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344 – A Powerful Lesson We Can Take from Big Brand Strategies Maureen Mwangi of Startward Consulting
Episode 34413th November 2021 • Gift Biz Unwrapped • Sue Monhait
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emotional branding for small business with Maureen Mwangi of Startward Consulting Today we’re discussing emotional branding for small business. In the past, we’ve talked a lot about the visual aspect of your brand. The colors, your logo, signage - even your business name. Now, we’re approaching branding from a different angle. I’m sure you’ve heard Maya Angelou's quote about it not being what you say or what you do but how you make someone feel.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou
This softer branding characteristic is missed by many and can be the most powerful thing to get right to attract and retain - not just customers, but raving supportive fans. Maureen grew up in Kenya where entrepreneurship was not the norm. In fact, her mom and dad were the only entrepreneurs she knew. As a little girl, Maureen listened with fascination as they discussed their product strategies around the dinner table almost every night. As she got older, she became acutely aware of the financial freedom business ownership afforded her family, along with access to more opportunities. Maureen quickly learned that the secret to her parents’ business success was the reputable, trustworthy product-based brand they created. Armed with her Master’s Degree in Marketing, she quickly ascended to leadership and began to build some of America’s most beloved brands such as Lays, Chobani, and L’Oreal. Today, Maureen is the creator of Big Brand Academy, The Product Profit Lab, and Startward Consulting. She’s one of the most sought-after brand growth experts because of her unique track record for launching and scaling recognizable brands.

BUSINESS BUILDING INSIGHTS

  • Focus on the why behind the reason somebody is having your product.
  • The best marketing strategy for any product-based business is word-of-mouth and referrals.
  • Your business should provide the solution for your customers’ problems.
  • Think bigger and have a vision of where your business should be in the next years. <-- Tune in for the full conversation on this!
  • Photography is really important in the e-commerce space. That could be the actual product shot, the actual product shot, or ways how to use the product.
  • Pick one social media platform and be an expert in that platform. Maximize the sales of that channel. Go where your target audience is.

Emotional Branding For Small Business

  • What is a brand: the emotional resonance your product and business provides to your customer.
  • Be the voice of your customer. Create a brand that is centered around your target audience.
  • Shift from a product mindset to a brand mindset. When you're building your business, build the brand first because branding is why people buy from you. Marketing is how people find you.
  • Personalize your brand. Provide good customer service and respond to people on time to let people know you're present.
  • Think about your customer.  Who do you want to truly serve? How are you solving the problem they currently have?
  • Create messaging that people can connect with. That messaging of emotional connection is what will lead them to buy. Create a community that is magnetized by your messaging.
  • List three adjectives you want to be associated with your brand. <-- Pro Tip!
  • Always show up as the face of your brand. People want to interact with a human being.
  • Write descriptions in such a simple way that your customer will understand.
  • Instead of thinking about how to 10x your sales, make sure to 10x your visibility first.

Take Action Now:

  • Get clear on who your customer is, what their problem is, and how you solve it.
  • Write down 3 branding adjectives you want your business to be known by.
Listen to the full episode to hear how this all works with wholesale, e-commerce, and much more!

Resources Mentioned

Maureen's Contact Links

WebsiteFacebook | Instagram | Linkedin

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Transcripts

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Gift biz unwrapped episode 344 Entrepreneurship for me literally started at

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the data table because by parents would constantly talk about the

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business successes and the biggest challenges At Tinton gifters bakers,

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crafters, and makers pursuing your dream can be fun.

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Whether you have an established business or looking to start one.

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Now you are in the right place.

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This is gift to biz unwrapped,

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helping you turn your skill into a flourishing business.

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Join us for an episode,

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packed full of invaluable guidance,

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resources, and the support you need to grow.

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Your gift biz.

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Here is your host gift biz gal Sue moon Heights.

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Hi, it's Sue and welcome to this week's show.

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As we inch closer and closer to the holiday selling season,

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I hope you've been putting your plan together for how to

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capture your fair share of sales.

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As we've talked about many times only posting your products available

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for purchase online,

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isn't going to do it just because you have a website

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or a social shop set up doing that alone.

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Doesn't bring in customers.

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What it is,

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is an avenue to conduct the final sale,

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not the attraction and connection necessary to get people to buy

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and posting on social over and over again about your holiday

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products available as gifting options.

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Well, we all know the low percentage of our followers who

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actually see these messages as a handmade product creator.

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The fourth quarter holidays are the perfect time to get in

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front of buyers.

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Through holiday craft shows and church bazaars entry costs vary,

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but there are options to fit every budget and holiday shoppers

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need you as a handmade small business,

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even more this year with all the supply chain issues we're

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experiencing. I encourage you to sign up for your local shows

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and get in front of your soon to be customers because

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we need you this year more than ever.

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I talked about this in my recent tips and talk episode,

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number 34,

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go back and take a listen to hear how you can

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both help your business and customers get gifts for the holiday

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shopping season.

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We are going to need to depend on you this year.

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So the time to act is now,

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today we're discussing branding,

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but not in the way you think in the past,

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we've talked a lot about the visual aspect of your brand,

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the colors,

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your logo,

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signage, even your business name.

