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Grassroots Branding & Marketing: Growing Your Business Authentically from the Ground Up

Sometimes being pushed in a different direction can turn out to be the biggest blessing of our lives and careers. 

That’s exactly what happened to Steven Carse, one of the brains behind King of Pops – the delicious popsicle brand. King of Pops all started as a conversation in Central America. Over the years, that conversation and dream turned into a reality.

Steven was laid off from his corporate job during the Great Recession so it was on to a new dream for him. A few months later, Steven’s brother left his job as a lawyer to join the family business. Now, not only does King of Pops want to provide tasty treats, but Steven and his brother are relentless community supporters and strive to generate unexpected moments of happiness for everyone they encounter. 

In this episode, Steven Carse joins LZ and me to talk about growing a business from the ground up.


Here are some takeaways he shared:


1. Use the pandemic season as a lesson moving forward.

The team at King of Pops developed a neighborhood partnership program this year in which out-of-state customers could sell popsicles in their local communities. 

Needless to say, we’ve all had to adapt in 2020, but how are we learning from that time years later?

Some of our changes may only work during a time like this, but some of our changes might be adaptable to our old business model. Always be looking for ways to learn and improve.

2. The best marketing is authentic marketing.

The King of Pops developed its brand using wholesome, gritty grassroots marketing. What can you learn from that approach? 

It’s easy to look at big brands like Apple and Starbucks and think you want to be that size one day. But, at the same time, people are craving for human connection, especially right now. They are looking for authenticity and genuineness.

It’s okay if your brand doesn’t look and “feel” perfect. That’s relatable. None of us are perfect. Use your marketing to build connections and relationships by letting people know who you are and getting to know them.

And remember: Grassroots is all about figuring out how to connect with individual people, and often some of the most valuable lessons come in learning to pivot.

3. Create unexpected moments of happiness.

We’re stealing this from The King of Pops because it’s so good. In other words, find special ways to make your customers smile, ways that they didn’t see coming. 

That might be a really big smile yourself, a special gift or simply going out of the way to do something they never expected you to do. Kindness goes a long way toward building brand loyalty.


Every new business must start from the ground up. Branding and marketing are essential to growing and maintaining a successful organization.

Take the next step and download our Grassroots Branding & Marketing worksheet which includes Steven’s best tips on marketing and branding.