People don’t buy your content. They’re buying your brand.
If you don’t remember anything else from this blog post. Remember that single line. That alone will change your entire perspective on your sex work, but more significantly, your approach to many different things in business in general!
I’ve written about branding in depth on the old Porn0Bot blog, but I really wanted to bring back a post on the basics for the new blog. Whether you want to admit it or not; branding is hands-down the most important aspect of any business endeavor.
You could have the best content in the world, but without breaking through the 5,000+ advertisements consumers are bombarded with daily, who’s going to even see your hard work. Branding is your ticket out of the same old routines and grind. Let me explain directly.
Your Brand is a Cult
We all have an inherit desire to follow a cult-like mentality. I say that a lot. It’s actually in virtually everything I write because of how true it is. It comes from a book I’ve discussed in the past, Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power.” The study of power, and more importantly, the extents humankind takes to achieve power has always fascinated me. And I’m not talking about success or wealth, I’m talking about power.
We all want power. Power over our emotions, power over our adversaries. Power is almost synonymous with control. When we’re powerful, we’re very much in control of ourselves and our destiny. Branding is harnessing power and fueling your content with it.
People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. It’s why polarizing political messaging is so effective in this day and age. Honestly, it’s always been like this, most people have to cling to something. They are truly cult followers. Than there’s those who have been able to see through the veil and harness this instinct. These are the leaders.
Cult followers are loyal. These acolytes will withstand and ignore other products and brands to simply be part of a specific experience. It’s a true connection between buyer and seller.
Do or Do Not, There Is No Try
“But I don’t have a “brand,” so why does it matter?”
Well… do you want to be relevant and find success quickly? I’m not trying to be rude, but either you utilize these concepts or you will blend into the crowd. There are thousands of us out there. Every day I meet new sex workers online and let’s cut away the niceties for a little bit; they’re all competition from a market share perspective.
See there’s this massive pie and we’re all hungry. So I’m going to ask this as nicely as possible. What’s better; planning and taking the specific piece of pie you want or not even getting a slice and enjoying the crumbs left behind?
I don’t know about you, but I came for some damn pie.
Whether you want to practice strategic, thoughtful branding or not, it does not matter, others will and you can either compete with the right tools or keep approaching this passively.
Develop YOUR Brand
This section is part disclaimer and part advice. Disclaimer first.
Branding is a very subjective field. Certain things will work for you, others will not. You could emulate another person’s brand perfectly, but there is an incredibly high chance you will never have the same level of success as them. Be original, be creative. Don’t think you’ll get where you’re going by riding coat tails or copying people. Consumers see right through it and regardless of what you think about consumers; they’re a lot smarter then you think.
Ok, advice part. Developing your own, personalize brand isn’t difficult. It just requires research, planning, execution, and maintenance. Do not stress over this. You may be entering a foreign space, but there is literally thousands of resources available and hundreds of years of consumer science available to aid you!
Walk, Don’t Run
I know you just want to start making money, but I assure you, planning and playing the long game will produce longer, more sustained success.
Start by taking inventory of your existing business efforts. What are you currently doing that’s working? What are you currently doing that’s failing? What are you currently doing that could work better if you invested time/resources to it? Start there.
See branding isn’t a “today I’ll be this” type of thing. Branding is a thought out, developed practice. If you’ve found yourself unable to sell a specific type of content, consider honestly if you’re going to pursue that content further. I can’t answer these questions for you, only you will know what is best, but be honest and transparent with yourself here.
If you’re starting from nothing and have a blank slate, that’s awesome! You don’t have to really worry about taking inventory, just go slow and plan appropriately before!
Ok, got your inventory done? Let’s ask the most important question next.
Why you? Why would someone spend money on your content instead of the thousands of other creators out there or free/freemium options? Why are you better? Why are you worth the attention? Why should fans notice you?
Do not take a negative spin on any of those and start down the path of “I guess they won’t…” Stop it immediately.
