Issue #005: Founder interview, Community resources, bland branding

Hey all, Hope everyone’s staying safe and healthy. I’ve got to tell you… Writing this issue stressed the living hell out of me. It’s the first monthly installment of Bootstrapped Branding (after switching from weekly). And I made you a promise about the quality and the value you’d receive. I was stressed because I wanted to hit this out of the park. Do me a favor? After reading, hit reply and let me know your thoughts. It really does help. Here’s what we’ve got for you:
  • Our first “3 Questions” founder Interview!
  • Resources for Community Builders
  • Opinion & Action: Beware the Bland Playbook
  • Necessary Links

3 questions with Ju Rhyu of Hero Cosmetics

Ju is the co-founder/CEO of Hero Cosmetics, a functional personal care brand focused on acne. They started out with one product, Mighty Patch, which they now sell every 15 seconds in over 2500 doors with over 2 million boxes sold. Q: What were the first steps you took when it came to defining the Hero Cosmetics brand? A: I looked at the category and competition to see what was being done and what wasn’t be done. I knew that what wasn’t being done was positioning acne patches as a beauty product. Rather, they were being positioned as a bandage and sold in the bandaid aisle. Also, with a lot of acne products, I didn’t see anyone addressing the emotional side of acne. I knew that for Hero, I wanted a brand that spoke to positive emotion and something that felt modern and trustworthy. That’s where the name Mighty Patch and Hero Cosmetics came in. They felt very positive and I loved how Mighty Patch was such a strong name that evoked how powerful our product was. Q: You have a very distinct positioning approach that’s uncommon in the beauty category – why was the heroism angle the right one for you? A: When battling acne or other skin issues, you feel like you’re at war with your skin. People with skin issues suffer from a lot of negative emotions. They’re looking for something to help, something that will save the day and save their skin. They were looking for a hero. That’s where the name Hero Cosmetics came in. Q: You mentioned in a recent Twitter exchange that PR was really important early on, but you did it all yourself. What do you feel made you stand out in beauty editors’ inboxes? What advice would you give young companies and founders when it comes to seeking out press coverage? A: You should write a short, very clear email with bullets listing out what your product is, why it’s better, price points, where it’s sold and any other fun factoids. Definitely include a photo of your product in your email. The key is to focus on why it’s better, what makes it interesting and why they should care. Follow Ju here on Twitter, and check out Hero Cosmetics.

Resources for community builders

A few of you have told me you’re building online communities. That’s great to hear. There’s never been a better time to do this. The internet is becoming a universe built of niches and neighborhoods. No matter how obscure the interest you can find compatriots. And new ones are being invented constantly. For example, the no-code movement is only a few years old. For all of you community creators out there, here are some resources: The YEN.FM newsletter is specifically for community professionals. Give John a follow on Twitter while you’re at it. No need to write the playbook yourself. Instead, stand on the shoulders of giants. Kristen LaFrance works at Shopify and is an expert community builder. Follow, study, and copy the moves. Community Club’s Content Library is a goldmine for community builders. Bookmark it. Opinion & Action

Beware the Bland Playbook

Ben Schott’s recent Bloomberg article, Welcome to Your Bland New World, caused a bit of a fuss. It’s frank and searing. And it’s spot on. Read more on the blog…

Maximum Linkage

How to start relationships with influencers (with a template): I’ve included Cody Wittick’s tweets before. They’re always thorough and this one is no different. You need to read “Who Wears Suit Anymore?” from the tops newsletter everyplace. It does not matter if you don’t care about fashion or style. This is a lesson on how a brand finds success by being its best self regardless of trends.

Reach out and connect on Twitter.

Subscribe now. It’s free.

You’ll get a regular newsletter with choice links & original perspectives on building a powerful brand, resources be damned.