How A Little Red Book (Not Mao's) Made A Brand

Eric Bandholz, the founder of Beardbrand, came up with a very cool idea one day while flying over the Grand Canyon on his way to who knows where. He thought about nine things that he wanted to remember, like "chilling your ego, focus on breathing, focus on the now." Nothing to do with men's grooming.

He wrote these ideas down in a little red book (not Mao's) and Beardbrand, which has two other partners, decided to include "The Book of Reminders" in every order. He has gotten his share of negative comments, which he says one must expect. "You have to be open to criticism, but you have to have confidence in your brand and mission," he told our Brand Insider Summit D2C. "If you only worry about negative outcomes, you're going to miss impacting the right people." And he cherishes a note from a woman whose husband's life was turned around by the book.

"You as marketers have a brilliant ability to focus beyond your products."

Beardbrand is totally a bootstrap venture, starting out with a YouTube channel and on Tumblr. With 17 employees, it is approaching eight figures with no debt. Its mission is "to make men awesome" and its tagline is "keep on growing."

What is a brand, he asked. "When I think about alternatives in the marketplace, people are free to buy from us or others." What does Amazon do well? It has a billion products, and it offer fast shipping. Beardbrand, he noted, can offer a better unboxing experience with books like that and style consultants. "Will Amazon ever do that?"

A brand is a promise, an investment in the future. 

Steps to building a killer brand are "stupidly simple." Establish your core values. Beardbrand' s are: freedom, trust, hunger. "Make sure it's integrated so much at your work culture that everyone knows what they are." 

Establish your mission: to make men awesome. "When we make men awesome, when he takes care of himself, loves his mirror image, he has the confidence to be a better father, partner, person. We can impact society this way." 

Create a tagline: that's optional. 

Integrate creative to fit your brand. "We are using self improvement and guidance to build our brand."

Stay consistent, but evolve. 

And, lastly but most importantly, he said: Think of your brand as you make strategic decisions. For Beardbrand, that means maintaining a premium product offering. "No sales, discounts, hustling."

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