All Articles Tagged "branding"

‘America’s Next Top Model’s Raelia Lewis & The Difficult Rise To Modeling Stardom

October 17th, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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Photo credit: Marcus Palmer

Photo credit: Marcus Palmer

For many young girls around the world, modeling is a glamorous dream, bolstered by gazing at pictures of supermodels on the pages of Vogue and practicing a signature runway walk in front of the mirror. For many young Black girls, it is even more difficult for this vision to become a reality.

It may be considered a fantasy by most, but the fact is modeling is a job and it requires business sense, hard work, and determination in order to make a living in the field and grow one’s brand. Deep into the 21st cycle of America’s Next Top Model, Philadelphia native Raelia Lewis is a standout, not just due to her height of 6 feet, ½ inch tall, but also because of her fierce determination to make her name known within one of the toughest industries to ever exist.

Getting her start as a model at the age of 15, Lewis began sourcing her own modeling jobs and photo shoots. “I did some local modeling and by the ages of 17, 18, I branched out and became a freelance model and started to source my own jobs and photo shoots,” Lewis tells us. The work of getting her name and look noticed, much less referred, on a consistent basis was challenging. But for Lewis, the hard work was something that she loved doing. Fast forward six years later and Lewis has made it onto millions of television screens as one of Tyra Banks’ Next Top Model contestants. With a curly weave makeover and tips on how to refine her runway walk, viewers have witnessed Lewis’ transformation into a new kind of model — one that’s discovering the power in her height, body, and mind.

Being self-aware, particularly as a Black fashion model, is important. Modeling agency founder and director Ellen Wasser-Hrin, of MMA/Model Management Agency in Pennsylvania, has seen young women and men rise in their respective modeling careers for 25 years. If you want to be a fashion model, you must have certain body measurements. “Fashion models in the major markets are typically 5’9 to 5’11 and a size 2, with measurements of 34-24-34,” Wasser-Hrin says. “Features of the face should be symmetrical. However, in commercial markets there is a need for a variety of sizes and shapes. Local models do not have to be as thin as they are wanted to be in New York City.”

Even with the right measurements, a perfectly symmetrical face, and endless amounts of energy and fashion sense, Lewis recommends that you focus on yourself. “It’s really tough being an African-American woman in the modeling industry,” Lewis says. “There aren’t too many of us, ever. There is always the ‘token’ or ‘ethnic’ African-American woman model, but there are never enough of us, period. Sometimes I don’t know how I should come off because I may not know what the client or agent is necessarily looking for. All I can do is walk into their offices, be confident, and not let that stop me. There are opportunities out here and I may not book every job, but I just focus on the things that I know I can do and go for it.”

Speaking from the other side of the casting table, Wasser-Hrin also has some valuable advice for all women of various ethnicities that hope to realize their supermodel aspirations. “Send photos to a variety of agencies and be yourself in your pictures as well as in meetings and do not get discouraged. One must have confidence and talent in front of the camera if an agency is going to take notice and want to represent the model or talent. It is important to ‘shine’ from the inside out, so live a healthy lifestyle and show your personality and positive attitude at your castings. Also, never pay an agency for representation.”

To a certain degree, having the “right look” requires a stroke of luck in the genetics department. Still, whether you want to see your face behind a Sprite campaign or strutting on a runway, there are fundamental elements of business that should be highly considered to put you ahead of the pack: knowing yourself (both inside and out) in order to market your brand effectively; being mindful of what is in your control and using that  to your advantage; being attentive to scams; being consistent and persistent; and keeping yourself open to opportunity and change.

“Nothing worth having comes easy, no matter what you want to do in life,” Lewis declares after looking back at how far she has come with her modeling goals. You just have to be willing to work and troop through anything that comes your way. You will get so many no’s, but you have to want it. If you don’t want it, then you won’t see why it’s worth it.”

Nia Long Joins Regina Hall As A Brand Ambassador For White Diamonds Lustre

July 14th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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whitediamonds2014Nia Long has been tapped to become a new brand ambassador for the White Diamonds scent, joining Regina Hall as an ambassador for the brand.

Launched more than 20 years ago, it is one of the top-selling fragrances on the market with more than a billion dollars in sales. Some of the proceeds from her Elizabeth Taylor Fragrances are earmarked for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Long will help introduce a new product,  White Diamonds Lustre Elizabeth Taylor.

“Elizabeth Taylor said White Diamonds was her ‘Diamonds In A Bottle,’ and that’s what Lustre really is to me – Lustre just adds that extra sparkle,” said Long, who will be starring in WE tv’s first original scripted drama series, The Divide, premiering Wednesday, July 16.

The company is hoping to pull in a new, younger market with Long, describing the new product as sparkling with “the energy of youth, the vibrancy of a strong personality and the mystery of what might come next.”

Back in May, it was announced that Regina Hall would also be serving as a brand ambassador for the perfume. “Whenever I do red carpet looks one of the things that I like is to always make sure that there’s a sense of elegance and class,” Hall told us a couple of months ago. “And I felt like [Elizabeth Taylor] always exuded that.”

Elizabeth Taylor launched her scent with Passion, which was an instant success and was soon followed by Passion for Men. White Diamonds was released in 1991 and has become Taylor’s most successful fragrance grossing $61.3 billion globally in 2010, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.

“With the launch of her first fragrance in 1987, Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion, she built a fragrance empire and one of the most successful brands in fragrance history,” a statement from the company said (via CNN). “White Diamonds remains a best seller almost 20 years after its 1991 introduction, a testimony to her transcendent and enduring appeal. Our best tribute to Elizabeth Taylor will be to continue the legacy of the brands she created and loved so much.”

“Branding is everything these days, but to attach yourself to something that really has a legacy behind it,” Long told us in an interview just last month. Read more on that here.

PR Lessons From That Infamous Elevator Video: Keep Your Cool. You’re Always Being Watched.

May 19th, 2014 - By Rana Campbell
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via @Beyonce on IG

via @Beyonce on IG

If you were like me when the footage showing Solange attacking Jay-Z in an elevator was released by TMZ, you were probably thinking, “What the hell happened?” While many people have theorized and expressed on the details of the night, I actually thought there were some great personal branding gems that came out of the incident.

Here are three tips on personal branding I learned from Solange, Jay-Z, and Beyonce.

1. Pick your battles wisely. This gem came from Beyonce. It’s never cool to flip out in public. Though I don’t know the details of what really happened, whatever it is, Beyonce chose not to react while she was “out of the house.” This serves as a reminder to not only keep your composure in public, but to also decide which battles you want to fight. If you really believe you need to intervene in a situation, then do so, but be ready to justify your actions. Maybe it just wasn’t worth it to Bey. That’s okay. Though not everyone can be so composed, there is much to be said for the person who doesn’t act up in public. Bey was sure to remember this. What will be the consequences of your reaction ? Think it through and then make your decisions.

2. Don’t act a fool in public. I think this one is a given. Unless being rowdy is part of your brand or you’re defending yourself against attack, it’s always best to just wait until you’re in private to settle a dispute. Solange probably didn’t think there were cameras in the elevator, but guess what? Cameras are everywhere. Many times we don’t stop to think about who (or what) is watching us. Though it may have be hard to control your emotions all the time, it’s never acceptable to act out like that, especially in a public place. It just gives people reason to throw dirt to your name. Now, because both camps will probably never come out with a release that actually explains the incident, there’s room for people to draw conclusions about the incident and the participants. All of the Instagram antics aren’t  making the speculations any better, either. Even the joint statement their reps released calling the incident a “private matter,” assuring us that the two “have apologized to each other [and]  have moved forward as a united family” is still not going to resolve the questions people still have.

3. Keep consistent with your image. Who really knows how Jay wanted to react when his sister-in-law started trying to beat him up?  One thing we do know is that Hova was NOT about to be portrayed as a woman beater by hitting her back. If he even put his hands on Solange, many of his fans and supporters would have probably turned their back on him. Jay-Z already created the image as a man against violence against woman with his reaction to the Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal. Any other behavior would’ve been disastrous for him. Thankfully, it looks like he lives his image, refraining from any sort of non-verbal response (since we don’t have audio) to what was going on. Though we wouldn’t expect anything less since his wife speaks out on various feminist issues. If there are any positives out of this whole situation, this would be one.

Rana Campbell is a freelance branding and content strategist who specializes in lifestyle. Follow her on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

And if you’d like to learn more about Jay Z and his brand, check out Moguldom Studios documentary “A Genius Leaves The Hood.” Buy it or rent it here!

Did You Catch It? 10 Brand Logos With Subliminal Messages

April 1st, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Don’t act like you didn’t know companies use non-verbal tactics to get you to buy their stuff. You do realize subliminal messages are real, right? Now this doesn’t mean they’ve possessed your mind or anything. But the right kind of marketing has been known to entice consumers. Here’s a look at 10 companies that supposedly used subliminal messages in their logos. See if you can spot them.

What We Can Learn From Lupita Nyong’o’s Rising Brand

March 4th, 2014 - By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
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Lupita-nymag.jpeg

Overnight, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has become the breakout star of 2014 awards show season. Snagging SAG and Critics Choice Awards for her film debut in 12 Years a Slave, the rising thespian has also earned fawning coverage for her razor sharp red carpet style as well as her heartfelt acceptance speeches. Add her natural, berry-black beauty and multilingual dexterity, and the Kenyan Yale grad has all it takes to be an inspiring new face—and force—for young women the world over.

We asked branding expert Julian Kiganda how she would leverage Nyong’o’s status for enduring maximum impact if the actress were her client. What she told us works for any brand on the rise, and we took notes for you.

-  Think Bigger Than Your Service or Product.

“She’s doing an incredible job branding herself as an extremely talented, but grounded, fashion-forward actress,” Kiganda says of Nyong’o. She adds, the emerging starlet should also be thinking beyond acting and fashion. “What kind of company would she want to create that would hold all of the things (products/services/philanthropic efforts) that she’s passionate about outside of acting? How can she develop multiple streams of income so she’s not always waiting on the next major role to pay the bills?”

- Don’t Believe the Hype.

If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to set out on your own, you’ve likely heard a lot about “building buzz,” but in the “’Hot’ today. ‘Who?’ tomorrow” world we live in, Kiganda says it’s more important to know what to do with buzz. “Regardless of how good you are,” she points out, “there comes a time when the next big thing replaces you.” Her solution? “You want to strike while the iron is hot and build your brand while the doors are readily open and folks [are] anxious to usher you in.” She cites Magic Johnson as a good model to emulate. “[He’s] done an incredible job parlaying his celebrity into a sustainable brand on which to build a successful business.”

-Embrace the Big Issues.

Leverage your business to raise awareness of challenges and issues impacting your community. Speaking specifically of Nyong’o, Kiganda says, “Lupita has a major opportunity to use her celebrity to make an impact on the issues in Kenya (or elsewhere on the continent) that matter most to her, whether that be education, women’s rights, economic empowerment, etc.” Kiganda gives an example of one way she could authentically extend her brand. “Because she loves bold, bright colors and patterns, I would encourage her to promote African designers who don’t get the same play that the Pradas and Ralph Laurens do, but have some really incredible collections.”

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the novel Powder Necklace and founder of the blog People Who Write. Follow her on Twitter @nanaekua.

Branding Tips To Make Your Business Successful

February 18th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Earlier we talked about ways to rebrand yourself for a new career. But what about branding your business?

When it comes to running a business the name of the game is branding because without it there would be no identity. Every company — both big and small — has a brand whether they put effort into it or not. But you need to make sure that brand is working for you and not against you. Now you are probably thinking you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars on an expert to help you. But if you want to save here are some branding tips to make your business successful.

Read How to Become Your Own Brand

MN Business Tip Of The Day: Own A Word And Speak Volumes About Who You Are

February 3rd, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

 

One of the most powerful concepts in marketing is owning a word in the customer’s mind. It shouldn’t be a complicated word, but rather something simple that already carries a great deal of weight along with it.

For example, when you think of the word “safety,” in regards to driving what do you think of? Volvo owned that word forever.

When you think of “overnight,” in regards to delivery what pops up? FedEx usually, despite some recent holiday fails.

This is what owning a word in the customer’s mind can do for you. To achieve this result you’ll need to narrow your focus to a single word or concept. The most effective words are not only simple but also results-oriented. So it is always better to focus on one word or benefit rather than three or four. Once you have a solid footing with one benefit, customers are likely to associate your product or service with a lot of other benefits. A “safer” car implies better design, quality, and engineering.