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Now we're approaching branding from a different angle.

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I'm sure you've heard Maya Angelo's quote about it,

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not being about what you say or what you do,

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but how you make someone feel this softer branding characteristic is

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missed by many and can be the most powerful thing.

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Get right to attract and retain,

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not just customers,

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but raving supportive fans.

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Let's dive right in and talk about the emotional portrayal of

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your brand.

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Today. We're going to be talking with Maureen of start word

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consulting. Maureen grew up in Kenya where entrepreneurship was not the

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norm. In fact,

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her mom and dad were the only entrepreneurs she knew as

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a little girl,

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Maureen listened with fascination as they discussed their product strategies around

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the dinner table.

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Almost every night as she got older,

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she became acutely aware of the financial freedom business ownership offered

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her family along with access to more opportunities.

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Maureen quickly learned that the secret to her appearance of business

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success was the reputable,

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trustworthy product based brand.

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They created armed with her master's degree in marketing.

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She quickly ascended to leadership and began to build some of

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America's most beloved brands,

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such as leis Tovani and L'Oreal today.

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Maureen is the creator of big brand academy,

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the product profit lab and start word consulting.

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She's one of the most sought after brand growth experts because

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of her unique track record for launching and scaling recognizable brands.

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Oh my gosh.

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I know this is going to be such a informative power

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packed conversation,

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Maureen, welcome to the gift biz on wrapped podcast.

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Thank you,

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You so much for having me here.

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So it's a pleasure and an honor to be with your

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listeners today.

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And can I just say,

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I already love your accent?

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You probably don't think you have one,

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but I'm going to say you do and it's beautiful.

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We get so much and really appreciate that.

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I actually believe everybody has an accent.

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It's just sometimes I can get a little sensitive with how

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mine comes out on audio.

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Oh no,

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it's absolutely beautiful.

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I think I could sit and listen to you all day

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long. All right.

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So I do something a little bit interesting here,

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and that is to have our listeners get to know you

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in a different way and that's through motivational candle.

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So if you were to help us envision a candle that

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would speak totally to you,

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Maureen, what would it look like by coloring quote?

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The color would be white.

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The quote would say trust,

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trust, meaning total reliance upon spiritual timing.

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I am a true believer and I truly believe that God's

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timing is perfect.

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He is never late.

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And he gives you what you need and all you have

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is all you need.

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Oh, that feels so calming.

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And so freeing.

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Yes. And you live by that Totally live by that.

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Where did it come from?

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It came from when I started my entrepreneurship journey,

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I usually say that my entrepreneurship journey was literally a leap

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of faith having to let go of a really high paying

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corporate six-figure job to jump into something that I was literally

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building from scratch required me to fully trust in myself and

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fully believe that God is with me because this was literally

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a leap of faith.

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Well, and I think a lot of people here who are

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listening are going to understand that because they are at that

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juncture of,

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you know,

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I'm making this product.

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I really love it.

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It's been a hobby for me.

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And now is this something that I can monetize?

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And that does take faith.

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And I think what your candle is saying to me,

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it's just the sense of peace and purity and trust,

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as you're saying,

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which is so hard to do when you're making that leap.

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Yes. It's so hard to do because we're always trying to

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rely on our ability rather than relying on our belief.

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Oh, that's good,

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Maureen. You're right.

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Yes, you are.

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So right with that.

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All right.

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Well, take us back a little bit.

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I'm really intrigued by the fact that you were starting to

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think about this just through the modeling of your parents and

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what they were doing.

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Share a little bit more about that story.

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So like you did the introduction.

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So I grew up in Kenya and both my parents are

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entrepreneurs. So entrepreneurship for me literally started at the data table

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because by parents would constantly talk about the business successes and

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the biggest challenges.

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And when I was growing up in Kenya due to globalization

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and the opening up of the markets,

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there was a huge surge in content feed products in Kenya.

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And my parents having been in the industry for a very

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long time that literally impacted them,

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their sales,

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their growth,

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and it got to a point,

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my parents almost closed their business.

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And one thing my dad attributed to that was because he

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really didn't understand branding and marketing.

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And as a young girl,

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I was like,

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what is so hard about branding and marketing?

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And so I was in the quest to pursue education and

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a career that will really help me understand what does true

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branding and marketing mean and how can I be able to

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salvage my parents' business?

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Because that's what we actually depended on both as a nuclear

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family and as an extended family.

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And we,

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that passion and desire,

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I decided to relocate over to the U S with just

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literally two suitcases and my passport and pursued a master's in

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higher degree at the university of Rochester.

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Then soon after got the opportunity to work for a marketing

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agency and then got the opportunity to just start working for

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the big brands that you mentioned.

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And it is during my corporate career that I learned what

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the big brands do,

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that the small brands don't know,

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and with my passion and my desire to help my parents'

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business, I started doing that for free with their business,

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it catapulted.

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And that's when I truly understand that the reason why small

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businesses don't scale is because they don't have the information,

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the education and the knowledge to be able to do so.

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Got it.

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Okay. So first off I didn't catch the product.

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What was the product that your parents were selling?

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And my parents run a hardware company.

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So in the U S it's anonymous to a Lowe's and

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home Depot.

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Okay. Gotcha.

