By Annie Temple
Brand is a concept that can be difficult to grasp if it is not explained in simple terms. In this ebook, my goal is to describe what a brand is, break down for you the different ways in which you express your brand, and empower you to use this knowledge to create a strong brand image.
What is a brand?
Your brand is you. It is your product, your service, your online personality. Every aspect of how your run your business and portray yourself to the world contributes to your brand. Is your brand personality … Sweet? Kinky? Angry? Passionate? Dominant? Loving? Does it say…? …Come to me. …Don’t fuck with me. …You will do as I command.
Now that you’ve used the “Find Your Niche” exercises to determine your ideal client, it’s now time to put some thought into what you want your brand to be. Ask yourself, what will draw the kinds of clients I want? The answers to that question will help you to create and build your brand.
A brand is an idea. It is the idea of who or what a person or company represents. It is the combined effect of the physical look of a person or company (attire, logo, appearance of tools, etc) and the personality of a person or company (attitude, causes they support, criminal activity, etc).
For instance, if a company has a beautiful logo and website, engaging, personable staff, and an immaculate showroom; but they provide shoddy products or services – their brand is that they are a scam. They pretend to be a high-end company with high-end products, but it is a con.
In sex work, our brands are the sum of all our parts too. Our workspace, what we wear, the wording in our ads and on our websites – these all contribute to our brands. “The girl next door” might wear lululemon to the door with Calvin Klein under pieces. A “naughty MILF” might answer the door in high heels and lingerie. The domme welcomes their subs into a dungeon with whips and chains. These are expressions of their brands.
Being a sex worker online increases the complexities of your brand. If you have any kind of digital presence, then you have already created a personal brand. How you behave, interact, and represent yourself online determines your brand as a digital entity. If you are very authentic online and in person, sharing the things that you are passionate about and criticizing people or things you don’t agree with; then you have a bold, authentic brand. Your brand might piss people off, do you care?
If you are quiet and subdued online but you are a firecracker in person, then your personality and digital brand have a disconnect. Personally, I try to be as authentic as possible on my digital accounts with the exception of one thing: I never complain about my clients. But I will get into that more in the “Build Your Brand” section.
Begin with the end in mind
The most important thing you must do, as a business owner, is offer an exemplary experience to your customers. The most important goal of any business is to get repeat customers. As an adult entertainer, you want to do the same.
Some marketing gurus refer to this concept as “beginning with the end in mind.” Everything that comes before the delivery of the product or service is done to create the perfect end product or service. Marketing comes out of the quality of product or service you are delivering. Essentially, you will never launch a successful marketing campaign for a product or service that is substandard. People find out pretty fast if you are making promises you can’t keep.
As a business owner, your goal should be to strive to offer the best product and service you are able to at any given time. I say “any given time” because sometimes you will not be at your best. For instance, when I am not feeling well, but I have bills to pay and can’t turn down work, I still try to give my clients the absolute best experience I can offer under the circumstances. For that one hour I have with each client, I make them the light of my life and the center of my universe.
I show no weakness in session, no matter how weak I may be feeling. I know that the end product or service is the KEY to a successful marketing campaign. Therefore, make no mistake about it, your #1 brand goal should be to be the best you can be at your work.
In “Find Your Niche,” we talked about getting inside your target market’s heads. This is the exercise required to create a quality brand for yourself. Taking your SWOT analysis, research, and using your imagination, you have already determined who your ideal clients are (you niche market). Remember what is important to them.
What is their goal when seeking an adult entertainer in your area of the industry? For instance, if you’re a Domme, your clients may be looking to be humiliated. They may want you to talk down to them. Your brand should distinguish you as confidently powerful. Whereas, my brand as a sensual massage provider is to make my clients feel cared for and cherished.
What is your specialty? Who would purchase your services? How can you deliver the best product or service possible to your niche market? These are the most important considerations you must ponder when creating your brand image.
Once you have set your brand image goals, you can begin to take concrete steps to make your dream brand a reality. I refer to this part of creating a brand as the “improve and invest” phases of the marketing strategy.
Improve and Invest
In the context of adult entertainment, I consider my “product” to be my body. For me, improving and investing in my product involves getting my nails done every few weeks and tanning regularly. I also wear high heels and lingerie to answer the door. These are things that I believe are important to my niche market.
I consider my service to encapsulate not only the actual massage I am giving to my clients, but also the atmosphere it takes place in. Some ways you can improve and invest in your service are:
• Take lessons or get some training specific to what you offer.
• Have mood lighting and music.
• Operate in a clean, pleasant-smelling space.
• Smile. Be entertaining, caring, horny … or whatever your niche market is seeking.
The goal is to make your favourite clients think about you between bookings. You want them thinking about the next opportunity to see you before your current encounter has even finished. What are some ways you can make your service memorable and entice your clients to seek more of it? These are some of the strategies that have worked for me:
• Enjoy yourself;
• Make your clients feel special;
• Take care of your appearance and the appearance of your work-space;
• Be clear about your boundaries and preferences;
• Behave professionally and discreet;
• Create a safe space where clients can be comfortable and relaxed.
I’m sure you have lots of your own ideas about how you can refine your product and service. This is part of the fun of creating your brand. You get to plan out your ideal client’s perfect experience with you and then deliver it to them impeccably.
For most sex workers, whether we love it or hate it, we are in this work for the money. The genius of sex work is that overhead costs can be minimal once you’ve created and invested in your brand initially. Investing financially in your business may seem counterintuitive if you’re already struggling. However, you may be surprised at how a little investment can generate a worthwhile return. Sometimes, it really does take money to make money. Some investments that require $$$ you may want to consider:
• Get decent photos done by a professional photographer. Find one who is in your price range. There are some really good photographers who don’t charge impossible prices. Ask around. Unless you’re skilled at makeup, get your makeup done professionally for shoots. Try to use recent photos in your ads.
• Add furnishings and props to your workspace that represent the brand image you want to create. (For instance, I have mirrors on the walls of my massage area to create a more visual experience for my clients.)
• Advertise. Sometimes it may seem futile, especially if you don’t get any bookings. But people are more likely to book with you if they’ve seen your ads several times. Repetition is subliminal but it works. Experiment to see which advertising upgrades and which sites work best for you. Mix it up so you’re reaching new audiences. (For instance, I got good traction during the hot summer months by mentioning I had an air conditioner in my ad headline.)
• Appear as professional as possible. (For instance, have fresh towels on hand, and use an oil warmer for massages. Ensure your workspace is clean and smells fresh.)
• Purchase a website and a unique domain name. There are some very simple website tools you can use to build your own site. I use Godaddy for my website builder, hosting, and domains. Their website builder is VERY EASY to use without any web design training. I have also talked with them personally and they do not take down adult websites. You can view my site at this link: www.tntannie.ca Godaddy is just one of many options online for building your website inexpensively.
These are just a few ways you can invest in your business. I’m sure you have your own ideas and you likely already invest in different ways out of necessity. These investments in your business are tax write offs, so keep your receipts!
You can also invest time into creating your brand by working on your points of contact. I go over that more in “Build Your Brand.” Now that you’ve identified your niche target market and determined brand strategies that will attract your niche to you, you are ready to build your brand.