Why who you are matters
I do a lot of different things in my business but the thing that I like best is helping individuals (first) and brands (second) to find their ‘fit’ within the cosmetics industry. It is a whole lot of fun but with up to 80% of new products failing to make it past two years on-shelf it can be devastatingly expensive to get wrong.
Getting it wrong is very, very easy and is usually stems from one thing – not knowing who you are and what you want.
and I don’t mean knowing who you ‘think’ you are or should be as that is mere projection. What I’m talking about is your heart and soul.
Now I’m not a spiritual guru but then again neither was this guy and he still managed to gain a few followers and teach some really meaningful stuff – all thanks to the power of projection. On a conscience level Vikrams ‘customers’ saw an Authentic Guru in Kumare and bought it, all of it and it made them feel good. However, had they searched deeper those ‘customers’ would have realised that they had bought a projection of what they desired – they saw what they wanted to see rather than what was. It was still good but it wasn’t as great as it could have been and for some it was devastating.
And so it goes with brands.
The reason that Vikrams experiment was so successful stems from the fact that he knew who he was (and who he was not) and had researched and experienced that. He understood the heart and soul of his project, the meaning behind each symbol that he employed and how to bring this to life as a product – the Guru Kumare and his newly found religion.
It doesn’t take a genius to see the power in this and to see how easily this can be re-framed in the cosmetics arena be you a brand owner, product user, establishment purveyor or service provider. However the process of gaining this ‘self knowledge’ isn’t for the faint hearted or the ‘short-of-time’. It requires a substantial investment.
And weirdly enough it is an investment that few choose to make up front.
Imagine your predicament when, $200,000 down with a brand that is going nowhere fast you suddenly wake up in a cold sweat realizing that you have no idea how to turn this around.
You start with the stockists you have – maybe they aren’t doing their job properly and are lazy or sloppy. Maybe your brand is just too expensive for them or is not offering enough ‘perks’….
Next comes the packaging – maybe the colours are wrong, the font, the image. What if you looked more like than funky new competitor with the shiny yellow bottles?
Then comes manufacturing – They are too expensive, the product quality has changed, they take too long, they aren’t flexible enough or free-thinking enough for my brand. I must change.
and finally the formula – It is not good enough. We need to add more actives, take THAT out, add a new fragrance, get onto the botanicals bandwagon or whatever.
It is exhausting.
It is a waste of time.
It will cost you money.
It will massage your ego somewhat to wield your creative might and power over the chain of people who work under you to make your brand a reality – even if those other ‘people’ are you but with a different hat on.
I have seen it all before. Sadly.
So, what to do?
Well firstly I would be guilding my own Lilly of an ego to say ‘come to me’ and would in fact lead you astray. First you need to sit down and listen to yourself, to those 3am voices and hear what they are saying.
After that I can only show you what I do and if that helps you too then good.
I read a lot and two of the books that are helping me grow and challenge my perceptions are:
and especially this quote from the book which is actually borrowed from another book:
I’ll write a whole blog post about this quote later on but in relation to the soul we must remember that our conscious self (ego) wants to feel and look good and soul-searching and questioning is the ultimate in uncomfortable journeys. The ego diverts us with trivia constantly so that we don’t have to worry about the answers. I have been trying to give myself time to find the right questions.
This has not been an easy book to read, in fact I had it by my bed for around 7 months before I finally delved right in and completed it. It is an epic and challenging journey in its self but very worth it. Especially (for me) the part on time in the death hut as that is where I felt I spent much of 2012 as I recovered from a series of personal and business setbacks – I felt socially and spiritually ‘dead’. Glad to have read that I wasn’t alone and that actually it is a great thing to have come through. Yay for me!
Lastly and fairly importantly to me anyway was the re-birthing and revealing of who and what I am. I am still working on this but based on some of the exercises in Soulcraft I first tried to imagine myself as colour – a colour for my body, my mind (conscious) and my soul (or spirit). I then thought about the qualities of each of these components of my ideal me and wrote them down. Next I made myself a little poster that combined both things and illustrated that with images (photographs) that resonate with me.
To my surprise I found that I have a lot of photos that ‘fit’ my personal brand and this made me smile – I knew who and what I was all along but my ego was keeping me distracted.
This is what my finished product (soul board) looks like:
For me Brown is my body colour, Blue is my mind and Yellow is my soul.
So how do we then move this away from ‘me’ and towards a brand that can connect with other people?
Well that is now very simple, we just imagine these qualities on a product or range and translate the language to ‘cosmetic speak’ based on important features of a product eg:
Product actions: Cleansing, Illuminating (brightening/ whitening efficacy), powerful (potent blend of actives), calming (non irritating and mild. Gentle).
Product Chemistry: Organic (speaks for its self), strong and grounded (no gimmicks).
Product Aesthetics: Happy, Joyful (mood lightening scent/ aroma), Light, Fluid (serum-like texture)
Product Philosophy: Enquiring, deep, grounded (evidence based. Tested).
Finally you have to test yourself out in the market – it is no good to spend all day navel gazing, you need to have this work in the real world and so this is where competitor analysis comes in. Do it and do it while your ego is locked in a cupboard. It will only get in the way.
And that’s it.
Everything I ever do on this blog and in my consulting life is with this end in mind regardless to whether my clients or readers consciously want it or not. You owe it to yourself and your financial ‘gurus’ to be 100% true to yourself and if you don’t know who you are then how can you make anything else matter.
Good luck and if you need to borrow my books please drop me a line.