at 100 Coconuts because, you know, our mission is to To be real, authenticity matters. And you see that, that it's just made out of one ingredient. But how do we tell that story to our customers?

Sustainability, right? You used to write it down in your brand guidelines and then you'd all go from there, but now it matters in your marketing. 

Daniel: That's do you think that that has changed? Uh, in terms of, I don't know how you're marketing to consumers now versus a decade ago. 

Monica: I do. I think you have to tell that story.

You don't just have to say, Hey, our food is great or our product is great. You have to share what you believe in. 

Daniel: I agree. I'm curious your opinion. I think I hate to reference Tik Tok, but I saw a Tik Tok recently where they were, they were making fun of some brands because like, uh, some brands have gone too far.

Like they have no mission, but they say they're like, Oh, like it has to be authentic. Yeah. And it makes brands look sillier when they like lean into something like that, just to say that they have like a purpose and a mission. So, uh, authenticity is, uh, all the raids these days I 

Monica: hear. And it doesn't have to be complex.

Ours is we bring real coconut water to the world, right? We bring better tasting coconut water to the world. And we celebrate authenticity and, um, that, you know, is in every piece of marketing that we do. 

Daniel: Maybe that's the answer to my next question. But now that you've reached Everest, the pinnacle of marketing titles, and you've gotten the CMO title, what is your best piece of advice to other marketing leaders that are currently in the role or aspire to be, you know, a VP, a CMO, a head of marketing at a brand?

What's your best piece of advice to them for 2024, I would say, because I don't think 2024 started as rosy as many were hoping. 

Monica: So I would say I definitely know my strengths and I know my weaknesses and to hire to your weaknesses, right? Like my team, I've been around and I've seen strategy go wrong and I've seen campaigns fail and I've seen campaigns succeed and, you know, trust your team, celebrate the small wins.

Um, I don't know anything about Gen X. Like I'm not going to pretend that I do. I'm going to learn, but I want, right. You know, my team who does know about that consumer to feel like they are empowered enough to do their job and know that they have my support. And I just, yes, be there, make, make sure that the brand vision is right.

The strategy is right. As the leader, but really trust your team and get some good hires out there. I mean, it's, and I'm the layoffs that are happening right now are crazy and it's really hard, um, to shine, I think, as a new hire in this world. So higher, higher, better people, not better people. Yikes. Scratch that.

Don't say there's my pause higher to your weaknesses, um, empower your team and celebrate small wins. Um, Because you truly do have to fail to learn, and then to grow from there, and if you don't let your team do it, which I am, I did it all the time in my past, I'll just do it, I can do it faster, I'll just get it done, and you don't build your team's, um, strengths that way.

I'm the first. I mean, it's bad. That's definitely probably how I've gotten to where I am. I'm going to start asking you 

Daniel: to do 

Monica: stuff for me. I know I will. I will. It's bad. I do stuff for friends. Can you update my website? That'd be great. I can. I can. Um, like, I designed an email for us last week. I probably shouldn't have been doing that.

Daniel: It's good to get, oh, I think differently. It's good to get your hands dirty, but yes, you should. The willing the fact that you're, you're willing to do that is different for many 

Monica: CMOs. I'm absolutely willing to do it. Um, I think that's the type of leader that I am. Um, and, but that sometimes has hurt my team members because I'll just take care of it.

I'll just get it done. And that doesn't give them the chance to learn. 

Daniel: Yeah, makes sense. Um, I'm guessing that not a massive change has occurred since you've been in marketing leadership at well known brands for a while, but now that you have the CMO title, uh, folks in your world that I speak to are getting hit up like every 12 seconds by agencies, vendors, who just assume you have billions of dollars to spend on everything that they need.

So I am curious, uh, A, if you have If you've had that happen or if you've seen a noticeable change since you got the CMO title, uh, and what is your, if you, if you could look directly into the camera and give a, give a message to the agencies out there, uh, who hypothetically want to work with you, what would you say?

Monica: Yeah, well, one, it's interesting. It happened when I got a vice president title as well. I mean, everything shifted with that title change. Me too. I had a 

Daniel: BSVP title and everything changed. You had a, you had a real 

Monica: one. Everything changes. And it's funny, my role didn't really change. I still had. The leadership role, I still could make the decisions, you know, the same decisions that I could as a vp, as a director, but it's that title that everyone now wants to reach out to you.

