Silicon Valley ~ copywriting

Working with the Silicon Valley marketing expert who has ‘scaling Netflix’ on his resume

Barry Enderwick is a brand and marketing consultant in Silicon Valley whose background includes 11 years at Netflix. In his time there, Barry “got to experience how to figure out what the brand should be, based on consumer research”, he says, “and understanding what role you need to play in consumers’ lives.” After seeing Netflix grow into the international brand we know today and in such a “pragmatic real-world way”, Barry went on to help many other companies scale their business. In 2018/19, Natalie worked with Barry on web copy, email drip campaigns, and landing pages for Silicon Valley blockchain company, Propy.

Meet Barry: Modest. Super nice guy. Razor-sharp mind.

Working with Natalie Smithson

“If you hire Natalie you’re not just hiring a copywriter, you’re hiring more of a marketing partner — or business partner for that matter — because she’s someone that wants to really understand what’s happening behind the scenes, dig into the customer experience, and then provide the kind of copywriting from the get-go that’s already positioned to be in excellent shape, as opposed to just copywriting. You’re getting someone who’s gonna partner with you to give you a much better result.”

Barry Enderwick

Copywriting is “critical” to building a global brand

In his work, one of the biggest challenges Barry faces is that “people want brand but they’re not sure how to get it”, he says. “They’re not quite clear on what it means; they think of brand as an amorphous cloud that they can’t really wrap their arms around”.

Another problem, says Barry, is that “a lot of people think that you buy brand awareness. It’ll work for a month but because you don’t have the brand development index high enough where people can recall or be reminded and they know who you are, it’ll just evaporate after you’re done spending. So express the brand in your marketing, but make sure the marketing is returning on investment.”

“At the core of what I do is figuring out how to sharpen the messaging with regard to brand promise and the personas we’re talking to or trying to address. And of course, messaging is copywriting, right? It’s critical. Copywriting, to me, is the skeleton. It’s like the foundation, I guess. The bones of a house if you will. “

Barry Enderwick

Natalie “provides a perspective that would never have been possible given how close we were to it”

Before working with a copywriter Barry needs to know that they’re “able to match tone and voice for the company”, he says. “To make sure that they’re on board with how the brand is expressed, and that the vocabulary that they’re using is in line with the buyer personas. Otherwise, it’s not gonna work out”. And “if you don’t lay everything out in text first”, says Barry, “things that should be on the page that the consumer needs to know about can just fall away”.

Working with Natalie, “one of the things that was a pleasant surprise — because a lot of copywriters don’t dig into this”, says Barry, “was doing actual interviews with customers. Trying to really dig into and figure out personas is not something a copywriter typically does.” But without research, “it’s ego”, he says, “and you end up getting copy that’s too clever by half”.

“To me, Natalie’s research shows initiative. But second, it shows a willingness to really dive into the subject matter so that when she goes to create the copy Natalie is miles ahead of anybody that would have just said, okay, what am I writing? So I was very much impressed by that.”

Barry Enderwick

The message is “greatly improved by having Natalie weigh in”

“You know, it’s all too easy to write something and think that you’ve captured what you’re trying to capture,” says Barry, who also writes a lot of his copy himself. “Having an outside perspective, and I would say a learned outside perspective because of the research that Natalie does, was excellent because it provided a perspective that I was not gonna have otherwise. And she’s a delight to talk to and work with, so that helps as well — it was fantastic.”

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I’d like to thank Barry for taking the time to interview for this piece. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Medium, and Twitter.

Silicon Valley image: Christian Rondeau on flick (cropped)