Eitan Chitayat is the Founder of Natie, an international branding agency. With living experiences in prominent cities like Hong Kong, London, Tel Aviv, New York, and Boston, Eitan brings a global perspective to his work. He has served as a judge in advertising’s finest competition, the One Show, and has learned from industry-leading organizations such as BBDO, Ogilvy and Mather NYC, and Arnold Worldwide in Boston. His client list boasts illustrious names including Apple, Target, AT&T, and Google. Eitan created the viral video “I’m that Jew” viewed over 10 million times and has delivered a TEDx talk on why he created it. He is also a founding chapter member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Israel.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [1:30] Eitan Chitayat talks about the challenges he faced launching Gmail in Africa
- [4:08] The importance of understanding cultural differences in branding
- [11:18] Advantages of being a small-scale company for Natie
- [13:29] Eitan explains his three-step process to effective branding: listening, strategy, and creativity
- [13:52] How to deal with challenging branding projects
- [27:13] Eitan’s experience working with The Jewish Agency for Israel, and the creation and impact of the tagline “every one of us together”
- [38:23] Incorporating a global perspective into brand strategies
- [35:30] The big three for misinformation about Israel — genocide, apartheid, and generational hatred
- [51:31] The decision to release “I’m that Jew”
In this episode…
What are the challenges in the world of building brands internationally? How do you effectively create eye-catching brands?
Delve into Eitan Chitayat’s approach to branding — understanding the specific thought process that lies behind every successful branding project. Know what’s behind Eitan’s decision to keep his agency Natie small, sharing the benefits of this approach, including his ability to be a hands-on, approachable, and present leader.
Glean insights into the world of global branding in this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz featuring Eitan Chitayat, the Founder of Natie. Eitan shares stories from his journey including launching Gmail in Africa, rebranding The Jewish Agency for Israel, and the branding of Sweet Victory. Listen as Eitan dismantles common misconceptions about Israel, taking down erroneous claims of genocide and apartheid while shedding light on the country’s multicultural reality.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Sweet Victory
- The Jewish Agency for Israel
- EO Entrepreneurs’ Organization Israel
- Hillel Fuld on LinkedIn
- Emily Schrader on LinkedIn
- Yoseph Haddad on LinkedIn
- Eve Barlow on X (Twitter)
- “Eve Barlow, Journalist and Activist” on the I’M THAT podcast
- Noa Tishby on LinkedIn
- Shoshana Keats Jaskoll on LinkedIn
- Lee Kern
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
- F*ck the Slides: Creating A Winning Pitch Using Storytelling Technique by Nir Zavaro
- “[Israel Business Series] Crafting a Great Brand Story: Tips and Tricks With Nir Zavaro” on the Inspired Insider podcast
- “Branding is not just about the visual identity but also about the strategy and delivery of the story.”
- “The most important part of branding is to actually learn and listen.”
- “The narrative of hatred continues until a leader stands up and ignites hope.”
- “It’s very difficult to see the world not understanding that the world is so ignorant, and buying into easy lies and sound btes”.
- “I wanted to show the world that I’m not afraid. My name is Eitan Chitayat and I’m that Jew.”
I’m That Jew
Star of One
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
What do you need to start a podcast?
When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy.
We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder InspiredInsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. I’m here with Eitan Chitayatt of Natie and it’s Natie.com. And Eithan before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out and I know there’s resources I want you to share too. But I did an episode with Orit Oz who you probably know, has run an agency for over 25 years in the b2b space that helps companies with their global expansion. Amit Ostreicher has Xtras and G-nie talks about how he lost all of his clients overnight. A Eitan once, but twice and how he bounced back, Nir Zavaro who you know, you wrote the book F*ck the Slides, he talks about storytelling. And Joe Levy, I found out I was looking doing research on you and Natie, Joe Livy had his company do everything in their power to combat mass shootings and violence with Ai-Lert which is Ai dash Lert. And I see the video you help them?
