Brand Association in the Market
I wanna go to Shawna, cause Shawna stalked me in the break and asked about this, so now she gets to be on stage.
Actually while Shawna's coming up we have a question from ButterflyVanessa9, she's getting the impression that positioning is the same thing as branding yourself. But is there in fact a difference?
There is in fact a difference. Positioning, is part of, marketing, it is also a part of branding, and part of informing your branding. Branding I would say, for lack of a very solid definition right this second I'm so sorry, but branding I would say is more thinking about your overall image. The overall story that you want to tell. And within that overall story, you're making choices about how you want to be perceived, and how you want to be positioned in the market. So absolutely those things go hand in hand, and semantically there are differences and there are very real differences as well. But they're absolutely related. Yeah, great question, thank you. Alright, remind us, ...
who are you, what do you do, and what market are you participating in?
So, Shawna Brandis, ShawnaBrandis.com, which totally needs to be redone, but that's another story, we'll get to that in another part of this.
And primarily right now I'm a birth doula. But I'm switching over to more prenatal coaching, which will kind of just blend into, later this year, more just life coaching, cause my focus is definitely more about, researching or questioning personal freedom, and how you do that by staying really present where you are and that's, I focus that into birth work but it's life work.
Absolutely, okay, I totally get it. So, what is the conversation that you're participating in?
I mean, I can say it's birth but on the broader spectrum it's definitely personal growth, but we'll stick to birth at the moment cause that's just where I am right now.
Yeah, absolutely and I think probably I would encourage you to think too just about kind of women's health, in general, women's physical health and women's mental health.
Because you have this great experience of working with women in such a vulnerable and intimate time in their lives when they're going through huge transformation and I think that that very often, that experience, both for women and as a provider, very often relates to a larger conversation about where women are at with their physical health and where women are at with their mental health, and that might help you position or brand your, the way you want to relate within a much broader conversation about personal growth.
Alright so let's talk about birth, for now. What's at the low end of the market?
I would say just a lot of entry level doulas, who are doing great work but their doing it for experience. They're new in the business, and I am too, but I've got some experience behind that.
Okay. Can I suggest to you the low end of your market is actually what to expect when you're expecting?
That's the low end of your market. It's a whole section at the book store.
Yeah, because a lot of times, that is literally low end, I mean it's, $15, $30 for a book, maybe women are buying three or four of them, but still these are the things that they're choosing to guide them through this part of their lives.
Cool. So let's, we don't have to answer all the other questions about that, well no, let's answer the one question about values. What do you think someone who's choosing to purchase books over maybe someone, maybe they don't even know, about doula services, what do you think some of the values are of people who choose to buy a book on birth instead of...
It's definitely do it yourself. It's definitely I don't want anybody else's influence, I'm kind of reading and picking out what I, pick and choose what they want, out of what they're reading, and it's accessibility and easy, and on their own time.
Absolutely, absolutely, cool. I would also say like to consider, maybe like lamaze classes or just birthing classes in general on the low end of that market as well. And I think that reflects a very similar value set. I think it also reflects a value set of this is just what we've always done, this is what women do, this is what my mom did, you take a class or you read the book and you've got it figured out.
Or you hope you've got it figured out, cause you know you don't have it figured out, you just really hope. So what's at the high end of the market?
What came to mind is a local doula who is really kind of one of the pre-eminent ones in town. Brit Foreman, and she's really kind of positioned herself as an expert, which she is cause she's been around forever, even before anyone even knew what a doula was.
[Indiscernible] Cause a lot of people don't know what it is.
Oh good let's tell them.
I should tell then.
Just thought I'd throw it out there.
A doula is a professional labor assistant. So someone who is there to not do anything medical, but to really assist the mom in a more emotional, psychological way, through her experience.
Yeah, D-O-U-L-A, correct?
It's a cool thing to find out about cause I think it's such an emerging market. So there's actually a lot that a lot of people could learn about it, even if you don't need a doula.
Okay so tell us, aside from positioning herself as an expert, what other decisions has this particular doula made to be able to charge top dollar?
