Atlanta-based Haute House is a boutique company that designs and develops hairstyling tools and hair care products. Founder and CEO Charles K. began his career selling his own hairstyling tools to passers-by at the local mall and was competing against businesses much larger than him at the time.
He experienced the typical roller-coaster of successes and failures of most newer brands. But despite the countless late nights and endless hours of hard work, his business had not gotten anywhere in the three years since he started.
Forced to re-evaluate his business, he realized he needed to take some dramatic steps to stand out from the crowd and differentiate his company from other brands. Charles hired a design firm to refresh his brand and packaging, he even lower his prices. And yet, nothing seemed to work.
Haute House wanted to break from traditions to set themselves apart, improve visibility and realize their vision to be the leading brand for hair styling tools and hair care products. They also wanted to increase sales, brand recognition, and open new streams of revenue.
During our initial call, we identified a few major challenges the company is facing:
• Low ROI on marketing activities.
• Lack of quality leads.
• Not enough sales.
• Poor visibility and conversion.
• No sales automation in place.
• Brand not perceived as an expert.
• Not a trusted brand.
There was also a feeling within the organization to be all things to all people, by casting a wider net — or, broadening their audience — they would catch more fish.
The problem is that, when a brand says they’re all things to all people, they broaden their competition in the process. By aiming to please everyone, Haute House ended up pleasing no one. By positioning as all things to all people, they were viewed as a commodity and therefore only able to compete on price and became part of the noise. Not exactly the best strategy for a business.
Our brand strategy for the company was quite simple: Get out of the categories they didn’t lead, narrow their focus, and niche down to a narrower category where they had a chance at being the best.
In order to create that monopoly state and possibly even eliminate most of the competition and solve the organizational challenges, we first need to understand what the company’s attributes are, which will help us define the positioning of the organization and the brand. Through a strategy meeting with the stakeholders, we were able to set the foundation for everything we were going to do for this brand.
When a customer chooses a product or service, they naturally gravitate toward who or what they aspire to. In order to understand these aspirations on a psychological level, we first need to identify who we are talking to specifically. The purpose of the customer persona is to focus everything the company does around a defined group of people. That information will be the engine that drives and inspires every decision including:
• Building product roadmaps.
• Informing aesthetic decision making.
• Building effective brand strategies.
• Building rapport with potential customers.
• Enabling us to better serve customers.
Once the team understood who they were talking to and were clear on the attitudes, opinions, and aspirations of the target customers, they were able to study that market better, see the product through their eyes, have consistency across all efforts to avoid wasted resources, and most importantly, identify new ways to connect with them. This was the turning point when the organization got out of the race to the bottom and began rising toward the top.
Armed with clarity on the organization and their target market, the next step was to build an automated sales funnel architecture to help them maintain a presence as often, and in as many places, as possible.
An automated sales funnel architecture is a narrative representation of every experience customers will have with a brand. It shows the customer’s interactions with an organization over time and across all channels based on the customer’s perspective. It also helps create a personalized experience for the customer, encouraging sales conversions while helping the organization better identify gaps between touch-points that are needed in order to complete a purchase.
It helps the brand focus on what matters the most and be as efficient as possible with resources. The benefits of a sales funnel architecture include:
• Helping brands see customer interactions.
• Focusing on customer needs at each stage.
• Identifying if customer journey is logical.
• Showing gaps in the customer’s journey.
• Highlighting development priorities.
• Focus resources to increase efficiency.
Based on the brand positioning, customer persona and the sales funnel architecture we built, we were ready to convert and visualize everything into an aesthetic form to reflect the brand across all media in the funnel.
When we build a funnel, each touchpoint is designed with a specific purpose. Some are focused on driving commitment to exploring the brand, some are focused on driving behavioral changes while others will resolve concerns and persuade positive decision making.
They all work together with a shared goal to guide the customer deeper into the sales journey while resolving objections along the way, and in the end, increasing sales conversion.
With the sales funnel in place, it was time to generate traffic. Converting cold traffic into sales with paid ads is extremely difficult and makes achieving positive ROAS a tall order. Rather than focusing on sales conversion, the paid ad’s sole purpose is to drive traffic into the funnel and find the most relevant consumers.
By driving traffic this way instead of an outright offer, we were able to collect traffic data, build our list, and reach them time and time again while only tracking the activity of the most relevant customers.
The beauty of retargeting is that we are dedicating our full ad budget to pre-qualified customers only, which is a much smaller, more reachable audience than cold traffic. Once we identified a customer with high intent, we used the data collected to re-target that same person on multiple advertising platforms and audience networks.
By identifying such customers and collecting their data, the brand is able to serve a variety of messages to users on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, the Google display network, news site, free alarm apps, and pretty much anywhere on the internet. It gives the brand tremendous authority and draws the targeted customer much closer to making a favorable purchase decision.
When a brand can stay in front of the audience on not just one platform but pretty much all over the place, all of the time, we called this achieving omnipresence. It is not about the frequency of the advertising, it is about being everywhere all the time. This gives a brand unlimited influencing power that can’t be achieved any other way.
The new branding and marketing strategy led to their most successful sales to date. By focusing on a niche audience, appealing to their aspirations and building a full customer-centric experience for them to engage with the brand, sales hit 1.5 million in just eight short months.
The brand also showed positive growth on every front, gained access to an entirely new market and saw additional new records and milestones. But Charles and the team could tell that this was only the beginning. There were bigger things to come…