Eitan Chitayat 1:26
Yeah, we did the brand strategy in the store. And we came up with the name.
Jeremy Weisz 1:30
Love it. And they help detect weapons using surveillance cameras, and AI so authorities and people can be instantly alerted. And that and many, many more on InspiredInsider.com and this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and it Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their Dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that? We actually help you run your podcast, we’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast and we do the accountability, the strategy and the full execution. So Eitan we call ourselves the magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the host in the company so they can create great content and develop amazing relationships.
You know, for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you thought about podcasting, you should have questions. Go to Rise25.com. And Eitan has a deeper meaning for me like it’s I say there’s a lot of amazing relationships, but it’s really, I feel when you do this, you help leave a legacy you help leave a legacy for the person talking and for yourself. And so I was inspired by my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor. And there was an interview that the Holocaust Foundation did with my grandfather, the Illinois Holocaust Foundation, and his legacy lives on because of that interview. So it has a deeper meaning for me as a person as well.
And I’m excited to introduce Eitan Chitayat. He’s a Brand Builder and he’s founder of The International branding agency, Natie as I mentioned Natie.com. He’s lived in Hong Kong, London, Tel Aviv, New York, Boston. He’s been a judge in advertising finest competition, the one show he’s learned from the best also BBDO Ogilvy and Mather NYC Arnold worldwide in Boston, his career, he’s worked with the clients like Apple, Target, AT&T, Google, and many more. He created I’m that Jew, which is a viral video that’s been viewed over 10 million times. He gave a TEDx talk about it, actually, and why he created it. He’s also co creator of She’s That Woman, founder of 5% Club, and he’s a founding chapter member of the EO Entrepreneurs’ Organization Israel. Eitan thanks for joining me.
Eitan Chitayat 3:48
Thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure.
Jeremy Weisz 3:51
So I want to say you’re gonna get to do some amazing work you’ve done. But I want to start off with, you help launch Gmail in Africa? Yeah, I talked about that.
Eitan Chitayat 4:08
When I? Well, first of all, hi, everyone. I’m not at the speed of light like you or when you speak. I’m a little slower. And I’m also on very little sleep in general. So I apologize in advance. This is a welcome break for me to talk to you, because I’ve been pretty busy.
Gmail was a funny story. When I left New York after being a creative director at BBDO Digital for Target and AT&T. I came back to Israel, but in that year, I was kind of in between the two countries. I hadn’t moved to Israel and I hadn’t left New York. So for a year, I was kind of back and forth. And in that time, I was brought on by the Google Creative Lab in New York City to help them with a lot of their work and eventually, when I did move to Israel, I helped Google Israel. And I helped Google in England. And I actually ended up helping Google Africa. They didn’t have Gmail around, I’d say it was around 10 or 11 years ago. They didn’t really have email. So they kind of dance between us like mobile phones, you know, SMS ads and stuff. So they asked me to help launch Gmail in Africa. And I didn’t really have an agency yet, because I had. I was just starting Natie. And so my wife and I, along with the Google Africa team, you know, me and my wife in our bedroom, in our little study, we came up with the launch campaign for Gmail Africa. We hired, of course, a couple of people that helped us. And that was it. It was just incredible. You know, I pinch myself, I’m very, very lucky.
Jeremy Weisz 6:04
What do you do to launch Gmail on a continent? And by the way, there is a video out there from like, eight years ago or more of your first office? I don’t know if you know, it’s out on the internet, a tour of your first office. When you first I think maybe when you first started Natty? I don’t know. But what do you do to launch Gmail on a continent? What was the plan?
Eitan Chitayat 6:27
Well, you know, of course, we’ve had to learn from Google what was needed and who the audience was. And the funny thing about Africa, of course, is, it’s, it’s not a funny thing. They’re a completely different culture. But also within Africa, you have different countries, and each of those countries have different cultures and different things that you kind of needed to get a very, very good brief, which they gave us. And down to the type of colors that we were able to use, the symbols that we were able to use, and to learn. I mean, a lot of it was learning about Africa, and the mindset over there, which is the most important part of branding, you know, the most important part of branding is to actually learn and listen.
