Business Bites Episode 96: Growing Multiple Brands

Growing Multiple Brands

Episode 96 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode: Growing multiple brands doesn’t happen all at the same time.  Each brand needs time and focus devoted to it.  In this episode, Rachel explains how she had built her brands one at a time and why that is important for each to be successful.

 

What you will learn:

  • the formula for how your business is going to go
  • the importance of having one brand nailed down before starting another
  • questions to ask yourself when you are thinking about developing another brand
  • tips on how to manage multiple brands
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Hey, guys it’s Rachel Brenke with The Business Bites Podcast. You are listening to episode 96. You can get all the show notes for this episode at RachelBrenke.com/epi96. Before we dig into the topic of growing multiple brands, just understand that you’re not alone in all of this. You guys can dig into the Business Bites community over on Facebook. We share extras for the podcast as well. There’s no membership, there’s no money, just simply just ask to join and we’d be happy to put you in there and get to know you, help lift up and pour into your business, and also share with you extras that go along with the episodes over here at The Business Bites.

As you guys can see, this is episode 96. We are coming up on 100 episodes, which is absolutely incredible considering that, as many of you guys know, podcasting is not the main thing that I do. I have multiple brands that are going on in my life. I have RachelBrenke.com, which is where you guys can find everything. It’s kind of the mothership brand. That is me, as a person but also a brand. From there, I have multiple different brands that all branch out. For example, I have TheLawTog.com, which is the legal resource for photographers. I have FitLegally.com, which is a legal resource for fitness professionals, whether athlete, brand, coach, et cetera. And those are the two main brands that I have going on, and obviously I also have my own personal brand where I can teach all this subjects matter across all sorts of types of industries.

Podcasting is another one you guys can find on Rachel Brenke. You’ll see even more niched down type of brands, such as BizLegally, which is the business legal course you guys can dig into, PodLegally, which is for podcasters and BlogLegally, which is a legal course for bloggers. So you guys can see that not only do I have separate websites as separate brands, but also within the Rachel Brenke brand I had different “brands,” quote unquote, you can’t see my air quotes since I’m just in your ears today. But you guys can see that I have done this growing of branding and niching and talking to very specific entrepreneurs in different industries on different levels. And that’s why I wanted to bring to you guys this episode 96, 96, epi96 at Rachel Brenke, but I wanted to bring this to you because I get asked a lot, how do I manage “it all”? How do I grow multiple brands?

Well, here’s the deal. You guys, if you’re just now finding me, or just sit back for a second, even if you’ve been following me for a while, and think about, how do you come out with all these brands at one time. I didn’t come out with all these different businesses. And I even have more than what I’ve explained here, but those are the core ones to help you understand and the tips I’m going to give you today for deciding to have multiple brands, for how to grow them, and how to maintain them. Those are the three major things that we’re going to go over. So how did I even to where I’m at? Well, I didn’t start with all these brands in the beginning, which is what I highly recommend when you’re first starting out is to start with one brand. Get very clear with the client avatar for that, episode 12 you guys can … that is our most popular episode because it is a good foundational one that I mentioned in most of these podcasts, but also my unique selling proposition.

So the formula for determining how your business is going to go, all the actions you’re going to make, all the marketing stuff, all the business relationships, what you’re going to offer, everything that you’re going to put out there, is going to be this formula of client avatar plus unique selling proposition. It is very important that you just focus on one brand at a time. Get this formula nailed, nailed, nailed, nailed, and dig deep into that audience before you even start creating another brand. And I’m going to tell you guys, I know this from personal experience because let’s look at the history of this. I had originally started out just Rachel Brenke and then I decided, you know what? In order to meet my client avatar, which at the time was solely photographers, and also to convey my unique selling proposition, the phrase, the name Rachel Brenke, he did not encapsulate exactly what I was trying to convey, so I was losing a part of that formula. I didn’t have that formula nailed down.

So that helped me to make the decision to branch out and create TheLawTog separate from myself. I understand that I just said you should only start with one brand, and I really did. I kind of allowed Rachel Brenke, the brand, to take a complete backseat and focused on building TheLawTog until I could get that formula of client avatar plus unique selling proposition, the USP, completely nailed down and dug deep. And then, once I have been successful at that, then I’m going to go on to do that with another brand. The reason for this, well, there’s many reasons, but the main reason for this is in order to be focused and to create yourself into a successful brand, you’re going to have to focus your efforts. The where do you focus more of your efforts, you’re going to see a better return. And the thing is, especially if you’re just newer in business, you don’t necessarily have your processes and workflows and all those things nailed down.