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Okay. All right.

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And that's really interesting that you had already identified,

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or they had also identified that it was marketing the branding.

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That was the weakness.

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They had everything else figured out,

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but it was that.

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So that's really interesting.

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And then I also think it's really validating that you went

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back and based on what you learned were able to help

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them and they saw such growth.

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That's a fabulous part of the story.

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So I'm just going to jump to the chase here,

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Maureen, cause you said words that are totally intriguing me.

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What is it about branding that small brands don't know?

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And what can you share with us to help us with

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this? Oh,

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I love this question.

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So one thing that the big brands know very well that

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the small brands don't know really well is really being the

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voice of their customer.

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If there's one thing that big brands do very well is

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create a brand that is centered around the target audience,

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the person who would truly desire to buy this product and

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the small business space,

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we're really focused on selling.

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We're focused on making the next dollar.

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We focused on promotions and profit margins and we forget who's

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actually buying.

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So we are fearful of creating a brand that is representative

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of themselves,

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of themselves,

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meaning their customer.

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And I say this because you take any brand,

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for example,

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you can take a bag of chips.

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Like Lay's look at how they market Lay's brand is all

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about joy representing greatness.

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And when you look at their marketing,

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they're talking to that customer who just loves to have life

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fun, to enjoy things and everything around their marketing is centered

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behind that person.

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Versus if you were taking the same product and what would

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a smaller business just by modeling.

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I know it's a generality,

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but what would a small business be saying?

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Small business would be saying here,

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I'm a potato chips.

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They've been deprived with olive oil.

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They are packaged in this packaging.

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You can have them with your meal.

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Yep. They'll focus on the functional part of it and forget

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the why behind the reason somebody is having a potato chip.

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Yeah. I totally agree with you.

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And I think another difference with this is the emotional result

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of interacting with the product,

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whether you're eating it,

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wearing it,

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whatever, versus just the features of the product.

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Exactly. Yeah.

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I agree with you.

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The other thing I see and it's going to be no

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surprise to listeners is when people are just promoting product price,

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product, price,

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product price,

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here's my thing.

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Go buy it.

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Here's my thing.

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Go buy it.

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Which doesn't work.

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Yes. And so for me in the big brand world,

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we actually called it humanizing the brand.

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So we look at big brands,

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they really humanize the brand in the sense that their marketing

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is showcasing the emotion and the occasion as to which the

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product would be consumed at versus a small business.

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It's always a promotion.

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It's always a giveaway it's always buy now,

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buy now,

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buy now,

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which means that they're just focused on selling and forgetting how

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the customer is actually leaving right now.

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Yeah. And I think we do that.

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I'm going to stick up for people who do that at

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this point.

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I think why we do that is that's the closest messaging

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that we recognized too when we purchase a product.

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Yes. And we don't really think about all the other brand

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building the gaining trust,

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all the I'm just going to call them more lifestyle,

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photos and ads that really build us to the point where

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we're going to accept that ad that shows the product and

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then where you can go and purchase it.

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So talking to with someone then who has been doing it

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the other way,

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can you share with us a few steps of what you

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would suggest you start doing to get started to switch what

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you're currently doing to doing it a way that you teach?

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I would say the first thing,

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it's very simple.

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It's shifting from a product mindset to a brand mindset.

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And let me explain what I mean when you're building your

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business. I really want you to start thinking about building the

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brand first because branding is why people buy you.

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Marketing is how people find you.

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And I want you to start thinking about how can I

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make this a legacy brand?

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How can I make this leap beyond myself?

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Because when you start thinking about the brand,

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your mode of operating is going to be very different compared

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to if you're thinking about this as this is just a

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product I need to sell.

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So I want you to think about brand building first versus

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product first then brand.

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Okay. So define for me what you call a brand.

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What is a brand?

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What does that even mean?

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Brandy to me is the emotional resonance that your product and

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your business provides to the person who is buying.

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So if you're selling a candle,

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I love candles.

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What is the why behind your candle?

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And what is that emotional connection for me?

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Candle is calming it's peace.

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It keeps me grounded.

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That is why I buy candles.

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And if a CEO or a business owner could really push

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that messaging around purchase this candle,

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because it gives you peace.

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It signifies to me that they're understanding what's going on in

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my head as an entrepreneur,

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I'm running up and down.

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I don't have time for myself.

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I can be overwhelmed,

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but if I'm given something that grounds me,

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that keeps me centered,

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that allows me to be present in this moment.

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Then I'm really connected to that messaging versus a candle.

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This is my candle.

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It's lavender,

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it's 16 ounce.

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It's made of soy wax candle.

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I don't know what soy is because I'm not a candle

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makeup, but that messaging of the emotional connection is what would

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lead me to buy before I think about the soy aspect

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of Right.

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And so it's really easy because we're product based businesses.

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And we are ingrained in the day to day.

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If you're making,

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you're thinking about all of those things,

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but you have to have a different mindset.

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When you go and you start talking about your product to

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a customer,

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it sounds to me and you rattled this off very easily

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with lays.

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It sounds to me like one of the best first steps.

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If someone hasn't done this yet is maybe pick three adjectives

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of what you'd like to be associated with the brand.

