Creating a Marketable Niche with Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel is an actress, musician and singer/songwriter whose “adorkable” qualities have helped her build one of the strongest personal brands in Hollywood. She currently stars in the popular Fox series New Girl, has been nominated for Golden Globe, Grammy, and Emmy Awards, and has proven herself a fan favorite with her current People’s Choice Award nomination.

Zooey has built a career that is not only entertaining, but is synonymous with a unique and well-defined niche — something that all marketers are striving for. Faced with an overload of information and competitive markets for consumers, it is our job to create a niche that is memorable, relatable and ensures our voice is heard. Zooey seems to achieve this with ease. Here are 4 things that marketers can learn from her about creating a marketable niche:

1. It’s okay to be different

In a world laden with hip hop stars and supermodels, Zooey is surprisingly refreshing by being anything but Hollywood mainstream. As a marketer, you are in business because you have something that people want and/or need to be more successful. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Know your niche and relish the uniqueness you offer. Sometimes you can overlook the smallest of things that can become your legacy. We all have something in common, what do you have that sets you apart?

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2. Diversification is good

Zooey Deschanel acts on screens, small and big. She is the founder of hellogiggles, one half of the indie folk band She & Him and, according to her blog, she dances too (but just for fun). While you want everything to fall under a logical and sustainable umbrella, don’t let fear stop you from reaching out and trying something new. Challenge yourself to think about how can you expand your territory and try new products to win more customers.

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3. Know your audience

As marketers, we have to know what our audience expects of us and foster the persona they know and love. The niche you have developed has a specific audience. Cater to that audience and don’t lose the voice that is attracting them. Zooey’s signature deadpan style has become her trademark. Her fans cherish her dry humor, and look forward to her witty commentaries.

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4. Sometimes, uncool can be cool

Putting yourself out there and showing your personality and vulnerabilities makes you approachable and relatable as a company. Consumers today desire that transparency. Consider letting your customers in on some of your decisions and thought processes. It helps them to feel a part of your brand. Even if it makes you uncool, it makes you real. And sometimes that is more important.

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So next time you think about Zooey Deschanel, consider the impressive marketable niche she has created in her career and how we can apply that as marketers.

What makes your brand memorable and unique?

How Doing Good Can Bring Value to Your Brand

“Success isn’t only about achievement, those things that we can measure. It is also about contribution, those things that we unselfishly give back.” Jim Geigor, CEO, CBeyond

As the proliferation of new technology and social media lead to empowered consumers, closing deals and brand loyalty are more and more about building relationships. Sales-driven companies in a down economy are tasked with constantly evolving and developing their niche within their industry. As marketers, we are often looking for ways to represent our brand in a way that will bridge the gap between product and consumer and make us memorable and relatable.

Now consider these statistics:

  • 86% of Americans expect a company to use resources such as employee volunteerism to support a nonprofit or social cause. *LBG Research Institute 2009
  • 83% of Americans wish more of the products, services and retailers they use would support causes. *2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study
  • 92% of people who volunteer through their workplace report higher rates of physical and emotional health. *United Healthcare Do Good Live Well Study 2010

Although it may seem counterintuitive to the Old Guard of marketing, doing good and giving back is now a very real competitive advantage in corporate America. And evidence suggests your customers and employees may already expect this of you.

Have you considered creating a tribe that believes in your product and in how you treat others? Effective content marketers can be more than just great storytellers; they can be agents for change in their community. And this philanthropy can lead to greater employee and customer retention which is vital to corporate culture and success.

Building a Strategic Community

No matter your company’s size or industry, your most valuable resource is your people. Doing good in your community is a terrific way to identify top talent. By building relationships within your local community, you can begin to identify ways in which you can encourage the city through partnerships with startups and the sponsorship of local events. Through strategic outreach, your company can add value to your brand, recruit local talent, and help create business growth in your community.

Volunteering

Organizing opportunities for your team to volunteer has also been shown to have a positive impact on their physical and emotional health. And every community has a need for volunteers, making it an easy and valuable way to give back. These events can be fun and foster unique team-building opportunities. From a simple food drive to group outings, volunteering is a great way to encourage a positive, supportive culture.

Redefining Success

Yes, these activities take time and investment. They also create a culture that can help your company grow while redefining success from a more holistic viewpoint. Choose to aim to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Your partners and customers will appreciate it, too.

Consider how being a white hat, do-good marketer can create a “halo” effect that can carry through to your communities and set you further apart from your competition. Developing a relationship-based community and staff engagement program that is integrated into the business of the company and in the fabric of your culture can create a stickiness that should result in a stronger loyalty with your employees and your customers. It kind of makes you feel good, too.

What are some ways your company does good?

Sharing Your Brand Through Storytelling

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin

Every piece of content you create plays into your overall brand message. The more compelling your content, the more attractive your brand becomes. It seems like a simple equation, but it is imperative for startups to make your content applicable and engaging enough to create a storyline that customers feel invested in. Instead of a transaction, interactions with your brand are now building relationships with your customers. And relationships are personable, create loyalty, and even have the ability to create a tribe of fans that promote your company for you.

Content Marketing Institute has highlighted “Facebook Stories,” a fairly new marketing initiative from Facebook that aims to add brand value by emotionally connecting with its users, simply by telling their stories. These stories are powerful enough to change a viewer’s perception of Facebook from just another social network to a platform where a teenager can help children in the Philippines get to school, and Australia can reflect on the year that One Direction was their most talked about topic (no comment). Trending topics become a reflection of our culture, and a simple status update can become a story of a changed life.

In a world where statistics and status updates can become compelling stories, we are more keenly aware than ever of one common denominator among all of us: an appreciation for great storytelling. If your startup can do this well, you are on your way to building a deep community of folks invested in your brand.

Most of us don’t have brands that can pull on emotional heart strings like Facebook Stories, but we do all have some type of story that can be told with humor, emotion, graphics, statistics, or even logic — it’s your pick. The key is to tell it as a story with a persona that reflects your brand and invites engagement from your customers.