5 Branding Lessons from an Influencer with Over 1.35 Million YouTube Subscribers

March 5, 2021
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Here’s one thing that has remained consistent since I started Lavendaire in 2014: My hair color is constantly changing. My subscribers always notice when I go from pink to blonde to lavender to blue, and everything in between. 

At this point, my changing hair color is part of the Lavendaire brand. I encourage my audience to experiment with their looks as a form of creativity and self-expression, which are core values for Lavendaire as a personal-growth brand. 

Framing my hair changes as an example of how to embody Lavendaire values is just one way I’ve been intentional with my brand.

If you’re looking to start or refresh your own brand, here are five other lessons for you.

Lesson #1: Choose your brand name wisely.

It would have been easy to name my brand after myself, but “Aileen Xu” is not easy for people to spell or pronounce. I wanted it to be easy for people to recognize and—more importantly—to share my brand name.

“Lavendaire” was unique, easier to spell and pronounce, and it also reflected the aesthetic of the brand itself: dreamy, fresh, and clean.

Bonus tip: Think about Google-ability. If you Googled your brand name, would you get a bunch of results unrelated to your brand? Since I made up the word, if you Googled “Lavendaire”, you’d only find Lavendaire-related results.

Lesson #2: Be strategic about your niche.

Here’s a lesser-known fact: I used to be involved in the Asian American YouTube community, mostly through music videos. It was a fun experience but not related to what I wanted my brand to be about. 

So, I made the decision to distance myself from that niche and create content in my own niche of personal growth. I wanted to be “Aileen of Lavendaire,” not “Aileen from that music video.” If I hadn’t made that decision, it would have been harder to position myself and my brand as separate from the entertainment niche.

Lesson #3: Make what’s missing, and make it your own.

Self-help content already existed online, but it didn’t feel like it existed for me. The people creating the content were generally older white men that I couldn’t relate to as a young Asian woman. 

So, I made the content I wanted to see, but I also put my own spin on it. I wanted to bridge the gap between practical self-help and woo-woo topics like manifestation. Other people who couldn’t relate to existing self-help content could turn to Lavendaire instead and get that extra value from the woo-woo topics.

Ask yourself: What gap does your brand fill and how can it stand out even further?

Lesson #4: Have a long-term vision.

Here’s mine: In ten years, I want Lavendaire to be a household name. It sounds a little vague, but having that vision allows me to ask, “Okay, so what would it take to get there? Marketing, PR, maybe projects with a wider reach.” And so, we planned projects with that in mind.

Your vision doesn’t have to be super specific, but you have to have some sort of idea of where you want your brand to be a year or five years from now. That way, you can work backward and plan projects that will get you closer to that vision. 

Otherwise, you might just keep churning out work without direction, using your time and energy just to keep your brand relevant.

Lesson #5: Curate your brand with one person in mind.

I create content for Lavendaire with one person in mind: a girl in her early twenties who’s looking for her path in life. She loves inspiring books, yoga, astrology, and journaling. Her fashion is feminine and relaxed. Ultimately, she’s the ideal client for Lavendaire.

She’s who I had in mind when I created the 2021 Artist of Life Workbook. I know this girl wants to plan her year with intention, and it would be a bonus to do all of her planning in a pretty notebook that she’d be proud to keep by her side at all times. 

By keeping this ideal client in mind, Lavendaire’s branding and messaging stay consistent across the board. Obviously, not everyone who follows Lavendaire fits perfectly into that mold, but enough of the brand resonates that people are drawn in. 

If you know who your brand is for, you’ll reach and attract people who resonate with it. You’ll also naturally repel people who don’t resonate with it, which is perfectly okay and even beneficial to your brand! Don’t think you’re shutting anyone out or losing potential audiences. 

As Lavendaire subscribers know: It’s more valuable to use your energy on people who effortlessly vibe with you than to use it trying to convince people who don’t.

About the author: Aileen Xu is a content creator and entrepreneur in personal growth and lifestyle design, inspiring people around the world to embrace their true potential and create their dream life. Her YouTube channel, Lavendaire, has over one million subscribers and her podcast, “The Lavendaire Lifestyle,” has over five million downloads. Aileen is the creator of the Artist of Life Workbook, a detailed guide to creating your most inspiring and successful year, and the Daily Planner by Lavendaire, a tool for designing a productive, effective and meaningful day.

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