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Yes. Then you getting out of product features and into more

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of the emotional end of the brand.

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Yes. You were just saying relaxing,

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calming, maybe reflective.

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If people like journaling,

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like I'm feeling like from those adjectives,

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then you can pull out what your messaging can be.

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Exactly. You know,

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it all drives back into those adjectives,

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right? And then how does that play out?

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As you continue to build out the brand As now,

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you continue to build out the brand because you've pulled out

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those adjectives,

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you're going to create a community that is magnetized by that

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messaging, right?

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So you're going to build a community that when they get

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you, they will love you.

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That will stay with you.

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And then it just continues to grow your business organically through

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word of mouth and referrals.

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And you know,

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the best marketing strategy for any product based business is word

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of mouth and referrals.

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Absolutely. So if you're literally starting,

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you start seeing that,

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Hey, I'm already making sales before even thinking about any page

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strategy, which is very different from what's currently out there in

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the market.

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We're leaning so heavily on the page strategy,

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but when you haven't refined your adjectives,

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your messaging,

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you notice that some more often than not the ads don't

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work the way they should be working at,

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or your business is so dependent on ads.

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And then your profits start to diminish.

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Absolutely agree with you totally there.

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All right.

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So that's great.

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So anybody who's never thought of it this way.

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This is your first big assignment is three adjectives.

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You know,

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what do you want your business to be known for?

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And when people interact with it,

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how you want them to feel.

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So that's pretty easy to do.

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Might take a little bit of thought,

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but it should be pretty easy.

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And then everything kind of flows from there.

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What do you say,

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Maureen? Big brands.

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You have a lot of money for photo shoots,

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have a marketing team behind them to create this messaging and

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all, and rarely would you ever see the C suite people

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of the brand,

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right? But in a small business,

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your C suite people is the maker.

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You know,

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it's the owner of the business.

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How do you see it?

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Different? Like do think they should be showing up.

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Face-to-face because you're just a smaller business.

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I personally feel like they should be showing up,

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but not just because they're a smaller business,

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just because people are looking to interact with a human being.

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You mentioned that the big brands have lots of money.

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Yes. They have a huge marketing budget.

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But what we would do,

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because I was part of that team,

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we would pay models to be the human being on our

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brand. Because right now you don't have the budgets to pay

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somebody. We want to see you.

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We want to see the person that's making it.

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We want to understand their struggles.

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We want to understand why they're doing it.

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We want to understand why they're pouring their heart into making

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that soy candle.

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You are the precedent.

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You are the human being.

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And as you continue to grow,

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you continue to bring models that are representative of your audience.

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Does that make sense?

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Yeah. Or you always stay involved and be forward facing person

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of your brand because you're the owner and people fall in

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love with you.

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Yes. So I'm going to suggest that as a smaller brand,

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you shouldn't be out hiring models.

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It should be you,

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maybe your employees.

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And I mean,

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if you got to grow really big,

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that's a whole different story,

Speaker:

right? But especially in the beginning,

Speaker:

it should be you because I feel like a lot of

Speaker:

people Maureen want to just hide behind the brand and are

Speaker:

really missing a good opportunity that It's literally what's happening.

Speaker:

It's always,

Speaker:

this is how I look at things in life.

Speaker:

And I'm very big on mindset.

Speaker:

Law of attraction is when we refuse to do something,

Speaker:

there is a deeper,

Speaker:

underlying reason behind it.

Speaker:

And what I have seen with my clients who are in

Speaker:

this space,

Speaker:

it ends up morphing into a lack of confidence and self

Speaker:

confidence in who they are.

Speaker:

And in what they're providing,

Speaker:

you shy away from being the face of your brand.

Speaker:

You shy away from being vulnerable.

Speaker:

You shy away from sharing your credibility because you're fearful of

Speaker:

people not receiving you well enough,

Speaker:

but I'm usually here to say that your business is not

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here to stroke your ego.

Speaker:

Your business is here to provide the solution for your customers

Speaker:

here to solve that problem.

Speaker:

Yeah, I think you're totally right.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

people are anxious and nervous about it because either they don't

Speaker:

feel comfortable on camera.

Speaker:

They think they're not good enough.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

I think most people who are making handmade products totally believe

Speaker:

in the value and the quality of what they're making,

Speaker:

it's just hard for them to tell people about it.

Speaker:

There's that barrier,

Speaker:

right? When they're really shutting off one of the biggest opportunities

Speaker:

that they have.

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Yes. Anything else that you would point out as a difference

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and a benefit as being a small product business versus a

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large brand.

Speaker:

I wanted to pause this discussion for a second to let

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you know that I recognize you may be feeling overwhelmed right

Speaker:

now. I mean,

Speaker:

I bring on great guests who are specialists in their fields

Speaker:

and we get into fabulous conversations that,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

can help grow your business.

Speaker:

So after the show,

Speaker:

you have all the full intention of grabbing a download,

Speaker:

making an adjustment to your website or any other number of

Speaker:

ideas that arise as a result of the podcast.

Speaker:

But what happens,

Speaker:

you get back to all your other activities and the momentum

Speaker:

you had gets lost.

Speaker:

What you plan to do is forgotten.