She charges top dollar because she's chosen to only do home births, and I think because she's so busy, I mean she's a prenatal yoga teacher as well, doing a lot of workshops, so, my guess is that she doesn't take as many clients as maybe another doula who might take four or five a month, she's very exclusive.
That is super interesting. So not only on top of her deciding to perhaps be exclusive, but she has gotten it to the point then where, she's got a whole market of people who would love to work with her because they've worked with her in yoga or they've worked with her in workshops and so they're aware of her, they're interested in this relationship, so she, gets to pick and choose who she works with, right?
Yeah, that's really interesting and really key for being able to position yourself at that high end. Having that support structure. Having that support structure also pays your bills. It may not matter that she charges, I don't know, cause I don't know her business model entirely and I don't know her, but it may be that her one to one work is maybe a labor of love, and even though it pays top dollar she might pay the bills almost exclusively through everything else. Which is a really interesting position to be in in business. I run my business kind of similarly. And it's great for me, it keeps me inspired, it keeps me engaged, it keeps me constantly learning. So yeah, so that's super interesting as well. Alright, let's talk about your business. So what decisions have you made to this point that you really see as supporting the pricing structure you wanna have?
I mean definitely my trainings, I accept new trainings all the time to just add to my skill set, even if they're not something that I focus on whether it's adding acupressure, massage, just adding it so that I'm building up the just what I'm capable of.
Is that something you talk about on your blog, and your email, marketing, on Facebook, is it something you talk about or is it something you kinda keep to yourself?
I do, I mean I have a section on it on my page, my trainings. And it comes up you know usually right after I do something I'm really hot about it so I'll have some explosive blog post or something about it.
Yeah I think that's probably something, we haven't gotten much into advice yet, but I think that's probably something you could do more of. Not so much just saying hey I have this certification, or hey I took this class, but, just kind of really casually bringing it in. If your taking a class on acupressure if your taking a training on acupressure, there's probably some tips you could give to your audience that they can use them whether they're pregnant or not.
And then that's something that reinforces the experience and the training that you have and at the same time really delivering value to the prospects that you have.
Exactly, cause I'm trying to, obviously in the work I do, it's primarily for women who are pregnant, but I'm trying to create relationships for those who are not pregnant right now, but who maybe a year or two years from now, when they are, will come back to me. And I did exactly that, right after the acupressure one. I did one that was about pressure point on the foot about reducing anxiety, and it was for everybody, it wasn't just for birth. So I'm trying to build those relationships.
Cool, so you alluded to this earlier. Tell us about some of the decisions you have made or that you kind of just abdicated on that effect what you can charge.
Well I'm definitely setting myself apart in certain ways. I have more of a mindfulness based approach to what I do. And I'm finding more and more how unique my stance on the work I do is. Many, doulas are very passionate about natural, no medication kind of births, and that's why they got into it cause they're so passionate about the body's natural way and miraculous way of giving birth. And I used to be that way. But I now come at it from, this is your story, this isn't about me, and I don't really care what you choose I'm just there to support you. And I'm finding how unique that is.
And people are searching me out exactly for that.
Because they don't want the person who's like, no you shoulda done this, judgemental about their own choices.
So my focus definitely sets me apart. And my unique offerings like I said getting into the prenatal coaching, taking that doing an online program I just don't know anybody who's doing that. So I'm definitely going into stuff that is new and different
Have you done anything that's, or made any decisions that have negatively impacted your ability to price?
I don't know if it's, well yes. My website for sure. I did it before I, when I was still at my old full time job before I had left to do this. And I didn't have any clients, so I didn't have money to really spend on it, it was really kind of just get it up. And now I'm at the point not even a year later I'm like I just really need to do this all over again.
That's totally common by the way.
Exactly and my copy as I'm looking back on it, it's so wordy and it just, being a part of Kickstart Labs, and B School and everything's just kind of helping me to focus. It's nothing that I did wrong, it just was what it was, and now I'm at a point where I have to, I know more, the clarity is coming and now I just need to have my vision is clear, and I just need things to look according to my vision so people will see that.
