Kamal Bhandal, VP of the Invisalign Brand and Consumer Experience at Align Technology, and Jami Eidsvold, CEO of Smarty Social Media, discuss how their collaboration has helped the brand become the product the whole internet is smiling about. Hosted by Steve Madden, editorial director of Haymarket Media’s Business Media Group.

Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Recorded live at South by Southwest in Austin Texas it’s the MM+M Podcast.

I’m a big believer that brands need to be a part of culture when you have a relationship with a client that trusts you and believes in also empowering women and entrepreneurs and building up confidence that gives you a gift to be bolder and suggested really exciting new things brands. Who are a part of Culture in my opinion are always the brands who win and we try to go where our audiences. Hi everyone and welcome you’re listening to the MM+M Podcast. I’m Steve Madden editorial director of Haymarket Media’s business media group and I’m in Austin Texas at the South by Southwest festival, I’m sitting outside the female quotient equality lounge and we’re going to talk today about social media Invisalign and my guests are Kamal Bhandal VP of Invisalign Brand and consumer experience at a line technology and Jami Eidsvold founder and CEO Smarty Social Media.

Works with Invisalign to produce all this great social media content for those of you who don’t know Invisalign is something that I wish existed 40 years ago when I had braces and very painful experience physically painful emotionally painful because of how awkward it was and visit a line is a way to straighten teeth without putting metal all over your teeth and it’s sort of revolutionized the way people get nicer smiles which is part of the reason we’re sitting outside the quality line to the Invisalign Brand and give female quotient is doing a great job of bringing this activation to life with headshots and just all kinds of networking and support for women working in media and marketing who are here at South by so with that introduction. I’d like to welcome my guest Kamal Bhandal and Jami Eidsvold. Thanks Steve hi Steve thanks so much for having us today glad you guys are here. We should have been recording for the last.

Half hour because with then talking story and it’s it’s pretty great and that’s to me like that’s one of the the cool things about South by is the people that you run into and the conversations that you have that you certainly weren’t thinking you’re gonna have when you woke up that morning and stuff the value of it. I think but one of the other values of coming to South by southwest. This is it’s there’s a lot of marketers here and a lot of marketing activity going on and come on. I’m just wondering what brings invisalign to to southbound stopped by is such a critical part of Culture both for marketers, but also for people when you really take a look at who’s here at South by you’ve got business executives. You’ve got men and women both across different types of industries really coming together to learn and be a part of what’s unfolding in culture and for the invisalign brand. It’s important for us to.

Be a part of that culture and when we think about growing the invisalign brands, who are a part of Culture in my opinion are always the brands who win and we try to go where our audiences so as we think about smiles and being the brand behind everybody smile our audience is here and we want to be a part of conversations and earn their right to be a part of people’s conversations as they’re they’re talking about business. They’re talking about technology. They’re talking about music at the end of the day the invisalign brand cuts across all of those Industries and having a confidence smile is everything when you are in front of audiences and really having the conversations about business culture and music so in case anybody doesn’t know could you explain a little bit about what invisalign actually is sure in this line is the modern way to straighten your teeth.

It’s a system that utilizes a series of Clara liners made from proprietary smart track technology to deliver more predictable outcomes then other clear liners on the marketplace and also deliver a better experience than the drama that comes from having braces to straighten your teeth, so a lot of people think about the invisalign brand as a brand for adults, but what you’re listeners. May not know is invisalign is a brand that can also be used for straightening teeth in teens instead of braces and then also with kids as well in the early years of orthodontic treatment and most recently we have also launched a new product called the invisalign palatal expander. That is used in children to expand their palettes, so it’s

Not just a brand now for a straightening teeth, but also a brand for expanding palettes in young children okay, and I think the reason why the imbezzine brand has been able to be a pioneer in social media marketing as a Healthcare Brand and a medical device brand is because of the wide range of opportunities and people that they can treat so when we first launched the teen Brand and product. What became so important was that you had to use influential mom voices and at that time 10 11 years ago. We were working with Mom bloggers. We were doing influencer events and Twitter parties and really trying to reach the mom audience to educate them that there was a better way and that invisalign was for teens and that just really opened the door to social media as a whole working with a very earliest stage of social media influencers and it was unheard of at the time. We figured out a way to.

Cliently bringing those voices in a very safe way and be able to also engage with consumers on social media in a compliant way as well to so we were able to get that influence of the platforms and working with influencers being on social media is not just putting everything out there. It’s also listening and monitoring and actually you know taking those conversations and using them as data to serve back to the brand but also protecting the Brand and protecting patients and our doctors. That’s the beauty of it right. It’s a two-way street. Yes, it’s both your your way to tell a story but also a way to gather a lot of intelligence while people are telling their story about your product. Yeah. I think it’s also important for your listeners to understand that invisalign is not a DTC company. We are a healthcare company. We are a product. That is only available in orthodontist or a dentist practice and you have to go.

