Brand differentiation is not something that comes naturally when you’re in a crowded space. It requires a lot of thought and literal soul-searching to discover what makes your product or service different from your competition. Jess Levin Conroy and her business, Carats and Cakes are great examples of what that looks like when done right. Jess is a native of Laguna Beach, California and attended the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, she began her career at Burch Creative Capital where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that includes C. Wonder and Tory Burch, LLC. After earning her MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business Jess saw an opportunity in the wedding space to help empower the businesses at the top end of the market. That’s when she founded Carats & Cake in 2013 from her office in New York City. Her journey to building and refining what made her brand special is the subject of the conversation on this episode of Converge.
In the digital space, everyone can promote their stuff. That’s the problem you’ve got to overcome.
All it takes to know that you’ve got an uphill climb to success in your particular niche is to do a simple google search for companies within your area of expertise. You’re going to find that the competition is pretty stiff and everyone is talking about what they do. In order to make a difference and in order to make a profit, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from everyone else in a meaningful way. But what does that mean and how can you accomplish it? Jess Levin Conroy chats with Dane on this episode of Converge about how she’s been able to reach a point of brand identity that has set her business apart. You’re going to get some great insights from this conversation.
Discovering what differentiates your brand is what will set you apart.
But making that discovery is not as easy as you might think. As Jess Levin Conroy explains, every entrepreneur who starts a business doesn’t really know what they are doing. They may have the business plan, they may clearly see the need they are aiming to meet, they may even know who their target market is, but they don’t know what brand differentiation really means for them in the early stages. It’s very much a discovery process, a trial and error path that they have to walk down. But if they will be committed to the process and patient with the time it takes, the payoff will be huge. You can hear how Jess advises both product based and service based business owners to go about figuring out their unique brand identity, on this episode.
Soul-searching is at the heart of brand differentiation. And that takes time.
Jess Levin Conroy admits that when she first started Carats and Cakes she didn’t know what she was doing. She was in the wedding space because she loved weddings. She even saw the particular problems that professionals in the industry were experiencing and knew how she could help them. But what she didn’t know was how her particular viewpoint and gifts enabled her to help in a way that could make her stand apart from all the other wedding professionals vying for business. But Jess knew that she had to take the time to figure that out because THAT was what would make her business stand out and attract the kind of clients she needed. The rest is a beautiful story of what happens when you differentiate your brand successfully. You owe it to yourself to take the time to listen to this story.
What do you bring to the table that nobody else does? THAT is your magic.
If there is one consistent thing about the brands that differentiate themselves in meaningful ways, it’s this: they are authentic. What they do and more importantly, why they do it is true to who they are as the people behind the brand. That’s a great place to start when you’re trying to discover your own brand differentiation. Who are you? Why are YOU in the space you’re in? What do you bring to the solutions you’re providing that nobody else does? If you can answer those questions successfully and begin to communicate it effectively, you’ve found your magic. And it’s that magic that will fuel your success and growth.
Outline of this great episode
- [0:57] Dane’s introduction of Jess Levin Conroy, his guest today.
- [2:50] Jess’ quick description of herself and the work she’s doing.
- [4:20] The mindset shift that happens from just starting out to becoming professional.
- [8:58] How service professionals can differentiate in the digital space.
- [12:02] What can you do to expose yourself to ideas about curating your brand well?
- [16:20] The best ways to discover the ways you should distinguish yourself.
- [23:15] How you can connect with Jess.
- Jess’ Company Website: http://caratsandcake.com/
- Get Jess’ newsleter: http://caratsandcake.tumblr.com/
- Jess on Instagram
- Jess on LinkedIn
- Jess on Twitter
Connect with the Converge team: