All Articles Tagged "branding"
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.
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.
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.
By now, you’ve already heard that Jay Z’s groundbreaking deal with Samsung (in which the company purchased one million copies of “Magna Carta Holy Grail” in advance of its release) is poised to revolutionize the music industry – or to at least start the conversation. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has already adopted “new rules” for calculating album sales. And although Billboard declined to include the Samsung downloads in its sales figures, the magazine’s creative editorial director, Bill Werde, admits that they will re-visit the issue: “In the coming weeks, we’ll talk through highly nuanced questions about our album charts…These discussions may well lead to some changes to our charting rules — or they may not.”
While the Samsung deal is undeniably making waves within the industry, some wondered if it would help or hurt MCHG’s consumer sales. Billboard silenced any doubts this week, however, reporting a whopping 527,000 in first week album sales. This means that even without the benefit of the Samsung downloads, and in spite of enumerable leaks as a result of those downloads, MCHG has easily topped the Billboard 200. MCHG is Jay-Z’s first solo number one album in the U.K., and it also set a Spotify record when songs from the album were streamed over 14 million times last week.
To quote the man himself: “Men lie, women lie/numbers don’t.” And in an era where albums sales have suffered a major decline, MCHG is a bona fide smash.
How did Hov do it? Well, many are crediting his innovative marketing techniques. The mini-films released in conjunction with the album’s promotion were inspirational, intimate, and indelible. There was also a Twitter session last week, an unprecedented social media move for Hov, which allowed fans to engage him directly. And his six-hour performance of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery in New York certainly had tongues wagging.
Music fans can tell you why The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” or even Jay Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” are such monumental albums, but no one remembers their marketing campaigns. But nowadays, those campaigns contribute to both the exposure and the bottom line sales of an album. USA Today even proposes the marketing of MCHG is actually better than the album.
Billboard, which refuses to count the Samsung downloads in its calculation, estimates “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will…land at the top of their charts.” That proved true; MCHG is Jay Z’s record-breaking 13th number one album. No solo artist has ever had more. Six more and he matches The Beatles. #Factsonly
Ironically, in an interview last week, Jay Z described certain aspects of the Samsung arrangement to be “a loss” for MCHG – specifically, issues with the Samsung app which prevented some fans from successfully downloading the album. “The people that waited and downloaded it you want them to have that experience right away. That was the thing that was disheartening to me,” he said.
Jay Z’s statements were made prior to the news of MCHG’s robust sales figures. Still, there’s something refreshing about a self-proclaimed “business man” who is passionate about the quality of the fan experience and not just the bottom line. Which is part of what marketing is meant to do — speak to the customer and their experience of the product and/or brand while also driving sales. Despite myriad professional achievements, Hov continues to approach his work with the same relentless tenacity that catapulted him from obscurity, to his indisputable status now as a music heavyweight and mogul extraordinaire. From both a business and life perspective, there is a tremendous lesson for all of us in that.
Karen J. Francis is a freelance writer and media attorney living in New York City. Please follow her on Twitter @karebelle.
Social capital is one’s ability to use their social relationships for productive benefits in their lives, as defined by Social Capital Research. A recent study published in Future Internet discovers how African-Americans use social networks to promote their own social capital and economic mobility.
If you can effectively use your friendships and acquaintances to enhance your career and livelihood, you have powerful social capital. Unfortunately, blacks are disadvantaged in the social capital aspect; their networking with potential employers falls short compared to whites. This is a topic we touched on earlier this month, with our writer saying:
As Ditomaso points out in the piece when you are poor and black, you tend to only network with other poor and black folks, which means that the odds that your network would be able to connect you to the right opportunities, particularly ones that will enable you not to be poor anymore, are relatively slim. To Ditomaso’s point, connections are how most folks nowadays get jobs. That’s because the vast majority of job openings are not advertised – or at least not the good ones. And the only way to tap into the underground job market is if you, for the lack of a better term, have a hook-up.
Researchers delved into two reasons why African Americans have less productive professional relationships than whites. The first reason is fear that the job referral may disappoint the boss; one’s reputation is at stake. Secondly, studies have shown that black managers at Fortune 500 companies simply possess less clout than white managers.
