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.
I’m just going to jump into the fray here. And it’s going to seem sudden to some of you – but I’ve been a die-hard fan of reality TV since I can’t tell you when. My local Atlanta market is teeming with reality stars – and so I’ve decided to launch my self-indulgent series entitled Branding Reality. Here I’m going to talk about my fascination with the shows and the brands and business opportunities that emerge and soar from the fifteen minutes of fame afforded to all.
There is an art to making reality TV work for you and not against you. In fact I think you MUST enter the whole realm with your eyes wide open and a real plan in order to reap the deeper benefits. Because let’s face it, you give up sooooo much of your privacy and sense of peace to be on these types of shows that it better pay off for you in the long run.
Thankfully, most of the women on the Real Housewives and Married to Medicine (Bravo franchises) seem to have a plan – or else they’re coached by others to help them get to the next level. And though it makes for good gossip some of the reality stars just aren’t prepared for the spotlight and I’ll highlight those cringe-worthy/brand-decimating moments too…
In any event – let’s get started… My current favorite standout from Sunday’s episode is Lisa Nicole from Married to Medicine. Let’s just say that judging by her website she’s not new to branding and marketing. Her nickname is Ms. Millionaire Maker – so it’s really no surprise that she came on the show this season primed and ready to go.
I’m going to state the obvious here – these shows are edited for ratings and are frequently designed to cast people in such a poor light in order to build the hype. But so far Lisa Nicole’s personal brand get’s an A +. She comes off as approachable, authentic and secure – no doubt balanced by her off-screen accomplishments.
Lisa Nicole’s branding lessons for you: She is the poster child for multiple streams of income and it all intertwines beautifully on her website. Just to do a bit of geeky analysis here – Did you notice the name of the MLM organization on BravoTV? Her marketing and coaching programs seem to leave it off as well, which kind of suggests that she discovered the secret of doing well in an MLM structure. Either get involved early in a successful MLM and really work to build your downline or funnel the traffic off into your own side-hustle. Kudos – that’s well played.
I’ll also be tweeting along with the shows to provide my insights as they occur to me – so follow me @costorybrand on Twitter.
My father is joining the ranks of retirees starting online business ventures and he’s in his 70’s. When you think about it, being a micropreneur is a perfect way to share his many years of business knowledge without having to leave the comfort of his home office – if he so chooses. And it’s a perfect way to create additional revenue to supplement his retirement.
At his age, though he has seen and done a great deal and if you’re in the same boat – it may be hard for you to pin down a particular area on which to focus your new company. I believe it is a waste of time to write out an entire business plan if you’re still not sure about your business concept – instead try what I call the Affinity Marketing Proof of Concept Phase.
This Phase occurs before you write a business plan. You start with an idea and the goal is simply to test your market and prove or disprove and refine your marketing message and concept.
To launch a business you need to determine if you can make any money at it. Otherwise it’s simply a hobby or pastime. If you want to see if your business has merit with a Proof of Concept Phase, you’ll need a:
- Fuzzy idea of what you want to offer (product or service)
- 1 or more Facebook pages
- Twitter account
- Custom Logo files which can be used on all the social media platforms
- Identity – enough about your concept to fill out the basic information on Facebook and Twitter
- Placeholder URL is optional – but I like to have it just in case the idea takes hold. If you don’t end up using this particular URL – you can redirect it to the site you develop later or resell it.
You then simply set up your accounts and begin talking about your concept about 2 – 3 times per week and do a bit of announcing and cross posting on all your social media platforms. Watch to see the audience that shows up to hear what you have to say. Tweak your content every once in a while to see what people respond to. (Hint: People hate the oversell, so make the Identity all about them – NOT YOU)
At first things will likely be slow to take off – with Facebook, there is a tipping point at around 200 people or so. If your idea resonates, this is when the page “Likes” will take on a life of their own – even if you’re not posting new content very often. At this point, you’re simply collecting names and analyzing the common threads amongst who shows up.
I recommend spending a bit more time on Facebook than on Twitter because Facebook “Likes” have more long-term value. Just follow these ideas for engaging your audience and if you find your page taking off – and reaching in the 3, 4 or (*gasp*) 5 digit Number of “Likes” – begin working on your business plan and main site. You may just have something there worth pursuing.
Keep in mind, you can launch multiple Proof of Concept Facebook pages to test your market, but the key is to listen to what people begin to talk about around your particular concept and to capture the characteristics about your perfect customer. Not everyone who presses “Like” will be a perfect customer to you.
This is one of the fastest ways to:
- determine if you have a market at all
- mine that market for their needs; and then
- fulfill the needs of that market.
Technology and the ease of social media make the Proof of Concept Phase one of the fastest ways to the money, and one of the smartest ways to find the details you need when you write out your full blown business, sales, PR and marketing plan.
At the end of the Proof of Concept Phase you’ll know what the market pain points are, what skills you need to have (or hire) to help your target market and the price they’d be willing to pay. And depending on your skill set, YOU can do all of this with less than $100.