Supporting a ‘Queen Bee’ to Succeed - Julie Roehm
As an entrepreneur and marketing expert, in 2014 Heidi Lehmann reached out to me to be featured as a judge on their reality competition show “Queen Bee”. The goal of the show was to empower women entrepreneurs and aid them towards their business goals. And honestly, I could not have imagined a better use of my time. Giving back to others, especially young women, supporting their entrepreneurial passion and helping shine the light on their talents is an endeavor with which I wanted to be associated!
The premise was simple. Each judge gave a specific challenge to the contestant we were partnered with. I was partnered with Maureen “Mo” Wilkie, and I challenged her to create her own marketing campaign. She clearly had a strong grip on her business plan and the operational needs for her burgeoning belt company, but there was, as yet, no branding concept to support it.
I first asked her ‘What is it that success looks like for you in terms of your brand perception?’
It is important to determine this from the start because the success of any brand must start with a clear vision for what your brand stands for…draw a crystal clear picture of your target audience. Don’t worry if that doesn’t represent everyone. Tap into those glimpses of who we want to be. If you are not clear and differentiated, then the customer cannot fully buy in. Be bold.
Throughout our collaboration I helped Mo narrow in on her customer profile and the underlying notion that customization or personalization, the ability to be unique and stand out in a way that is truly one-of-a-kind, was the major insight for her brand. I explained, “it’s a brand rooted in customization, you can seed that in your marketing campaign — all the way through. When other people feel like they own the message and that they’re part of the brand, that is what is going to make you successful.”
- “If it fails, fail quickly, learn and then try to improve swiftly.” There is a great quote from Voltaire, the French writer, who said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” Sometimes, it is better to move and learn quickly, or fail fast, then to hold back seeking perfection before launching.
- “Be true to your brand: nail it, then scale it.” Once you have tested your hypothesis, fine tune it and go!
I am proud to report, spoiler alert☺, that Mo ended up winning the Queen Bee competition and created her brand, BeltCraft. These techniques helped her create her brand and market her products. Mo and I have stayed connected as she went on to get her MBA at my Alma Mader, Booth at the University of Chicago. She continues to be a force to be reckoned with and is helping other entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in her role with a venture capital firm.
About Julie Roehm: Julie is a marketing and experience expert with over 20 years experience working in various industries. From marketer, to entrepreneur, to news channel contributor, to board member, Julie has perfected the art of storytelling. Julie thrives on transformation projects, as her career exemplifies, where she can inspire teams to formulate creative solutions that allow for constant evolution. She currently serves as the Chief Marketing and Experience Officer at Party City and an independent board director and advisor to profit and not-for-profit organizations.
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