Jenni here, and today I want to take some time to talk about a question that has come up a lot in the past several weeks. The particulars of the question "Do I Need To Separate My Brands?" vary from one form or another, but the basis has to do with how you're segmenting (or not segmenting) your ideas, products, or customers across the various places your brand lives on the Internet.
I'm going to give you a couple of examples, the first of which we heard while in a sales class several weeks ago. In the class, we met a woman named Cynthia. Cynthia runs a food delivery and catering business and she said:
"I have two target clients. One is a busy mom that will buy my food direct and the other is a company that will hire me for catering services. Do I need to have a different website for each?"
The short answer: No.
Why: For Cynthia, her core brand mission is the same for both groups. She's delivering beautiful, soul-filled soups and it doesn't matter if it's to a home or a business. Her financial or operational model might be different, but the core messaging around her service is the same. She might have a page on her website that says "Soup Subscription," and all of the language would be targeted toward busy moms and the benefits of her soup delivery service. She'd have a second page that says "Catering" and language targeted toward businesses. But she doesn't need two websites.
When would you need a second website (or set of social platforms)? Separating out your target markets becomes a good idea when one of the following things happen:
1) Your target markets have vastly different pains
2) Your core mission when it comes to alleviating that pain is different
An example of when separation is good: Last month I was coaching a creative who had a toddler clothing line. Her business had evolved overtime, and she'd started offering sassy women's tees as well. Several years later, her husband started a home decor line focusing on the tech/geek crowd. They started feeling too thin managing several different Instagram and Facebook accounts, and decided to fused the three companies (and their products) under one brand.
And guess what? Everyone was confused.
The sassy women's tee line had a totally different voice her toddler line. Women came to the toddler line looking for sweet gifts or darling baby clothes. Women came to the adult like looking for bad-assery and funny tops. And the tech home decor? That was not even in the universe of apparel.
More importantly, her core mission for with each was different. And, her target clients in each line had different needs and pains that didn't have much overlap.
So we strategized, and she separated things out. She's offering a baby line that has promotional crossover to her adult line, and her husband's home decor has it's own completely different home.
Sometimes defining who you are, what your vision is and who you are for, can be hard. So we have created a Define Your Brand Values worksheet as a simple exercise to help you get started.
Download it, and get started on defining the heart and soul of your business.
For those entrepreneurs out there that always seem to have 3 or 4 possible businesses going at once — I have a few thoughts. First, is that you should know that if you talk to 10 branding strategists about how you should house your brands, you might get 10 different answers. That's ok. What that means for you is that segmenting your brands is more about where you see natural overlaps between your passion and what your customers are coming to learn / buy /do.
Secondly, I like to employ what I call "the sweat test." If you can explain to someone how your coaching business is related to you traveling yoga company without breaking into a sweat, then you're probably on the right track. Now, being able to talk cohesively about your brand will take some self awareness, a lot of practice, and maybe The Brand Plan to get you sorted — but in the end if you don't have clarity about how these customers will have a cohesive experience, then they might not either. But if you have the sneaking suspicion that your business ideas are connected, don't be afraid to get into the messy middle and work it out.
My final thought comes in part from Christine Day, former CEO of Lululemon (and stolen from a post that Sophie wrote a few weeks ago). If you're still confused, remember that people don't need perfect brands. According to Day, what people really want is a brand they can belong to. They want a brand who leaves space for them to connect with the core passion and invites them to rally around a genuine experience.
Ok, those are my thoughts about brand separation. Let me know if you have a branding question that we can help answer, or if you've made any adjustments to your brand strategy as a result of this post. We love hearing from you!
Getting clarity around whether you have 1 brand or 2 depends on knowing who you are. But finding the rights words and phrases to define who you are, what your vision is and who you are for, can be hard. So we created a Define Your Brand Values worksheet as a simple exercise to help you get started.
Download it, and get started on defining the heart and soul of your business
This can be something you can do on your own or in a group of like-minded business owners for your next mastermind group or co-working session. Getting unstuck can take a village, so getting an outside perspective from fellow business owners can be enlightening.
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