The study indicates that African Americans can use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote their name and increase the likelihood of socio-economic mobility. In interviewing about 2,250 African Americans, the researchers concluded that the use of social networking can make up for the lack of social capital accrued by Blacks. African Americans are 44 percent more likely than whites to have more than one profile, which can increase one’s potential of meeting beneficial business contacts and promoting one’s brand.
Ultimately, the study focuses on how blacks can use an online platform to mitigate offline inequality. To increase your personal brand using social networks, check out our useful tips on enhancing your online profile.
Are you using Facebook and Twitter to bolster your career?
Your social media profile could make you or break you. It’s called “branding” ladies! Once upon a time only companies had to worry about their brands. But in the new digital world, individuals do as well. When it comes to online personal or business branding, the creation of social media profiles is absolutely essential regardless of age or your place on the career ladder. Whether you are just trying to get more exposure online, seeking employment, connect with your fans or customers, or working to increase your Klout score, social networking profiles are essential.
Am I the only one not surprised that Mo’Nique ended up losing weight?
Not that I was banking or placing odds about her personal appearance either way but rather acknowledging the delicious irony of “The lady doth protest too much…” And there was no bigger proponent of the fat girl fabulous gospel than Big Mo. It’s a sentiment that Mo’Nique has written extensively about in her New York Times Bestseller Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes from a Big Girl in a Small-minded World as well as her equally successful, high-calorie cookbook, entitled Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted, which featured “foods with flavor, from chocolate and cream to sugar and butter and everything in between.”
In fact, a huge part of her schtick as a comedienne and an entertainer was her appeal to a niche but rather large (I swear to God, on second reading, this is not a pun) market: the big girls. Whether you were a big girl or happened to be an admirer of the big girl body, She was pretty, sassy, funny and mostly importantly comfortable and confident in her skin. Behind the joke was an inspiration message. She could talk humorously about big girl love, relationships, sex appeal and even sex without being self-deprecating.
Remember the film Phat Girlz? Or the television show “Fat Chance”? What about the all plus size version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”? Mo’Nique even had a brand slogan called F.A.T., which was an acronym for Fabulous And Thick. Heck, I remember that the only reason folks were still tuning in to the later episodes of “It’s Showtime At the Apollo” was to see what fabulous big girl getup Mo’Nique was rocking. Her overall brand as a comedienne was about daringly standing in the face of the single narrative of what was beautiful and healthy. And in some ways, she was a militant, fat acceptance fighter, as suggested in this 2006 article in Salon, where the breakout star of the show “The Parkers” even had offered up some less than supportive advice to former “The View” co-host Star Jones, who had rumored to undergone weight-loss surgery: “What I say to those beautiful women is, come on back! Be healthy, but come on home! Don’t be afraid of that big juicy steak with that baked potato and sour cream, baby, on top of it! That is heaven!”
But now the comedienne turned actress and television personality has lost an impressive 82 pounds. Instead of big juicy steaks and bake potatoes with all the fixings, Mo’Nique now only pigs out on a mostly vegan diet (with occasional fish) and she has also started a regular exercise regiment too. Not to mention that she looks great. In most circumstances a healthier Mo’Nique would be commended however you do have to wonder what she’ll joke about now that she is no longer F.A.T?
Last night on a humbug, I watched the last one-hour comedy special she did called Mo’nique: I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! I haven’t seen Mo’Nique’s standup routine in a long time, so I needed a refresher about her overall comedy style outside of the F.A.T. Brand. I have to say, outside of the constant screaming of “yasss!” there really wasn’t much that makes Mo’Nique stand apart material-wise. In fact, without the big girl brand, it would be hard to distinguish her from a number of funny yet non-household named black female comedians like Leslie Jones, Big Roz or even her two Queens of Comedy cast mates Sommore and Sheryl Underwood. This lack of comedic individuality is something I also noticed during her brief stint as late night talk show host on the BET network where without the defiant, big girl attitude her monologues were pretty dry and lackluster.
