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Expanding Your Brand when you’re on HGTV. A Case Study on Fixer Upper, Magnolia Market and Chip and Joanna Gaines

Expanding Your Brand when you’re on HGTV. A Case Study on Fixer Upper, Magnolia Market and Chip and Joanna Gaines

I am in the process of scaling back my consumption of Reality TV while I ramp up my intake of news stories I’m researching for this project. I have to tell you that whenever I find myself taking in too much negativity I must find balance somewhere.

Enter HGTV – my largely positive and favorite special interest channel.

One of my favorite shows – Fixer Upper revolves around Chip and Joanna Gaines. They are a super-cute and very talented couple that create wonderful new spaces in older homes for families in the Waco TX area. They are awesome at the transformation process.

Brand Insights:

Chip and Joanna are engaging, funny and have very good energy. Their out-takes are everything. Their expertise, along with Chip’s really funny (and sometimes really gross) antics, will pull you in. Even if you’re not a fan of her specific design style I’m going to predict that before long you will Google them and… you will discover that they have their own website featuring their work with local real estate, a silo project, and an online retail component Magnolia Market.

They are in demand. Social media shows that they people want them to be cloned because they don’t want to move to Waco, but instead come to them to build and design their personal projects.

 

Geek Notes:

Here’s a quick peek at what their website is doing as of today:

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My Quick Insights and Analysis:

  • They are ranking pretty high in comparison to their local competition, no doubt due to HGTV’s influence.
  • I’m not surprised to see that people are searching for Joanna, but I am surprised to see that Chip isn’t ranking on that keyword list. Chip has an opportunity to strengthen his part of the brand.
  • Perhaps their e-commerce component is the weakest link? Recently, their shop was temporarily lagging behind in delivery times which suggests (though I can’t be certain) that with their current team they can’t keep up with the amount of traffic that HGTV is pushing their way.
  • It’s a pretty intense undertaking to scale e-commerce when you consider all the details like buying, customer service, technical support, shipping and logistics, returns, etc. And that’s without all the other ongoing business ventures. This is why DIY e-tailing is not my first choice especially when you have a large media following or smaller budget. But, if they wanted to stick with product sales, I would choose to license their brand, and negotiate the outsourcing of the whole retail enterprise to someone who has the infrastructure to handle everything really well.
  • Given all this – they might want to explore other less resource-intensive revenue streams. My long-term choices for Chip and Joanna would probably be paid public speaking gigs, classes and/or workshops and a series of lifestyle books that incorporate the energy they bring to their show each episode. Specifically for Chip, I would suggest doing his books on transforming old homes and building new ones, with his insights on how to be a great husband to a great wife.
  • There are a few takeaway’s on Sarah Susanka’s brand expansion in this building/design area.

I hope they capture and hold onto their raving fans and consider their long range plans while they dance with a medium that is always changing (I remember Susie Coelho, do you?)

Wishing them much joy, great adventures, ever expanding circles and time to do more of what they really love.

Cheers!

Lise

 

 

Branding Reality : Will Arranged Marriage Become a New Business Trend? Ask the Love Doctors.

I am fascinated by both the instant controversy and the disruption opportunity sparked by Married at First Sight – a new reality TV show on the FYI network. Promoted as a social experiment, complete strangers are first matched by experts, and then subsequently married without so much as a handshake or first glance. The show’s concept met with much skepticism and outright criticism prior to its debut; many feeling that it made a mockery of traditional marriage and family values.

Now that a few episodes have aired I see the tide changing. Throughout my Twitter feed, Married at First Sight is now widely praised as relatable, authentic and different from “regular” reality TV.  The experts on the show include: Chaplain Greg Epstein and Drs. Joseph Cilona, Logan Levkoff, and Pepper Schwartz – each of whom are very well positioned to launch the next eHarmony.com. Founded by clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony.com has topped over a billion dollars in cumulative revenue by focusing on compatibility questionnaires without the benefit of its own reality TV show.  I think the Married at First Sight concept could be expanded to give tired daters immediate access to their end goal – making me wonder whether this is the new multi-billion dollar success formula for dating marriage sites.

This social experiment has the ability to be an influencer in the wider matchmaking market as well. So even those companies and experts outside the show in any matchmaking, wedding planning, coaching, or love-connection company can maximize on this reality TV trend by entering the conversation socially or by adding a new twist on their marketing campaigns and/or service offerings.

Though we are only a few episodes in – should successful relationships emerge between the couples – I can foresee that there will be plenty of consumers who long for the same type of service.

Forget The Bachelor/Bachelorette concept – I think FYI is onto something. Let’s see who rides this reality TV trend…

 

Working Successfully with Creative Visionaries

Yesterday I was in the presence of a visionary. We began talking about one subject and found ourselves 2+ hours later in an altogether different place – with many stops along on the way. I enjoyed our conversation immensely. It’s what makes my line of work so interesting in fact – following a person’s train of thought and then distilling their ideas into a tangible product, brand or service.

That’s the key though – the distillation process. Where visionaries sometimes find frustration is in their attempts to create a website or a branding statement is when they attempt to include all of their ideas in one place. Sometimes this does work if it’s branded under a particular personality or larger entity. But what often ends up happening is that most people don’t follow, give up and move along. And that’s a shame – because there is so much to be learned by working with someone with an extraordinary vision.

If you are a person with many ideas and you don’t want to pick just one – here are a couple of quick insights to share with you:

  • I was reminded yesterday by Ms. Toni that all of your ideas don’t have to be thrust upon someone during a conversation all at once. If people follow and remain intrigued then by all means go forward with the conversation. If not, back off until they have reached common ground once again. I loved her insight (and her home-grown tea)!
  • This second issue comes up over and over with my clients – don’t let a single website be the place to dump every idea you’ve ever had without a clear delineation of your brand concept. Because even the best of us with the capacity to follow along a winding trail of thought will wonder what the heck you’re talking about. Instead consider your audience and then add another URL or sales page to detail and elaborate on your next idea. In this way you can capture the specific audience you want and then ask them to take the next step with you.

That’s it for now…

Cheers!

Lise