Unicorns don’t appear overnight. Contrary to popular belief, they’ve most likely 1) successfully connected their brand story with potential customers above and beyond the bottom line and 2) did their due diligence when deciding on their brand positioning. That being said, there are startups out there that defy watchdog trends. That’s the case with BeardBrand, a company dedicated to beautiful beards.
Tell the story of why you are building the business and why people should purchase from you. You won’t ever be able to win on price; so build that personal presence. – Eric Bandholz, co-founder of BeardBrand
BeardBrand: A Case Study
BeardBrand launched January 28th, 2013 with only three products and little capital investment. A bootstrapping start-up, Eric and his co-founders created BeardBrand after Eric attended the 2012 West Coast Beard & Mustache Championships in Portland, OR. As a beard aficionado, Eric’s passion for facial hair led him to start a blog and YouTube channel, sharing content and slowly positioning himself as an authority in beard upkeep and maintenance.
What started as a passion project slowly led to the revelation that a niche group of men from around the world were in desperate need of premier facial hair care products.
Four years later, BeardBrand has gone from a $1k/month side project to a full-time paying gig, with estimates of nearly $60k/month in late 2016 (source).
SO HOW DID BEARDBRAND DO IT?
With little market research prior to launching, BeardBrand relied on community feedback. Sourcing their inspiration from what the niche market shared online, BeardBrand tailored their company – and brand – to meet those needs.
Here’s How to do What BeardBrand Did
Telling a brand story is more than sharing snapshots of behind-the-scenes moments and production outtakes; brand storytelling is best done when you immerse yourself in the world of your target market and become one with the consumer.
What are their pain points?
What do they wish existed that could make their life easier?
BeardBrand didn’t just create an avatar, they became the bearded men they serve. So while Eric may have had a leg-up on the competition by being a bearded man himself, BeardBrand shows us that listening to your consumer (in this case through social media channels like Tumblr) and then responding with a solution created a better brand story than entering a market that only thought of the bottom dollar.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE TO YOUR OWN MARKETING EFFORTS:
- Don’t worry about niche numbers, in fact the smaller the niche the more passionate the potential customer tends to be about the subject and the more loyal of a customer they will be to your product/service
- Immerse yourself in the world of your customer by asking yourself: what are their pain points? What do they wish existed that would make their life easier? What are everyday experiences that influence this area of their life?
- Scour social media and create conversation in authentic and relatable ways
- Use your customer’s language in your brand’s story, from newsletters to social media, to create instant connection
- Don’t be afraid to be different
With more access than ever to your customer’s needs and desires through social media, building a brand story that aligns with their needs is a no-brainer.
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