I’ve been discussing pole studio branding recently, and what it means to run an effective brand in the pole dance industry.
In this post I discuss what makes a powerful brand, what it means for your brand to be ‘date worthy’, and some of the lessons we can learn from awesome and memorable brands in the pole dancing industry.
For some, it can be confusing to know what a brand is. A brand is more than the colours or logo a company uses. Likewise, a brand is not simply the services they offer. A brand is not just having a recognisable product or the most visibility. All of these things are aspects of your branding, but not the full story. So what the hell is it?
The Stick of Rock
Picture a moment a stick of rock… if you’re unfamiliar with this sweet, it is a tube of boiled sugar that people buy at beach tourist attractions such as Brighton in the UK. What makes them so special? Well, they are usually made with a word or design that runs all the way through the stick of rock. Wherever you break the rock, the same words run through the middle.
Your brand is like the words that run through the stick of rock. Your brand is the identity and personality of your business. Wherever you look in your business, you should be able to recognise your branding.
The content you create, the images you use, your advertising – they should all reflect your brand identity.
The clients you serve, and the community you build – they should be a representation of your brand identity.
The products and services you sell – they should develop from the brand identity.
This is why I believe your branding is the most important aspect of your business. Without branding, your business does not have an identity. Without an identity, your business will struggle to grow in a way that you can scale and replicate.
Although you do not need branding in order to be successful, visible, or sell products and services, branding allows you to make the process of building your business easier. You might ‘luck out’ and create a business that makes you money, or, you can create your own luck, and build a business with intention and purpose. When you know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how, you are able to take control of your business, and your future.
Your brand is more than your products and services
An interesting question I had from a pole dancer was, ‘What is the difference between someone’s brand and their style of dance?’
Branding is more that the product or service you provide. Really powerful brands transcend beyond simply what they do, and are more about who they are. This is their values, their mission, and what they stand for.
Your products and services (and in this case, the dance style is a part of that service), are a reflection of your branding, not the basis for it. Your dance style should compliment your brand, not define it. Likewise, your products and services should make sense with your brand, but not dictate it.
This is why I say it is important to be more than about pole, which I discuss in this blog post. People buy into how your business makes them feel, not simply what you offer.
Your business’s dating profile
Imagine you just met someone, and they refused to tell you anything about themselves. Or, the things they did say were random and disjointed. Then, they ask you out on a date. Would you say yes?
When we are looking to form a relationship, with a person or a business, we want to know who they are, what is important to them, and whether we are compatible and get along. Your branding makes it easier for you to engage and build a relationship with your customers, because it is your way of telling them who you are.
So as a brand we are looking to ‘woo’ our customers. They need to believe that we are ‘date worthy’, and be eager to say ‘YES!’ to our proposal.
If your business was a person, what would their tinder bio be? What outfit would they wear in their profile picture? What interests and hobbies would they list to hope to attract the right match?
How do I know if my brand is good?
You can take this dating profile analogy and expand it.
If your brand is about more than your product, you should be able to change the product and still have a brand.
For example, my studio Feelin’ Peachy is about more than the classes we offer. It is about fun, self-love and freedom. Our aesthetic is pink, fluffy, and adorable, and of course, there are plenty of peaches! I can apply these to any product or service on the planet.
It’s like that advert, ‘If Carlsberg did…’
If Feelin’ Peachy did… cars. It would be cute, baby pink, with peaches printed all over it. The radio would have a playlist including music from Disney films, empowering pop princesses, and cheesy 90s hits. The entire interior would be upholstered in a pink furry material, and there would be an inbuilt satnav menu pre-programmed with the funnest places to visit.
If Feelin’ Peachy did… electricians. We would ride around in a glittery van with ‘Peach Power’ written on the side. Our uniforms would have our names in rhinestones across the butt. Not only will we do your electrical work, but we would also offer basic household wiring courses because we believe every individual should feel empowered and confident when dealing with their home.
If Feelin’ Peachy did… restaurants. We would only serve desserts. Our waitresses would be in vintage dresses with matching roller skates and fluffy pink wigs. We would have a whole menu of themed drinks inspired by our favourite Disney princesses, and every receipt would come with a little card attached that shows a motivating or uplifting message.
If your brand is strong, you can apply it to whatever you want. I like to do this exercise to check if a brand is more than a recognisable product or logo.
The Case in Point – Case Studies
Take these recognisable pole brands.
Creatures of XIX
Jamie Taylor’s Scarlet Show
Cleo’s Rock n Pole
Off the Pole
Marlo’s Flow Movement
Crimson Minx’s Studio – Minx and Muse
Go through that list and try to imagine if each brand did cars, electricians, or restaurants instead. Some might be easier than others. But if you find this exercise fun and simple it’s because their brand is distinctive, clear and well-communicated in everything they do. It is also because their brand is about so much more than their product or service.
Now… you can do this exercise with your own pole business. If it is very difficult for you to envision, then try and think about that stick of rock. What is the identity you need to run through your business, so that you are defined by more than your services?
Want help to improve your branding?
Visit my Pole Royalty website to view our online branding course for pole studios. Although I have written this specifically for studio owners, and the case studies we follow through the course are based on a pole studio model, many of the lessons within are applicable to all types of businesses.
I hope this blog inspires you, and you find the exercises illuminating and entertaining! Let me know in the comments what you’ve taken away from this post and how you’ve applied it to your own business.