Speaker:

Then you feel bad because your business is going on as

Speaker:

usual without implementing anything that you know,

Speaker:

would help grow your business.

Speaker:

You're just too busy doing all the things like a robot,

Speaker:

moving from one thing to another without thinking,

Speaker:

because you have to,

Speaker:

I get it.

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I've been there,

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but guess what?

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There is another way since I recognized this exact behavior in

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my own business,

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I set out to do something about it.

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And now what works for me,

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I'm sharing with you.

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The second it arrives at your doorstep,

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Okay. Let's get back to the show.

Speaker:

Being a small business,

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you have so much power to shift and pivot when it

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comes to strategies that you're doing.

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And what do I mean as a big brand,

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there is so much protocol.

Speaker:

There is so much that has to go into innovation and

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to new strategies to develop,

Speaker:

but as a small brand,

Speaker:

because of how small you are,

Speaker:

you're so mighty and powerful in making a bigger transformation in

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creating and developing a strategy that could literally scale your brand.

Speaker:

And many people don't realize that power,

Speaker:

many people stick with the yoga,

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your mentality,

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what I did last year,

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I'm going to do the same thing this year and just

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add a little bit more,

Speaker:

but I want to come in and motivate you to think

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bigger. I want you to have a vision.

Speaker:

I want you to understand the why should my business be

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three years,

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five years,

Speaker:

10 years,

Speaker:

because you can make that happen because you're so agile.

Speaker:

You're so small and you can create massive blips in your

Speaker:

brand. Perfect.

Speaker:

Okay. That leads right into my next question.

Speaker:

So let's say everyone's buying into what you're saying,

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and we feel good about our product.

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We've gone out to craft shows.

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We see people are buying what we make.

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We're still making it ourselves.

Speaker:

We are open to hiring people to make the product,

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or even maybe outsourcing it for someone else to make.

Speaker:

What are the types of things that we need to be

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considering if we want to also sell wholesale.

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So getting into maybe some of the smaller boutiques in our

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area with the ideal long-term of going into potentially even big

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box stores.

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Oh, that's an amazing question.

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What are some of the ideas that we should be thinking

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about? Yeah.

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Like how do we know if we're ready?

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Oh, how do you know if you're ready?

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Honestly, that's usually a personal decision and this is why I

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say that because going into retail or adding an additional sales

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distribution is like another business that you're building within your business.

Speaker:

So do you have the mental capacity?

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Do you have the manpower and do you have the cashflow

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to sustain that additional stream?

Speaker:

If your answer is yes,

Speaker:

then you're ready to do it.

Speaker:

So challenge yourself and jump into it.

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When you jump into it,

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the different facets that you'd have to make sure you are

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ready for it.

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So for example,

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in retail,

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your product,

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you have to have a well-defined product that you want to

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sell into retail.

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That would be your best seller is the pricing and the

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margin for that product.

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Good enough.

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Are you going to gain sales and profits?

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Even when you go to retail,

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then you want to think about your packaging.

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One of the biggest things that's needed on the packaging for

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retail is barcodes.

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Can you invest in that if you don't have in my

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come with a packaging redesign,

Speaker:

so you'd have to think about your packaging strategy.

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Then you would have to think about promotion.

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When you get into retail,

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what are some of the marketing activities that your brand can

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do in store?

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How can you partner with other brands in the store or

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where should your be?

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Now, if you can have that piece of advice,

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if you're ready to scale to that level,

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then go ahead and do it.

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If you're not ready to do that,

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just don't do it and stick within e-commerce and just grow

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your business the best way that you can manage,

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Right? Or go into small local boutiques because in small,

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local boutiques,

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you want a well-defined product for sure,

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but you don't need to change your packaging for barcoding.

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And most of the time,

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the local boutiques are promoting the store traffic in.

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So there is like a middle tier there too,

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I think.

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Yes, because we're retail.

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What the retailer is responsible is putting your product on shelf,

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but you're responsible in driving traffic,

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bringing people to the location in store.

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Otherwise people won't find it,

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Right. That's a whole nother tier to talk about,

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because then you start talking about end caps or signage and

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all the packages that you would produce for the store to

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display. Exactly.

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So that's a whole nother line.

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And I think that gets way past what most listeners would

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be looking at.

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But one of the things that I do want to talk

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about, because this is where people fall down,

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you had mentioned cashflow and you know,

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it sounds so good.

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Like let's say,

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you know,

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you're at a craft show,

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you sell out every single show,

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even your e-commerce is going really well.

Speaker:

And then you decide,

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okay, I want to take it up another level.

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And another channel sales channel could be wholesale,

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but this is where,

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you know,

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what happens if you get a huge order,

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right? And then that's a cashflow issue.

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So could you share with us a little bit about that?

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Like ideas of what to do about it?

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Well, why it's a problem first and then ideas of how

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to overcome that?

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Oh, why it's a problem.

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First is because initially when we're making our products,

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we, what I have seen within my clients is we don't

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price our products to truly scale,

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meaning that we don't price our products to have a pricing

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tier for each channels.

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What we do is we just price our product.

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That would be a wholesale price,

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but we never think about if we added a sales rep,

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if we decided to go into store like your retail price

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or the direct to consumer price.

