How a Unique Perspective Is a Valuable Asset

L’Oréal USA’s CMO talks about how she applies lessons she learned playing field hockey to marketing one of the world’s top beauty brands and how the company is giving back during the pandemic.
June 28, 2020 2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Gretchen Saegh-Fleming is CMO for L’Oréal USA. For #ThePlaybook, she talks with host David Meltzer about her high school field hockey experiences and how it taught her about the “great unlock” that comes from challenging the status quo.

As a left-hander, Saegh-Fleming was challenged by the unavailability of left-handed field hockey sticks. To play, she was required to learn how to hold the stick with a right-hander’s grip. As this grip did not come naturally, Saegh-Fleming put in additional time and practiced more than her teammates to achieve competency, ultimately rating her abilities as “OK.”

Her breakthrough occurred when she taught herself to play using a reverse grip, holding her right-handed stick in a left-hand grip — or backward. Her unique positioning confounded opponents, helped her team win games, turned her previous vulnerability into strength and taught her that what’s different from the status quo can be a tremendous asset.

Saegh-Fleming suggests recent graduates and job seekers lean into their uniqueness, citing the “Because I’m Worth It” tagline, the creation of a junior female copywriter who worked with mostly men.

Saegh-Fleming also discusses L’Oréal’s addressing of the pandemic and its impacts by mass-producing hand sanitizer and offering support to retail partners and salon owners.

Related: Don’t Believe Your Own Hype

6 Unique PR Tactics That Drive Growth and Sales

A productive public-relations strategy can establish authority, social currency and growth.
November 8, 2019 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Technology has transformed the way we find, connect with and grow our customers. As businesses and consumers increasingly move online, the barriers between you and your audience break down, and it becomes possible for companies to form more direct relationships with their clients. Succeeding in this world requires understanding and excelling at public relations, or PR.

I recently launched a bestseller campaign for the comedy book I wrote about prison, Don’t Drop the Soap, and attracted a media frenzy, with outlets such as CBS, FoodBeast, CheddarTV, KCAL 9 and many more picking up the story. Leveraging PR is what ultimately led to my book becoming a bestseller. PR is how businesses establish trust with consumers. It’s basically a third-party endorsement. With traditional media now supplemented by social media and online content, good PR makes the connection with your customers a two-way street.

I recently sold a SaaS startup called Hooty.co to Press Hunt and merged with the team. Our product is a SaaS tool that helps agencies, founders and Fortune 500 companies access a large database of journalists, podcasts, articles and PR resources. Leveraging connections with the press is vital for building a good PR campaign, and finding effective PR tools like Press Hunt creates that competitive advantage for driving PR and establishing those relationships.

There’s more you can do than just meeting the right people (although you should definitely still grow your media network). Below, I list six different steps you can take to build your PR momentum.

1. Be social-media savvy.

It’s no secret that posting valuable content about your product or service consistently will get the attention of others. With more than 70 percent of U.S. citizens with a profile on at least one platform, this is a huge audience. I promote my social-media posts to boost engagement and activity. Promoting my social-media platforms has gained the attention of users and companies who may not have already been paying attention. Don’t just post links; let people know your new story is up.

2. Use a PR article as an ad and promote it to engage new audiences.

You should find every opportunity to get your message in front of people multiple times. Only 2 percent of people make a purchase with one exposure, so if you aren’t repeating yourself, you’re losing. When I accrue earned PR, one way to increase its value is to post it on Facebook and promote it to people who like certain media outlets. If my content appeals to their audience, then the media outlet could find the content quite valuable. I always make sure my content relates to other content that the outlet has covered for the best result.

3. Inclue PR articles in sales packets.

Adding the PR article into my sales copy has been an effective marketing strategy for me. Customers like seeing this type of content to get a better sense of your message and value. It’s another great way to engage them, and as we said, the more ways you can get your message in front of people, the better.

4. Link to relevant sources in the article.

One of the primary goals of PR is establishing subject-matter expertise. When creating a PR article, I make sure there are links included that are relevant to the readers of the outlet I’m targeting. By linking to other sources, you demonstrate niche expertise and industry knowledge and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. These values are increasingly important to millennials who expect their brands to engage with them regularly. This also helps with your website’s domain authority and backlinking, which will help attract more viewers.