Um, same with CMO. You're not wrong. I get hit up all the time. Um, and really, I care about referrals. So, like that dinner you hosted, um, it was great to talk about, you know, what agencies have you been working with. A lot of shit talking, a lot of shit talking at that dinner. Who do you like? No. Who do you like?

Who don't you like? No, no, um, but referrals matter and then you do a great job of this as well. But I'm on LinkedIn all the time and if you're not present on LinkedIn, that's where I find a lot of people that I want to work with. A lot of vendors I want to work with, a lot of agency partners. Um, I will say we know what we need.

So if you email us once, you email us twice and we haven't responded or we, you know, you haven't heard from us. Probably don't email us again. Like we will reach out and we do remember emails as well or messages on LinkedIn. Um, so if it doesn't fit our need at the time, we, we will remember and we will reach out, but a lot of where I, I see a lot of the wins on the agency side or vendors is from referrals.

Um, I got a good one from your friends at Freddy's recently, so, um, yeah. A little plug for them. Charge them 20, 000 too. 

Daniel: Shout out Laura Ruckel, I guess. I'll have to send this episode to her and let her know that. 

Is 

Monica: that who it was from? She was at the dinner? Erin Walter. Ah, gotcha. Her number two, I think.

Her number 

Daniel: two, yeah. Awesome. I'm always glad to hear when that stuff happens. Um, since we talked about how, that's a perfect example from the dinner. Now we can gossip about agencies without naming them. Do you want to do your positive experience or your negative experience first? I give the option. Okay.

Doesn't matter. We'll end on a high note. Okay. Let's do some trauma first. Uh, let's talk about a really bad agency experience you've had and what made it, uh, so bad. 

Monica: So there've been a lot. It was hard to, uh, To narrow it down? To narrow it down. But I really, I truly believe this. I, any bad agency experience that I've had has been the fault of the brand.

And I, I believe that in my heart. 

Daniel: People are crying somewhere right now at agencies listening to you. They're like, so 

Monica: much. Well, and I've been on the other side, like you said, and it's, it was, you know, was the brief clear enough? Were you aligned with the agency? Did you give them a budget that they could work with?

Did you give them unrealistic expectations? Was the timeline too tight? Usually those were all the reasons why something did not succeed. And you have to. I don't know, on the brand side, you just have to realize, like, is, is this worth it? Is this short term project, is it worth it to put your agency through the ringer, expect the most of them, and then they might not come out with the best results?

Like, I, I truly believe it's on the side of the brand when an agency fails. There are a lot of good agencies out there. Um, you experienced this with us at one point. Now you're bringing up my trauma. No, but you guys succeeded. Did we? I think so. You met unrealistic expectations with a budget that was crazy.

And as a brand, you cannot set, you're setting the agency up for failure. We certainly 

Daniel: tried, yes, at my old agency of being. Billion years ago. Uh, but yeah, that is to this day. One of the most wildest, uh, traumatic slash a little bit. I won't, I won't tell that story on this pod. I'll wait till I do like a therapy podcast.

That'll be my next. I'll be your 

Monica: therapist. We can talk. We'll sort that out together since I was there. I generally 

Daniel: find it's in between. Like there's very few, you know, I get so much from CMOs and VPs and anybody working with agencies of negative. Uh, and usually like if I really dive in and most leaders are, uh, honest and reasonable.

They're like, yeah, it was somewhere in between, but you know, it's a combination of factors, you know, branded, this agency didn't push back ever. And usually somewhere in the middle, 

Monica: not pushing back is a big, and even, but it's hard, right? When you're an agency and you push back in the brand that you're working with or on retainer with, or you've been with for four plus years.

Daniel: I can remember a client of mine before I left my old agency telling, I think they told me and then they went to my boss and said, if Danny brings up scope again, we don't want him to like on the calls or something. And I said, well then stop asking for things that aren't in the scope. What do you want me to do?

Monica: How do you balance that as an agency? Right? We, we would meet with our very, my very first agency at Hooters. We would meet with them and they'd be like, here are our hours. It is getting insane and they never charged us for those because they just wanted to be a good partner. And it's like, I want that logo.

