I have the best job in the world! I absolutely love brands, brand building and helping new and mature brands to move a step further towards unlocking their potential or getting over a stumbling block. Having the privilege of working with local and global brands of all sizes and stages of the brand building cycle over the last 25 years, I have learnt many lessons and find that the key building blocks of successfully building a brand remain the same.
Would you like to pass this brand on one day to your children or grandchildren? Or do you see yourself selling the company/brand in 5-10 years’ time?
Now you may not be vocal about this to everyone but you need to answer this truthfully to yourself right in the beginning – this answer will shape all actions that lie ahead.
Your story/DNA/essence all boils down to a handful of salient points.
Time to really know your stuff – research other markets.
Too often I hear a beauty brand proudly say: “We are a skincare range made with the finest natural ingredients, with highest levels of x ingredient, no parabens and nasties and created especially for women by a real woman, who has had a great career within skincare. (ex GM of beauty corporate, ex Model, ex MUA, ex formulator). Targeted skincare for anti-ageing concerns.” However this could describe a thousand beauty brands out there. You need to make your brand story YOUR story – not a story which could describe almost all other new brands. So perhaps instead we can say: “We are a mother and daughter skincare brand, coming from a small farming community near Dubbo, where we use the finest Lavender grown on our family farm for over 120 years. Created using old recipes my grandma passed down from her grandmother. As a beauty therapist, I was always interested in skincare but nothing could beat my grandma’s lavender balm, which is now the central ingredient in all my skincare products which fight the harsh signs of ageing in this Australian climate.”
Same sentiment – but a whole lot more memorable and powerful as a brand story.
Many people have to start off rather small owing to investment – but start with your core story – what product will get you noticed, but also make people want to come back for more?
As an example – using our lavender story from before – if you notice charcoal masks are all the rage, do not just add one to your range for the sake of it. Create your own lavender and charcoal mask and use it within your story. Or find your own unique point of difference to stand out – eg: a lavender and clay mask.
Everything you do needs to be governed by your 5 key story points:
Here’s a story to illustrate. I have been working with a great NY based brand for a few years. The creator and owner is a 40-something sassy NY socialite, Prada and Armani clad, who developed a skincare line based on her search for a wholesome skincare regime after having gone through a horrendous ordeal with cancer and its effects on her skin. Money was no object and she was determined to invest in science and the power of the natural ingredient. Her offices, home and life are all tailored, white, with steel and gloss. I’m sure her 5 words would look something like this – sophisticated, results, attitude, global, powerful. So when she showed me her new packing with watercolour floral prints and a soft matt pastel label, I knew she was in trouble. She had fallen into the trap of doing what she felt people would expect from an organic natural range, using matt as it was ‘current’ instead of being herself – sassy, sophisticated and high gloss. She made the change to reflect her true self. Going from struggling to get her message to resonate, the new range now flies off the shelves as she is aiming it to her target audience – the sassy elite of NY and global cities.
06 DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT – SOME CONSIDERATIONS
It’s a humbling experience and a privilege to work with so many creative and enthusiastic people. Positivity and hard work is infectious. So lead from the top. Key statements I am always found saying to my team:
So you have this brand/product that you love like your own child and you feel you have been working 24/7 to get attention. You have invested lots of money and time in packaging, typing up posts, sharing the products with friends, meeting with retailers and distributors and you feel you are still not getting any traction. What do you do next?
The growth of social media has given rise to influencer marketing, now one of the fastest growing categories in advertising and projected to be a $5-10 billion market by 2020*. A larger percentage of the advertising dollar being invested into this component of the marketing mix naturally means greater pressure on marketers to deliver meaningful results from this medium. There is now an emphasis on conducting due diligence when planning your influencer campaigns, especially around your influencer selection, and in particular their followers.