Among the various choices of reading material that were presented to me at the beginning of the semester, I chose “The Power of UN-Popular” by Erika Napoletano. I chose this simply because the title sounded more interesting than the majority of the other choices provided. After reading the book, I can confidently say that I learned something from Erika’s writing and am a fan of her outlook on how to establish a brand and develop a community of customers. The material presented throughout the book is directed towards entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business and/or develop a brand.
Why don’t you want to be Popular?
The World English Dictionary’s definition of popular: “appealing to the general public; widely favored or admired.” According to Erika, this is not something a business needs or truly wants because the general public is simply “plain vanilla” that doesn’t specifically suit your business. If you build a business in order to be popular, you’re going to fail because you take the same path as something or someone else; completely devoid of innovation.
One of the most important takeaways from Erika’s writing was the importance of defining your audience due to the potential of wasted resources in marketing towards people that will never buy your product. Some people will never buy your product, whether it’s due to the price, type of service, or general liking to your brand’s personality. There is no need to waste capital on marketing towards such individuals or businesses – they don’t like you and never will.
Targeting an Audience
The process of refining a business’s audience requires a few pieces of analysis to ensure you can accurately identify your customer base. Erika presents some of the more common tools that will assist with developing a plan for targeting an appropriate audience such as competitive analysis techniques and hiring a 3rd party Analyst. Competitive analysis can be done by going through materials that are public – such as your competitors’ public website, press releases, web reviews of their products and services, and peer review materials.
What NOT to do…
There were several things in Erika’s book that are meant to be avoided by an emerging brand. These “brand personality defects” can have a negative impact on the relationship with customers and hinder their advocacy of the brand.
- Don’t be “That Guy”: a person that is consumed in their own problems and doesn’t care about the opinions or problems of others. If you monopolize a conversation with customers, they will leave.
- Don’t be mean, be positive.
Paths for Success
Establishing a relationship with your customers is important because people do business with people – if they like you personally, they will continue to do business with you. Be approachable to your customers and always ready to assist them with their needs. Creating a consistent, enjoyable experience for your customers will eventually turn them into advocates of your brand.
Overall, I thought this book was very interesting and made sense. The concepts were presented in a straight-forward way and embraced common sense. I appreciated Erika’s blunt language because it made the reading more entertaining and made it easier for the reader to relate to the material. In my opinion, her advice is spot-on for establishing a successful brand.