Yeah. And that's not fair as a brand. And it's, and I, it's, I think I told you this and I think you thought I was crazy, but I went in, um, my last role and I vetted all of the agency partners and, um, vendors. And I did. Get rid of some, but the others that showed true value, I increased their retainers and I don't like without them asking.

And to me, that's important as well, right? You, you pay for what you get back. And if you invest in them, they invest in you. Um, and I truly believe that. 

Daniel: And what is, I need a specific negative though. You told me you've had a million, pick a, pick a good one, share 

Monica: it with the world. Specific negative. Well, I can't, you know,

I don't, 

Daniel: golly. We're not gonna name, we're not gonna 

Monica: name the agencies. Let me think. I know, but I, none of them have been like detrimental. 

Daniel: Yeah, I don't need detrimental, but I'm just curious, like, what's something that you would define as negative, and what made it negative? To your point, was it, you know, in this specific instance, was it the brand, was it the agency, somewhere in between?

We like specifics here, Monica, you know? 

Monica: Okay, so Well, I won't get into details. Hold on. We can start now. Um,

I'm trying to say it without, like, throwing anyone under the bus. Don't. Don't. Specifically. It's hard. Okay. I don't even know what you're about to say. I know. Well, um, so an example of, you know, It. I don't know. Danny, this is hard because I, I don't wanna throw any podcast. It's your first podcast and put 

Daniel: you on the spot.

What, how, 

Monica: let me come back to that. Let me come back to it just so I can like, okay. Figure out. I don't like to be negative. 

Daniel: Okay. Well give me a super positive agency experience. Do you have one of 

Monica: those? I do, I have, I have a positive agency experience. Okay. Well lay it on me. So, a positive agency experience of mine, um, it actually came because of COVID, which is kind of crazy to thank COVID, um, this podcast 

Daniel: came from COVID.

Monica: Yeah. But when we were at, um, Hooters, we were moving so fast. We had so many projects ongoing and COVID let us take a step back and look at our branding, um, our branding. audience, what are, you know, goals were and did they still align with the Hooters brand at that time? Um, and we got to completely do a brand refresh for an almost 40 year old brand.

We would have never been able to do that had we not had a chance to just pause. And we worked with the agency that we had been with for, I want to say almost five years at the time. And at that point, there was so much trust, there was so much understanding of the brand, and we had so much fun, and it was, um, it was truly my favorite project that I worked on while I was there.

Going back and forth on, um, messaging, fonts, new colors, new photography styles. For a 40 year old brand, it was quite the project, but they're still using that branding today. Um, the strategy might have shifted a little bit, but it, it really did completely revamp that brand and help them speak to that next generation of customers that they were wanting.

Because if you think of that brand, sometimes you think just a certain demographic goes there and they were more nostalgic, more retro, cooler than you might think. And we weren't leaning into that, so we, um, leaned in and worked with that agency. And It was, there was so much trust and so much understanding and so much creativity that had happened over those four years that it just became easy.

And then we did things like shoot every item on the menu in a way. Yeah, it was a, it was a doozy in a way that, and I was pregnant, so I was virtual while they were doing it, having to approve all of the shots during COVID. Yeah, it, it worked. They still use them today. We shot them in a way that we could use them in every piece of advertising that we did.

Um, they've never done that before. It was like, Hey, we need to shoot this LTO. We need to shoot this one new product, right? But we, we took a step back and we just started from scratch. And it really was, I think that the, you know, it turned out well and they still use everything that we did. 

Daniel: I'm curious, was the positive experience more about the actual experience, and it was seamless, or was it about the work, like the process was madness and crazy, but you arrived at something great?

I generally, the reason I ask, like when I get crazy positive feedback about agencies in general, but largely my own agency partners, it's. It's rarely about the work, like if I ask, it's like, yeah, the work was good, but it's like, oh, they were so kind, or like, they made the process easy, like, they made my life easier during this stressful, crazy thing.

It's rare that I find CMOs lead with the work, like it comes, and of course you can't do bad work, but it's rare that the first words out of their mouths are like, oh, the, the thing that we did turned out incredible. 

