Written by Tony Wright, creative strategist at eight&four
It was recently announced that Brand Beckham is worth a billion dollars. Pretty impressive stuff, we’d all agree.
But that’s not down to luck. David was obviously an incredible footballer at his peak, but a lot of his overall success is rooted in his appeal in lifestyle areas such as fashion, style and personal grooming. He’s played a huge role in reframing modern masculinity and is naturally a very likeable, inoffensive guy who a lot of people buy into.
With Victoria Beckham, Spice Girls aside, you have someone who’s set a target of success in the fashion world and done incredibly well at it. While she might not have smiled on camera since 1996, the little personality she’s let us in on through the occasional chat show appearance shows a great and very dry sense of humour.
They’re clearly both savvy and shrewd business people who’ve cultivated a widespread portfolio over their twenty-year marriage, including Victoria’s eponymous clothing line and David’s new Miami-based football club.
Together the Beckhams have successfully navigated the changing media and business landscape to curate a strong and sustainable brand, covering products from whiskey to Spice Girls merchandise.
So, what key lessons can SMEs learn from Brand Beckham?
Reserve time for market research
Victoria Beckham spent over a decade developing her fashion brand before debuting at London Fashion Week in 2018. That meant she was able to study the industry and create a unique style that would appeal to her target audience and stand out. Likewise, David spent nearly five years researching the name, location and badge for Inter Miami CF before officially announcing the club opening in September 2018.
SMEs can and should do the same with their own products and services. Pre-launch market research can reduce the risk of alienating audiences with untested and unfamiliar products and services. It helps a brand to differentiate itself from the competition and understand where the gaps in the market are.
In the Beckhams’ case, Victoria’s research highlighted areas of the fashion industry that were oversaturated. That enabled her to cut through the noise and create a unique line at London Fashion Week 2018 featuring one of the hottest spring/summer 2019 trends, the split trousers.
Doing market research prior to a launch can help you gain a better understanding of your brand’s key USPs. It will allow you to identify how your target audience might interact with your product, what may attract them and what they do/don’t like about it.
Don’t be afraid to diversify
Diversification has been at the heart of the Beckhams’ approach to business and their billion-dollar empire has a multitude of revenue streams. The cornerstones of the pair’s wealth comes from four different companies – Brand Holdings (image rights and Victoria’s fashion brand), DB Ventures (brand endorsements), Footwork Productions (football related revenue) and Moody Productions (Spice Girls royalties).
The Beckhams have invested in a variety of business ventures and it has evidently paid off. That could be a valuable lesson for the SME community.
Whilst diversifying can be risky, it’s important to keep an eye on the competition and spot opportunities for growth. Introducing new products and exploring new sectors will put you into contact with new groups of consumers, expand your overall consumer base and improve your brand’s name recognition.
However, it is worth noting that timing is key when diversifying. Concentrate on getting one area of the business right before branching out into others. Otherwise you’ll lose focus and risk alienating your original target audience.
Work hard and be determined
Like or loathe them, the Beckhams have worked really hard to build their business and brand. For instance, Victoria has set a target of success in the fashion world, shown collections in New York and London Fashion week and won Designer Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.
Similarly, while running his companies, David is also co-owner of the Kent & Curwen fashion label and co-owns major league soccer team Inter Miami CF.
The point is no-one handed a billion dollars to them on a silver platter. People respect and buy into determination, hard work and success – it connects them to your brand. SMEs might do well to incorporate this mindset into their messaging and positioning.
For example, showing snippets of how a product is made, including creative brainstorms and production, on your social media channels, may boost consumer involvement and interest by clearly displaying the amount of hard work that goes into making a product. Remember, a video of a craftsman fixing a watch can get more than 4.5 million views.
Yes, Brand Beckham isn’t bulletproof. Victoria and David have made mistakes over the years, but they’ve also built a billion-dollar business empire that connects and interacts with consumers around the world. There is a lot that SMEs can learn from Brand Beckham, and with them showing no signs of slowing down I suspect there’ll be plenty more lessons to learn in the future.