Absolutely and I think that brings up a really good point which is that so often the decisions that we make that negatively impact our ability to price, were non-decisions. We didn't know, or we chose not to care, or any of these things and that as we evolve and grow as business owners, as our businesses evolve and grow as our customers evolve and grow, we need to come back and reconsider. And it sounds like you are exactly in that process right now, which means that you are moving ever closer to a point of being able to charge whatever it is that you wanna charge to position yourself in the market wherever you want to be, and that's huge. So if any of you have been making non-decisions, this whole time, it's time to pull up those details and think about what it is that might be effecting how much you can charge.
I will say one thing I probably should've done much much earlier because what I do is so intimate, and I'm chosen for who I am, cause there's lots of fantastic doulas around, so I'm chosen for me, they pick me because they connect to me, and although I've had a blog from the beginning, I didn't really get into what truly could showcase me which was video. And I challenged myself a few weeks ago on my blog to do a video blog that was one take, no edit, just be real I mean I ended up crying on camera and I did, I just slapped it up, put it out there, and I got so much amazing response from it. And I wish I would've done that earlier, cause now it's turning a new leaf of how I can connect and bring people to me.
Beautiful, really cool. Thanks Shawna.
Alright so before we start wrapping up and take some final questions I want to give some homework. There it is. Cool, this is your day one homework. Essentially I want you to keep going. It's really important to do this research and think very intentionally about the work that we've been doing on this particular low end to high end activity. So continue to do this research, continue to do this work by researching additional brands and noting their choices and their pricing. Research additional brands and note their choices and their pricing. Is there something you notice about their website that really catches your eye and really seems to be a conscious choice they've made to help them price the way they want to price? That has helped them position themselves in the market. The way they want to be positioned. So continue this homework, make sure you've got a list of at least let's say five brands, that represent a whole spread in the marketplace. Next up, it's time to share. So what brands would you like your business to be associated with in the market? So get on Twitter, get on the chatroom, hit up the hashtag TaraLive, what brands would you like to be associated with in your markets? Bridgett, what brands would you like to be associated with?
There's a few, I'm kind of obsessed with Elizabeth Rider. And Sarah Janks and Nisha Moodley.
Okay awesome, I know the last two. So those are some great aspirational brands. And you know, this is really easy, when you start thinking about what brands you wanna be associated with, how do you know when you've gotten there. How do you know when people think of you that way? They start mentioning you in the same sentence. So maybe a year from now, somebody's sitting in your seat and when they're asked the question, what brands do you want to be associated with, your name pops up along with those three. So that's a great way to get there. Susan, how do, what, bla! What brands do you want your jewelry business to be associated with?
There are several, they're not super high end. They're costume jewelry, but I would say like $50 to $300 range jewelry lines. Fenton and Fallon is one. Dream Collective.
Excellent, good. And it's not important that I know or that anyone online knows who any of these people are, what's important is that you know who these people are. And that you've made a list. Do we have any answers to this question online? What brands do you want your business to be associated with? No, did I catch you off guard?
no, they're just we're still waiting. Regina's put it in there, thank you Regina, we're still waiting, they'll come in.
We'll check back with you Regina. What questions do we have coming in from online? I'm sure there's a few.
Questions, okay, go ahead.
Yeah Lisa from Baltimore is saying, what are your thoughts on improving the design or make of brand and presence beyond the Ecommerce platform? Into high end retail stores that specialize in perhaps in artisan work, and those retailers who help elevate the brand and become advocates and long-term business partners?
Yeah, well, first of all, thank you for thinking that way. That is exactly the way you need to be thinking about make your businesses have phenomenal branding, positioning, and pricing partners in the retailers that they are sold in. So kudos for thinking about that that way. One is to make sure you are at the right trade shows. So beyond Ecommerce, when you're actually getting out and physically talking to buyers. You can wow them with your booth setup. You can wow them with your merchandising, you can wow them with postcards, and flyers, and just even gosh your line sheet. So that, making sure that whole experience represents something they want to have in their store, that's huge. Also, make sure you're going to these stores and you're checking out the packaging and the merchandising in those stores. Does your packaging live up to the packaging of the brands you want to be merchandised next to? Does the way, does your little earring card or your necklace display, does that live up to the brands you want to be merchandised next to? And don't forget that these retailers are looking back on your website too, or they're at least looking at your product photography. We mentioned product photography with Tiffany earlier. If you can supply beautiful product images to retailers, they're going to much more easily imagine you being in their store, and then that will give you the extra kind of in that you need to get in somewhere. And start thinking about those retailers as real strategic partners, so great great question.