Monica: It truly was the case here. So it was seamless when we worked together. Like they made it easy.

I think it was COVID. We're all working from home. Um, they made it easy. They, the timeline was shorter than we had planned. And really that was the four years that we had built a relationship like their account manager at the time. I mean, she's, you know, far up in the company now, but she thought like me, she had been with me for so long.

that she knew exactly what I was looking for and it had been building that. I don't think you're going to get that with a new agency right off the bat, right? So the process was seamless. The process was great in our, their creative director was fantastic as well. Um, And he just, he just got it right. We knew what the brand needed at that time, but then the work was also amazing too.

I presented what came out of it at our, uh, franchise meeting and I got us, we got a standing ovation and that has never happened with franchisees in the restaurant industry. In my nine years that I was there, but we, they felt, you know, we were listening to them and with a brand like that, that's so well known.

Um, there's so many different opinions on how to market it correctly, and they felt we finally listened to them. We were bringing back the true essence of the brand, and we did that work with an agency, and they, they did, they, they led the way, and it was truly a great experience. Kind, I mean, we, at that point, you've, you've built five years of, of relationship where you can just be very honest with each other and not, and cut the BS, you know what I mean?

So, but it was fun. It really was fun and the work was great too. 

Daniel: That's awesome. Uh, have you thought of your agency trauma yet? I want a specific story before we 

Monica: get to the last final. So, went through a brand refresh recently as well. That is what I, I love the brand side of marketing and truly where I, I, you know, I went from social, And running social hooters to digital, then I went to the brand side.

And so in a recent role, uh, we were doing a brand refresh, pretty similar. You know, we need to hone in on the messaging. And we hired an agency that came, recommended, and they were wonderful. Um, and they just got beat up on. Um. publicly even at times, uh, in interviews and they just didn't deserve that. And I think we had 30 iterations of that document.

And it was a fault of ours, I believe. And, and, you know, we never, I don't think we ever got to a final product. And I think we Had unrealistic expectations or we didn't know who we were yet to fully give that project to a agency. And maybe it was a little bit too of they were new. Um, they were trying to get into a new industry as well.

Um, they were wonderful to work with. It just never resulted in a great product. The work, I guess, like you would say. No, 

Daniel: that's, that's interesting. I don't often, this is episode, I don't know, 38 or something like that, that's a unique story in that it sounds, unless you're just trying to be super ridiculously nice, um, that the agency didn't really do anything wrong.

It was more an unfortunate situation. And like, if some, if somebody asked you about them or recommendation, it sounds like you wouldn't, I would, 

Monica: I would recommend them. Yeah. I've connected, um, someone that worked there has passed coconut water experience and I've been talking to them. So, no, I would absolutely recommend them.

They just weren't the right agency for the job. 

Daniel: Ah, you're making a commercial for me without me even asking, Monica. That's the whole shtick. Finding an agency is easy. Finding the right agency is really, really, really hard. Uh, there are so many agencies, and it has Some to do with experience, but also just like, again, I hated it at the very beginning of my business when people would be like, Oh, the vibe.

And then I'm like, it's like 98 percent vibe. Yeah. 2 percent like, I think at this stage people trust, like I'm not going to send an agency that is Not wildly capable, but it doesn't matter if you don't, if you don't vibe together 

Monica: as they say. Have you truly met agencies that were just not capable at all, though?

Daniel: I have, yes. You have a lot because, uh, well, it depends on capable in what realm. Yeah. There are a lot of agencies that I chat with because again, like I think they try to be very like braggadocious or like chest pounding, but if I dive in it, they'll tell me they do something and when I dive in it's like, oh, like, well, we have like a guy.

And I'm like, Oh, like, so do you actually like do that thing? Well, like sometimes, but it's not really like a core of what they do. So I feel like agencies, I hate to say lie, but, uh, bend the truth of what they do, but yeah, I think they oversell, which makes it when they win stuff that they can't do. Yeah.

They're just not great at that thing. Right. I think generally agencies are good 

Monica: at a couple of things in the long run. I think. Stay true to those couple, when you get on an agency's website and they're like, we do PR, we do media planning and buying, we do brand, we do everything under the sun, like, do you truly want an agency that does it all or do you want a few agencies that do a few things really well?

