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My guest this week is Kerry Brown, currently the Head of Product Experience at Factory 6. Our discussion in this Masterclass focuses on Kerry’s experience with branding and products. Over the last 18 years, he has worked as an executive, a company owner, a consultant, and now at a company that formulates products. Kerry’s vast experience with product formulation and branding has allowed him to influence numerous companies over the past two decades.
In the early 2000s, there was a branding revolution inside and out of direct sales. I had attended direct selling events for over a decade when I first started to notice the shift. It was everything from the event and stage experience to the swag and gear sold at events. Companies started following Apple’s lead in regard to narrowing down the focus of their brand and selecting specific demographics to target. You could see it in the type of direct sellers who were attending their events. There were a few companies that led the charge and their lead forced a new focus on branding. Everything from the product, the experience and the culture to the design, the messaging, and more.
Branding—Telling Your Story
So, what is branding? It’s much more than just a logo and a style guide. The following items are key components of your company’s brand: the quality of your product, the product experience, the visual appeal of your website, the taste of the product, the company story, product photography, and the message you share with the public. Direct sales has so many cool stories to be told and there are some amazing brands. Focusing on who you are as a company and what your brand tells the world is a key way to represent your company.
“If your mission is to be everything to everyone, then your mission is nothing.” – Kerry Brown
4 Tips to Improve Your Brand
- Know Your Audience: Who do you want your audience to include? You can’t be all things to all people. Narrowing this down can help you focus appropriately.
- Keep it Simple: It is easy to make things complicated. Make it easy for people to get started with your company. Your plan and the execution must be simple.
- Employ Talent: Have smart, good, talented people working on your brand. Talent attracts talent.
- Let Your Brand Evolve: You have to be willing to make changes!
Create Lasting Experiences with Your Brand
One of the strengths of the direct sales industry is the opportunity to have an independent sales force to help create channels of distribution for the masses to experience your company’s products and opportunity. Finding a way to create a solid first impression and a lasting long-term experience is key to your company’s success. 20 years ago, distributors would pass out flyers or CDs to introduce someone to the product. Over the past 10 years, the industry has transitioned to a digital tool set that is video-centric and allows the opportunity to combine physical tools with technology helping in the follow up. Incorporating simple and easy-to-use tools can empower your field to effectively build their businesses.
“The right tools allow your distributors to be the messenger, not the message.”
What Can Your Team Do to Simplify the Tools That Promote Your Brand?
- Shorten the Message: Provide tools that will prevent your field from feeling the need to “fire hose” their prospects
- Draw the Customer In: Short videos and tools can bring the prospect to you
- Samples: Introduce your products to the masses by allowing them to try it before they buy it
- Be Patient: Don’t feel the need to jam the whole story into the first 45-second introduction
- Go Where Your Audience Is: Enable the field to share via social media and with tools via an app
Creating Proper Segments of Your Brand
Segmentation has become a hot topic within direct sales over the past couple of years. Gone are the days where your website can show the products, company, opportunity, and compensation plan in an all-you-can-eat type of format. Creating the proper segmented pathway for those interested in your products vs your opportunity is key to creating a successful experience.
Simple Tips for Creating Proper Pathways for Business Builders and Customers
- Know Your Customer: You must first know if they are a customer or a business builder
- Separate out Your Brand: Dial in the message and brand for both experiences
- Don’t Fight It!: Let your customers just be customers
- Have enough of the right messages for each segment
Kerry worked at a company that had over 500,000 customers from 12,000 business builders. Creating separate journeys for both groups was critical to the company’s success. Kerry managed two separate marketing teams; one that focused on the business opportunity and one that focused on the customer and product segment. Splitting the message and brand in this way was key to their success. One prominent direct sales company has a separate website for their business opportunity and one for their product focus.
“If you are a hammer, everything is a nail.” – Kerry Brown
Sometimes the focus is so much on the opportunity and attracting business builders that companies forget about the core of their business: the customer. Giving the right tools to attract customers is a key way to represent your brand. Having the courage to split it out and ensure you have the right tools can be a challenge. One successful concept is to involve the field to help you determine the messaging. They are the ones pounding the pavement and facing objections. Forming a leadership council or involving two to three key leaders can help you gain powerful insights on the right tools to attract the different segments.
Let Your Customer Find Their Way into the Fold
One of the most powerful tools to attract customers and introduce them to your brand is sampling. Samples allow you to get out in front of the masses. Creating this type of experience can be a soft-sell approach to introduce them to your product line and your company.
“Don’t assume that your customer is going to follow the same path that you want. Allow them to navigate and find their way into the fold.” – Kerry Brown
What Makes a Successful Sample?
- Experiential: Vitamin C isn’t going to create a customer experience. Your sample product should be something that they can feel, notice and experience.
- Cost-Effective: Typically, the pricing at $4.95-$6.95 allows people to try the brand for the price of sharing a coffee with a friend.
- Multi-Day Experience: Giving one stick or serving of a sample doesn’t create an experience. Offering multiple days to try the product can create a long-lasting impact.
Factory 6 focuses on creating experiential products and every product they create has a form factor that would allow it to be sampled. Over the last few years, Verb and Factory 6 have worked together servicing several direct sales companies in providing samples to their field.
Verb has become the industry leader in sampling. We like to say that we didn’t invent sampling, we just perfected it. Sampling in the end is just a numbers game. Our platform averages nearly 25% conversion rates from samplers to customers. This type of conversion helps the company determine how to apply focus to customer acquisition and understand the costs involved for each distributor to have success with sampling.
Creating Successful Products
Kerry and his team have become experts in creating products that fit your brand and target the demographic you are seeking. This video shares some tips on how to create a powerful product experience: <insert video 5>
Your Brand, Your Story, Your Success
Your brand should be a representation of who you are and what you want to achieve. It tells the world what to expect from you. Focusing on improving and enhancing your brand can help you to provide the right experience for your customers and your business builders. In the end, telling them the right story will help them to share that story with the world.