This is a guest blog post by filmmaker Jude Charles.
Yesterday, I gave you an inside look into the making of the “Keyshia Ka’oir: Building the Brand” documentary series. Well, after working on this documentary for 2 years, and watching Keyshia Ka’oir (pronounced KAY-or) flourish with her new cosmetic line (KA’OIR Cosmetics garnered over $1 million in sales within its first year), I learned a few things about branding. Here are the top 3 things that I think are essential to branding.
Keyshia Ka’oir: Building the Brand Documentary Part 2 premiered online March 16th, 2012
1 – Your brand has an image and a voice.
Branding is all about 1st impressions. What does the consumer think when they first see or hear about your product? Why is this product on the market and what does it stand for?
The look (design, colors, materials, etc) will first attract consumers but it is the voice that will keep them coming back. The two go hand in hand. Facebook is generally known for keeping up with close friends and family. If a bride has just gotten married, she’d share a photo album on Facebook with her family and friends before actually sharing one picture on Twitter. Why? Facebook has made it clear that’s who we are and that’s how we want you to use our product, it’s about sharing your most intimate moments. That’s its voice. Twitter is known for short quick, anecdotal thoughts and open conversations. Small text messages you’d most likely send to a friend. “This show is awesome!” is most likely a message you’d find on Twitter and possibly in your text message inbox.
KA’OIR Cosmetics is known for being bold and different. Standing out in front of a crowd. Confidence. It doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is not for everyone and you can’t just wear it any kind of way.
Effectively communicating to consumers, without actually saying it verbatim then begins the act of branding. And by also understanding your brand’s image and voice, when it is time to change, you know WHY it’s time to change. Which leads me to #2.
2 – Brands Evolve
It’s important not to get complacent with where you started. As your company continues to grow, the brand’s image and voice evolves with the growth. This can be as small as changing the material used to make the product or changing the infrastructure (method of payment or shipping options). By evolving, you are branding – keeping the information fresh and resonating your voice through change. You are reminding consumers this is who we are and this why we are evolving, ultimately giving a consumers a reason to keep coming back.
Keyshia Dior personally evolved with her brand by changing her name from Keyshia Dior to Keyshia Ka’oir, so that when ever you think of her or say her name, you think of her cosmetic brand. Keyshia Ka’oir is not only the owner of the KA’OIR Cosmetics, but the face of the brand as well, so this matched the evolution of KA’OIR Cosmetics.
Overtime, Keyshia Ka’oir changed the packaging of the lipstick and the tubing of the lipstick to a much more cleaner and classier design. Not to say that the old ones were bad, but the new ones enhanced the look and feel, which is apart of the brand’s image and voice – enhancing the way you look. It’s important not to get confused that just because the brand is growing and making money everything must be upgraded. When you are evolving or upgrading you also have to evolve the things that match the image and voice.
3 – Consumers are apart of your branding.
Consumers using the product / service ultimately determine what your brand really is. You can give your brand an image, a voice, and you can even evolve your brand over time by upgrading the material or design, but if the majority of consumers using your product / service begin to think something is not right, you’re in for a declining slope. For example, the big Netflix debacle that was caused when Netflix wanted to split into 2 separate companies and complicate how their consumers used their products. In order to succeed, the majority of consumers need to agree that something works and it works right for them.
With KA’OIR Cosmetics, consumers have the general consensus that the product goes on smooth, lasts longer than most other lipsticks from different brands, and it gives them a level of self-confidence they didn’t have before. The consumers that share this message with their friends on social media (branding) are then featured on Keyshia Ka’oir’s social platforms as well.
Branding is defined in one way as leaving a mark by charring. In what ways are you building or expanding on your brand to leave behind a mark? Keep in mind, YOU are a brand as well… a personal brand. What do you stand for? How do you continue to evolve every day?
And Keyshia Ka’oir: Building the Brand Documentary Part 3 recently premiered on Christmas Day, 2012
Jude Charles is a cinematographer / producer, specializing in creating new media content and documentary filmmaking. In his young career, he’s had the opportunity to produce content for NBC, BET, and MTV just to name a few.
Thanks Ron for allowing my friend Jude to share his experience. I love his work and his determination yet remaining a humble person. Looking forward to working with you at some point Jude.