Generally speaking any type of extreme weight change can have an effect on one’s career. It was true of Kirstie Alley, who very public battle with weight held more of our public attention than her actual acting career. And it held true for Jennifer Hudson, who despite not ever declaring an alliance to Team Chunk, drew the ire of folks, who saw her weight loss as some sort of betrayal to the body acceptance movement. During her rise Mo’Nique’s jokes about skinny women were hilarious, not because they were necessarily bust-a-gut funny but because it spit in the face of what is considered normal in society. Many of us, who struggled with not only weight issues but other body acceptance issues applauded her success. Clearly this is not the message anymore. Instead Big Mo is championing women to get healthy. Nothing wrong with that. People evolve on personal choices and philosophies every day. However, branding is another thing. it will be interesting to see where Mo’Nique’s career goes now that she is just an average, skinny evil woman.
Lauren Maillian Bias of Gen Y Capital Partners, Brings Together Technology, Marketing, and Investing
Lauren Maillian Bias started a vineyard and winery when she was 19 years old, launching her into a world of start-ups, investing, and technology. After starting her second company, Luxury Market Branding, and becoming active in the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC), she was a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early-stage venture firm supporting tech start-ups from Gen Y entrepreneurs, where she now serves as managing director.
In addition to her work in the venture and start-up world, Maillian Bias is also active in philanthropic endeavors, particularly in New York City, where she sits on the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the board of the New York Urban League. She is also a lifetime member of the Children’s Aid Society, works on education initiatives with the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, and serves as a judge to Start-up Chile.
Maillian Bias spoke to Madame Noire about how her past shaped her investing future, diversity among investors and entrepreneurs, and how to improve that ratio.
Madame Noire: Tell me about your background and how it led you to co-found Gen Y Capital Partners.
Lauren Maillian Bias: I have been a life-long entrepreneur. My first company was successful, but creating a vineyard and winery from the ground up was an extremely labor-intensive undertaking. Through my membership with YEC, I was exposed to this whole other perspective on entrepreneurship, which is primarily technology driven.
Most of the young entrepreneurs around the country are starting tech companies. They are easy to start and easy to scale and you can start with minimal resources, which was the opposite of everything I found my entrepreneurial journey to be up until that point. I got excited to watch people who I met through YEC launch their companies and grow their companies, so I learned a lot about technology companies, specifically around operations, strategy, marketing, and branding.
I have a bachelor’s of science in international trade and marketing and I found myself in this niche of advising a lot of start-ups around marketing, branding, how to run your company, and media buying for your company. I then started to invest in them as well, became an angel investor, and really liked it.
As for Gen Y Capital Partners, a friend from the YEC came to me and my partner Jeremy Johnson and asked if we would be willing to start this fund with him. We looked at what makes early-stage investing really successful and it was having an additional value add. Things such as networking and advising helped companies excel and see success in some form or fashion. We knew there was something we could do with the network that we could collectively create, and out of that Gen Y Capital was formed.
MN: What do you do at the company? What is its strategy?
LMB: My role at Gen Y Capital Partners is managing director, so I manage the fund. When we came together to create Gen Y Capital, the sole purpose was to identify and successfully invest in early-stage tech companies, hence our tag line “By Gen Y, For Gen Y.” My partners and I are all Gen Y and we invest in companies that have at least one Gen Y founder.
We also use YEC to virtually accelerate the companies we invest in. They have access to peer-to-peer advising and they have all the benefits of being a member of YEC, which is an invite-only organization. All the companies we invest in through the fund are automatically invited, and we’re able to pull together an incredible, dynamic group of limited partners to invest in the fund. Our limited partners are people who are just like us: they had a successful company and are really passionate about technology companies and supporting the future of what they believe innovation should look like. All of this enables us to provide targeted assistance and support and expertise to companies that we fund.
MN: What other companies have you started?
LMB: I am personally very motivated by the opportunity to be one of the early movers or early adopters within the various industries I have a passion for. My first business was a vineyard and winery and out of that, I started a marketing company called Luxury Market Branding, where we do strategic marketing, branding and media buying and planning for luxury goods. We started out doing wine and spirits, and we have since moved into hair care and skin care.
Out of that, we started working with a lot of brands that, while they were not all tech start-ups, they used technology in some light, whether it was for marketing, branding or ecommerce. Out of that, I became more passionate about marrying tech with marketing and branding. I’m most motivated by being able to see what could be potentially major opportunities leveraging technology.