We've got some comments coming in, and Grayston will come back with a question. But Sparkling Yoga Girl says she's bridging her markets between yoga and self care, so it's Amy Poblete, did I get that right? Amy Poblete? And Jen Louden.
Yeah Ceno8 is saying Martha Beck, Danielle LaPorte, Barbara Share, and Jen Louden again. She seems popular.
She's very popular. And the FlowerProject is saying Mary Follett and Danielle LaPorte again.
So a lot of similar brands.
And we have a question from Riley, regarding the mentions of branding yourself, could you elaborate? Good graphic design isn't cheap, even a cheap brand positioning needs to be well though out.
Absolutely, absolutely, yes. No graphic design isn't cheap. I think when you're considering good graphic design and thinking out a well thought out lower end brand, you need to focus on what's going to make the biggest impact. So what are your customers going to see first? What aspects of your web design or your packaging or your merchandising in a store are customers gonna come in contact with? And invest in the things that make the biggest impact as soon as possible. So you know your logo is a huge one. Maybe just the overall design of your site. Just the template that you use. And perhaps all the different pages of your website, or all the different pages of your catalog even. Maybe they're all the same template, maybe they all look the same, but that template is top notch. So think about that. What are the things design wise, graphic design wise, make the biggest impact and make it as quickly as possible. So that you can maybe cut some corners, without cutting back on the story that you're telling. Because that's going to help you price more the way you want to be able to price. Whether that's on the lower end or whether that's on the higher end and absolutely I agree that lower end brands need to really consider brands as well. [Indiscernible]
NathanP and this is not prompted saying, I'd be very very happy if my brand was associated with yours Tara.
That's very very nice. Now Photon is saying I'm in health care. And my primary motivation isn't money. It's helping people, but they're wondering how they can position themselves and brand themselves in the way that you're suggesting now with other brands in that area. But still remain accessible, still without devaluing their offering.
Yeah, so, health care can be tricky. Because I'm not sure if you're talking about the insurance marketplace or not, or being within working within the insurance marketplace or not. Accessibility yes, but you have to think in terms of leverage, we're gonna talk about this a lot more tomorrow so please tune in then. But you gotta think in terms of leverage, how can you serve more people, and still be able to, so you can charge less, but still be sustainable for yourself. Even if you're goal isn't the six figure business, the seven, the eight figure business, no problem, but you still have to be sustainable. So go back to that question we asked earlier. How do you want to live? And what do you need to earn to get there? Make sure you're covering those bases. And then you can think about scaleability and leverage. And I think that that tends to be the way you position offers so that you're not devaluing things. Most of us think about health care being expensive because we have to go and take 30 minutes of the doctors time or we have to go and see a health coach one on one, or a nutritionist one on one. So if you only charge $30 to see somebody one on one, absolutely that pricing is going to devalue you. What you do, or potentially could devalue what you do. So the way you get around that so that you can offer the same kinds of solutions, the same answers to questions the same ease of frustration is you serve more than on person at a time. So instead of doing a one on one consultation you do a workshop and you do that workshop for 20 or 30 people, and you get 20 or 30 chronic migraine sufferers all in one room, hopefully they don't have migraines that day, and you explain, okay these are the strategies that you could use. Have you tried this, have you tried that, have you eliminated this, have you added that, and maybe not everything applies to everybody, maybe not everyone can get that hand holding that sure they would really like, but they got in the door, they got to answer their question they were able to really get their problem solved or at least feel like they're on the way to a solution you've been able to do it at a much lower price, and you kept it sustainable without devaluing the offering.