Two in orthodontist or a dentist to be evaluated for what the right treatment option is for you and so for us. It’s really A Tale of Two Worlds where we are raising awareness with consumers about the fact that invisalign treatment is available. It is out in the marketplace and then also working hand in hand with providers orthodontist and dentists so that they are able to learn how to utilize invisalign technology as a part of their treatment planning one of the other great things about an invisalign is how how well you work on social media, so let’s talk a little bit about the fact that you are at the Super Bowl what the last three years yeah for the last three years. We’ve been activating at the Super Bowl so we are a NFL League sponsor and our partnership with the NFL goes deeper.

Than just a basic sponsorship, so it’s not just a logo on different assets, but rather it’s a very authentic partnership with the league. We have more than 400 NFL players who are using invisalign to transform their smiles and at the Super Bowl what was so fun this year, is is we activated with many of those players during the Super Bowl fan experience where fans were able to come and meet some of their favorite players at our activation players who use invisalign here their stories like Max Crosby like Darren Waller like Kim Jordan and many of the others and one of the things that we’re most proud of this year is as we activated by expanding beyond the athletes and really elevated women in sports. We had a collaboration with fashion designer, Kristen youth check who?

It was the is the fashion designer for Taylor Swift’s famous jacket and many other athletes and celebrities as well Kristen also uses invisalign to transform her smile so a real authentic collaboration she designed a puffer vest customized for invisalign that we gave away during the Super Bowl to her fans and her audience so it was a really authentic way for us to collab with her since she’s had invisalign to transform her smile and then we went beyond that and also continued to elevate women in sports by collabing with overtime Meg from overtime if anybody doesn’t know over time here. They are what I like to call the ESPN of high school sports Meg also has used invisalign to transform her.

And she co-hosted on the red carpet during NFL honors in our activation with Legend Mark Ingram and it was just a great way for us to pass the mic to women in sports and in particular gen Z women and give them the stage that the NFL provides to elevate their voices and in addition to Meg we also collabed with an aspiring journalist her name is Shea 13 years old and she don’t do a kid.

She did a video submission to us talking to us about how much she would love to switch to invisalign from braces and we left her story brought her on to the NFL stage and she did such a great job in terms of holding her own being confident with her smile confident in her storytelling and so all of these different points pulled together really made for a great activation for us and what was exciting is is not only was that activation experience by people who were at the event itself, but more importantly we had the opportunity to amplify it across social media across tiktok Instagram and so much more for others to experience when you work with the NFL are you working directly with the league in or did you get down into the like? Are you able to work with individual teams? It’s a great question so we have a entirely vertical integration so we work directly with.

League of course to set the strategy create the overall plan and then we work one layer down from there with individual teams that we collab with and so we’ll create activations and various markets working with those teams and then one layer down from there. We also then work directly with players so that we’re able to get their stories out into the marketplace as well so for us. It’s a real deep partnership because and and that’s so important for us because we want to make sure there’s authenticity to any sort of sponsorship that we do when I think what’s really great about working this way and then eventually culminating at the Super Bowl is there is a threat in a richer story that you’re telling beyond just being at the Super Bowl and a sponsor of the Super Bowl right you’ve got you’ve got players going through treatment. You’re telling their stories on social media throughout the year you’ve got put teams kind of doing different promotions.

And campaigns with you, so there’s a reason why you’re at the Super Bowl because you’ve been working with the league for so long and then when you actually get there to activate you’re able to kind of tell all these different threads of stories on social that connect even if you’re not a football fan and you don’t like connect with the players the sponsor the Dallas cheerleaders a lot of the cheerleaders are in and treatment the journalists that you know all of the different kinds of threads that we can pull in that’s what makes the storytelling on social become really interesting and it’s also it’s really smart because you know you’ve got the you’ve got people who follow the league people who follow an individual team people who follow a player on that team and then you’ve got the influencers. You know whether they be the Beat reporters for the team or just like a super fan right and for this one for the invisalign brand. It’s such an amazing part of Culture that brings our brand to life because we are a brand for adults who?

Are looking to transform their smiles and we are in a brand that’s also for teams and so when we were at the Super Bowl and I just talked about some of the adults we activated with whether it’s Kristen or the athletes.