So one of the great things is is that I did this, I got TheLawTog, got the leg under me, I got the formula going, and it is a big component of all of my brands. It is the cornerstone of a lot of what I do because I have really put myself into a market where there was a need, there still is a need. And now I’ve learned through all the processes and stuff that I created over there that I can copy and paste into another brand. So again, deciding when should you create a brand? Well, when you see a client avatar and you see a need, do it, do it very well.

I’m not going to dig into all of how to do all of that. You guys can check the other episodes. I talk about batch processing, talk about business referrals. We’re going to link it all in the show notes so you can see the related episodes, but all under point number one for this episode is, when should I develop or how should I develop a brand, and when should I develop another? Well, the answer is once you have all that under control, you have that entire formula nailed down and it’s fairly well self-sufficient. I think of it like a boulder. In the beginning, like the beginning Indiana Jones boulder when it comes down and wants to run over him, right? I think about something that large, and that’s what it is to get a brand started. It takes a lot of work.

If you’re trying to push multiple of those at one time, you’re going to have multiple failings across the board. So why not just have one brand where you’re going to have one failure versus multiple failures. And I’ve done this, I was in the process of getting TheLawTog’s legs underneath it and nailing down that formula, and I tried to do a couple of other spinoff brands, thinking that I was good to go. Well, I wasn’t. I found myself in this reactive mode across all brands, and that’s when I knew things needed to change and I went back to focusing just on TheLawTog. Again, Rachel Brenke brand kind of was always there, but it took more of a backseat/I integrated myself as the face of TheLawTog. So I was able to develop both at one time, but my focus was that formula, client avatar plus USP equaled the TheLawTog. And that’s what I focused on.

So always start with one brand, nail it down, set yourself a goal when you get to that level, when you’re going to create. And I really do think that, at least for me, and I see this in a lot of those that I consult with when they’re determining if they want to start another brand or add on another course or do a whole nother business completely, you have to make sure that you feel fairly well leveled off. That’s the only way I can really describe it. You have to feel fairly well leveled off in your business. And that doesn’t mean complacent. That doesn’t mean that you’re not growing. That doesn’t mean that you don’t know what the next steps are to take.

But I can sit back and ask myself, is this brand providing me the financial resources that I need, or any other resources but financial is the easiest tangible one, is it provided me to financial resources that I need? Am I getting a good return on all my actions? And is it able to fairly sustain itself? Are we still in this up and down roller coaster of wondering if we’re going to have enough money to cover the bills? Then that’s not the time to create another brand. If it’s fairly consistent, you can see that your trajectory is still going up, might be a slower incline and not as quick as it was in the beginning, that’s okay. That happens over time. And you’re going to see a little blips based on your marketing, up and down. But what I’m talking about is you know you’re going to have a gangbuster month because people are excited, maybe then around Christmas time to buy into you, and then come January you see it plummet. You’re not even sure that you can make your ends meet, then you’re probably not in a financial place to create another brand.

You want to try to make it as consistent and leveled off as possible. And also from the standpoint, you want to make sure that you’re able to automate and have the good workflows and procedures. Now the second thing I wanted to go over for you guys today is, once you have the brands, how do you manage all of this? From a legal and marketing standpoint, my recommendation, and I’m not saying that this is the best way to do it because I just know that I’ve tried a variety of ways over the years and this is what’s worked for me, my recommendation is if you have any inkling of success, which hopefully you do because then you’re in stage two looking at building another brand, you probably want to have very specific social media and separate websites for everything. So for example, as you can see and what I described in the introduction, I have RachelBrenke.com, but it branches out to these other websites.

I want things like TheLawTog and FitLegally to be their own distinct brands. Yes, I’m still the face of them, but they’re not getting lost in the shuffle of what I’m offering on Business Bites podcast. They’re not getting lost in the shuffle that Rachel Brenke just spoke at a podcast conference, and that’s what she’s blogged about on Rachel Brenke, when I’m a fitness person coming to this website trying to find fitness info. Because then, what does that do? Go back to the formula we talked about. My client avatar is going to be there but not for very long, because when we get to the second portion, they’re going to go, “This unique selling proposition of what she has is not for me.” And so from a marketing standpoint, from a common sense, logical approach, it just makes more sense to have different social media, a different website, different emails, different everything broken out.

