The women behind the Betches empire reveal the secrets to building your most authentic brand
The rise of and near-dependence on social media amongst millennials has led to an almost necessary concept of defining one’s ‘brand’, especially when it comes to one's professional reputation.
Branding can be a tricky concept this day in age, but in order to succeed at making your own or your company’s ‘brand’ work, there needs to be a clearcut voice, mission and personality that is both authentic and consistent for consumers and targeted audiences alike.
When it comes to millennial women, Betches seems to be the leader in understanding and exemplifying a brand that appeals to that specific audience by building a media company surrounding this idea of being a ‘Betch.'
Founded in 2011 by three Cornell University alumni -- Aleen Kuperman, Samantha Fishbein and Jordana Abraham -- the brand began as a blog which explored everything from vacation destinations to dating behaviors to fashion trends in a voice and tone that was both shocking yet refreshing to consumers at the time.
Not only were people not used to reading content written in such a rash, taboo voice but for the first time, but millennial women felt as if someone was finally saying the things that they had been thinking, but were too afraid to say in fear of being ‘unladylike’ or ‘inappropriate.’
The blog has since expanded into a media empire, encompassing an Instagram account with a massive following, two New York Times bestselling books, an online shop and podcasts.
We spoke with the founders to really get a sense for how they were able to hone in on such a niche voice and brand for Betches and broke it down into three simple strategies:
1. Hire people that understand your voice and mission
“We have a really talented and creative team that we work with … everyone that we hire really understands the brand, and the tone of voice that we’re using ...
... Just having the attitude wouldn’t get you a job at Betches …we’re really looking for a mix of someone who is good at the job that we want them to do but then inherently understands the brand, because you can teach skills in a lot of situations, you can train people to do a specific job but you can’t necessarily teach someone a mindset as easily as you can teach them skills.”
2. Lead by example
The Betches brand is all about female empowerment and the concept of allowing millennial women to raise their voice and speak their truth without fear of being criticized. But instead of reciting this mantra out loud or embedding it written pieces of content, the Betches team does so by creating the space and outlet for women to feel and do so freely, and in essence, empower themselves.
“I think we're ... basically speaking to millennial women and our audience, the way that they speak to each other and to really own what you think and what you have to say. And to really speak in an honest, unapologetic way. Obviously, there's a lot about empowerment out there right now … we think that we we're doing that from really early on -- that's what we’ve always been about …
… it’s the idea for women that there’s this place where they can come, where they can say what’s actually on their minds … I think a lot of being female, especially historically, has been about saying the proper thing or being appropriate or seeming ladylike. What we find is that [Betches] is a really good outlet for women to say what they’re actually thinking and to talk about the truth behind so many cultural phenomenons …
… I think we do the empowerment thing by example … I think that even more than saying is the fact that we actually do it. We’re a female-run company, most of our employees are female and we try to do our best to try to empower them as employees and the way that we speak to our audience, we think, is carrying the message without actually even having to say the word.”
3. Find a way for even your most niche content to seem relatable
All writers who post and create content for the Betches site write under pseudonyms — it’s a way for readers to digest the site’s content for what it is, without pre-conceived notions or opinions on the person who wrote it, which can alter the way they read the article.
"A lot of the things we were saying were a little taboo, were a little inappropriate — what we’re known for is kind of pushing the edge. The cool part about writing under a pseudonym is, one, we think they’re funny, but two, you can really be your most honest self because you don’t have to worry necessarily about the fear of people coming after you personally ...
... the other piece of that is that when we started we were faceless … but the reason we chose to continue with that and keep it under this name is that we never wanted the brand to be identified with one specific type of person. When you have a pseudonym, it can kind of lead to this universality of this character which is ‘The Betch’ which doesn’t have to come in one particular form or be one particular person or face but can be relatable to a wide variety of people, And they can see themselves in it without being shown a person that they don’t identify with necessarily.”