But we also were able to connect in with the teens like Meg and Shay to really bring the entire brand experience to life all in one moment are there festivals that you go to that are sort of more teen-specific. You know Super Bowl tends to be a lot of corporate adults, but are there places like vidcon or something like that that you go to you. We have activated at vidcon for many years and the reason why we do it is for all the reasons. We just talked about it’s a great way for us to integrate ourselves into the culture that our audience is participating in and to be a part of that conversation so vidcon’s been one of the spots. We’ve had other music festivals due tour we did a lot of action sports the U.S Open of surfing and that’s actually how we started working together was we were launching the team brand you know and it was so important because braces is sort of the right of passage that a lot of teens and moms think that they don’t have another choice so our job was to

Enough awareness that there’s a clear alternative and so we knew that we had to get out to events where we were talking to teens that could then go to their parents and say I really want this but also connect because a lot of times their parents are coming with them to the events so we created a ton of different opportunities to connect on the ground and then added a layer of bringing the creators and the influencers into it and boy. We’ve done like the due tour the US Open of surfing events competitions. Yes, and that’s kind of how we’ve been able to build the Brand on the on the bones of activating across like social media to amplify that one of the great things to build on on your point there Jamie about the in this line brand. Is is the storytelling really comes to life through the mouths of people who are experiencing the invisalign brand for the first time right so during all these events that you just talked about.

You’d have teens talking about the benefits of invisalign without all the drama that comes along with braces and so for us it became just a natural way to not only activate but also have content be a big part of the way in which we then tell that story in social. I think that’s kind of the key in how a brand that is using you know medical technology to change lives how you can become relevant and all of the things the threads that you pull forward on social media you have to use authentic content you have to use content that isn’t just you as the brand as a medical device brand you know kind of talking on social media you use the voices of the patients that are getting to benefit from the experience in the technology and the treatments so and that way you get to sell the benefit rather than the process exactly.

That’s exactly right and I’m a big Believer that brands need to be a part of culture and also that as friend leaders. We’ve got to stop talking at people and participating or earning the right to be a part of those conversations and having patients tell their stories authentically about how the invisalign brand has changed their smile transform their smile change their lives there couldn’t be a better way for us to get the story out there than to hear it straight from the mouths of of teens from parents and then also adults who are choosing to transform their smiles and design themselves and I think the unique opportunity we have is because you’re going through treatment. It’s a long period of time right like you know you get to follow along with some of the partners. We’re creating content with from the beginning through the middle to the end. You know final transformation for example. Why we’re here at South by is we work with Ryan

Who started his journey? You know a few few months ago and he’s actually doing a keynote here at South by and we’re connecting with him in this stage of his journey creating content with him following him to his keynote and really capturing how in Disneyland fits into his whole life and that’s a really exciting thing is to build these long term kind of relationships with the creators versus one post we work with them over a long course of time and build relationships. Just tactically what do you plan to do with like? How are you going to go about that today? So all built on on Ryan for a second so Ryan is a technology expert it covers technology of all kinds and so when it came to transforming his smile. He wanted to choose invisalign because of the technology. That’s behind the brand so here at South by he is moderating a keynote on Monday afternoon with the CEO

AMD and he’s going to be talking about technology and before he gets on stage. He’s really going to be talking about how he prepares to get on stage and to build his own confidence and a smile and his smile with invisalign is a key part of that so we’ll capture some content with him and then in addition to Ryan we’ve got a few other creators. Who are here as well. Such as Olympic athlete, Ally Wagner who is also doing a panel on Sunday afternoon Allie is a Olympic medalist and one of the co-founders of bay of c and she is.

Chosen she has chosen invisalign to transform her smile, so she’s going to be talking about confidence which is the backbone of her personal Brand and invisalign fits right into that so one of the things. I think invisalign does really well is sort of sell it sells the benefit rather than the process something that we were touching on earlier and the benefit is a great smile right and nothing inspires more confidence than having a great smile and receiving one right. It’s just it’s kind of the gift that gives on both sides to both sides of the aisle. It’s interesting that you’ve chosen to partner with who you have at South by can you talk a little bit about the female quotient because we’re sitting outside. Obviously we’re sitting outside their activation here and it’s it’s fairly amazing. What’s happening in there about about confidence in particular well.

friends has been the backbone of the invisalign Brand from day one and for us collabing with the female quotient was a real natural collaboration because confidence is also a cornerstone of what Shelly and Talia and everybody at the female quotient really has built and is having conversations around today, so you’ve got women and also men as allies who are here at the Equality lounge and every single conversation whether it’s on a panel whether it’s

at the breakfast bar or in the lounge is about how you should have confidence and how to build confidence in the tools to get there so for us. It was a natural place to activate and we are sponsoring headshots for women who can come in and get their headshot for free so that they can feel more confident in how they are presenting themselves to the audiences that they’re looking to connect with and build their personal brands and the process so for us. It’s a real natural collaboration. There’s nothing better than a confidence smile to be the backbone of your personal brand.

So come on Jamie before we started this recording when we’re doing the sound check we talked a little bit about the fact that you I’ve worked together for 11 years first of all you know the fact that an agency in a client have had a relationships. That’s lasted that long is certainly heartening right. It’s not all that unusual but the benefits that you both have derived from this relationship our I think a little bit unusual because what you were telling me is that it’s both the relationship is benefitted both of you personally and professionally can you talk a little bit about that?

