Latest posts by Renae Bunster (see all)
- 5 Good Reasons Why You Should Not Start A Business - April 17, 2019
- 5 Reasons Why Your Brand Is A Piece Of Shit - April 10, 2019
- How To Have A Successful Business In 4 Easy Steps - April 5, 2019
UNPROFESSIONALISM DISCLAIMER: I’ve based my entire business off of a swear word based product. A delightful hot sauce called “Shit the Bed” – buy some today! My writing style is indicative of my no Fs given attitude. If you can’t handle that please move along for your own safety but for the rest of you filthy potty mouths read on…
The title of this article might seem a little aggressive, like I’m having a go, but 4 years ago, in 3 separate meetings with branding experts THEY ALL SAID THIS TO MY FACE!
I was about to embark on a Crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a custom made bottle for my hot sauce and it was all wrong. All so very, very wrong:
But isn’t my $5000 custom designed one of a kind 3D printed keyring awesome?
WTF were we thinking? Not much to be honest. Many meetings at the pub with mates who stroked our egos and said: “This is brilliant, yeah I’d deffo buy it. That’s so cool!”
Your friends are your worst enemies at these times. They’ll tell you what you want to hear and are too scared to tell you that your idea is a bit shit. They aren’t the experts you should be asking for advice from. Bless their cotton socks, but it’s bad advice from well meaning mates that often sets you up to fail.
I was all set to launch my ill thought out campaign and MAKE SQUILLIONS OF DOLLARS! The last thing I did before getting started was I ran it past a few branding bigwigs over a coffee.
They all said: “This is a piece of shit that doesn’t make any sense? If I was you I would go back to the drawing board and learn about branding and packaging and tailor it to who is going to buy this product. If you go ahead with it like this, it will fail.”
I was crushed. But I took their advice, as much as I didn’t want to. I couldn’t deny that 3 people had said the exact same thing to me. So I turned my now useless $5000 3D printed grenade prototype into a snazzy key ring. So it wasn’t all a waste.
I then took a long backpacking holiday, as I now realise you can only do when you don’t have a thriving business (or screaming child) to look after. I thought about lots of things while hanging out on a beach for a few months.
That’s the best way to get inspiration. It was on one of these deserted beaches that I thought: “Bugger it, when I get home I’ll make a ridiculously super hot sauce and I’ll call it Shit the Bed just for a laugh. I have nothing else to do now.”
I made it and it instantly went viral. I then knew what NEEDED to be Crowdfunded. The rest is history.
Back before the baby could talk. Those were the days.
HOT TIP: Ask the right people for advice, not your mates. If you have an inkling your idea isn’t good enough go back to the drawing board!
What did I learn that turned my brand from a piece of shit in to what it is today? Sorry but I didn’t learn it in one Linkedin article. Brand is such a hard thing to define, but to quote that bloke: “You know what it is when you see it”.
I started by focussing on the following 5 points and the brand grew from there. Once I worked out who my customer was, what they wanted, and what content resonated with them, the brand strength grew every day. If you’re guilty of these 5 errors then please start making changes. A brand is what you FEEL and THINK about a company. And once someone feels your brand, they’re with you for life.
1. Who even are you? Like, literally?
What does the “About Us” section on your website say about YOU? Is it all about how great your products are and how much people should buy your products, because your products are the best?
I click on About Us because I want to know who the fuck you are and why you are doing this. I want to feel something about you so I can decide whether I want to give you my hard earned money. If I want to know about your products I’ll click on your products.
Ever noticed how some About Us sections are just a minefield of cringe – like mine is:
Jesus titty fucking christ that makes me look like an egotistical dickhead. CRINGE.
But it allows my customers to look into my eyes and see the person who came up with this foul mouthed hot sauce. You can then decide if you want to hear what I have to say. My customers are primarily men, so marketing wise a photo like this is a good move. If I made skin care products for middle aged women – a photo like this would not be appropriate.
HOT TIP: Put a photo of yourself or your team who created the business on your About Us section. Show us some personality in that photo. Make me FEEL something in my cold dead heart.
2. You have no why, so why should we give a shit either?
Also on your About Us section you have to tell us why you are doing this. If you don’t it’s pretty obvious you’re just trying to make money.
Got nothing to say about your why? I think you should quit your business right now.Seriously if you have no reason for why you are doing this other than “I want to make money” you will lose your passion for this business in the not too distant future. Give up now. You need a good why to get you through the dark times that are coming. And trust me the winter is coming.
HOT TIP: Do you have an origin story on your website? What is it? Tell us your why. Give us a reason to want to support you. Make me FEEL something in my cold dead heart.