In making your choice, remember that your word can be related to positive outcomes (cavity prevention), service-related (home delivery), audience-related (younger people), or sales-related (preferred brand).

15 Marketing Tips For A New Business

November 11th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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When you launch a new business, it has to be promoted. Otherwise, who’s going to know about it? Getting people interested is the goal and there’s no such thing overexposure. You won’t need a marketing savant to get people talking about your product. Just use these 15 straightforward promotional tactics to make your entrance to the marketplace.

The Old Switcheroo: What Omarosa Taught Me About Brand Management

November 11th, 2013 - By CAP
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FayesVision/WENN.com

FayesVision/WENN.com

Recently we saw how Bethenny Frankel tried to get the best of Omarosa Manigault on her talk show. After losing a $10,000 bet to Manigault when some rude comments on The View were brought to light, they engaged in a quick word exchange where Omarosa had to defend her brand.

Now if you haven’t seen this clip yet you have to be living under a social media rock, but in short Omarosa in her own brassy way explained why the black tax is in full effect in Hollywood. “It’s different for you and I,” she explained on the show. “I am an African American woman. You get to walk around and be mediocre and you still get rewarded with things. We have to be exceptional to get anything in this business.” I’m sure many black women, even outside of Hollywood would agree with this sentiment, but Bethenny’s predominantly white audience found the comments to be in bad taste.

Whether right or wrong, there may be something we can learn from Omarosa regarding building a brand. On the show she made the comment, “I think it’s important to understand you don’t stay on for a decade in reality TV without being smart and creating a brand…” and I could not agree more.

While I was attending Howard University’s MBA program back in 2010, the university decided to bring Omarosa in as an adjunct faculty member. Many students felt that this could be damaging to Howard’s brand, since Omarosa was known for her shady ways and being a self-proclaimed b***h, according to her book The B***h Switch.

I — and many students — decided to make our trepidation know to the faculty, but the university’s administration had its own motives and decided to move forward with the class. In the end I decided that I wanted to see for myself what Omarosa was all about and enrolled in her Global, Corporate and Personal Brand Management course.

With Omarosa as my “professor,” I got a chance to get to know her professionally and personally, and took a look behind the scenes at her brand management. And she was nothing like what I saw on television. It was almost like Omarosa the professor wouldn’t even sit with someone like Omarosa from The Apprentice. She was kind, articulate, patient, and, surprisingly, appeared to be very genuine. She opened up her Rolodex and had some pretty impressive people (no celebrities though) as guest speakers in our weekly classes.

Over the years it has been a challenge seeing how she is portrayed on television and how it directly conflicts with the person I came to enjoy throughout our four-month weekly night class. When I think of that person and the one on television, I’m not sure which is the real Omarosa. But what I do know is each character is deliberate.

Maybe the nice sweet side she shared as a professor is not what would have made for good ratings on The Apprentice and the backstabbing heffa we loved to hate on the reality show would not have made the positive impression on Howard’s faculty that secured her teaching position and gained the respect of her students. Now I have never read her book, and since it has some of the lowest reviews on Amazon I’m sure a lot of you haven’t either. But she definitely knows when to turn it on and off and it has been to the benefit of her career.

Omarosa is right: There are so many reality TV stars that have a moment in the spotlight and suddenly fall into the entertainment abyss, never to be heard from again. But to be a reality star that has actually managed to stay relevant for over 10 years displays smarts and effective brand management. Our brand should not be a mistake or something we stumble upon, whether at work, school, in our writing, on TV or in our relationships. We should be aware of what we want our brand to be and each day work to accentuate those impressions.

Although Omarosa’s brand class wasn’t the most educational. But my lesson wasn’t in the coursework. Rather, it was seeing how she effectively controlled her brand.

6 Ways Marketing And Publicity Benefit Your Brand

July 28th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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WENN

WENN

We’ve seen recently the impact that good marketing can have on a company or a brand. Jay Z has a top album on his hands with Magna Carta Holy Grail in large part because of an effective marketing campaign that coupled technology with his famous name and a good (many would say) album. You could make the same argument for “Yeezus.” Kanye prepped us all with videos beamed onto the side of buildings around the world. People start talking. The anticipation builds.

But you don’t have to be a celeb on the level of a Jay or Ye to make marketing work for you. Every brand — even brand “you” — can benefit from an effective marketing campaign.

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