You have to ask yourself why your worth it and be true to yourself! We all like to toot our own horns and think we’re “hot shit,” but without being honest with ourselves we’re unable to make the needed changes to further ourselves past our current efforts!
Narrow Your Demographics
Remember that pie from above that we all want a slice of? Well without branding you’re really going after the whole pie greedily. What happens is you try to cut the line of everyone who’s pre-planned their specific piece. In doing so, you’re squashed to the back of the line and forced to deal with the crumbs.
It’s so much better to just say, “that’s my slice! I called that one!” (Now you can’t really “call” market share, you’re still fighting for it, but knowing what you want before you go for it will always produce better results then hoping you get anything.
Branding requires tailoring your content to a specific demographic. As mentioned in my last post, I’m not revealing the true target market of our new brand, but we have a very rigid one. And when I say rigid, I mean it breaks down into family size/structure, consistency of purchase, price thresholds, etc.
Warning: Do not use marketing/branding as a guise for your prejudice or other predatory behavior. Use marketing to target specifics, but do not use it to directly prevent people from joining an experience due to things like race/ethnicity, body type, etc. These things WILL backfire against you. Playing with fire, will get you burned.
See we’re running an exclusive, buyer sought out brand now and in doing so we actually have a responsibility to our customers and fans. For instance, we’ve mapped out many of our fans purchase history to make educated assumptions on their monthly porn budgets. In doing so we sometime will release an extra free video or two when we recognize our fans are getting close to those thresholds. Our brand requires lifelong fans and it’s Quinn and my responsibility to maintain that relationship without straining it over money. In doing so, we’ve developed fan relationships with some of the most generous and committed people ever!
So narrow your approach. You can’t take the whole pie, nor could you even stomach it if you could take it! There’s enough to share, so choose your slice by determining the specific demographics to target. Here’s some aspects of consumers to consider.
- Age Range – Example: 18-25, 25-40, 40-55, 55-65, 65+
- Sexual Orientation/Identity
- Income Level
- Education Level
- Geographical Location – More applicable in non-digital environments.
- Languages Spoken
Really you can narrow in as much as you need to! And don’t feel like once you lock into your target market you’re stuck with it. Our’s evolves daily. For instance, we never intended to attract those with pee/watersports fetishes, but we did and now every 5th or 6th video we post is in that fetish. Evolve and grown.
Lock In Your Look
Here’s where branding starts getting fun and immediately beneficial. Once you know yourself, your content (specifically what you know works well for you and what you can further), and your buyers, tailor ALL your content in that direction!
I could spend hours here talking about branding moods and emotions, story-telling, messaging, color, font, etc., but let’s just cover some basics.
In a visual field such as porn, color is incredibly important. Your brand colors will create various sensations and emotions in your prospective and returning buyers. Think of the Coca-Cola red, fun fact, that’s not really specific pantone or Hex color. It’s varied over the years (as the brand evolved), but that red will always travel with their brand. As they put it:
“You see a red disc icon on a storefront, and you know that you’ll be able to get delicious, ice-cold Coca-Cola there,” [Coca-Cola Archivist Ted] Ryan explains. “It became a promise in a way.”Coca-Cola Company Website
What!? Red is a promise? That sounds a little far-fetched right? Well, try this. Drive down any major highway in America and wait until you see that iconic yellow out of the corner of your eye and start thinking about getting some McNuggets (or your hatred for McDonald’s, I don’t judge). Those yellow arches resonate so deeply because of the iconic color choices.
To learn color, study color theory. Learn about how color relates with each other and how different colors invoke different emotions. You have around 10 million options of color here and can select multiples! I always recommend 1 primary color, 2 secondary colors, and one accent color.
Color is an insanely powerful tool; use it.
Font choice was actually the hardest for me personally to determine in our new brand. There’s thousands of options and each have their own purpose, usages, and other qualities.
It’s really about what you’re trying to say and how you say it.
I’ll disclosure our actual fonts. We use Snell Roundhand (part of the Adobe FontKit) for titles and watermarks and Tahoma for misc. text. We went with Snell because of it’s handwritten appearance, but clean lines. It flows well with our brand name of @Bubbl3AndSqueak on videos and has a wide enough stroke to be made semi-transparent for watermarketing.