Now this can be an administrative heartache. It can be a pain in the butt. From a legal standpoint, I’ll talk about it here in a second, but you may want to consider having different LLCs, different corporations, depending on where you’re at. And I’ll talk about that here one second. But I wanted to finish my thought on just consider, though, before you take the steps to go into the legal side of things, you want to think, how am I administratively actually going to carry out all of these? So it’s not just, “Oh, I’ve reached his level of success.” It’s not just, “Oh, I’ve got this formula nailed down.” But then it’s like, “How am I actually going to be able to manage all of this?”

So I’ll share with you guys, full transparency. The way that our team operates is that I have, and I’m working towards a even more robust version of this, but I have people who manage each specific brand. So right now, I have one person who is fairly focused on just TheLawTog stuff. I have another person that’s fairly focused on just the Rachel Brenke stuff. Now, I say fairly because there is some crossovers because, and this is what I’m going to talk about the legal stuff, we have almost all of our brands in the same legal entity. So they’re all in the Brenke Group LLC, most of them, not all. But because of that, then we share resources. And so that is one thing that you want to look at when you’re determining also, how do I want to break things out?

And what do I mean by shared resources? Okay. So let’s say I have two different brands because that’s what we’re looking at. We’re looking at having multiple brands here. Well, if I am going to … I have one that’s gangbusters, doing really well, and then have another one that’s not doing so well because it’s still in the beginning stages. I don’t have a lot of money to help pay for the bills. Well, I may want to put them both in the same buffer account. Right? But if you have them legally separated out or make them completely separate on the administrative backend, you can’t do that. And there’s also tax benefits to having it all together as well. But just from an administrative standpoint, I also want to look at it and go, “Okay, what is the ease of this? Do I want to have 15 different logins?” Well, I know I just said yes, you want to have separate social media accounts and all of that. But that is more I’m speaking towards the front end, what everyone sees because they’re looking at, “I’m the client avatar. I’m the avatar of what this brand is speaking to, and then I can clearly see their unique selling proposition. Check.” We figured that out.

On the backend, administratively is where you can get more creative, but it’s all going to be dependent upon how you have structured your business. So let’s say you’re in a business where you is very lean, L-E-A-N, lean, right? You have very few people that work for you. You may be e-commerce online, maybe services. You can get away with, and your team has the capacity to work across the brands. Well, it maybe easier than to keep everything into the same legal entity and keep it all in the same resource, like Buffer, which is a scheduler by the way if you don’t know what I’m referring to, on Tailwind or Planoly, or any of those type of programs.

And one other thing that we utilize since we have multiple brands is Help Scout because I have all these different email addresses. Because why? My email addresses facing out are an @fitlegally, or @thelawtog, or @rachelbrenke. But so that it’s administratively easier on the backend, we just have one Help Scout account, but then we can manage all the emails at one time. Side note, we absolutely love Help Scout. It’s one of the most amazing things if you’re running multiple brands and you have crossover of team. Or even if you don’t have crossover, but you need to have tabs on all the email inboxes. Freaking love it. You can have workflows, you can make notes, you can tag things, you can move conversation from one brand to another, because that happens a lot. People will come in through Rachel Brenke, and we find they’re better served over at TheLawTog. And so, yeah, that just, administrative-wise, it’s easier for us.

However, we’re only able to do that with things that are within the same legal entity. Which brings me to the point of, all right, we’ve decided I’ve gotten this one brand under control, it’s leveled off, I’ve nailed the formula, and I’m ready to open up another brand. So do I do it under the same entity or not? Well, and this is where … and you guys can go back to the other episode about having a lawyer and a CPA. But either way, you guys need to have both of us on board to manage and advise you on this. CPA’s are really good on the tax side, and I’ve leaned very heavily on my CPA, who I recommend and I’ll put in the show notes. He works with a lot of creative types, which is fabulous because he understands us a little better. But you’re able to keep related brands in the same entity, especially if you’re not bringing on extra partners. If you’re not bringing on and doing a completely unrelated activity, it may make the most sense.

