Jessica Alba parlayed her screen success into one of the most prominent businesses in the world. And even though you’re not starting from the same position, there’s still plenty you can learn from her.
When we say the name “Jessica Alba,” you probably think “movie star.”
After all, she’s played roles in a fair share of prominent films, such as Sin City and Fantastic Four.
But what you may not know is that Alba is also one of the most successful businesswomen on the planet. As one of the heads of The Honest Company, she might have achieved more in the business world than she did as an actress.
In fact, The Honest Company is one of the world’s most powerful brands. And in this article, we’re going to look at what Alba’s company can teach your accounting firm about branding.
The Story of The Honest Company
It all started when Jessica Alba became a mother. She describes this moment as one of the most profound and inspiring experiences of her life. But it also led to her developing an acute awareness of the dangers that abound in the world. Alba felt an overwhelming desire to do whatever she could to protect her child.
We’re sure many parents can relate to that feeling.
For Alba, the obvious risks weren’t the ones that worried her. It was all of the invisible stuff that really played on her mind. As she puts it:
“When I was pregnant…I read Christopher Gavigan’s book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home. This book served as my handbook on toxic chemicals in products and their link to illnesses. I learned that our current chemical regulatory system is doing an abysmal job of protecting us, the consumers.”
Her reaction to this was to start researching.
Alba went out of her way to find as many products as she could that didn’t contain all of these unnatural chemicals. But as she was doing all that work, she realised that there was a problem.
It shouldn’t be so hard to find safe and natural products for children.
If she had to spend hours searching, there must be millions of parents doing the same thing. What if they could find everything that they needed from one company?
And with that thought, the seeds of a business were planted…
Alba spent some time collecting a group of talented businesspeople to help her to develop her idea. Among them was Christopher Gavigan, whose book inspired her in the first place.
The result of their hard work was The Honest Company.
Today, the company sells a host of home and beauty products, with a focus on complete transparency. The company listens to its consumers and creates the products they’re searching for.
And in creating this company, Alba has built a business brand that millions of people connect to. The company now has an annual revenue of about $300 million. And as it grows its base of products, we expect that figure to rise in the coming years.
Now, you may argue that Alba had the advantage of name recognition when building The Honest Company’s brand. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of things you can learn from the growth of this company.
Lesson #1 – Understand That You Have Deep Relationships With the People You Work With
Before you can focus on building your brand, you must focus on building the relationships inside your business.
The people you work with have a huge influence on the direction of your firm. It’s crucial that you all be on the same page if you’re going to have a cohesive brand message. Furthermore, the people in your firm need to complement each other when it comes to their skills.
The former CEO of The Honest Company, Brian Lee, explains:
“When I started to work with Jessica, I started to realize very, very quickly that she was, like, in business terms, the yin to my yang.”
While Lee oversaw the corporate side of things, Alba focused more on what he calls the “soft side.” It was she who became the face of the brand, as well as being the driving force behind it.
In that sense, their skills complemented each other perfectly. And with those skills married to a shared vision, the company would go on to build its brand.
The point here is that the people inside your firm matter. If your people have different values, you could end up creating a disjointed message. That will make it much harder for you to build a brand that people can get behind.
Lesson #2 – Build Your Story Into Your Brand
The Honest Company’s story is an integral part of the brand’s success. All parents can identify with Alba’s desire to protect her child. They can also identify with many of the challenges she faced in terms of finding products that met her personal standards.
This all leads to consumers feeling a deeper connection with the brand. They trust The Honest Company because the story behind it engages them. It makes them feel like the company understands their problems and needs.
In a sense, The Honest Company built itself on the simple idea of one mother helping others. That added an extra layer of personal connection to a story that was already easy to identify with.
You have a story too. Every business owner does.
The experiences you’ve had in your life are the reasons why you’ve structured your firm the way that you have.
Leverage those experiences to build a deeper connection with your audience.
Lesson #3 – Work on Building Your Digital Brand
The Honest Company has an amazing website and uses social media to influence its customers.
You need to do the same.
The web has opened a ton of doors for you as an accountant and marketer. You need to create a digital brand that will help share your message and build engagement.
There are two things to consider when doing this:
- The channels you’ll use
- The assets you’re going to share
Your channels are things like your website and social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. When building your digital brand, you have to understand which channels your audience uses. From there, you focus on becoming as prominent as possible on these channels.
Your assets are the things that you share on those channels. Blog posts, infographics, and videos are all good examples.
The key is to combine the assets that engage your audience with the channels that your audience uses.
Lesson #4 – Differentiate Yourself in the Marketplace
In creating The Honest Company, Alba had a built-in differentiation. Where her competitors used unnatural chemicals that they didn’t declare, Alba’s company would offer transparency. They’d tell their customers exactly what went into every product they made.
In other words, they’d use honesty in an industry that seemed cloaked in dishonesty.
By doing that, the company created its niche. They had a place in the market that no other company could take.
That’s what you need to do with your accounting firm. Figure out what you offer that no other firm can give to your clients. This is your specialism, which is a problem that you can solve better than anybody else.
In our case, we help new and established accounting firms grow their revenue by £100,000 in 90 days. Note that we have a specific market in accounting firms, and that we focus on a singular challenge.
Your marketing materials should showcase the features that make you different. Build your brand around the unique aspects of your firm – the things none of your competitors can offer.
Lesson #5 – Embrace Diversity
Alba says that one of the keys to her success is that she supports gender diversity within her business. Specifically, she’s always on the lookout for female talent to help propel the business forward.
After all, The Honest Company sells primarily to women. That means that having more women in the company offers useful insight.
That’s the point with diversity. It opens your business up to new ways of thinking that could change the way you market yourself. You gain access to new ideas that you can then leverage to broaden your audience.
Embracing diversity is also important from a branding perspective. While you have your niche, it’s important to be as inclusive as possible within that specialisation.
Branding Builds a Powerful Firm
Accounting firm owners often overlook branding, simply because they don’t believe it’s relevant to them. There’s a transactional mindset at play here: You offer a service and people pay you for it.
Unfortunately, that transactional mindset also means there’s no loyalty within your client base. If another firm offers the same thing as you for less money, you will lose customers.
By building a brand, you’re creating something for your clients to connect with. Jessica Alba’s work with The Honest Company highlights some of the things that you can do to build your brand.
Think about what you can do differently today, so that you’ll stand out from the crowd tomorrow.
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