5. Create newsworthy context around your product or service.

When good news happens to your company, it’s your job to spread the word. Whether it’s achieving a major milestone, human-interest stories that relate to your product or just market trends that validate your product’s value, getting that information in front of people is crucial. Newsworthy content stands out and attracts media and consumers. I aim for headlines of content to be engaging to get media sources interested in promoting it. Establishing a newsworthy context is one of the best hacks for leveraging PR. Remember, if there is nothing to make your product or service stand out, chances are consumers will find it boring.

6. Localize and personalize.

PR management used to be as easy as crafting one general article. Today’s customers prefer to feel like the content is speaking to them. A recent marketing study showed that the most common complaint about ads was a lack of personalization, or making your content relatable and on-brand. I want to be able to pull consumers in by building trust and understanding. I aim to win them over versus any other company who does generic marketing. By making your content more targeted locally, you can also appeal to local reporters who have a significant following and cover stories related to your business. This is what we did with my book launch. I had a launch party in Venice, California and was able to attract local news outlets.

Transcending just press relations, social media and online presence have transformed the way people can develop their brand and cultivate a customer base. By following these and other tips, you can grow strong momentum and leverage PR for growth and sales.

Exactly What You Can Do to Define What Makes Your Brand as Unique as … M&Ms

What’s your company’s USP? You know what that is, right?

February 19, 2019 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” the slogan for M&M’s candy, was trademarked as far back as 1954 and is one of the best-known ever. It’s cute. It’s memorable. And it’s helped make M&M’s brand the success it is today — and not just because the phrase is catchy.

Related: Shark Tank Star Daymond John Says This Is the Biggest Branding Mistake of All

In fact, the slogan, when introduced, actually helped set the company apart from all other companies slinging sweet treats. It made the brand different and was, and is, its unique selling proposition (USP).

Every company needs a USP in order to stand out from the crowd. But many business owners fail to come up with one that sets their brands apart. If you’re an accounting business, for instance, what could be different about you versus your peers?

Defining your brand’s uniqueness and USP, then, isn’t as simple as stating, “Our product is pink and the rest are blue.” It needs to be more meaningful and to originate from that sweet spot between what you do and what your customer needs. So, how do you find it? Here are some ways to do that.

Research your competitors.

No business is completely and utterly unique. You’ll always have competitors who’ll be doing something similar to what you do. Most of these companies will have a unique selling proposition in order to attract consumers. This isn’t a disadvantage for you; it means there’s already a market for your business, a fact which can actually help you discover what makes your brand unique.

Take a good look at a number of your biggest competitors. Look at what they’re offering, whom they’re marketing to, what marketing messages they’re using and so on. By comparing what they’re offering with what you offer, you can find out what you’ve got that they don’t.

Related: Why ‘Make America Great Again’ Beat ‘Stronger Together’

This strategy might have been how Tattly discovered its uniqueness. Tattly makes temporary tattoos. But instead of being made for children as most other temporary tattoo are, Tattly’s product is marketed toward adults, making its brand more unique.

Image credit: Tattly

You can easily discover a hidden edge to your company by looking at what else is out there already. You can’t beat ‘em if you’re the same, but you can come out on top if you’re doing things differently.

Look closely at your buyer personas.

Next, you’ll want to take a close look at your buyer personas. A “buyer persona” is a fictional character created to represent your ideal customer; and you need one. A detailed buyer persona can include basic demographics like age and gender, but it can also include the goals of your ideal customer, his or her motivations, occupation, personality traits, frustrations and more.

Looking at these factors can help you discover something really unique about your brand. For instance, if you’re making pizzas, and one of the frustrations listed in your buyer persona is “lack of gourmet ingredients,” you may have just found what makes your pizza unique.

If you haven’t created a buyer persona for your company yet, get started now. There are tons of free templates online to help you create a detailed buyer persona that will aid you in determining what makes your brand unique.

Pinpoint your differentiators.

In trying to find what makes your brand unique, you should pinpoint everything that makes your company different. So, make a list of those differentiators. This list can be anything big or small about your product/company and anything that’s tangible or represents a feeling or belief — it makes you you. Write that down; just remember to be specific.

If your biggest differentiators are the features of your products, don’t choose just a feature as your unique selling proposition. Your audience isn’t as impressed or swayed by features as you might think. They’re more attracted to how your business or product can change their lives.

