A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attended the Shark Tank breakfast presented by Hermene Hartman and N’DIGO Magpaper, with special guest Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank. The room was filled with business gurus and new entrepreneurs alike. We all waited on pins and needles to hear John speak on the topic of branding.
There’s something about TV that makes you feel like you know a person. And that was certainly the case when I saw Daymond John. He’s the same guy you see on TV, cool and down to earth, but truly a shark when it comes to business. Daymond John doesn’t play.
John’s insights for branding were simple yet profound. He stressed the importance of making your brand unique, and making the obvious, obvious. “You have to sell.”, said John. “I was trying to sell my own mother FUBU. I was selling FUBU to everyone I came in contact with. At the end of the day sales cure all.” Daymond also stressed the importance of what he calls “gorilla marketing”, bombarding the potential consumer with your brand. “I took it to the customer, I didn’t wait for the customer to come to me.”, said John.
Next, Daymond shared the four stages of product evolution:
- Product- You come up with whatever it is that you want to sell.
- Label – Placing a name on that product.
- Brand- People start to search out your label.
- Lifestyle- You begin to own the concept of a particular item. For example, if you say coke, people are referring to soda in general, but coke belongs to Coca-Cola. Or, if someone says, “hand me a kleenex” even if its an off-brand tissue, Kleenex has become the face of tissue.
Daymond also talked about the importance of connecting with consumers. According to John, people only buy into things they identify with. “When you relate to someone and you touch them in a real way, you’ve got ‘em.”, said John.
At the end of the interview, John left us with his final thoughts on the key to starting a successful venture. John says, ” The key to any successful venture is to start small. I don’t know anyone that started big. You want to learn all your mistakes small.”
Next up was an actual shark tank. Business owners had the chance to present their business to Daymond John, Tyronne Stoudemire of AON Hewitt, Tracey Bell, Supplier Diversity at Walgreens, and last but certainly not least, Charles Johnson, SVP, Magic Johnson Enterprises & Founder of B Company. Each presenter gave their presentation and Sharks gave their input. Some of the business ideas were half baked, while others were well though out, promising businesses.
My favorite presenters were the Easy Go Dispencer, created by three veterans in the United States Army, Poppa corn Popcorn, some delicious popcorn that was said to have beaten Garrett’s popcorn in a blind taste test, and Alikay Naturals, presented by Youtube’s own Black Onyx.
The event was awesome. It was informative and inspirational. Kudos to N’DIGO Magpaper for hosting such a fabulous event.