And then once we’d gotten all the information that we’d needed and gotten several, you know, after several conversations, we started working hand in hand with the team, and we ended up delivering a lot of language, and, of course, all the visual assets. And it was just amazing. It was an amazing experience, because it’s not everyday you get to work with the African continent. Secondly, it was amazing, because it was something big. Thirdly, it was something that was meaningful. You know, like, I know that we take email for granted, but you actually, you know, I don’t know about you. But I’ve been using Gmail for like, 20 years or since the day Gmail was launched, I’ve been a user. And I think it’s a fantastic product. Invite to it. Yeah, yeah, I actually was I was I, I got my, I got my whole family invited, because I was one of the first on the list. But anyway, it’s just, it was a fantastic campaign.
And also, the added bonus was, wow, you know, we really got to do this, you know, like, you’d sometimes have very big agencies that are doing that. And, and, luckily, and it really was luck. Google believed in me enough, and then put me on. So there was quite the story. And then we went on to work with Google on other things. We worked with YouTube, and we worked with what says, we’ve worked with Google, we’ve worked with Gmail, we’ve worked with YouTube. So a lot of opportunities and great stuff.
Jeremy Weisz 8:46
I want to hear your thought process for branding. Maybe under a specific example, maybe let’s just take Ai-Lert for a second write and someone comes to you, what’s your process for thinking through? Because it’s like, there’s so many different directions, there’s so many places you can take something? What’s your process look like?
Eitan Chitayat 9:07
Well, look, I have to tell you a little bit about Natie. Before I tell you about the process, because when you have a small agency, and it’s a successful agency, which you know, knock on wood, ours is you have a choice, you can grow it or you can keep it small, and I made a decision, a very conscious decision to keep it small. The two reasons: One is when my son was born, I decided I wanted to be a very present dad, and that was 10 years ago. And I didn’t want to miss a minute and so far. I’m staying true to that. The second thing is, I like the work. I mean, I know what happens when you grow a company, you get further removed from the work, and we had a lot of successes, where I felt that I wasn’t able to bring it. You know what I mean? Like I wasn’t able to do what? I know how to do my craft because I had to manage many people.
Jeremy Weisz 10:07
And so some changes in your responsibilities and day to day changes.
Eitan Chitayat 10:11
Yeah, of course, you know, you manage your teams, you’re scaling and what I love about branding, and I’ll get back to your question. Of course, what I love about branding is the craft. I love the craft of branding. I’m a purist. I don’t believe in bells and whistles. I don’t think that branding is creative. I think it’s part creative, of course. But my process is to listen, it’s to understand when you’re working with the company, we say no, I don’t want to say we say no, a lot. But we say it enough times. Because sometimes we don’t believe in the product. So that’s part of the process. Maybe I don’t jive with the person, you know, I don’t feel I wouldn’t say integrity. But you know, you’ve got to feel the person as well, at least I need to. And those are the first two steps of my process. And then, and then why this selection is the first first step. Yeah, yeah, it is. What are these guys doing? What are they all about?
Jeremy Weisz 11:11
Which is a great thing for any company for any agency to think about, regardless if they want to grow or scale?
Eitan Chitayat 11:18
Yeah, but the great thing is, when you’re small, you know that there’s pros and cons. The Pro is, I don’t want to work with you, and I don’t have to feed, you know, 50 people, you know, I don’t have to pay 50 salaries. So I work with a very, very small team of people who are all very senior, and we all need to love what we do. And that’s the, that’s the upside, and that really affects the process. So my process is to go deep, very, very deep. And the work is never pawned off to other people, you know, I’m always there. And the process of the first step is just listening and understanding understanding this may be this industry that we don’t know, as well as the client does, of course, we don’t know the audience, we have to learn the audience, if it’s a technology, whether it’s med tech, or agriculture, or what have you, if it’s a, you know, you know, consumer brand, we need to learn about the product, it’s a lot of learning, it’s a lot of listening. And, and oftentimes, I find that when you do, listen, and you’re listening to the senior team, to the CEO, to the founders, it’s typically inspiring. And, and you get that before you start working with the potential client, you know, if you’re inspired by them.