So, define that feature as something meaningful to your audience. Successful products usually solve a specific need for consumers and that need is communicated to customers in their own words. For example, when the Apple iPod was introduced, ads didn’t talk to customers about the number of gigabytes; they said “10,000 songs in your pocket,” which was much more meaningful.

Image credit: Swoop Agency

Related: Why Weight Watchers’ Name Change Will Fail, But Dunkin’s Won’t

Over to you.

Don’t just define what makes your brand unique and leave it at that. Use your unique selling proposition in everything you do.Splash it across your marketing, sprinkle it throughout your website and incorporate it into your company culture; you’ve got to fully live it. Once you’ve defined what makes your company unique, you won’t just have a few casual customers, you’ll form better connections with them; and consumers will flock to your brand to become loyal customers.

5 Building Blocks of a Content Market Strategy Unique to Your Dispensary

Let’s face it, you’re selling what everyone else is selling. Content strategy is how you persuade people to buy from you.

August 10, 2018 4 min read

Brought to you by Marijuana Retail Report

Content is not just using words on your web page and throwing up keywords in a half-assed manner to trick search engines. Yes, while it’s important to have an on-point SEO strategy, which we’ll discuss later, you simply can’t get by as a cannabis business without producing up-to-date, relevant content.

Content comes in all forms — written content, graphics, infographics, videos and the content creation world is coming up with new ways to engage customers daily. Content engages, informs, educates, advertises and creates customer loyalty. These are all elements of the customer experience that a cannabis dispensary strives for.

Here are some content strategies that will get your dispensary noticed.

Related: The No. 1 Hurdle Facing California Cannabis Entrepreneurs

Blogging

First and foremost, your website can act as a hub for your cannabis content, and structured and updated in such a way that your site remains relevant. Working with keywords and aiming for strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will give you the opportunity to write your pieces in a way that matches what people are searching for by having your resource rank high on their search results.

Blogging gives you the opportunity to stand out as an expert in your field or section of the cannabis industry. As a cannabis dispensary, it can serve as a place to share best practices for marijuana retail. It’s also a platform to share new and emerging information about the cannabis industry, and the ways you’re working to make your own impact.

With so much information being developed about cannabis at alarming rates, there is a need for accurate, truthful and resourceful information for people interested in cannabis and what you offer as a dispensary. When designing your blogging strategy, consider your frequency of blogging (it can never be too much, as long as it’s quality), word count, and thoughtful topics that will grab people’s attention.

Related: How Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Changes the Game

Infographics

About 65 percent of people are visual learners, meaning that they take in information through graphics, illustration and photos rather than large blocks of texts. This means that in addition to your blog strategy, you should have a graphic alternative to accommodate visual learners.

An infographic is a great way to educate your followers, relay important information and, if done right, create more leads and potential customers for your dispensary. Good infographics provide value to the customer, add to the existing knowledge base on the internet (not just replicated it) and be relevant to the audience you’re trying to engage into your cannabis dispensary.

Related: These 3 Companies Are Finding Creative Ways to Connect With Their Customers

Graphics

That old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is pretty true. Nowadays, it takes under three seconds for people to decide whether they want to engage with the online component of a business. If you fail to engage your potential dispensary customer within those first seconds of your page loading, you could potentially lose them forever.

Take care with the graphics you are using. Your content won’t be fresh if you’re relying on the “available for reuse” photos that you can get through a Google search. Purchase a subscription to a stock photo site like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto, or use tools like Pixabay where you can have access to great photos if you credit the artist.

To take your graphics content game one step further, hire your own photographer. With cannabis photography being an up and coming field, these photographers can make your dispensary shine through photography.

Related: 6 Simple Digital Marketing Strategies to Jumpstart Your Marijuana Business

Social media

Your cannabis company will fall into oblivion if you’re working in the cannabis space but aren’tactive on social media.

There is a 24/7 “conversation” around cannabis on social media. If your dispensary hasn’t taken on a full social media strategy, what are you waiting for? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn are the places where you can engage in the cannabis conversation any time of the day.

Your dispensary should also be putting out fresh content daily to keep your relevance apparent and your customer base engaged. Just ensure you’re keeping up with the marketing and advertising regulations in your state or jurisdiction and each platforms terms of service requirements with your social media practices.

Forget about unique content. Try actually BEING local!

Columnist Greg Gifford notes that when all your competitors have unique content, then that alone won’t be enough to help you stand out from the crowd.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.