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.
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.
Here’s a quick peek at what their website is doing as of today:
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.
Find more product packaging & branding inspiration here >>>
I am a dog person. And though dogs will never rank up there with my kids, I can definitely relate to having a well-groomed pooch. But Quad Webb-Lunceford of Married to Medicine fame, is taking this concept to an altogether different level. She’s launching a new line of couture clothing for dogs called Picture Perfect Pup. And of course I’m fascinated by her brand concept and how reality TV will impact her launch.
First let me just tap into Twitter demographic mode for a moment… This morning I read a tweet from her design partner Reco Chapple….
I adore this man’s energy! And industry numbers have even better news. Overall US sales in 2014 for all pet supplies (within which doggy clothes fall) are forecasted at $13.72 billion dollars. That’s billion with a big ol’ B. So while not all of this segment is about puppy clothes – it is a pretty sizable market.
At the same time, the pet industry is contracting a bit. This market now includes fewer dog owners overall; and even fewer who will ever make the investment in a luxe doggy brand – no matter how adorable or well promoted. Luxury brands are always exclusionary. My thought is that they should take a look at the well-executed examples of “Affordable Luxe.” You do remember the collaboration between Target and Neiman Marcus for the myriad of designers that they’ve launched at Target stores? I bet this would be a very viable angle for Quad’s team to consider because it can convert more of the viewing audience delivered by BravoTV into customers. For Married to Medicine the average number of weekly viewers for their new episodes is about 1.8 million people.
So Quad can thank both Bravo and Mariah for making her relevant. (I’m completely kidding about the Mariah factor – but Mariah has a great brand concept brewing too if she’ll take note. I’ll discuss that in my next post.)
So here’s what I love about Quad’s new venture. First, it’s an extension of who she is. She personally comes off as likable, charismatic, driven and original and that bodes well for her emerging brand.
I also love how she’s added a non-profit to the mix to raise money and awareness for Canine Companions for Independence. This was a really good move. Her argument that she’d purchased school supplies just didn’t lend enough credibility to counterbalance the “superficial factor” raised by her husband on the last episode.
I think her brand will also scale really well. She can extend her line beyond clothes and offer accessories and other products.
There is definitely a market for her brand if it remains a pure luxury offering. I can envision this in boutiques frequented by the pet-pampering, disposable income set. However, I think “Afforable Luxe” branding concepts are the way to go for bigger profits.
I’ll be watching to see how Picture Perfect Pup is ultimately rolled out to retailers. I can’t wait to see the particulars.
Stay very busy Ms. Quad.
My daughter Kristen has just graduated from college with a degree in fashion design and has been tapped to design a line for a luxury sustainable wood eyewear company. (whoooohooooo!) And in a series of conversations over the past few weeks we touched on brand positioning – as each of the people involved is representing and nurturing their own emergent brand.
From my outsider view – the eyewear company has a high-end, green/sustainable, kind of edgy but meticulously hand-crafted eyewear product/brand. (It’s a pretty cool product and I would like a pair myself… but I digress…)
My daughter’s brand perspective provides a global design aesthetic with a focus on the melding of color, creativity and texture. So then in this collaborative environment, how can each new brand be positioned synergistically?
In this case, the eyewear brand should lead and the designer should follow because it is important that a new product company with a narrowly focused line not be diluted or eclipsed by a designer’s brand.
However, the benefit of bringing a designer in (which btw is a great idea for other micropreneurs to consider) means that the designer should influence and add to the product story. It then becomes a great angle for the product company’s marketing and sales materials – even for those launches with a limited time engagement. With proper handling even an emerging designer with a strong perspective can help craft the story for the product company. And the benefits for the designer will be numerous as well.
I think there are other cases where mature companies can take somewhat of a back seat and exist more as the platform. Take the Target and Neiman Marcus collabo for example – a rather brilliant program all the way around. They sought to bring in hot leading designers to launch “affordable chic” lines for the following impressive design roster:
Alice + Olivia, Altuzarra, Band of Outsiders, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Eddie Borgo, Jason Wu, Judith Leiber, Lela Rose, Marchesa, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Philip Crangi, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Robert Rodriguez, Rodarte, Skaist-Taylor, Thom Browne, Tory Burch and Tracy Reese.
In this case, all of the brands were well known – and each lends its own credibility and depth to the experience. It also broadens the reach for both Target and Neiman’s. The lines are introduced to an entirely new entry-level market and presumably as they mature (read: have more disposable income) they will seek out the true luxury buying experience with Neiman Marcus.
Ahhh…. yes, balanced collaborative branding takes a considered approach but as in these two cases, it can be a brilliantly executed experience for everyone involved – including the consumer!
Hey there. I’m back just jotting down my answer to a question posed to me today from one of my clients that I thought may interest you. She wanted to know what my top four suggestions were for adding residual income streams based on my own personal business building experience. Great question.
Here they are in no particular order:
1. Create an application that will provide a solution for the core problems your own customers are facing. Think automation, sharing/collaboration, or data mining.
2. Create and sell your own branded information products including e-books, white papers, how-to guides, etc.
3. In this same vein, create a self-guided online course for your clients.
4. Add a much needed/requested service that you don’t currently provide for your clients. Outsource it to a trusted and competent provider and keep a percentage of the income.
I have personally seen each one of these ideas grow business profits exponentially.
Recurring revenue allows you to secure a client once and bill them for value-added services over a specified amount of time. It’s an ideal model for creating reliable and sustainable income while you focus on securing new customers. Plus, when your company has profit centers that generate income in a number of different ways, the risk that your revenue is negatively affected by an economic downturn or market change is significantly reduced.
The idea of creating recurring revenue streams is not new at all. As an example, think about your last mobile phone purchase. Most likely you signed on for about 2 years of service in exchange for paying a lower price for your phone. That’s just one example of how to incorporate a recurring revenue stream into your business model.
So while recurring revenue is not new, what is particularly exciting today is the ability to use technology to automate and deliver a number of recurring revenue programs in a digital format using your website, QR codes, smart phone, mobile apps, in-app purchases, or through an eLearning platform. Technology gives even the tiniest of companies an opportunity to automatically deliver quality services and make money while you sleep.
Today’s most nimble businesses are re-thinking how they make their money and how they structure and automate their company’s profit centers using technology to control things like:
° Automating everything from your Lead Generation and Sales to Content and Product Fulfillment
° Service, Maintenance and Customer Support
° Booking & Direct Payment
° Subscriptions to Members Only Website
° Product Training and Certification
The sooner you get started building recurring revenue streams, the better. Build them once and capitalize on repeat sales which grow exponentially over time.
Now go out there and get paid for your knowledge and your content!