3. You think your “logo” is your “brand”
You have to think of your brand as a person. How does that person speak, what do they talk about, why do they talk about that, what do they think and want. That is brand.
If all you spent time on was your logo – guess what you’re that shallow vain person who only cares about what they look like and has no personality!
Spend a little less time thinking about your logo, website design, business cards and a little bit more time thinking about what your brand has to say to the world.
Just look around your office right now and look at the people in the office as “Brands”. Which brand would you buy from?
That boring c*&t called Stephen who works in admin and has worked at the company for 25 years. He likes to play golf, his wife left him and he never complains about anything or tells you anything personal about himself. He just smiles, eats a sandwich and a banana for lunch every day and gets on with his work. You avoid talking to him at all costs. Being stuck in a silent elevator with Stephen is hell on earth.
Or the Brazilian guy called Goncalo who works on the marketing desk who screams when something good happens, cries when something bad happens and tells you how sad he is that his kids don’t play beach volleyball or soccer like real Brazilian kids should because they grew up in New York. He is funny and in your face and personable and you can’t shut him up. He’s a hoot.
I will buy Goncalo’s beach volleyballs over Stephen’s golf clubs any day of the week.
How much personality has your brand got? Or has it just got a “nice haircut” logo and that “6 pack abs” website and not much else to keep the conversation going. We might shag you once, but we ain’t gonna marry you.
HOT TIP: Think of your brand as a person. How do they talk, what do they look like, if they were a celebrity who would they be. What do they like doing. If this does not match with your personality that’s fine make this stuff up! This is the brand you must create if you want to attract customers who are like minded. This is how you build a “tribe”.
4. Your “Brand Name” is also your “Product Name” so what happens when you expand your line of products?!?
I had this issue for 3 years and it pained me. It was so confusing for my customers. When I see a company has done this (usually in the food industry) alarm bells go off in my head. It’s clear you haven’t thought shit through at all.
If you have made this error – PLEASE PLEASE FIX IT RIGHT NOW! You must have a “Brand Name” and then completely different and specific “Product Names”. If you don’t sort this out immediately you’re headed for a massive head fuck when/if you become successful.
Trust me. Been there. Done that. Fixed it. Now killing it. Don’t confuse your customers, build your brand from day dot and give your products a chance to shine in their own right.
5. You don’t communicate anything, so it’s clear you’re just trying to make money!
Communication is done on social media. So take a look at your last 5 posts.
Are you a disembodied voice who never shows themselves?
Are you constantly trying to sell your products? Right-hooking away at people. BUY BUY BUY.
Are you just complaining about the political situation in your country or urging people to vote?
Are you just talking about your personal life?
Are you talking about the fucking weather? Talking about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative. It really is time to quit if you’re doing that.
If you don’t know who you are or who you are talking to and you have nothing to say, then it’s obvious from your social media posts. You will be turning people off.
HOT TIP: Learn what the hell “jab jab jab, right hook” means. This article will point you in the right direction. If you can’t be bothered reading about the principle, please just give up now.
IN CONCLUSION: If you don’t tell people who you are, why you are doing this, the problem you are trying to solve, what your brand stands for, what’s going on behind the scenes, your struggles, your wins, your personality – all the things that make you YOU – then people won’t feel anything for your brand and they won’t open their wallets.
You are Stephen standing in the elevator wondering why no one will buy his shit….
MY HOTTEST TIP: Work out who’s going to buy your products and where you are going to find them, again and again. That’s the most important thing you should be thinking about. If you got your business cards made up before you even considered where you will find your customers you have a lot of work to do.
FUN FACT I don’t even have a business card. I say this:
Internet savvy, no waste and no fucks – that’s “on brand” for my company
Here’s a few examples to help get your head around brands in my niche:
Bunsters Hot Sauce – Quality, good ingredients, Aussie owned and made, honest, funny, good customer service, good banter, your mate.
ABC Sweet Chilli Sauce – Low quality sweet crud, mass produced, faceless multinational money making company I feel nothing for.
My Local IGA: Family owned, friendly, high quality foods, they care about their customers, they stock delicious food, the shop is always packed. I always spend too much money here! Smells delightful.
Coles Supermarkets: I feel like I’m in Cuba again. The shelves are empty. The staff don’t know anything. Where is the nice stuff? They have no fresh Dill or Basil? The toilet paper aisle feels post apocalyptic. This must have been what it felt like after the War.
Let me know in the comments what brands you love or loathe and what the good brands do that make you feel something in your cold dead heart.
If you read this far and learned anything please give me a thumbs up. But if you’re paralysed by the fear of looking ‘unprofessional’ by visibly engaging with an article of this nature then give me some love over where you won’t be judged by that mole from HR who already wants to get rid of you:
Featured image: Unsplash