5 Tips for Being the “Founder Voice” of Your Jewelry Brand
After reading a recent article from Business of Fashion titled “Now’s the Time for Brand Founders to Speak Up. Here’s How.“, we were inspired to consider how jewelry founders can be the faces of their brands. Especially this year, when consumers are craving personal and meaningful relationships with the businesses they support, a founder can physically embody a brand’s values.
Recent research from Sprout Social shows that 70% of consumers feel more connected to a brand when the CEO has an active social media presence. In addition, 72% of consumers report feeling similarly when employees share information about a brand online (Source).
Alexandra Mondalek, the writer of the Business of Fashion article, notes, “Many consumers these days want to feel a connection to the brands they shop…If done right, a magnetic personality who seems to share his or her customer’s values can sell products just as well as a promotion or an ad blitz on Instagram.”
Of course, this approach lends itself naturally to eponymous jewelry brands, meaning the brand is named after the founder. One of my favorite examples is Rebecca Minkoff, of the global fashion brand that shares her name. Though Rebecca Minkoff is not a jewelry brand, we think many jewelry brands can learn a lot from her example.
On the brand’s homepage currently, Rebecca is wearing a top from her own collection. The call to action beneath the photo reads “Rebecca’s Picks: Discover our founder’s most-loved fashion pieces.” Her presence doesn’t just end with fashion recommendations. Rebecca is one of the creators behind the Female Founder Collective, an organization dedicated to enabling and empowering female-owned and led companies. Furthermore, she hosts the “Superwomen” podcast, which features her interviews with inspiring women.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebecca used Instagram as a platform for creating community and sharing a more personal look into her life. In a recent interview with the Glossy Podcast, Rebecca said, “If you look at the feed right now, it’s product, it’s me, and that’s kind of it because that’s what generates revenue and the clicks and the sales. We’re just saying, ‘Enough with any other type of franchise or content pillars; we are going to do what works and what gets the customer excited.'” While her customers were sheltering in place, Rebecca and her social media team produced content like a Netflix party, interactive workouts, and interviews with influential people about topics unrelated to fashion – like fitness or cooking. By being the voice of her brand, she attracts new customers and helps maintain strong relationships with existing ones.
Now that you know the advantages of being the voice of your jewelry brand, are you interested in playing a more active role in brand messaging? Here are five tips to help you move forward in a strategic way.
Find your platform
Many founders are using Instagram, especially Instagram Live, as their platform, but you can choose whatever platform feels most comfortable for you and your target customer base. For example, you can try posting videos on YouTube, podcasting, utilizing Facebook, sharing your thoughts in an upcoming email marketing campaign, blogging, or even participating in an interview with a magazine or other media outlet.
You’ll also want to decide if it makes more sense for you to share yourself via your brand’s accounts or via your own personal accounts. For example, Kendra Scott, the founder and CEO of her eponymous brand, shares her personal life on her brand’s Instagram feed. In contrast, Fiona Morrison doesn’t have an individual presence on the Instagram feed for her brand Wolf Circus. However, she does maintain her own account and truly embodies the brand’s perspective with her dreamy, artistic photos. She may not necessarily be standing for any particular cause, but she’s living the “look” of the brand.
Get in touch with your “why”
You already know “what” you sell, but do you truly know why you’re selling it? As a founder or leader, why are you motivated to do what you do? Why do you want to connect with your customers? What is the purpose of your brand, and what are its values? You should know the answers to these questions, and you should be seeking ways to communicate those answers, both directly and indirectly, to your customers. If you’re interested in exploring further, you should read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why or, at the very least, watch his TED Talk.
Let go of perfection
In the past, you may have held back from being an outspoken founder because you worried that you weren’t polished enough or that your image wouldn’t meet customer expectations. The good news is that most consumers would prefer to see the “real” version of you than the fabricated version. The more real you can be, the more relatable you will be.
In the Business of Fashion article, Sarah Larson Levey – founder of the yoga studio Y7 Studio – admits, “Early on when I would do interviews or shoots, I felt like I had to be this picture of health…Once I stopped trying to fit into this mould and avoid mistakes…I found it much easier to find my voice and place as the face of the brand.” As a jewelry business founder, you probably feel the pressure to be fashionable and glamorous at all times, but the “true you” will get a better response from consumers.
Work with a professional
If you’re not already working with a publicist, public relations agency, communications consultant, or even a marketing agency that specializes in brand communications, you may want to consider investing in this service. This year, brands have had to navigate many sensitive issues, and knowing what to say in a thoughtful way has been difficult for even the most tactful founders. If you want to be sure that your personal image is consistent with your brand identity and that you’re living a life that’s aligned with your brand values, then you may want to hire someone to keep you in check. Most of the time, founders are so caught up with the day-to-day minutiae or running their businesses, that they can’t see the forest for the trees. They need someone outside of the organization to maintain the bigger picture.
More than anything, you’ll want to remain consistent. If you hope to be the face of your brand, then you’ll need to commit fully to the task and treat it like it’s part of your job. Consider scheduling your social media posts or other content that you’re hoping to produce. In addition, you’ll want to be consistent with your voice and tone. Finally, you’ll want to stick to your beliefs and set boundaries regarding how much of your personal life you’re willing to share with the public. If your employees or business partners are also outspoken on social media and other platforms, then you’ll want to ensure that their messaging remains consistent with your own, even if they’re expressing the message in slightly different ways. Knowing your “why”, being your true self, and working with a professional can all help you stay consistent.
Just because a founder can be the voice of a brand doesn’t mean he or she should immediately jump into the role. Not everyone is suited for this position, and some brands would be better off keeping their founders “behind the curtain” like a Wizard of Oz figure. These days, the pressure is high on brands to have a position on social and political issues, since consumers expect business owners and leaders to be actively engaging with those issues. A founder or leader needs to be ready to ruffle some feathers and even lose customers. It’s not a task for the faint of heart or the sensitive person.
Would you like to be the voice of your brand? Have you hesitated in the past? We’d love to hear about how you currently represent your brand and what you hope to do in the future.