Tuesday, July 9, 2024
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HomeNewsBrandingRichard Henne, of Ivory Ella, on launching a social impact brand to...

Richard Henne, of Ivory Ella, on launching a social impact brand to save the elephants, running a startup, and developing computer games

Richard Henne is Co-Founder of Ivory Ella, a successful elephant-themed lifestyle apparel brand that’s raised over $2 million for charity. 50 percent of Ivory Ella’s profits are donated to Save The Elephants and other good causes.

Beyond his involvement with Ivory Ella, Richard serves as Marketing Lead at game developer RoboSquad, whose game, RoboSquad Revolution, is a “hyper-active third-person shooter set in the year 2044” available for download at the RoboSquad website and through the Steam and Epic Games distribution networks.

I wanted to catch up with Richard to talk about what led him to launch his brand, how it’s doing now, and what he plans for it next. I also wanted to pick his brains on topics related to startups, brand-building, running an authentic non-profit organization, and his observations of recent developments in the computer game industry. We cover many topics in our talk, including:

  • Ivory Ella’s origin story, including an account of how it arrived at its partnership with Save The Elephants.
  • The importance of having local “boots on the ground” in causes related to animal protection, understanding the local context, and supporting community-led initiatives to achieve meaningful impact, rather than solely focusing on direct conservation efforts.
  • How the decision to make funds that were raised unrestricted was helpful in Ivory Ella’s efforts.
  • The importance of understanding marketing fundamentals.
  • For startups, the importance of building a strong team and having a good reputation in the industry.
  • For game developers, the pros and cons of available game distribution platforms.
  • The various monetization methods available in gaming, including virtual goods, advertising, sponsorships, and subscription models, and how making decisions about choosing which method to use can be weighty for the product team.
  • The importance of building a game that is enjoyable and rewarding for players, rather than focusing solely on monetization practices.
  • Why game designers need to balance rewarding participation with incentivizing desired behavior to create a sustainable, enjoyable experience.
  • The importance of making social impact native to a brand, rather than just attempting to add it on later.
  • Why brands need to create authentic communities through shared values and experiences, rather than relying exclusively on macro influencers or high-budget media campaigns.


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