Here’s one thing to consider, though. And you guys can go listen to, for example, the LLC, it could be a corporation too, but the LLC episodes that I have. I have one single bucket when I have one LLC. So the way that mine is structured, I have the Brenke Group LLC. That’s one bucket, and so I have multiple brands within that bucket. I have some brands outside of that bucket in their own LLCs as well. But if you’re wanting to keep it all together, visualize one bucket. So if you have brand A that has an issue, well, all of brand B’s assets are also in the same bucket. And so that’s a liability thing that you want to work through in your mind and think is this something that I want to keep all my assets together like this so it can be touched. And as your brands grow, it makes the most sense, and I would advise as an attorney, which I am a lawyer but I’m not your lawyer, CYA and all of that, this is for educational purposes, but as you grow and you start making more and you’re exposed to more liability, you want to break out the brands as much as possible.

But I’m saying all this to say you can put it all in one entity, one LLC bucket in the beginning and break it out later. My caveat to this is always talk to a CPA because they’re going to advise you a bit also on the tax implications and how that can help you, especially if that other brand is just growing up. It’s still in its infancy, and you may need the support of the other financial of brand A that is already leveled off and already doing very well.

Okay, so we’ve gone over, obviously, brand. I want to have multiple brands. I’m multi-passionate, I’m an entrepreneur, which is many of us, but you want to nail down that one. Make sure that formula is in check. Make sure you’ve leveled off, you have your workflows, your procedures, you have everything. The second thing is, all right, well, now I’m ready to create the brand. Now how do I do that? Well, we want to have the outward facing to be segregated as much as possible so we’re very clear on that formula from a marketing standpoint. So we have all of the social media handles for TheLawTog. We have all the social media handles separate for FitLegally. But on the backend, we want to ask ourselves, how are we going to do this administrative and legally? Are we going to put it all in one entity or are we going to sharing resources, like Help Scout and Buffer and all of that. And then from there, you can make the determination of how you want to structure it on the backend.

Again, we’re looking at it from two different standpoints because you want to look at not just what your consumer is seeing, but also what you’re having to deal with on the backend and then maintaining it. I think this is the hardest part of having multiple brands is you’re going to find, even when brand A has reached a level where you’re successful, there’s always things to fine tune. So that means you just need to take that lesson and carry it over to the other brands if it suits, right? So it’s an always evolving. Don’t think that you’re ever going to get to a point where brand A is always going to be completely nailed down and you’re never going to have to change anything because your audience changes, the economy changes, the industry changes. You’re going to still have to make those changes.

So in order to manage multiple brands is when you really have to ensure that you’re keeping tabs on analytics. Because what happens is, you have brand A who’s leveled off and it’s successful, and you may have someone managing it for you, or you’re just tapping that boulder. You’re not having to do the big push like we talked about before. But if you start ignoring it, that big boulder is going to start rolling slower. And then brand A that you’ve taken your efforts away from, it’s going to come to a standstill. So you have to really dig in to looking at brand A, B, and C, or however many brands that you have, segregating out the analytics, by making sure that you’re very methodical in watching ads, return on investment, your ROI of your ads, your marketing efforts, the voice, quality control over the voice is still being put out to nail that formula that we’ve talked about. But it’s really, really, really important that you do not ignore brand A.

And I’m really harping on this as the last point for this episode. I get it, guys. I went a little bit longer than normal. But because I have seen people who have a really good brand A and then they are like, “All right. Time to do brand B.” They do brand B, but they forget brand A, and brand A becomes dead in the water. Which is fine once brand B takes off, I guess. But then what about all the time and effort you put into brand A? Well, for me, my goal is to have multiple income streams and multiple brands. I’m not necessarily having brand A and then just letting it go so I can have brand B, which there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re wanting to transition. But the purpose of this episode and really what I’m trying to frame for you guys is running multiple successful brands at one time. And that really requires a methodical approach to evaluating of analytics, purposeful intention in your business and marketing planning, and also having a really good team that you can rely upon to enact that for you.

So really long episode. Hope it did help give you guys a little bit of framework. And just that FYI, I am accepting one-to-one business consulting, so I’m more than happy to sit down and talk about with you guys this topic specifically or any other topics on the Business Bites Podcast. You can find all the info at RachelBrenke.com. As always, you can also dig into the Facebook group, ask questions, I’ll chime in there. We have other people discussing as well. And I wish you best of luck. I’m not going to lie to you, running multiple brands is hard, but it’s super, super fun to do, and it really is satisfying at the end of the day.

About the author

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

I hope you are enjoying the Business Bites Podcast.

The goal is to grow your business in 10 minutes an episode.

Don’t put off business education due to lack of time.

 

Get my free legal biz checklist

Are you listen to the podcast?

Binge Listen To The Business Bites Podcast