Yeah, it's why 

Daniel: I take painstaking amount of time to talk to agencies, but also the brands to make sure that like, I really get what the, and again, there's certain things that are important. Some brands, you know, again, I think have unrealistic, realistic expectations where they want an agency that check, you know, five, just like absurd boxes.

Right. And I'm on, I'm like, yeah, I don't, I don't have anybody who checks every single one, but like, I'm pretty good at what I do. Yep, and I get it, like there's peace of mind if you're a coconut water brand and somebody says they have coconut experience, but it also guarantees nothing, doesn't guarantee any sort of success or anything in that realm.

So I think it's more keeping an open mind to a few of the right 

Monica: agencies. And that's happening internally too. Like the job descriptions that I have put together recently, it's like you're never going to find this person. Unless they work 

Daniel: at a competitor, like that's a lot of the 

Monica: conversations I have with people.

But even the asks of their job description are insane. It's like, if a person can do all of this, this is really three people. But that's where, you know, on the brand side with, you know, the state of the economy and with layoffs and You're asking too much of each person. And you need to narrow your focuses.

I agree. 

Daniel: That was enough trauma, Monica. You did great. I know. I The rest is, the rest is positive. I think. 

Monica: I should be more, what, savage? I'm not, I'm not I'm not looking 

Daniel: for savage, truthfully. It's more around, I mean, again, like the thing that most of the stories lend themselves to is it, it is all, the one I, I had my first podcast of the year yesterday.

I talked to Casey Jenkins, who is the SVP of marketing at Sendoso, which is a B2B gifting platform. Her negative experience was about, kind of what I said, an agency oversold on a really big website migration. And it was less about the work. They could have, they could have potentially fixed it, right? Or just owned it.

And they didn't really own it. It was more like, uh, I can't remember exactly what she said, but it was like, yeah, they, they like doubled down on, oh, well like now we'll get a different person to do this thing that like we already shouldn't have done, probably. The silver lining of that was she found a wonderful agency that got her out of a horrific situation.

The bad was that when she tried getting the old agency on the phone, they didn't answer for like five hours on the day of a website launch, you know, so like, stuff like that, it's 

Monica: I've never had an experience like that. Right, 

Daniel: so again, it's large, like, there are certain simple things that I look for in an agency, like, pick up your phone on the day of a website launch.

Yeah, yeah. You know, or help people through the shit when it happens, undoubtedly. Listen, I 

Monica: have fired off some, some crazy emails, I will say. I don't know if you've ever sent me a crazy email. No, but like when the expectations or you feel like you've communicated clearly and it just wasn't received well on the other side.

Yeah. But I've always called and apologized. Tough but fair. Tough but fair. Tough but fair. That's what everyone should be. I'm sure my old agency if they listen to this will know exactly what I'm talking about. Um, but. You have, you have to work together and, but an agency that's selling them, you know, themselves on things that they just can't accomplish is wild to me because you're going to have a bad reputation after that.

And like I said, referrals matter. It's a part, 

Daniel: I, I would argue there's a, some fault or some blame on the brands. I've been in situations where a brand has said in my old agency, like you did this super well, can you do that? And we'd be like, no. And they'd keep asking. Again, could we have said no 20 times?

Yeah, of course. Eventually you're like, ah, maybe we'll figure it out for a little 

Monica: bit of money, you know? Well, and I take, you know, responsibility on that project I was talking to you about because I took a risk on them. It was a referral, again, an agency I had never worked with, but I probably could have vetted them a little bit more to know that they really thrived in the restaurant industry and not CPG.

Yeah, I think they wanted to, right? But they weren't there yet. And I, that's, you know, that's on me as well. Totally 

Daniel: fair. What are you most excited about in the marketing space at the moment? 

Monica: Oh, I laughed at this. Um, cause a I you had on there, I don't know. Uh, and I've had to come in at 100 coconuts and say, like, 

Daniel: we cannot, Monica, you're not supposed to tell the audience that I send you.

Okay, let's start. No, this is great. This is raw and authentic. 

