How strategic branding and social media built a global empire – Caryn Sterling

Brands are the driving force behind consumer choices and have a strategic significance in the product industry. Caryn Sterling, serial entrepreneur and branding expert, joins us on today’s episode of The Small Business Show. Sterling outlines the contributions that helped her create JoJo Siwa’s successful million-dollar brand.

After meeting Jojo Siwa almost nine years ago, she had the opportunity to hear her story and almost instantly knew in her gut that she would make all of Siwa’s dreams come true. At that time, brand building resulted in peddling backward. Siwa already had notoriety, but she was part of an ensemble, so Sterlings’ primary focus was building a human brand based on a skill set and network. 

Key Takeaways:

1. When Sterling worked with Siwa, it was before ‘social media influencing’ was an acceptable full-time job. Therefore, Sterling had to develop strategies, experiment with proof of concepts, and establish Siwa’s brand deals. 

2. To Stering’s surprise, Siwa exceeded her expectations by excelling at her brand deals and achieving targeted sales goals. As a result, Sterling taught Siwa about patents, trademarks, sizzle reels, and style guides. When the two started working with Nickelodeon, they got connected with over 250 global licenses, and “It was an insane infrastructure,” says Sterling. 

3. Sterling advises other companies that when it comes to branding, they must understand whether they’re working with a product or a human. It’s imperative to consider, “What makes that situation unique? How do you align with the parallels and integrate with the team around you?” 

4. Building a brand involves creating a product or service that evokes a specific emotional response from consumers. For instance, Sterling asked Siwa some key questions to understand her brand’s values and purpose before creating a logo representing her. Nike’s swoosh and the “just do it” slogan is a prime example of how a logo can convey a message and resonate with people. 

5. Social media is a powerful tool to build brand awareness and connect with consumers. However, it’s not just about having a large following. Engagement with the audience is crucial for brands seeking a successful marketing strategy. 

6. Prioritizing your brand and staying relevant in the constantly evolving social media landscape is essential. Companies must be active on all platforms to maintain brand visibility and ensure they remain top-of-mind with consumers.

"Branding is so much more than slapping something on a t-shirt and calling it merch. A brand is a promise; it means you deliver." – Caryn Sterling. 

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