Keetria Chambers has worked with a lot of celebrities and artists that you know and love. For booking, PR, marketing and so much more. She knows what it takes to develop and artist and a brand ... and she has some great advice for those trying to do the same.
I’ve always been a big fan of Dr. Seuss. There’s just something about his whimsical rhymes, colorful characters, and strong moral foundation that allows me to suspend reality (for a time) and indulge my imagination. His work, although geared towards children, is rich with important life lessons for people of all ages. I find that one of my personal favorites, Oh, the Places You’ll Go , serves as an excellent allegory for small businesses on the path to great things. “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” Establishing a small business is an exciting thing, a true labor of love. It gives you the unique opportunity to follow your own passions and create a brand that speaks to who you are and what you want to contribute to the world. But as all entrepreneurs know, ensuring the long-term success of your venture means constantly juggling lots of complex variables. In my experience, the careful maintenance of good public relations is the most important factor in transforming a struggling start-up into a booming business. (This assumes solid management and continuous assessment of direction and progress are already in place.) “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” When it comes to choosing a PR agency, the power really is in your hands. It’s all about finding a PR group that will take your unique vision and use it to create a strong, compelling voice for your company. An agency that asks challenging questions and helps you better define your goals and target users is far preferable to one that simply reacts to requests. A fluid relationship with your PR team will add dimension to your vision and help you anticipate and contribute to emerging trends. “You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, ‘I don’t choose to go there.’” Although it may be tempting to go with the PR agency that has the longest, most impressive client list, you’ll be much better served by finding a PR group that has exceptional listening skills. The PR team should not only listen to what you have to say about your long-term business goals but also provide you with the tools necessary to listen to the unique needs of your target audience so that your brand can adapt to address them. “You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers Who soar to high heights.” In order to get to those high places and enjoy the lofty view, you’ll need to take some (calculated) risks. A good PR team will take bold, even fanciful, measures to ensure that your name stands out in the crowded marketplace while remaining true to the heart and soul of your brand. Sure, risk taking can be scary – but a measured risk tends to pay off. “I’m sorry to say so But, sadly, it’s true That Bang-ups And Hang-ups Can happen to you.” Even the biggest companies have faced adversity on the road to corporate success. Household names from Tylenol to Pepsi Co. have recovered from potentially reputation crushing crises thanks to nimble, creative, and timely public relations. That sort of PR is essential to maintaining customer loyalty during those critical moments following a business “hiccup.” “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)” Above all else, remember that you need a PR team that, at the end of the day, allows you to say with the utmost confidence, “I’m okay being me.” PR should be a guiding hand, a relationship builder and a catalyst for creativity. A good PR agency will NEVER try to change who you are or the core of what your business represents. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” You heard the man … get going!
The lessons learned from the remarkable branding accomplishments of HGTV, Food Network, Bravo and the other television star factories can be applied to any web business. Here\'s how you can brand like the specialty networks: Bravo Branding Lesson: Be Controversial One of the most notable branding successes has to be Bravo\'s The Real Housewives Of, which has led to seven American city series as well as four international spinoffs. The inspired combination of eye candy bling with supercharged ego-driven confrontational excess has made superstars of otherwise unremarkable nobodies like NeNe Leakes, whose collisions with Star Jones & LaToya Jackson on Celebrity Apprentice are the stuff of legends. Brands stand out and get noticed when they spark debate, and although it is wise to avoid too much negative discourse (think of the recent maelstroms surrounding BP and Netflix), the quote often attributed to 19th century circus owner Phineas T. Barnum applies in most cases: \"There\'s no such thing as bad publicity.\" HGTV Branding Lesson: Solve Your Customers\' Problems Mike Holmes was a local contractor with an idea to do an HGTV show where he fixes up the messes other contractors have left behind. Holmes On Homes and its sequels have made Holmes not only a multimillionaire, but a household name throughout North America, the UK, Australia and the many other international markets where his series have met with wide acclaim. The key to Holmes\' appeal is the frustration many home owners have with repairs and additions made by unskilled and disreputable contractors. Although he cannot come over to your house to fix your leaky toilet, his show demonstrates what creates the leak in the first place, and how to do it right so it stays water-tight. When you provide answers to your customers\' problems, your brand gains trust, reputation and prominence. Food Network Branding Lesson: Forge Your Brand from Quirkiness The application of meticulous and sustained branding by network executives is specifically evident in The Next Food Network Star, which follows about a dozen generally hapless semi-pro cooks primarily chosen for their eccentricity, and then almost arbitrarily bestows upon one of them the title of that year\'s Star. The winner gets their own show and opportunity to build a brand. Some have become middle-level personalities while others are pure breakouts like Guy Fieri: the spiky-haired juggernaut with eight(!) shows on Food Network as well as his own NBC prime time game show. Who had ever heard of movie producer Dino DeLaurentiis\' granddaughter, Giada, before she was \"discovered\" by Food Network in 2002? Readily identifiable but atypical cooks such as Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali & others would never have become superstars without extraordinary branding. Food Network creates huge brands from literally nowhere by focusing on quirky presences that are instantly identifiable, and similarly embracing the offbeat and unusual can benefit your branding. Discovery Channel Branding Lesson: Do Something Amazing Former musician and garbage collector Les Stroud spent a year in the Canadian boreal forest living in a teepee and used the experience to launch Survivorman: a series where each episode has him stranded for a week with next to nothing in the middle of nowhere while self-videotaping his struggle to survive. In a world where virtually everything in our lives is push-button activated, watching poor Les struggle to cobble together a shelter out of pine boughs or keep the tarantulas from crawling on him in the rainforest has captivated millions around the world. Les\' adventures may be produced on pocket money but they regularly outdraw multi-million dollar budgeted TV series in the all-important ratings wars. Identifying your web business with something out of the ordinary (and attention-worthy) will considerably boost your branding. You may not be able to turn your web business into a multi-billion dollar one in a few years like the specialty television networks have done, but adopting these tips will enhance and intensify any branding effort.