What about you? If you have a cute, fun brand or anything in the “little” fetish, consider handwritten fonts. Luxury and powerful brands, on the other hand, would benefit more from strong sans-serif fonts.
Above all, make it legible. You’re not a Norwegian Death Metal band so don’t go too crazy, make sure it’s memorable and coexists in a perfect harmony with ALL your content.
So you know what your text will look like, but what are you saying? I know we all want to “be ourselves,” but consistency in a brand is everything. You can’t contradict yourself between messages, otherwise your consumers will get incredibly confused. Keep it consistent all the time.
I can’t tell you how many times we delete tweets or edit the existing content on our pages to make it all fit better. What I’ve learned is it’s always better to do something the right way than to settle with the results of something off-brand.
Let me explain this in greater detail. If you’re just approaching business randomly and sending out contradictory content/messaging outside of the image your consumers have created about you they WILL lose interest in you if you continue. It’s not even about quality of content, either, it’s pure branding.
See every buyer takes your entire brand and creates an “image” of you in their mind. Not a visual image, but an idea or concept of you. Often, it’s not even who you actually are, but it’s how you’ve made them feel. This idea is sacred to your buyer and while it may not be exactly what you’re attempting to instill, you’re still creating it. Hurting this idea of your brand may turn them away.
Messaging is the easiest way to maintain consistency. Once you find what works well, stay in that lane! Make minor adjustments to further it, but only further it, never reinvent the wheel.
Last point on messaging. Ad-Blindness is a real phenomenon. Creating consistent messaging does not mean mirroring every piece of copy identically. Eventually your clients will become blind to your messaging. For instance, I know it’s super easy to click those “share” buttons on sites to announce new videos, but you’ll have so much more success taking the time to draft a consistent, personalized post about new content.
Last section before I wrap up Part 1 on Branding Basics. Remember the first line of this post? Don’t scroll, I’ll put it below:
People don’t buy your content. They’re buying your brand.
Let’s take it a bit further. They are buying the experience your brand provides. This is what branding actually is about in my opinion; the experience a brand provides.
Why are Air Jordan’s still insanely popular? Well simple, quality product + quality experiential branding = cult-like attraction. See Air Jordan’s aren’t just shoes, they’re your entrance into the lifestyle of Michael Jordan. Now are you going to actually be Like Mike (lol). Chance are, not even close, but because of the lifestyle branding, the powerful messaging, and the iconic dunk logo, it surrounds consumers aiming for that way of life and thus is insanely successful.
Think of your favorite brands! What “experience” do they offer?
What about say Apple? Are you “thinking differently” with their products than say Windows?
Where do you shop for clothes? Do they perfume the air? Do they have a certain genre of music playing? The place I get my suits from brings me a snifter of brandy while I’m getting measured and plays 1940-1960s big band music like Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., etc. I’d rather spend the extra money to get the top-tier service and amenities over other stores so I’ve never bothered to shop around. This is the suit-shopping experience I want. Now if I go and they’re blaring dubstep and give me a vodka-redbull while I wait, I’ll leave faster then toupee in a hurricane.
What experience are you creating? Don’t know? Here’s the quickest way to find out!
Ask your top fans why they came to you and what they like best about you. Ask how you make them feel. Then ask what you can do to further that experience!
Branding is not difficult. It’s methodical. It’s planned. It’s patient. I don’t want to overload and since I write from a stream of consciousness instead of from an outline I always reach a point where I say, “Damn… this got long really quick.”
Let’s pick this up next time with more basics like brand extensions, avoiding brand gap/debt, brand personality/identity, and equity/value.
Do NOT let branding overwhelm you. I’ll keep trying to break it down as simply as possible, but it’s more tedious then anything else. You NEED a brand, what your brand will be is entirely up to you!
Have a lucrative day!
– Evan | @Bubbl3AndSqueak