And the wonderful thing about living in Israel, even though we’re goin through some difficult times, as everyone knows, is the ideas that come out of this country, and the people that just make these incredible things happen are just so inspiring. But the process is really to learn, I think that’s the first step. And once you’ve learned and listened, then you go to work. And even then it’s not creative yet, then it’s, it’s strategic.
And then once you’ve got the strategy down of what the brand should be, and you guys are all on the same page, then the next process is the next part of the process is creativity, which is coming up with, you know, moving from the what of the company, and what they are and what you need to say to how you say it, how you show it. And that’s the process, learn and listen, apply strategic thinking, and then go to town with creativity based on everything that you found and everything that you need to say and who you need to say it to.
Jeremy Weisz 13:29
Yeah, I find it, you know, really instructive on how you think about this for any company that can think about this for themselves. But when they’re thinking of their message in their brand, talk about a lot and I found this company really inspiring so I could see why you worked with them and you chose to work with them. Talk about what you did with the Ai-Lert here.
Eitan Chitayat 13:52
It’s Ai-Lert. Baylor’s Ai-Lert. I had met Joe, back in the day. And then he started working on this new company. And I mean, who’s not going to be inspired by what they’re doing, weapons detections, technology that can save the lives of people. And it was very moving. And when he first told me about it, I told him when you want to do your branding, then let’s talk and he did and he made it happen. And it was challenging because it’s a technology project, but at the same time, it’s saving human lives. So how do you find the right balance between that you can target that heart and you can target heartstrings but then you lose the technology. You can be a super technology focused company, but then you lose the whole angle of saving lives. So you had to find that balance of truth.
And it’s actually the story, one of the stories that I’m most proud of because of the way that they position themselves at the beginning, and since our branding, they have evolved in this film evolving at the beginning, it was, we’re going to save children at schools. Now they’re expanding into other areas, you know, like, into retail as well. But the story that we delivered was all about, you know, you know, a school deserves to be a school, the school shouldn’t be a prison. And what their technology allows you to do is it allows you to detect very, very quickly if there’s a threat, and when you can detect that threat, then the schools can be locked down immediately, security can come in very quickly, and also, police forces and security forces from outside can get in because everything’s on camera with with Ai-Lert. So they know, you know, one of the reasons that sometimes you have these big massacres is because even though the police are there, they can’t go in because they don’t know what these guys have got.
So that whole story provides a lot of hope. And the hope is that your kids can be safer. And who are you speaking to? You know, are you speaking to kids and parents now? Are you speaking to the school system, and at this age of speaking to, to companies, so we had to find the language also, which is based on their truth. And when we met with the team, I mean, these guys are, you know, so many of them are parents, you know, this, it’s very personal. And as a dad, and as a father of two, a lot of that heart and soul goes into the story. And I never actually got to deliver their visual identity. We did the brand strategy and the story and the naming, but I’m still in touch with Joe, and we help out here and there. It’s an amazing company. I think he’s doing wonderful things that are very, very important things, unfortunately.
Jeremy Weisz 16:48
Yeah, exactly. You know, what’s interesting when I look through these, and we’re gonna talk about a few others and how you think about branding. And what you did with the companies is, you know, we have, you know, Israel aid we have, you know, a lot of really interesting companies. But like, I don’t know why the Sweet Victory sticks out to me.
Eitan Chitayat 17:11
Oh, it’s one of my favorites.
