Let me start off by saying that Branding Stereotypes are NOT a bad thing. Phew! Now that I have that off my chest, let’s talk about why you do not have to cringe when it comes to stereotyping in your business.
But first, let’s play a little game! I’m going to say some words and phrases, and I want you to think about the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?
- Men who drive lifted pickup trucks
- The DMV
- Popular Girls
It really doesn’t matter what you thought in your head just now because the only important thing to note is that you had a thought. Your brain automatically associates those words with something. Likely some kind of characteristic. And my friend, that is called a stereotype.
In marketing, stereotyping is a key element. Like it or not, but it works and it’s not a bad thing (in most cases).
What are branding stereotypes?
Branding: the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
Stereotypes: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
The word stereotypes gets a bad rep a lot of the time. And it’s probably true that in most day to day life we think of stereotypes as only bad things. But we don’t usually think of the average mundane things.
Think about it. Whether you want to admit it or not, there are stereotypes that come with almost everything.
Walmart vs. Target. I bet a certain demographic or feeling just came to mind when I mentioned both of those store names. Democrats vs. republicans. People who live in Hawaii vs. people who live in New York.
I don’t even have to say my thoughts on those things because I bet you already have thoughts about what they look like, dress like, talk like, behave like, and so on.
Branding stereotypes are essentially a businesses way of learning their demographic and then using those characteristics to market to the proper audience.
Examples of when to use Branding stereotypes
I think it’s important to understand all the different ways we stereotypes in business and HOW it actually benefits us and the customers in the long run.
Examples of when to use branding stereotypes in your business.
- Creating an ideal client/customer profile
- Social Media posts
- Your website
- Email Marketing
- In person
Are you catching my drift? Yes, you should be using branding stereotypes in essentially every aspect of your business. So let’s break them down a bit more to see why.
Creating An Ideal Customer Profile
You have probably heard me or someone else say that it’s good to establish your dream client or customer when starting a business. But why? This is because you do not want to be trying to sell your products and services to EVERY SINGLE person out there. It would get completely exhausting for you but also it would make no one feel particularly seen or heard.
There’s that saying of “when you talk to everyone, you reach no one”
If someone comes across your brand and all your content is so generic to keep things neutral, you are going to push people away. But if the right person lands on your profile because you have been using imagery, and language that caters to them they are going to be on board to work with you.
Stereotyping someone’s interests, conflicts, style, tastes, etc. is the best way to build a connection with them. Remember the goal is to establish trust in order to get someone to buy something from you. And the more it feels like you know someone, the more likely they will be to trust you.
Branding Stereotypes And Social Media
One of the most prominent ways that branding stereotypes are relevant probably above all else, is on social media. I think it’s safe to say that for most business owners, social media is where most of their clients are found. Which means it needs to be so clear who you are, what you do and who you serve.
That first impression you are making on a potential clients has got to be black or white or whether or not they are the right fit.
How do you accomplish this? Especially in the day and age of short form video?
Because of how fast moving TikTok and Instagram REELS have become, branding stereotypes are more important than ever. Think about your own habits when scrolling one of these apps. You are just swiping along, deciding which videos you are going to land on and watch all the way through. Chances are, you land on the ones that peak your interest – and for a reason.
Dressing The Part
As a western wedding photographer myself, I have had to do this. In my content I will strategically wear things like a cowboy hat, turquoise jewelry, cowboy boots, and things of that nature. Even when I know dang well, I do not wear that stuff on a daily basis.
Your social media needs to be a blend of showcasing what kind of clientele you serve and the real you. For me, I tend to use REELS as the opportunity to reach new people (as should you because that’s the main purpose of that feature).
In Reels, I get a little more intentional about what I look like and what kind of vibe I am giving off. Then once someone decides to follow me because of that, they will be able to dive deeper into my feed and stories where I show up with no makeup and sweatpants.
Again, that is just my own example. Depending on what kind of people you want to reach, your audience may resonate with REELS where you are in sweats and a messy bun. This is not a one size fits all kind of situation.
In Person Branding Stereotypes Matter Too
In person interactions matter too! Though they are not quite the same, especially in a service industry where you are seeing clients in person AFTER they have already booked you. BUT think about this. Is there potential for other people to see you, that may want to hire you??
A lot of wedding photographers will wear all black jumpsuits to their jobs. But for me, as someone who does mostly ranch based weddings, Jeans and boots with a nice top fit the attire. Plus, it’s on brand for me.
Sure, I could still show up wearing my black jumpsuit and flats. But chances are, the people attending the wedding that is on the ranch, may have similar interests as the couple that booked me.
Branding stereotypes may be a word that you have never heard before but I promise the concept itself is not new. Try it for yourself this week. Post a REEL where you include something that stereotypes the people you want to reach.
If you are wanting to book clients that love hiking… go out on a hike (or somewhere that looks like a hike) Yes, you can in this case fake it til’ you make it… and make a video talking about whatever you want to talk about. It does not have to be directly related to what you are doing. But just the fact alone that you are out on the “hike” is going to grab the attention of someone scrolling.
I want to know! Does it work for you? Have you come up with other ways to include this concept into your business? Did you already know this was a thing or did I just blow your mind?
OTHER EPISODES YOU’LL ENJOY
- What is a branding photoshoot and why you need to do one
- How to stand out in a saturated market
- Tips for getting more brand deals
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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