Monica: Well, I laughed at the one example because I had, I came in and we were using some a I Uh, you know, created graphics and all this. I'm like, we are a brand that, you know, our, our mission, our values all align with authenticity. Like, we have to be authentic in everything that we do.

And, um, so we scratched all AI from our social strategy, which probably makes my social media manager's life a little bit harder, but You're 

Daniel: cutting down coconuts now? 

Monica: Yeah, right? Yeah. I mean I want to go to Vietnam and see where the, the, the coconut water is. 

Daniel: I'd love to go 

Monica: Vietnam as well. Yeah, but so what I'm excited about right now and, um, in this role and in an emerging brand.

So I've been, right, 40 year old brand, um, to now we're five years old and we're really growing now. Last year they saw a tremendous amount of growth as well, but we're opening up doors. Um, a lot of exciting announcements coming out about the retail expansions that we have. But we have to get back to basics in understanding who our customer is.

Um, in person experiences, local marketing, like we aren't everywhere. We don't need to be a brand. And I think they're doing a tremendous job, but like Poppy, who is everywhere, has national distribution and they can invest. So there are a lot of ways that we can invest more marketing dollars into these fun and exciting, you know, pop ups and, um, PR kits and everything like that.

We have to get back to basics. I mentioned to you, you know, we're refreshing our website, um, making sure that that customer experience is solid. And then how does that really play into everything else that we're doing? Um, personalization I think is big for us, right for an emerging brand like ours. Um, and then it's fun to when you're at a brand Like 100 coconuts.

But we can we can, uh, speed up innovation. We don't have as many, you know, approval processes, which is exciting. And so I see innovation for a brand like ours as a huge opportunity as well. Um, but my whole thing is get back to basics. We don't have to be someone that we're not in 2024. We need to you.

Target around our retailers, target our customers, and make sure that they're thinking about 100 coconuts when they walk into a Publix. 

Daniel: I love it. Yeah. What keeps you up at night? 

Monica: I know, I, the layoffs that are happening. I thought you were going to say this podcast. No, no, but my husband and I were laughing about it last night because, we'll get to that, but my, uh, Not to give away your questions, but one of the questions later, he was like, you're disgusting because of what I wanted my answer to be.

I think I know which question you're talking about. Um, no, but the layoffs happening. There's so many good people out there that are stuck in roles that they don't want to be in, but they're afraid to put themselves out there because of these layoffs happening. Um, I'm fortunate enough to be at a place where our revenue is, we're growing every month.

year over year. That's not the case for every company and these layoffs are scary. And I also wonder like, what are all of these people doing? If it's been three years and you haven't been able to find a job, that is really scary. And, um, I don't want that for my friends and my family. It's hit my family a lot recently too, and it's no fault of their own.

Right. Um, but yeah, that's what keeps me up and my baby. That's fair. Also keeps me up at night. That's fair. Fig literally keeps you up. Literally keeps me up at night. No, he's a great 

Daniel: sleeper. That's good. Um, we'll finish with some fun ones. What was your very first job? 

Monica: So this one was tough 'cause I didn't have a job 'cause soccer was my job.

And I moved up to New York, um, in a U-Haul with my best friend and lived in a room with two other girls and I got paid $25 a day to do Broadway marketing. My follow up city, but my real first job that was like, I had to do something right. My real first job was 25 a day a day. Okay, because that was when you could do that's 

Daniel: got to be a child labor law or something.

Monica: I wasn't a child, but kind of a child. We're still children. We are. Um, but that was when free internships were all the rage. Like you just Every, every new job or first job, you didn't get paid. And you're, I was living in New York, like it was nuts. Um, but I got hired. I got my first paid internship, which turned into my first full time role at a wonderful agency.

Um, it was a PR agency and I did PR for ad tech companies. I had no idea what I was writing in those press releases, but it was a great first job. They were 

Daniel: probably like, we're putting our best writer on this account. 

Monica: I had no idea what I was doing. And you know, it's funny, I, that was my major in college, but I, I went into that job and they'd be like, create a media list.

I'm like, I have no idea what that is. Not good for Auburn University. 

Daniel: That's fair. Shout out Auburn. What would your final meal be? And I'm guessing it's disgusting. 