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So because of not having the correct pricing strategy from the

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beginning, your margins are Finn.

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And so when you try to add another channel,

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which will require more capital investments and operational costs,

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you realize I don't have the money.

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I don't have the cashflow to add something else.

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So the reason why it's a problem initially is because the

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pricing strategy before doesn't account for multiple channels,

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right? So always,

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I think sensitivity here is always,

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oh, I'm going to price my product too high.

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No, one's going to buy it Comes because you're thinking about

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it as product before thinking about it as a brand.

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Ah, yeah,

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you're right.

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If you start thinking about your long-term goals,

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like you've also been suggesting for us to do and where

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you're trying to go in the future and you realize that

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even though you're starting out and you're only selling a few,

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if you have your pricing,

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right. So that it's ready for those wholesale sales,

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then you're not going to have to go through price increases.

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And your pricing is all going to be in line right

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from the start.

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Exactly. So,

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and I wasn't even really thinking about sales reps yet,

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but you're absolutely right,

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because there's all these other underlying costs that you don't really

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think about when you're just starting.

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You're thinking about making the product and selling it to be

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quite honest,

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that's it?

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Yeah. You don't think about labor because as you continue to

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grow, you're going to hire somebody to do the work for

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you. You don't think about if you ever had a fulfillment

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center or a warehouse or a bigger kitchen,

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that's an operating expense that you will still have to cover

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and your product is responsible for.

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Right? Right.

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Absolutely. All those costs.

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And if you didn't bake them into your pricing before then

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when you scale,

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you realize,

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oh no,

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I'm either breaking even,

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or I'm at a loss.

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And so now you get into the field of scaly.

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I totally agree.

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Okay. So let's go back and talk a little bit more

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about branding as it relates to e-commerce.

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Now, is there a difference when we are creating our brand,

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we have our adjectives.

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We're really thinking about how we're going to present our message

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to the market now,

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by keying in on the feeling and the lifestyle and all

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the benefits that the product brings instead of the features of

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the product.

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So we've got all that down.

Speaker:

We've just talked about if you're going to place your product

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in certain areas,

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but what about my website?

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And I'm selling from my website,

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how does brand relate to that?

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Oh, when it comes to e-commerce,

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it's three things.

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When it comes to branding,

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we've talked about the messaging.

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The second thing is photography.

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Photography is really important in the e-commerce space because that is

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what people are seeing.

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It's very different to compare to retail because retail,

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we attaching the physical product on e-commerce.

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We don't have the ability to touch.

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So we really dependent on your photography,

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which it could be the actual product shot.

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It could be the how to use the product.

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It could be the experience.

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And now I'm talking about,

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if you're selling clothes,

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we have to show people how it fits your body.

Speaker:

So photography and experiential videos are what is needed.

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The third thing is customization.

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And what do I mean,

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personalize your brand,

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provide good customer service,

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respond to people on time.

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Just make people feel like you're present and it's not a

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bot running your entire business.

Speaker:

So the whole experience,

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when someone lands on the site being available to them,

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if they have questions,

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providing maybe pre done videos that help answer some of the

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questions to your point of how do things fit,

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right? Yes.

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Can you also do,

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I'm thinking in the descriptions of the products.

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Yes. You can do that in the descriptions of the products

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and write the descriptions in such a simple way that the

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customer would understand Easy words,

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not crazy hard words,

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Words, simple sentences.

Speaker:

Because a lot of people have the tendency to put in

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what is included,

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put in the complicated things.

Speaker:

And buyers are very simple,

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Unless it's something where you need the dimensions,

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because you need to know,

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like, let's say it's a jewelry cabinet.

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Yes. So it has to be appropriate to the brand.

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Obviously. How do you feel about video versus photos?

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I'd recommend doing both.

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So a combination,

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a company,

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Both video,

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because a customer would look at the video,

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see the rotation,

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how the product is,

Speaker:

but then they'll also want to look at the picture,

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zoom in,

Speaker:

completely read everything.

Speaker:

So I'd recommend both.

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Okay. Do you have a preference these days about e-commerce versus

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retail given the year that we just had?

Speaker:

What's your thinking there?

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Where should we be?

Speaker:

Or should we be in both places?

Speaker:

I presently skewed towards being in e-commerce and I say this

Speaker:

because of what's happened with COVID last year,

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but more importantly with e-commerce you have a lot more control

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on your business,

Speaker:

your brand,

Speaker:

everything it's you control the operations of that business versus in

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retail, you have very little control.

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Yeah. And I think specially for this audience of handmade product

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creators, you're also going to make more on your products.

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I mean,

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it's great.

Speaker:

And I'm going to still go back to local wholesale placements

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being in local shops.

Speaker:

Isn't terrible for sure.

Speaker:

You're going to get a little bit less margin by product,

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but you're going to be exposed to different people.

Speaker:

Cause I think the whole thing that the challenge I see

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Marine with some of the smaller businesses is they're just not

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getting the visibility.

Speaker:

Yeah. So wholesale can help a little bit with that.

Speaker:

I think it's all businesses.

Speaker:

Your biggest challenge in business is going to be visibility.

Speaker:

And so as a CEO,

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you're solving for that problem.

