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Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Be Thoroughly Authentic

Using a famous face and cause marketing can help get you in the customer's door. Authenticity and customer service keep it open for you.   More...

Key Question:


Phonies can't fake it forever. Slapping a cause on your label or donating to today's trendy charity will not have a deep and lasting positive affect on your business.

Can you describe what makes the Sundance Catalog seem to be thoroughly authentic?

First, it was started for the purpose of generating cash to support artists and the environment. Second, since 1969 this is what has been happening before our very eyes. Third, the products carried in the catalog are only selected if they fit the goals.

They are one of a kind and small runs of products offered because that is what the artist have to sell. Harry pointed out that, "Robert Redford is more than a famous person because Robert Redford stands for a lot of things--support of the environment, support of the arts--that are meaningful to people in America."

This congruence is what attracted Harry to the project and it is certainly part of the reason customers keep coming back.

Think about it

Do your words and actions line up? Do you deliver what you publish about your products and services? Do you, "walk the walk." Can you be trusted? Do customers speak well of you?

Clip from: Sundance Catalog

Meet Harry Rosenthal (above) and Brent Beck

Provo Canyon and Salt Lake City, Utah: In this episode of the show, we go into a pristine part of the Rocky Mountains, a place Robert Redford loved and wanted to preserve. To sustain that dream and help pay for it all, he turned to Brent Beck and Harry Rosenthal to implement an idea he had for a catalog business. Brent knew the products. Harry knew direct mail. But, unlike most of us, these three had a fast start for this business -- they were leveraging the Robert Redford brand.

Business is not easy for any of us. When Redford applied for his initial loan from a bank, he was rejected just like the rest of us.  He turned to investors, bought the land  to preserve it from housing developers, and began thinking of how to turn it into a business. That was in the late '60's.

Even celebrities were once "less than famous" and had to crawl, scrap,  risk... take a flying leap, just like the rest of us.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

Sundance Catalog

Jessica Basin, Sr. Marketing Manager, Robert Redford, founder

3865 West 2400 South
Salt Lake City (and Provo), UT 84120

Visit our web site:

Office: 801-975-5238

Business Classification:
Catalog, direct mail

Year Founded: 1989

Be Thoroughly Authentic

HATTIE: Could any small-business owner find a famous spokesperson and use that name, that branding to build their business?

HARRY: The use of a spokesperson is a really complex topic. If it's perceived as nothing more than an advertising gimmick, it can actually bounce back and harm you after the early going. If there's considered to be some depth and some reality to the image, as there is with Robert Redford, and you live up to that, then it can be very, very helpful. But in all cases, I think the advice I would give to people is that a spokesperson or a famous name or a famous brand gets people to try your product or service once.

It's really all it gets you.

If you deliver a good quality product or service at a good price and people are satisfied with the experience they have, then they will come back. And I don't know about all other businesses, but I can tell you that in the catalog business, all of the profitability really is based upon repeat purchases by customers. If they don't have a good experience, you won't have a successful business.

Buyer #1: You know, really we have quite a dedication to customer service, and we're small enough that there's not a huge issue that would come up that we couldn't get resolved.

HATTIE: Oh, you don't have layers of bureaucracy.

Woman #1: Correct. Yeah.

HARRY: So while we may have launched the business on Robert Redford's well-known public persona, we really built the business on the quality of the product that we deliver to people.

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