Barbie Style proves that good branding strategies can make a brand stay in the market and remain relevant to the needs of its segment through time. But before getting into the plastic and wonderful world of Barbie, let’s talk a little bit about branding and some basic concepts you need to know.
One of the most common questions, when a person decides to start a business, is “when should I start doing branding?” Well, the answer is simple, after creating a business model, establishing it, and having a funnel process with which your brand will work. That’s the moment when you should start thinking about branding.
Why Branding is So Important?
Branding is a key piece in every business model because through marketing strategies brands manage to establish themselves in the market, and achieve recognition. So, branding is the best way to increase your business awareness, and it will help you to create an impact on how other people perceive your company.
After having developed part of the identity of your brand such as name, logo, and discovered the purpose behind your brand, you should ask yourself 4 questions: why do you exist? What makes you unique? What problem do you solve? and Why should people care?
The answers to these questions will serve to create the communication bases of your brand through slogans, voice, tagline, messages, stories, and the graphic presence, among others.
Simon Sinek, the British-American author, and motivational speaker developed a model called “The Golden Circle,” which helps you to identify in a simple way the purpose of your business or even your life.
According to Sinek, the circle is divided into 3 parts:
- What – the products or services you offer to your customers
- How – the things that make you different from the competition
- Why – the reason why you exist
These types of processes may seem useless to the naked eye, but when you are new to this whole world of marketing, these techniques are excellent when you are looking to create the basis of what your brand will be. They also help you have a clearer vision of what you really want to communicate with your business.
If you want to know more about this process watch this Ted Talk by Simon Sinek about How great leaders inspire action
Benefits of Good Branding
The secret of building good branding strategies lies in creating positive impressions and standing out from the rest, through strategies that are implemented in having a digital presence, such as creating a good user experience in your website, implementing SEO and Content Marketing practices, having a presence in Social Media, leading strategies of Email Marketing, and investing in Paid Advertising (PPC).
Some benefits that you will see from branding are:
Gets Recognition: it helps you reach people, so they can know about your business.
Increases your Value: a well-established business can increase its value over time, which increases the number of opportunities to attract investors, talents, and helps you establish the credibility of your company.
Generates New Customers: strong branding accompanied by quality products or services implies a positive impression on consumers, which triggers recommendations.
Barbie has become one of the most successful children’s dolls in history. She was created by Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, in 1959. Handler used to watch her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and it was at that moment when she came up with the idea of creating a doll that girls could identify with.
Over time Barbie has been characterized by breaking molds and adapting to the needs and demands of the girls of each generation.
Mattel has focused on creating a branding concept around Barbie that motivates and inspires little girls by showing them that they can be and achieve anything they want by creating dolls with different roles in societies such as Barbie Registered Nurse (1961), Barbie Astronaut (1965), Barbie Doctor and Firefighter (1995), Barbie Scientist (2015), Barbie Game Developer and President (2016), among others.
The brand has been established in such a way that they have expanded to different products such as video games, clothing, makeup, and have even made Barbie an influencer in social networks, and that can only be achieved with good branding.
Benchmarketing and Branding
One of the biggest problems, when you become the best, is that your ego begins to play a fundamental factor in your decisions, and this can cloud your judgment, especially when there is not much competition in your niche.
This was a situation that Mattel had to face in the early 2000s, when an employee of the company decided to sell the idea of the Bratz dolls to MGAs, after the group of Mattel executives rejected the idea.
This was a situation that Mattel had to face in the early 2000s when an employee of the company developed a new concept of dolls that were more in tune with the expectations of the girls of that time. The Bratz dolls were sold to MGA and they became an immediate success, which put Barbie in an awkward position and pushed Mattel’s sales to the ground.
No matter how big and successful your company may be, you should never underestimate the power of benchmarking, which means, comparing business processes and performance of your direct and indirect competition in the market. Ask yourself what’s your competition doing better than you?
Branding in Times of Crisis
When companies face a crisis where sales are falling apart, and they have a competitor as strong as the Bratz dolls, they turn to a strategy called the pivot. According to the Alternative Board site, pivot means “identify what aspects of your company can be salvaged, kept, and reused once you’ve settled on the new direction to head it.”
Basically, it is trying to swim in different waters with a new product, keeping the classic line that has always been in the company apart without ruling it out.
What did Mattel do? In 2004 the company announced that Barbie and Ken had broken up after more than 43 years together. In addition, Mattel launched a new doll to the market, Barbie started dating Blaine, an Australian surfer who stole her heart.
The split of one of the longest-running and most recognized relationships in the toy industry, got people talking about the beloved doll again and gave Mattel time to think on a new marketing plan.
A few years later Mattel decided to take advantage of the social media boom and launch a campaign through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to bring together the most loved couple in the industry.
Barbie Redefining Beauty Stereotypes
Over the decade’s Barbie has been known as the image of the perfect woman, which is why she has gained her own group of haters who have argued over time that the famous Mattel doll, sells unrealistic beauty stereotypes.
For this reason, after 57 years, Mattel decided to launch a new series of dolls with which girls around the world could feel identified, ranging from petite, tall, and curvy. Mattel expanded its universe of dolls bringing Barbies with different traits and origins to the market.
Back then, Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel expressed that “ haters are going to hate.” but they wanted to “ make sure the Barbie lovers love them more – and perhaps changing the people who are negative to neutral.”
Barbie Style: The Power of Branding
We all need a little competition to get out of our comfort zone and innovate. This was the learning that Mattel obtained after its dispute with Bratz. So, with the rise of social networks like Instagram, it is no surprise that Mattel decided to expand the Barbie universe to other platforms.
But Mattel went a step further in terms of having a presence on social networks, instead of just presenting Barbie toys on Instagram, they decided to make Barbie an influencer of social networks through the account Barbie Style. Literally, Mattel’s creative team was in charge of humanizing the most famous doll in the history of toys, by presenting her as a lifestyle and fashion blogger.
In fact, in 2016 Barbie attended a beauty conference at Mane University in Hawaii on behalf of Dyson’s Supersonic hairdryer. Since then, Barbie has collaborated with different high-end brands such as MAC, Moschino, LEVIS, Kendra Scott, and ShoeDazzle, among others. In addition to attending different events such as the fashion week.
However, the clever thing about all this, it’s that Mattel found another way to make money, and expand its market because Barbie charges for advertising on social media like any other real celebrity right now, and that’s a great example of how important it’s creating good branding.