Yeah, I mean you know when you have a relationship with a client that first of all trust you and believes in also empowering women and entrepreneurs and and building up confidence that gives you a gift to you know be bolder and suggest really exciting new things and I think that’s the kind of relationship. We’ve had from day one and has allowed us to dream up all kinds of really amazing things because there’s trust and along with that comes kind of growing up in our careers together as well, so I very much like value that relationship more than anything and we’re able to do really great work because of that when it comes to a client agency relationship. I’m a big Believer that the client agency relationship should not be a client agency relationship rather. It should really be a partnership and so from our perspective. What’s been nice is Jamie was actually.

Design brand even before I was and that’s been 11 years. It’s been 11 years this summer and working with the Bramford 14 years yeah, but when I met Jamie what was so great when I came in was I said Here’s somebody who knows about this business is entrenched in the business understands and treats it like it is her own business and that for me spoke volumes and so as we bring on new team members onto smarty’s social it’s important for me that they know and understand our brand to the same level that anybody in houses and so through the 11 years. We’ve really built this business together built the brand together and Jamie’s been there to not only help.

On the consumer side of the business but also really understand the doctor side of the business and for a healthcare company and for a health care brand you know our business as a business of and we are not a DTC company. We are a brand that is available only through a doctor’s office and so to have a partner who understands not only the very careful considerations. We have to have when we are marketing the brand to patients but also have the ability to sit down with doctors to understand their business understand what considerations they need to think about has been tremendous so for for us on the brand side of the house. It’s been so tremendous to have Jimmy and her team be able to flex across consumer and professional which has

Truly made the work that much stronger and I think you know the key in that is the providers are part of the story as well because they’re part of the treatment and so when we’re pulling everything together and how the brand comes to life on social getting the doctor voices are very important the credibility that is given to the Truman because it’s it’s done through a professional dental professional you know so we work and go into their offices and their practices and then we also empower them to share you know how in this line has transformed their practice as well because they’re able to give better advocacy and quality of care to their to their patients and better options yeah, and I think that that’s such a critical part of the story for marketers and for leaders right. Is is to really think about building your brand through and with the providers who are utilizing your brand as a part of their treatment plans.

so for the invisalign brand when I think about the brand itself our brand would be nothing without the orthodontist and the dentist who are using the invisalign system as a part of their treatment planning and and

When we go out and tell those stories on social so often we’re telling the story of how the invisalign system has has changed the lives of orthodontists has changed the lives of dentists who are using this technology to treat their patients and that’s a forgotten part on so many occasions for marketers is to tell the health care professional side of the story as well Jamie is there a secret sauce to to using social media to reach hcps with it with hcp audience definitely there’s a secret sauce to it. All right. There’s definitely a secret sauce to understanding what can and can be said how to work with influencers and KL l doctors and all of that to tell that story but I think that when we’re trying to reach and connect with the hcp audience a product like invisalign can also bolster their marketing and

Them reach their potential patients and use it as a marketing tool so our job is to give them an arm them with the opportunity to really market the fact that they’re using top of the line technology to grow their practice so part of that story becomes. You know really leveraging the doctor voices to talk about how they are using the treatment in their practices. How their transforming the lives of their patients how the patient experience is better and if we’re able to do that and use real doctors kind of talking about that. That’s gives credibility to the consumer, but also to other providers as a marketing tool. So we’ve worked over the years to create toolkits for doctors. We’ve been able to give them training on how to Leverage their social media platforms and how to how can they connect with patients and I think those are the best ways to reach the hcp audience is to partner with them as well in marketing the product and being able to.

Communicate the benefits step one one additional point. I’ll make in terms of the secret sauce is I think understanding that patients are turning to social to do their research to get their questions answered to hear from other patients about what their experience with the treatment is whatever the treatment is that they are considering is essential and I think that’s where it starts and when what we find is when orthodontist and dentists are beginning to understand that their patients are turning to social that’s where we really see the openness from a content standpoint to partner with them to create that content to help achieve that secret sauce of effectiveness great. That’s a great point. Yeah.

Well, this has been a great talk first of all it’s it’s encouraging and heartening to see two people who clearly like working together as much as you do and who have benefited greatly from each other’s experience and I really appreciate you giving me the time. I know it’s south by everyone’s running around like crazy, but this was a great conversation. Thanks very much my guests have been Kamal bondal from align technology and invisalign and Jamie’s all the founder of smarty social media and one of mmms 2024 women of distinction Jamie congratulations. Thank you congratulations Jamie come all thanks very much. Thanks for having me thank you. You’ve been listening to the M M&M podcast I’m Steve Madden thanks for listening.