This is the first in a planned series of articles examining how entrepreneurs are developing brands, businesses and ideas.
Common thought would dictate that building a strong brand requires a business plan, a long and short term strategy, a calendar of product roll outs, market research and a big budget. That’s not what the folks behind the rapidly growing brand, We Are Pet Nation™ did. They started with a fun idea and jumped in with both feet.
They thought they might be able to tap into a very large, and extremely passionate fan base of pet owners and pet lovers and so they started a Facebook to prove their theory. In just six months with only a modest Facebook advertising budget, they garnered more than 38,000 fans, launched a website, created character mascots, set up a store, recruited guest blogger and celebrity pet experts and published their first ebook in a planned series.
Co-Founder, Steve Borrelli, said “We knew we were passionate about our pets and we knew that every pet owner we ever met loved sharing stories and photos of their pets. We wanted to get a sense of just how big the potential universe was and whether or not there was room in the marketplace for another pet-centric brand.”
The brand wanted to explore the market with a minimum financial investment and decided that Facebook was their ideal first market research vehicle. But even they were surprised by the rapid growth and passionate fan base their Facebook page attracted.
Once they assured themselves that pet lovers and owners wanted to gather and share stories and photos, the brand branched out to other social media sites, including YouTube and Twitter, and recently invested in a website and store.
Every day of the week, We Are Pet Nation posts a “Pet of the Day,” and once each month they publish a video tribute to those pets and post it on their YouTube Channel. This month the brand will be introducing guest bloggers, excerpts from pet advice books, and their very first original ebook entitled, Stories of Unconditional Love, Lessons and Laughter, featuring 14 stories and photos submitted by the We Are Pet Nation Facebook community.
We Are Pet Nation now has 38,000 Facebook fans, another couple thousand Twitter and YouTube followers and subscribers and more than 1,000 visits to their brand new website which launched officially in mid November. The next phase of their brand building efforts will be to grow their database and discover what types of products or services their fan base wants and needs.
So what can other entrepreneurs or brands learn from We Are Pet Nation?
- Social Media is leveling the playing field and allowing people to test market nearly any idea, reserve the financial investment for those that show promise and extend the brand using crowd sourced ideas, feedback and content.
- Ask your current clients or customers what they want or need and then provide a solution.
- Utilize all the free resources available through social media including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook fan pages to gather a pre-qualified, interested fan base and then test whether or not they are willing, able and interested in becoming clients.
- Reach out to other experts in your field and feature them as guest bloggers or recommend their books, blogs or columns to your readers.
If you have questions about launching a new business, creating a presence for your brand or other entrepreneurial start up queries, we’d love to address them, so please leave a comment.