Jeremy Weisz 17:13
It just seems out of the norm when I see your work. So tell me about Sweet Victory.
Eitan Chitayat 17:21
So sweet victory was one of my favorite product projects in the last five years. And I’ll tell you why. Two women approached me. I’ve told this story before, but for your viewers, two women approached me, entrepreneurs, wonderful women, and they, they, they they got to me through someone else, and they had a product. And it was, it’s a chewing gum, it’s a very simple chewing gum. And the idea is that you chew this gum, well put it this way, if you’re watching your weight, or if you’re trying to cut down on sugar, it’s very difficult to put down that dessert, you know not to pick up that dessert at the end of the meal.
So what you do with that product is you take this little gum at the end of your meal and you chew it, you chew it for around two minutes, and it tastes like mint gum tastes great. And then you put it out. And then if you take a bite of that chocolate cake, or that tiramisu, or that vanilla ice cream, it tastes like shit. I mean, the taste changes the taste. It tastes like sand. It tastes awful. And because what it does is it basically neutralizes the sugar receptors on your tongue for a couple of hours. And it’s a genius product.
So what did they call it? They call it Gyni except for their Israeli and bless them. It was spelled g y n i which an English or an American person would say Johnny, and Johnny sounds like vagina. And when they came to me, they said, we’ve heard you great, and we need visual identity. And the visual identity that they had was, as you know, it just wasn’t right. It was very, it was almost, it was white in green and Minty and it looked like something that you would buy at a health store. And I told them, I’m sorry, but you can’t call it shiny. You know, even though you’re trying to say it’s magical. Good thing, he said something right? Well, yeah, but but but they, they didn’t really want to change it. And I said that I can’t do it, unless you change it.
And, and to their credit. And this is why I like them so much because it takes courage. They said, you know, eventually they just turned around, they said you know what we’re gonna we’re gonna go with what you’re saying. And then when we started the product, the project, the brand strategy, and in short was, you know, where we netted out was that sugar is the enemy. You know, we all love sugar, but we all know that sugar is bad for you. And when you’re trying to defeat an enemy, you need an ally and you need to be victorious. And that was the story you know. And out of that came the name which was Sweet Victory. And out of that came the logo which at the time they’ve evolved because this was quite a few years ago, and they’ve evolved the brand. But at the time, instead of anemic and pastel Lee, white and green, it was very bold, very fun. And if anyone goes to Natie.com, and looks at the Sweet Victory branding that we did.
Jeremy Weisz 20:16
And the way I just want to point out real quick, a time that people are listening, there is a video version of this. And we are actually looking at the Natie website, and you can see some of the work that they’re doing. But yeah, keep going.
Eitan Chitayat 20:29
Yeah. So I mean, like, it was, you know, sugar cravings come. And if you want to defeat them, it’s really hard to do it on your own and you need an ally, you need someone that will help you win. And, and so what’s interesting about that project is it worked the way it should. You had people that started that were believers, that that they realized, to their own credit, that they didn’t have what they needed. And it started with thinking. And I work with a guy named Dan, who’s an amazing strategist. I’ve worked with him for 15 years amongst one or two other strategists that I work with. And together, we cracked this strategy. And then out of that came the name. And then out of that came the story. And then out of that came the logo.
And it’s when you’re building a brand, the visual identity should answer the logo, the logo should answer the name, the name should answer the story, the story should answer the strategy. And the strategy should answer exactly what that product does. And what people who don’t understand, when it comes to branding, a lot of people don’t understand is that that’s the way it should be. And you don’t want to take shortcuts, you don’t want bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles. You don’t want something to look or sound sexy if there’s, there’s not an inherent truth to it.
So that’s what I really loved about that project. And what I love even more is that these two women are just just so great. I mean, they’re just so hungry, and so driven, and I’m so proud of them. And they’re going on and they’re and they’re successful, and they’re expanding their business, and I’m just really proud of them, you know, as people.