Speaker:

How can I 10 X my visibility,

Speaker:

but a lot of people always thinking,

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how can I tend X?

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My sales by your sales are a function of your visibility.

Speaker:

Sales come.

Speaker:

Second visibility comes first.

Speaker:

Exactly. Yeah.

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So when we think of visibility,

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there is mostly only one place people go.

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And that social media.

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Yes. I mean,

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that's the obvious,

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cause that's still the golden child.

Speaker:

It's the newest thing versus all of the options of getting

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visibility that have been existing long before social media was even

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a thing.

Speaker:

What types of tips would you have for us or expert

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advice do you have on the social media and For the

Speaker:

social media ad?

Speaker:

My biggest piece of advice is when you're starting pick one

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platform, be the master,

Speaker:

the expert in that platform,

Speaker:

in that channel,

Speaker:

before you start adding all the other channels that are coming

Speaker:

up. And I say this because a lot of people right

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now are swimming in overwhelmed because they're on Instagram,

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they're on Tik talk.

Speaker:

They're on LinkedIn,

Speaker:

they're on Facebook.

Speaker:

They're trying to do all those channels,

Speaker:

but they're not an expert in any of them.

Speaker:

And good marketing requires that you,

Speaker:

as a CEO,

Speaker:

you understand one channel really well.

Speaker:

You've really maximized the sales of that channel.

Speaker:

Before you add in anything else,

Speaker:

Completely agree with you with that.

Speaker:

Do you ever need to be on all the channels?

Speaker:

No. You only need to be on the channel where your

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audience shops your product that Okay.

Speaker:

So that I think everyone is like,

Speaker:

oh thank you.

Speaker:

That feels so much better than feeling like you have to

Speaker:

be on every single thing I'm starting to feel.

Speaker:

And this idea just occurred to me earlier this week,

Speaker:

Maureen is that I'm thrilled that there are new channels coming

Speaker:

up. Instagram keeps adding on different things because now it's getting

Speaker:

to the point where it's almost impossible to be on everything.

Speaker:

Yes. And so that's feeling actually better than when it was

Speaker:

more, there was potential of possibly being everywhere.

Speaker:

If you spent all your time with social media now,

Speaker:

it's like,

Speaker:

okay, there is so much out there.

Speaker:

Pick what's best for you,

Speaker:

clubhouse and even clubhouse.

Speaker:

Now all of that.

Speaker:

So pick what's best for you and Maureen saying go where

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your audience is.

Speaker:

It seems pretty obvious,

Speaker:

but I don't think we always think about that.

Speaker:

We gravitate to what we liked the best We liked the

Speaker:

best. And also what's out there in the market.

Speaker:

There's a lot of shiny object syndrome right now.

Speaker:

And I've also,

Speaker:

I'm not saying it happens just to make us.

Speaker:

It also happens to me.

Speaker:

Right? You can see your colleague,

Speaker:

your competitor doing one thing and you're like,

Speaker:

maybe I should try that.

Speaker:

But really what I want to tell people is just find

Speaker:

a path and stick on that path.

Speaker:

Yeah. I agree.

Speaker:

If it's working for you,

Speaker:

try some things,

Speaker:

tested out,

Speaker:

see how your numbers are doing vanity metrics.

Speaker:

Don't always equate to sales.

Speaker:

Something that we always need to remember.

Speaker:

It's not going after your followers or numbers.

Speaker:

It's how that's converting into sales coming into your business.

Speaker:

Yes. And just to expound on a test when you're literally

Speaker:

stuck fighting,

Speaker:

I don't think you should be testing many things when you're

Speaker:

in the emerging stage.

Speaker:

I just want you to focus on finding one platform.

Speaker:

So let's say you pick Instagram.

Speaker:

Dial-in what we talked about.

Speaker:

Your messaging,

Speaker:

your photography,

Speaker:

your personalization,

Speaker:

focus on that marketing.

Speaker:

And then when it comes to sales,

Speaker:

sell your product anywhere.

Speaker:

However, you can just do it.

Speaker:

Someone e-commerce do offline to pop up,

Speaker:

do trunk shows like really?

Speaker:

Because at that stage,

Speaker:

it really trying to prove out.

Speaker:

If you have a proof of concept,

Speaker:

once you have consistent sales,

Speaker:

then give yourself the chance to start testing things out when

Speaker:

it comes to marketing.

Speaker:

Beautiful. That's excellent advice.

Speaker:

How do you feel about some of the past traditional marketing,

Speaker:

like direct mail,

Speaker:

newspaper, radio,

Speaker:

all of that.

Speaker:

If you have the budget,

Speaker:

I just feel like now getting onto media is sort of

Speaker:

expensive and close to impossible.

Speaker:

So if you have the budget to hire a PR agency,

Speaker:

I would say do it because you'll still notice that people

Speaker:

have magazines at home.

Speaker:

You'll still notice that people get flyers and direct meals in

Speaker:

their mailbox.

Speaker:

So if you have the budget to do it,

Speaker:

but what I usually say is for your product,

Speaker:

let's say you're shipping out a box,

Speaker:

have an inset,

Speaker:

have a flyer,

Speaker:

let that insert show the different products you sell because people

Speaker:

will actually look at that.