Monica: Well, so It can't be the answer 

Daniel: to the last question. That 

Monica: would be weird if you said you were disgusting to that. You're right. This was, this was Is this 

Daniel: going to be the stupid Doritos from 

Monica: Auburn?

No, Mama G's? No. 

Daniel: Also, to be clear, I'm a fan of Mama G's is the best. 

Monica: I think the Doritos in Auburn is the best. No hate to the PR department at Auburn. 

Daniel: Yeah, no hate to anybody. I just thought I thought you're gonna say the Doritos nachos. I think they're overrated. The first time I tried, I was like, this is what all the hype's about.

Monica: But I mean, you can make them yourself. You know, 100 percent but it's about the experience, right? 

Daniel: Yeah, we're all about experience. What would your final 

Monica: meal be? So my husband was like, it would be Chipotle or this meal arose Mexicana from ceviche. Which is in Roswell, which is basically just queso on rice with some protein.

And he's like, you're disgusting if you choose that. That's just boring. I feel 

Daniel: like it's boring. Monica, you have one meal left and that's the 

Monica: meal? I, that's what he said I would choose, but I would choose because it's nostalgic for me and my favorite. Um, I was born in Dayton, Ohio and there's this place, Marion's, there and their pizza is just the best.

It's small little squares with like as much sausage as you can put on it. Um, if anyone's in Dayton, they need to try it, but that would be my last meal. I 

Daniel: hope Marion's wants to sponsor this podcast now. I 

Monica: don't know if they have the budgets, if I'm being honest. That's fair. It's 

Daniel: also adorable. It's also adorable that you think this requires a lot of money to sponsor this.

I'll, I'll cut that part. My final question. Who is somebody who inspires you personally, professionally, or both? 

Monica: Has so professionally, um, The CEO of Bobby. I don't know if you've heard of that brand. Yeah, B O 

Daniel: B B I E, 

Monica: right? You nailed it. What do they do? I, yeah, I was just looking at something. Okay. So, I met her and I followed her for a while before I was able to meet her.

But her name's Laura Mody. And she created a product and is so true to her brand in everything that they do. Um, it's unbelievable. And she is She's an amazing human and also just an inspiration from a professional standpoint. And she impacted my life tremendously by creating a new baby formula that's organic and has healthy ingredients.

And um, she, it's FDA approved, which is unheard of. Um, so it, it, I was unable to nurse and that product saved me and um, Then just seeing what they do from a marketing perspective. It's tremendous. So she would be professional. And then I would say both, and this is cheesy, but is my mom, my mom, literally when I first started out, she was writing my press releases.

We got into a huge fight at one point because I got a job interview and didn't tell her when I moved to New York because she was helping me so much, but she's my biggest fan. She always has been. And I lost my dad during COVID and she has just been the most wonderful support. Professionally and personally, um, and I mean, she cares so much about how I'm, how I'm doing and she was, she worked, she was a teacher, but, um, was mostly a stay at home mom and seeing me as full time job with two kiddos, um, she's always there when I need her, no matter what, so.

That's awesome. Yeah. Let's get her on 

Daniel: the podcast next. 

Monica: Ah, she's funny. She'd give you a hard time, probably, like I do. Okay, 

Daniel: that's fair. I expect nothing less. But, uh, no, this was great. You survived your first podcast. That's it. That's it. Yeah, I was gonna, I mean, we're still recording. There's like one thing left.

I was gonna say, uh, if anybody wants to learn more about you, I'd say go to LinkedIn. But if they want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the best damn coconut water out there, they should go to 100 coconuts dot com. Correct, 

Monica: correct. We're in the middle of a website refresh though. So maybe come back at the end of March.

No, it's great. You can order the product there. 

Daniel: That's right. Please don't spend any. You're the first person. Please 

Monica: don't buy anything. No, go to Amazon. Go to Amazon. We're on Amazon. We're in Publix, Winn Dixie, um, GoPuff. Let's go. We'll just do the whole list. 

Daniel: Go into a Publix. Live your truth. Get out in the universe.

That's what 

Monica: I did this morning to get this beautiful Canned. Canned. It's 

Daniel: what I love to say. I'm gonna go buy some after this, but thank you very much for joining us and we will talk to you soon. All right. Thanks.