How Jack Butcher Built A $100m+ Personal Brand
Lessons we can take to build our own mini-empires.
Gm all! Welcome to the 250 new subs since last week, we’re now nearly 14k strong 🤯
In building this community, I’ve taken a lot of lessons from the best, that’s why I’ve created a new YouTube channel, purely dedicated to deep diving into the tactics and lessons of how the best of the best build communities.
You can find this week’s newsletter in video form over there, trust me the interactive visuals really help the lessons hit home!
I’d also really really appreciate a subscribe on this channel if you’ve got any value out of my content over the years! 🙏
With that out of the way, let’s get into it!
If you haven't heard of Jack Butcher, seriously, where have you been? Internet cool kid, branding and marketing savant, and all-around product genius. Over the last few years, he has built one of the strongest Internet communities going. This feat is even more impressive when you consider he’s done this off the back of just some very clean, simple diagrams.
Jack's ability to maintain a consistent brand, balance maturity and playfulness, and thoughtfully adopt new trends means he's an incredible example of a community-led marketer.
In this article, we're going to be dissecting practical lessons we can learn from Jack, and apply to our own community-building efforts.
Getting your branding right (and sticking with it)
It's hard to overstate how important the consistency in the Visualise Value brand has been in compounding Jack’s success. Let's take a look at some of his products and the threads that tie them all together.
Here’s his Instagram account, there are 937 visuals here. They're all in basically the same style.
His merch shop has the same typography and the same colour scheme. You’ll also find the same aesthetic is his courses. Even when Jack tries new things such as checks, which we’ll come to later, he remains incredibly consistent.
Personally, I can't comprehend a commitment to an aesthetic like this, and it seems I’m not alone. How many times have your favourite brands gone through a refresh? Look at refinement, culture, it’s all of our favourite logos, and just stripping them down to the bare minimum.
The motivation to rebrand is obvious. As humans, we often think that by changing something superficial, or aesthetic is going to solve some of our underlying problems. Not happy with your body? Get a nose job. Not happy with your physique? Get a PT. Not happy with your life? Get a nicer house. None of these things will fix the underlying issues, but we pour thousands into them anyway.
Jack, on the other hand, stays true to the path. He decided on his brand a number of years ago, and he stuck to it. Everything he does has that initial identity baked in. This is important because now people who've been following from the start can recognise a Visusalise Value project just from a feeling, it’s distinctive. A consistent brand also makes a company feel like it’s been around longer than it has, this is only a positive for customers.
As much as I'm an advocate for just getting things started with the aim of iterating, Jack shows the counterargument to this, that taking some time to get something right and playing a game that you can play infinitely is the way forward.
Jack picked an aesthetic he knew he could stick to. He knew he had unlimited freedom in the constraints of his simple visuals and minimalistic styling.
The key takeaway here is simple. When you pick your branding, pick something you love, and can stick to forever. Your identity compounds over time and every time you swap and change it you are starting from zero. I’m terrible with this. I hop on new design trends, and ideas, and there are no consistent elements that tie my various projects together. Don’t be like me, be like Jack.
Playfulness is key
While Jack's artwork and brand appear mature, he balances this very carefully with playfulness. This is the second lesson that we're going to take from Jack butcher, let’s make it real with a few examples.
The first one is the WAGMI sweatshirt that he dropped at the height of crypto mania. It was fun and playful, and completely on brand.
Jack doesn’t limit this playfulness to visuals, look here at how he makes the copy of a sale fun ‘inflation-adjusted pricing’
The third element we’ll explore is a tagline that Jack uses throughout his projects. The format of X may or may not be notable. This line was so plithy and relevant, it's become a bit of an internet meme.
We couldn’t study Jack’s tongue-in-cheek humour without referencing the ‘FAME’ NFT. If you're not aware a couple of years ago, at peak NFT mania, Beepl sold an NFT for $69m. Jack took advantage of this moment in history with a publicity stunt. He created a simple NFT, with the words admit one. He then priced it just above the cost of the Beeple NFT. I’m sure Jack thought the odds of someone purchasing this NFT were minuscule, but that’s not the point, people were talking about it, it got his name out even more, and most importantly, I’m sure he had fun doing it.
As individuals interested in building a brand or community, the key takeaway we can learn from Jack is not to take it so seriously. Life is meant to be fun, people want a bit of character and humanity in their products, especially in the erudite world of faceless suits and bland products.
The counter law to this is what Elon Musk is doing at the moment, taking a company like Twitter, removing the W from the sign and calling it Twitter. Yeah mate, maybe that might be funny if I was like five years old, but to the majority of the population, it’s just tragic. Be like Jack, Don’t be Elon.
Jump on trends, but thoughtfully.
The final lesson we're going to take from Jack is around jumping on new trends, but doing it in a really thoughtful way. Let’s explore this idea through his NFT project checks.
If you don't know about checks, it basically came about when Elon tweeted that he was going to change the Twitter verification process from ‘notable people’ to anyone who would pay $8.
Like his ‘FAME’ NFT, Jack immediately put a plan in place to make the most of this historic moment in Twitters history. He opened up an unlimited mint, letting anyone mint an check NFT for $8 check.
When this happened, I don't know if Jack had a master plan for how this project was going to turn out. To be honest, I think he probably just saw the opportunity and capitalised on it. A lot of people did this in the NFT space. But it's really what Jack did after this that differentiates him from all the other creators out there. And I think shows why he's built such an engaged community.
The first thing Jack did was commit to creating scarcity in the checks that he just sold. There were 16,000 of them from the initial mint. In NFT land, and to be honest, in any community, scarcity is so important. People want to feel like they're part of something unique. Jack created a simple in a way but genius way to create scarcity amongst his community.
To understand what he did here, we just need to briefly understand the check system. So when you mint a check NFT, you basically get 80 of these verified check marks within your overall NFT. What Jack implemented was a way for you to combine two of these 80 NFTs into a 40, then you can take 2 x 40s and combine them into a 20. 2 x 20s into a 10, etc, etc.
The idea is that people are actually burning these NFT's to make their NFT’s more valuable or more unique.
The second thing that he and his team did with the check system, is as well as creating scarcity they gamified the whole process. As well as being able to combine these NFTs, people can actually select the number that they want. So if you've got one, that's number 101, and one that’s number 964. You can combine them both and keep that number 101, which presumably people will think is going to be more valuable. Another really clever thing that he did, which he called sacrifice was you can take an NFT colour that you like, and an NFT number that you like, merge them together and keep the best of both. This is such an incredible example of gamification in a community project.
As an aside, Jack clearly sweated every single detail of this project. The level of sweat cannot be overstated! If you look through the UI and UX of the whole Checks project, it’s like no NFT project I've come across. This tweet is a great example. For three days, he was just obsessing over the colours of these checkmarks. From this tweet we can see how committed Jack is to these projects, and also worrying how it's going to kind of fit into the Visualised Value brand, which is all monochrome (he actually implemented a final kind of boss check in Visalise Value black).
This case study may all seem a bit crypto, bro, but it's relevant to building any community. Find a way to create scarcity. Find a way to gamify the experience, and just be transparent about how much effort you're putting into the project.
Hopefully, you found that article, helpful, there are some very practical lessons we can take from Jack on how to truly integrate the brand into everything we do, how to have fun with the community and how to thoughtfully jump on new trends.
If you are looking to gain freedom as a solo/micropreneur, community-building can be a key lever to your success, and there is no one better to learn from than Jack.
I liked your Jack Butcher's post.