Is Apple putting its CEO Tim Cook on some sort of media offensive? Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to Cook, his first in-depth, wide-ranging print interview since taking the top title in August 2011. Additionally, Cook will appear on NBC’s Rock Center tonight, in an interview with Brian Williams.
In the interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel, Cook discussed his personality and dealing with the fame of being Apple’s CEO; the changes the company has made while still holding on to its core values; the Apple Maps debacle; the recent firings of Scott Forstall and John Browett; and Apple’s product line.
“Not allowing yourself to become insular is very important—maybe the most important thing, I think, as a CEO,” Cook said during the interview. “Now fortunately, I think it would be really hard for a CEO of Apple to become insular, but maybe it could happen. I don’t know. But between customers and employees and the press, you get a lot of feedback. The bigger thing is processing and deciding what to put in the distraction category vs. where the nuggets are.”
“Next year we’re going to bring some production to the U.S.,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people and we’ll be investing our money.”
The news turned around Apple’s stock price today, which had fallen on fears that taxes resulting from our fall off the fiscal cliff would impact how much investors would take home.
But all the talking with the media is surely one more of Apple’s very calculated media moves, like their big events to announce new products. USA Today brings up the ongoing legal battle with Samsung and the onslaught of competition, which, mimicking its iconic logo, could take a bite out of Apple’s market share. Part of the Apple brand was so intrinisically tied to Steve Jobs, now that some time has passed maybe the company is trying to build a stronger bond between the Apple brand and Cook? If that’s the case, will it work?
Olivia Scott-Perkins’ approach to marketing varies from most. In fact, her integrated marketing business Omerge Alliances is one that operates as a consultancy. Officially launched yesterday, Omerge Alliances specializes in branding and partnerships, and creating opportunities for entertainment properties, specifically in music.
Taking her career in marketing and advertising to another level, Scott-Perkins went from freelancing — while working and in grad school — to forming a business that utilizes skilled individuals in a unique way. Currently, Omerge Alliances has a team of three project managers. Gathering individuals she’s worked with in the past — a videographer, graphic designer and other branding professionals — Scott-Perkins combines their skills in accordance to client needs.
“It’s very different when you have a freelance business and when you have a company with a mission and you’re standing for something. Omerge Alliances in 2009 and 2010 was very synonymous with Olivia Scott-Perkins because I didn’t have a mission,” Scott-Perkins told Madame Noire via phone. “It was, ‘I’m Olivia Scott-Perkins, I’ve been doing solid work for the past 15 years, people are calling me so I’m going to do independent work until I figure out my next step.’”
While vice president of alliances at Live Nation, Scott-Perkins completed business filing and paperwork for Omerge Alliances. However, the following year (2009), she took a position as head of marketing/associate publisher at Vibe. After the publication folded she was recommended and interviewed to be CMO at Carol’s Daughter. Shortly before then, Omerge Alliances was revived as Scott-Perkins worked on a freelance basis. Now revamped with a mission Omerge Alliances is taking on the task to create opportunities.
So, What’s Omerge Alliances All About?
The creative marketing industry is one that has seen rapid growth as the digital space has become more dominant. Within the online, TV and print realm, Omerge Alliances works to create partnerships. Musician/brand alliances are easy to come by these days, but in order to pass them as genuine, Scott-Perkins says a bit more work is required.
“It’s important to find what the artist is already into, then work beyond that. Then it’s believable. When you’re coming up with the actual communications marketing campaign, it’s coming up with how to create a campaign that will not look contrived, “ she said.
A die-hard music fan since the age of ten, she was drawn to the entertainment side of marketing because it’s what shaped her upbringing.
“I grew up in music and around music. When you’re creating a business one of the things you consider is the type of people you would like to work with. When I launched with this concept, my friends said, ‘That makes so much sense for you,’” Scott-Perkins added.
At Omerge Alliances, Scott-Perkins and her team work to pair musicians with corporate partners, ultimately elevating the stance of everyone involved. Omerge also uses social media, public relations and digital campaigns to spotlight underrepresented clients with great potential.