Why a Narrow Doorway Invites Opportunity, with Alvaro Meléndez

Episode 301

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Alvaro is a Creative with diverse talents and accomplishments. He co-founded CRANT, a creative machine learning company that has become one of the most innovative companies in Brand Intelligence Marketing today. They have developed an AI-backed platform that helps brands improve their Brand Love and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) strategies by using machine learning on public data to make their programs trackable and actionable, allowing brands to be methodical in finding insights and making decisions about how best to serve their communities on a daily basis.

His over 35 international awards, including Cannes Lions, Effies, Webbys, Clios, and more, led him to lead Miami Dade Beacon Councils’ “Created in Miami” program to turn Miami into a diverse Crea-Tech capital.

Alongside his friend and Indycar race car driver Tatiana Calderón, he also started the Ladies Start Your Engines program, which helps girls worldwide have a fair chance to succeed in a world designed for men.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Alvaro Meléndez about his new company CRANT, which stands for Creativity and Technology, and why he was inspired to start the business. He shares insights on how brands can help transform people and why being purpose-driven and mission-focused is critical. We discuss brand love, what it really means, and how focusing on one thing leads to more customers.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What got Alvaro to where he is today in the travel and tourism industry
  • Why being exposed to a range of cultures and people fosters creativity when you get all those different inputs
  • Marketing campaigns in Alvaro’s early career that inspired him to think more deeply about branding
  • Alvaro explains the rationale behind focusing on the upper funnel and lower funnel in marketing
  • Using data to be able to measure the efficacy of your branding
  • How listeners can use CRANT to help them stand out in a noisy marketplace
  • What brand love is, how to grow it, and how to measure it
  • The project that Alvaro and his team are working on to help make the world more diverse, equitable, and inclusive

Improving Data Collection

Alvaro started CRANT to combine all the branding frameworks he had learned over the years, including new technologies such as AI and all the data in the digital space. His tool helps marketers track and measure what they are doing on a brand level. Marketers often avoid doing brand studies because they are so expensive and are, therefore, unable to demonstrate progress in digital campaigns.

Defining Your Brand

The theory behind defining a brand can be complex. Alvaro describes why they went right back to basics and began thinking about why every brand has the same end goal, which is to be relevant and to mean something to people so that they are willing to exchange time and money for a service, experience or product. Brands must have a promise or purpose that is very well defined and offers a solution to its customers.

Be Mission Focused

Standing out in a crowded marketplace is tough, so CRANT is super purpose-driven, which has helped them stay very authentic, very humble, and very mission-focused. Often the problem is that brands have difficulty tracking their output or finding ways to be more relevant, more engaging, and different.

Alvaro describes why they focus on what they call a very narrow doorway with their marketing and do just one thing really, really well. He explains why niching down has attracted even more right-fit clients, particularly in the travel and tourism business.


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