Speaker:

And more often than not,

Speaker:

we keep insets,

Speaker:

but through the Good point.

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Yeah. Okay.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

and I don't think we can discount local magazines as Well.

Speaker:

No, we Can't.

Speaker:

You know where the cost wouldn't be,

Speaker:

especially if you have a local audience specifically.

Speaker:

So, and many people that have combination of both two,

Speaker:

for sure.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

Share with us a little bit about how you provide services

Speaker:

to the community.

Speaker:

For branding.

Speaker:

I mentioned a couple of things in the introduction,

Speaker:

but give us a little bit of a lowdown of how

Speaker:

you're servicing the industry.

Speaker:

Oh, I'm servicing the industry is through my consulting agency where

Speaker:

we really focusing on teaching product based entrepreneurs,

Speaker:

the sales and marketing strategies that they need to scale their

Speaker:

business and become a household name.

Speaker:

And we have two tiers.

Speaker:

We have the product profit lab,

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which is the entry level into beta,

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where we really focus on teaching you how to build a

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brand, increase your profits and ultimately maximize sales.

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And then once you graduate from that incubator program,

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you move into the big brand academy where we are now

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focusing on teaching you how to create predictable seven-figure stream of

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revenue, how to systematize your business so that you can become

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a market leader without killing yourself in the process and how

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to leverage the data that you already have in your business

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right now to scale very big on data strategy,

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no scaling is hidden in your data.

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You don't need to have complicated funnels to do make more

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money. Scaling is hidden in your data.

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Beautiful. Absolutely.

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What do you see for yourself as you're moving forward?

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I see myself building an agency.

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I see myself building an agency that will also help businesses

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like refine their messaging,

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do the photography,

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build the websites that convert.

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And in addition to that,

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grouping my foundation.

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I have a foundation in Kenya that primarily focuses on educating

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the boys in Kenya through high school to college.

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And I really want to expand my legacy in that front.

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Oh, Beautiful.

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Do you go back regularly?

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Oh yes.

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I'm actually going back in December this year.

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Last year.

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I didn't go due to COVID but I'm going back in

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December this year to start finding my footing and how to

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expand my mission.

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Oh my gosh.

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Well, we talked in the pre-chat about Kenya.

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You know how much I love it there and I just

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carry your suitcase in December.

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You can come with me.

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Okay. All right.

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Final words of inspiration for people who are listening just a

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little bit more about branding that really so that when they

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get off,

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they take action and they do something with this Two things

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let's down.

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The adjectives that define your brand.

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The second thing is,

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think about your customer,

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who do you want to truly serve?

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And how are you solving the problem that they currently have

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once you have that,

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right? Your value prop statement and begin selling.

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Beautiful. And as you said earlier,

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I wrote these words down cause they really resonated with me.

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We want to get our customers magnetised by our messaging.

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And I love that so much,

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Maureen, thank you so much.

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I really appreciate it.

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I think we're going to be switching some people's ideas about

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what branding is all about.

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It's clearly way more than colors,

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what your logo looks like and your tagline.

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It's way more internal for it to really work.

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So that's what you've brought to us.

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Thank you so so much.

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I've so enjoyed talking to you today.

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I've loved this conversation so much.

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Thank you for having me.

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What a great conversation about branding.

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Here's a perfect example of what I was talking about in

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my mid roll message.

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I want you to give some thought to what your three

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branding adjectives are.

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If you can't do it now,

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that's okay.

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Write a reminder somewhere,

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perhaps in your inspired planner,

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to think this through and analyze whether your adjectives are coming

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across on your website in posts and elsewhere.

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Next week,

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we're going to hear from a well-established business owner who has

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a lot to share about what makes her company a success.

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Thanks so much for spending time with me today.

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If you'd like to show support for the podcast,

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leaving a rating and review helps the show get seen by

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more makers.

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Here's a nice note from Loreo 17.

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It reads,

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I love this podcast.

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I just discovered it a few weeks ago and I've already

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learned so many helpful things and taken some actions that have

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really helped my business.

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Thank you.

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I love this Laurie.

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It's exactly what the show is intended to do as a

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loyal listener.

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There are other ways to show support for the podcast to

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visit our brand new shop for a wide variety of gift

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biz paraphernalia like mugs,

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t-shirts water bottles and more featuring logos and quotes to inspire

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you throughout your day.

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They make great holiday gifts too.

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Can be shipped throughout the U S and are available at

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gift biz,

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unwrapped.com forward slash shop all proceeds,

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help offset the cost of producing this podcast and now be

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safe and well.

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And I'll see you again next week on the gift biz

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unwrapped podcast.

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I want to make sure you're familiar with my free Facebook

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group called gift is breeze.

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It's a place where we all gather and our community to

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support each other.

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Got a really fun post in there.

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That's my favorite of the week.

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I have to say where I invite all of you to

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share what you're doing to show pictures of your product,

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to show what you're working on for the week to get

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reactions from other people and just for fun,

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because we all get to see the wonderful products that everybody

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in the community is making my favorite post every single week,

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without doubt.

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Wait, what aren't you part of the group already,

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if not make sure to jump over to Facebook and search

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for the group gift biz breeze don't delay.