Invest in Up-And-Coming Talent

Plus, why you should be more "scientific" in your marketing and business development efforts.

In October 2019, I gave a keynote speech at the annual executive offsite for Robert Graham, a 9-figure luxury fashion brand.

Among other partnerships, social media influencer arrangements, and marketing “experiments” the brand is running, they’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with UFC fighter Dustin Poirier (who recently pulled an upset victory over Conor McGregor, the most popular fighter in the world).

While Dustin is now one of the most popular UFC fighters in his own right (with 2.4 million Instagram followers, acclaim from the sport’s world for his philanthropic efforts, and even his own line of Louisiana hot sauce), when he first started working with Robert Graham, Dustin Poirier was much less successful or in-demand.

He was likely a customer of Robert Graham, seeing as he wore eclectic designs and posted frequently about other companies like Fashion Nova and Onnit, but his promotions of Robert Graham were reserved for the occasional tag in his Instagram Stories before 2019.

In exchange, the company sent him clothes and tagged him on their social media channels, but only when Dustin Poirier became interim champion did Robert Graham begin sponsoring him more formally.

Admittedly, I do not know the nuances of their partnership, but I imagine Robert Graham received a discount on their sponsorships given the pre-existing relationship they enjoyed with Dustin Poirier beforehand. It doesn’t hurt that he was a fan of their work well before they did business together.

The timing could not have been more perfect, and Robert Graham has since enjoyed tremendous ROI behind their UFC star.

Dustin Poirier would soon travel to Abu Dhabi to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the unified title (Khabib was suspended when Dustin became the interim champion).

The year prior, Khabib defeated Conor McGregor in the most watched UFC match in history, becoming one of the most followed Russian celebrities in late 2018.

Fighting in Abu Dhabi and against Khabib introduced Dustin Poirier and Robert Graham to a growing international fanbase, and while Dustin ultimately lost his fight with Khabib, he enjoyed a massive boost to his following, which meant more impressions for Robert Graham as a sponsor.

Recently, Dustin Poirier enjoyed another boost to his overall following and fanfare with the surprise upset of Conor McGregor, and even without winning, Dustin enjoyed the “McGregor Effect” of additional media features, impressions, and followers that anyone enjoys when they fight against Conor or appear on the same UFC card as him.

All the while, Dustin Poirier kept posting photos wearing Robert Graham clothing, appearing at their stores for meet-and-greets with fans, and serving as a brand ambassador. In late 2020, Dustin Poirier even created his own line of headwear and clothing with the company, further solidifying their partnership.

A post shared by Dustin Poirier (@dustinpoirier)

What does this have to do with networking, marketing, or the scientific method?

1) First, invest in up-and-coming talent.

Build relationships with individuals you believe will rise to the top of their companies, industries, and communities while they are still early in their careers.

They will remember the value you provided them, your willingness to support them before they were popular, successful, or wealthy, and look to help you in return.

2) Next, double-down on marketing opportunities that work.

This is why I’m NOT spending much time on Clubhouse, TikTok, or other popular social media channels in service of growing Meeting of the Minds using tried-and-true marketing and business development activities for us.

3) Finally, become more experimental with work.

Like a scientist, you should set a hypothesis that a marketing opportunity will be successful above others.

Then, define the variables.

For Robert Graham, they dabbled in social media influencer partnerships by sending clothes and encouraging an organic relationship with Dustin Poirier before they formally sponsored him.

As the initial experiment proved successful, they doubled-down by creating a unique line of apparel with the fighter.


If you become a premium subscriber to this newsletter, you’d be able to access 21 different marketing “experiments” you can use to grow your business today.

You’d also be able to revisit trainings, templates, and more on how to identify your Ideal Client Profile, how to effectively follow-up with high-value prospects, how to build a “world class” network in record time, and more.

You can upgrade your membership below if you’ve enjoyed following us to-date.

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In summary…

Invest in top talent before they become “champions” of their respective sports, whether it’s thought leadership or entrepreneurship.

Experiment with new ways of marketing your business, but do so while doubling-down on the relationships, activities, and opportunities that are actually working.

And, find creative ways to work with others.

Perhaps UFC Dustin Poirier isn’t the first celebrity you’d sponsor as the CEO of Robert Graham, but then again…

…with an organic collaboration such as the one between Dustin and Robert Graham, both parties are receiving tremendous value with long-term benefit in mind.

Hope you enjoyed this!

Reply back with your comments, questions, and what you’d like to see covered in future emails :).

-Jared


Jared Kleinert is the founder of Meeting of the Minds (motm.co), as well as a TED speaker, 2x award-winning author, and USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial".

Meeting of the Minds curates "super-connectors" and subject matter experts as invite-only attendees to 3 day summits in places like Napa Valley, Bermuda, and elsewhere, as well as “deep dives” such as this Marketing and Biz Dev strategy & implementation workshop. Members of the MOTM network include CEOs of 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses, creators of globally-recognized brands and social movements, New York Times bestselling authors, founders of pre-IPO tech unicorns, c-suite execs from Fortune 500 companies, and others.

Jared's career began at 15 years old when he started his first company, and took off at 16 while working as the first intern, and then one of the first 10 employees, for an enterprise SaaS company called 15Five, which today has raised over $40M and has almost 2000 forward-thinking companies as monthly recurring clients.

Later, Jared would become a delegate to President Obama's 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, write multiple books including the "#1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015", and speak at TED@IBM the day before he turned 20. 

As a highly-sought after keynote speaker and consultant, Jared’s clients range from organizations like Facebook, Samsung, Bacardi, Estee Lauder, IBM, Cornell, Berkeley, AdAge, and the National Speakers Association. His insights on entrepreneurship, networking, marketing, and business development have been featured in Forbes, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, NPR, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Fox Business and more.

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