£20 Hosiery, Personal Service, and Other Branding Lessons From The Apprentice Final

£20 Hosiery, Personal Service, and Other Branding Lessons From The Apprentice Final

I’ve been hooked!

As always, The Apprentice has been compelling viewing. But this year, I’ve been watching even more closely. You see, there’s been a HUGE focus on the importance of branding. Yay! They’ve finally got it ;-)

So what did you think of the final? Did the right candidate win?

Personally, I was backing Bianca. I think she’s onto something with her skin tone tights. And her intention of creating a luxury brand had good foundations. I think I’ll have to “watch this space!”

But from a branding perspective, what lessons were there to learn?

Let’s take a look at five…


1.     Branding will influence the price customers are willing to pay for your product and your service


If you watched the final, you’ll remember the focus group when Bianca’s team were getting first-hand feedback from a selection of women. They all LOVED the idea of her skin tone tights, but were not prepared to pay the £20+ price tag.

The reason?

One lady was very clear; the colours and the packaging did not communicate high-end. In fact, this lady said she wouldn’t even pay £5 if the tights were packaged in this way!

And you might be thinking, “but who would pay £20 for tights?”

The truth is people do – in fact, at the beginning of the final, Bianca was filmed speaking with a luxury brand hosiery business that does charge £20+ for products. The reason… customers are willing to pay that price tag because of the perceived value.

And that is the power of a brand…

You see, a brand can (and does) influence your price, your positioning, and ultimately your profits. 

After all, price is very subjective. Different people will pay different amounts for a product dependent on its perceived value and what the product means to them. Take designer handbags for example…. Arguably it does the same job as a high street alternative, but the price tag won’t compare! Remember, customers aren’t just buying the features of your product/service. Instead, they are investing in a feeling and a perceived outcome – because they believe they’ll get better results working with you.

And yes, a brand can do all that…

So if you’re not investing in yours and consciously deciding how customers will respond to your brand, you’re crazy! (Sorry, it had to be said!)


2.    Your personality is a KEY aspect of your brand that gives you a USP


Secondly, weaving your personality into your brand is a very smart thing to do. I’ve talked about this a lot and I call this a personable, profitable brand. Let me quickly recap here…

If you build your brand on your personality no one can copy you. In short, your personality actually becomes your USP. That’s because even if you’re doing a similar “thing”, no one can “impersonate” your business if you are at the centre of everything you do.

This approach works incredibly well for experts. In addition, if you’re entering a competitive field, your personality can help you stand out. Think about the Virgin group. Richard Branson remains the figurehead to this day. When people think of Virgin, they think of him. As a result, his business is no longer a HUGE faceless corporation. Instead, it has a personality and a real person who customers can connect with and relate to.

Seriously, that is HUGELY powerful.

Did you notice how both Mark and Bianca featured in their promotional videos? In both cases this was a smart move, because instead of generic people, potential customers were able to connect with the personality behind the brand.


3.     Share Your Brand Story


During Bianca’s promotional video for True Skin, she told viewers the reason WHY she created her range of skin tone tights. She referred to the frustration at being unable to find quality tights to match her skin colour and the time wasting she endured going from shop to shop to find a suitable pair.

She explained how she’d realised this was a problem other women experience, and after being unable to find a suitable product on the high street she decided to create her own range.

Your big WHY is hugely important when creating your brand.

In Bianca’s case, her own frustrations mirrored those of her target customers. As a result, the people she wanted to attract would be drawn towards her product because they understood where she was coming from.

In addition, through the video, Bianca explained how she wasn’t simply selling a product; she was solving a problem, which was of great frustration to her target customer.

There is HUGE power in this approach and this is the reason WHY my four-part branding process begins with uncovering your CORE (which includes discovering your WHY).


4.     Be the expert and claim your space


I’m sure one of the reasons Mark won the competition was due to his likeability, but also his HUGE experience in the digital marketing space. Even during his pitch he showed that he was unfazed by his big competition.

This confidence is key if you’re serious about creating a profitable, personable brand. You see, you have to believe in your skills and your ability. You have to believe that you have the capability to deliver results to your TRIBE.

Often, there’s a big self-belief thing going on with experts, and this is a devil you need to deal with. So know this… you already have everything you need to be successful. This potential is already inside of you. Which makes your job to get that energy “out there” into the world so that people can understand it and are drawn to you.

Got it!


5.     Package yourself (or your products)


As we’ve already seen the brand packaging was crucial to customers’ price perceptions and understanding about a product/service.

Mark explained (briefly) how he was going to personalise his service and offer an account manager for each customer. His intention was to understand his clients’ businesses so that he could offer a bespoke package. Bianca was out to achieve a similar objective. Whilst her packaging didn’t suggest high prices and luxury, it was very clear what the product was.

And so to with your products and services…

Think about how customers can move through your product range. Think about how best you can position the different aspects of what you do to appeal to different people on their journey through your business.

For example, I have three levels of service:


My VIP Kickstarter Days take clients through the CTFO process in a day! This is a high-end, limited availability product where I “DeeBrand” and work one-to-one with customers to create their personal, profitable brand in a day.

My new, More You service is a follow on for clients who have been DeeBranded. I work with a small group of clients on a month-by-month basis to create visual, brand building, marketing materials. It’s like having me as your in-house brand manager!

Finally, I have Get It. This monthly subscription service is for clients who want a DIY approach to their visual marketing. Each month, I release templates all ready to be customised with your message and your genius.


Each has a different price tag and a different position and together they offer clients a wide choice to work with me.

Well, that’s The Apprentice over for another year.

They are already looking for candidates for next year’s show! Are you in?

Joking aside, as well as being fantastic entertainment, this show has showcased the power of branding – so do take the time to implement these five lessons into your business and enjoy the impact on your pricing, your profits, and your positioning.  


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