Bethenny Frankel has built a profitable career by being unapologetically … well, Bethenny. For the TV stars’ no-holds-barred approach—it works!
With 11 product lines under her belt and others on the way, Frankel has built her brand one brazen step at a time. So, here’s a look at key takeaways and insights that entrepreneurs can snag from her brand playbook.
Build a cohesive brand.
Is your brand united? One of the hallmarks of great brands is cohesiveness; a branding rule of thumb that Frankel aims to double down on. “I really want to keep it cohesive, so I’m taking back a lot more control,” she explains in Adweek. This includes plans to bring PR in-house and ramp up a national sales team.
As a brand grows, so does its moving parts. Communicating your brand promise in a way that reinforces your brand image and voice, across multiple categories, can be tricky. If you fail to build a cohesive brand you will leave money on the table. To tackle this issue, “Skinnygirl has also been holding regular brand summits where all of the company’s partners can come together to discuss strategy and cross-promotional opportunities.”
Create a digital hub.
Does your head know what your arm is doing in the digital space? Creating an effective digital presence often proves more effective with the development of a single engagement zone. This is easily accomplished with a digital brand hub. The goal is simple: Create a resource for your audience and your offerings that tells your company’s story well, in a rich and integrated way.
A hub is beneficial in more ways than one. According to digital marketing agency Ervin & Smith: “It’s about creating a digital community where people want to visit and interact with often. One study suggests, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. So businesses today need content hubs that embody their brand and create a memorable experience for users.”
For Bethenny, this will “include consolidating the multiple Skinnygirl websites under a single umbrella site, as well as building an online community where fans can find and share lifestyle content around the brand” (Adweek).
Not every opportunity is the right opportunity. Staying “on-brand”—aligning your business with partners and activities that speak to your mission and your voice—is essential. Branding is risky business and the risk is multiplied when you partner-up with the wrong partner. “Frankel is well aware of the risk, noting she’s turned down countless opportunities for products that aren’t the right fit, including shoes and fragrance,” according to Adweek.
So, what’s the litmus test to ensure your marketing activities are always on brand? It starts with your mission, but can be made more simple by understanding the needs of your customers. “I’m not going to do anything that I don’t feel organically connected to,” Frankel says. “The Skinnygirl Margarita proved one thing, that I do understand what women want” (Adweek).
“Frankel says women should spend less time time thinking about what they’re not getting and focus more on getting what they want.” It’s simplistic wisdom that pays dividends. For Bethenny this means: “Women need to be better than who is on their right and left” (Mashable).
It’s easy to get sidetracked by competitors in a crowded or fiercely intense market. Often, the best defense is a good offense. In other words, focus on your own business; thereby creating a strategic advantage that proves unassailable.
Expand through partnership.
It’s good to be in control, but it’s even better to know when to yield it. This rings true for brands that plan to expand into multiple categories and diversify, in general. The right partnerships can be a or bust for growing brands.
The quickest and smartest way to market, for many brands, is through strategic partnerships. For example, when tasked with developing a new product line, Skinnygirl salad dressings, Frankel could have easily attempted to fly solo. Instead, she partnered with B&G Foods, Inc. to manufacture, sell and distribute her branded products to the masses.