The Secret to Building a
Better Brand in 2022

At this time of year, we often think about how we can improve both personally and professionally. We are bombarded with content about New Year’s resolutions, cleanses, bootcamps, overhauls, revamps, makeovers, and courses that promise “21 days to a better everything” and more.

In fact, January has been branded as the “New Year, New You” month.

But when it comes to building a better brand, it’s a marathon not a sprint. The strongest, most compelling brands are focused on clarity, consistency, and connection year-round.

If you want to create a strong, resonant brand in 2022 and build an audience of loyal fans and followers, now is a great time to put these steps in motion and commit for the long haul.

Asses and Polish Your Assets

There’s no better time than now to audit your digital assets and marketing materials – your website, social platforms, product packaging, customer communication etc. Do you have a brand book that includes your message, mission and vision and a style guide that outlines how your logo and color palette should appear visually across all mediums? Is your logo, color palette and messaging consistent everywhere a potential client can find you online?

Liz Dennery describes Ritual as a brand with a great thru line

If you visit health and wellness company, Ritual, online, you’ll see a clear and consistent thread to their message and visual branding, whether you go to their website, Instagram profile or Twitter account. Their tagline, brand message, color palette and commitment to transparency is apparent on every channel. Their values around transparency and traceability are embodied in their communication, packaging, and imagery. This is the brand thru line you want to achieve.

Find Your North Star

In the marketing world, there is a term known as the “North Star Metric,” which was coined by startup investor, Sean Ellis, to simplify meetings and help teams focus on one common goal. Traditionally it was defined as a concrete way to measure growth within an organization, but it has evolved to encompass the value your customer gets from paying you for your product or service.

A few North Star Metric examples include:
Loom: Videos with a view
Patreon: Creators Making Money
Picnic: Monthly Groceries Delivered on Time
Zoom: Weekly Hosted Meetings Empowering People Through Video Communications
Spotify: Time Spent Listening

In working with hundreds of clients – from start-up founders to lifestyle brands – I have found that identifying your North Star Metric can provide the direction, inspiration and clarity that is needed for your brand to succeed.

A few questions to help you identify your North Star:

  • What is the value our customers receive from paying for our product or service?
  • What do people pay us for?
  • Why do our customers choose us over our competition?
  • What is the end result our customer gets from our product or service?
    • The sweet spot North Star Metric combines both the value you provide your customer and a measurement for success.

      Our North Star Metric at SheBrand is Women Building Influence.

      Clarify & Hone Your Offer

      It is often said that a confused mind never buys. If you aren’t clear about exactly what you are selling – the end result that your client buys from you – then you likely aren’t going to get a lot of takers.

      The key here is to effectively communicate the result your customers get from buying your product or service (hence the North Star Metric) and focus on the true benefits they receive from the engagement. Sharing your brand story – and the stories of clients that have come before – will encourage and invite them into your world.

      Helping potential clients clearly see the path to their success and their end result through your product or service is the key to a strong offer.

      When you inspire their hearts and minds, you make an emotional connection.

      Brand Strategist Liz Dennery describes Glossier as a brand who has always known their intentions and continues to communicate effectively with their audience

      Cult beauty brand Glossier has always been a people-powered beauty ecosystem that puts skincare first. Even though they offer makeup products, their focus has always been dewy, glowy skin through essential, uncomplicated products. Skin first, makeup second.

      Glossier established early on that their intention was to engage, connect, inspire and entertain. They asked questions and created community. They connected their loyal fans with each other and featured user-produced content on Glossier social channels. They took their customers feedback and concerns seriously and developed their product offerings based on this information.

      In other words, they built the brand based on the result their consumer wanted (dewy, glowy skin!) and they continue to connect with her and take her seriously.

      Harness the Power of Testimonials

      It’s one thing for you to share how great your products and services are, but it’s much more powerful and effective when it comes from someone who has used and experienced your brand firsthand.

      Our digital economy today is powered by user reviews and testimonials. Consumers are more cynical than ever and are much more likely to believe a trusted friend or co-worker than a brand touting their own wares. With easy access to resources like Yelp and Google Reviews, consumers are doing their own research before making purchasing decisions.

      In 2022, ask for and leverage testimonials and reviews. These can easily be featured on your website and social media channels, and you can share them directly through email marketing campaigns. Put a process in place to ask for a review after someone purchases your product or for a testimonial once they have achieved positive results from using your service(s). Stay in touch with your customers and treat them like the VIP’s they are. Before long you will have an army of brand ambassadors selling your products and services for you! Word of mouth (or should I say, mouse?) in the digital economy is a very powerful thing, indeed.

      Leverage Media & Influencers

      Much like getting 5-star reviews and glowing testimonials, working with the media and influencers can have a powerful impact on your brand. A feature in a traditional media outlet or a shout-out from a celebrity or an influencer with a large following can take your brand to the next level.

      I’ve seen it happen repeatedly in the last 20 years. When Britney Spears was photographed wearing a Hale Bob top and the image was featured in People Magazine and USWeekly, it sold out in a weekend and the brand did $50K in sales. When Jennifer Aniston mentioned how much she loved an Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup palette we sent her during an interview, it sold out within 48 hours and they couldn’t keep it in stock.

      When we gifted products from CBD and sexual health brand, Simon Wolff, including their CBD bath bombs and must-have Sex Elixir, to some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, Simon Wolff received shout-outs on social media from Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rutherford, Angie Harmon and Garcelle Beauvais. And when Kendall Jenner received the “Blessed” nameplate necklace we sent her during the Thanksgiving holiday from Simone I. Smith’s jewelry collection, she not only posted multiple images of her wearing it on her IG Stories, but her Dad posted a picture with Kendall and Kylie on her feed.

      Women's branding expert Liz Dennery exemplifies how to leverage media & influencer power by getting a Simone I. Smith necklace photographed on Kendall Jenner
      Kendall Jenner (with Caitlyn and Kylie) wearing the Simone I. Smith “Blessed” necklace

      But you don’t need The New York Times or Vogue Magazine or even A-list celebrities in Hollywood to put your brand in the spotlight. Start small. Identify a handful of local media outlets where you would like to be featured and start following local journalists on Twitter and reading their posts and articles. Get familiar with their coverage and connect with them before you pitch them.

      Select a handful of local “celebrities” – television news anchors, politicians, socialites, biz owners etc. – and send them a gift box with your products or a gift certificate to try out your products or services. Start developing relationships with local media and influencers to introduce them to your brand and potentially leverage their networks and fans.

      For more information on working with celebrities and getting perceived celebrity and influencer endorsements for your brand, check out these videos here and here. They are a bit dated, but the information is still relevant today.

      Building a powerful, successful brand takes time. It’s your clarity, consistency, and dedication to doing the work to regularly connect with your customers that will ultimately create your tipping point. But don’t wait. Follow these tips and start today.

      Want a little extra help creating a more compelling brand in 2022? Pick up a copy of my book Style & Substance here. It’s both a guidebook and workbook that takes you step by step through building a solid brand story and foundation.