One of the most important parts of running a business is cultivating community within your brand. It is key that your brand communicates exactly what sort of community you are creating.
IE 202: How to Effectively Cultivate Community Within Your Brand with Tori & Heidi Ganahl
Now, more than ever, we are searching for community and relationships. As our lives become more and more virtual, it is important that we can still find other women with whom we can share.
Today we will be talking about SheFactor, a brand that is cultivating a beautiful community of young women through their brand.
The Mother-Daughter Duo
Heidi and Tori Ganahl are a mother-daughter duo. They started their business, SheFactor, about a year and a half ago.
Heidi is an entrepreneur and built the country’s largest pet care franchise, which she sold in late 2014. At that point she had 4 kids, the oldest (Tori) in college and the youngest (twins) were 2.
After selling her company she became more involved in education reform in Colorado. She ran for regent at the University of Colorado and began spending more and more time with young people who were about to be graduating from college. She realized there were not a lot of resources to help these graduates launch their lives.
Tori graduated from the University of Oregon and was also struggling with finding her place in the world. She also realized how difficult it was to find a community in a new place.
SheFactor is a 6-step method that helps young women create a life that they love as they navigate the world.
Providing Support and Fun
When SheFactor originally got started, it was about connecting women in person. They wanted to provide an opportunity to find like-minded women in your city in order to form relationships and have people to talk to about goals, dreams, and aspirations.
Originally they had “Squads,” or chapters in 4 different cities who were meeting monthly.
COVID has caused SheFactor to pivot, which has been a blessing in disguise. They have been able to reach so many more women and cultivate an even stronger community.
You have to listen to your audience and give them what they need.
Women need support and they need fun, especially during this pandemic. SheFactor has hosted virtual weekly happy hours and has been able to see relationships form, cultivate, and thrive.
Confidence, Camaraderie, and Community
Heidi comes from the franchise world. One of the most important parts of a franchise is providing best practices and sharing ideas about your business. This hopefully prevents franchisees from making the mistakes they might make if they were on their own.
Heidi views building this community of young women the same way. If they are able to share best practices, tips, and ideas on how to stay healthy, workout, vote, and more, it builds confidence, camaraderie, and community.
It’s a lot harder to meet people in person now, not just because of COVID, but because of our investment in social media.
When SheFactor first did focus groups, the number one thing women wanted was a live connection. They wanted other women to talk to and spend time with.
Answering Your Audience’s Needs
SheFactor is all about meeting women where they are in their life. In their audience, the women who come to their events are not the same women who read their blogs or listen to their podcasts.
It’s important to provide these different points of entry for individual women while bringing them all together in the brand.
As small businesses, it can feel overwhelming to see huge businesses.
You have to just act like you are one of them. Be confident in your brand and your mission. SheFactor started really small but has grown exponentially since going virtual. They are answering a need and that has created growth.
The Gen Z Job Jump
SheFactor Enterprise plays into the corporate world. One of the key problems they are trying to solve is that Gen Z women only stay at their jobs for 18 months. And that makes it almost impossible to have women on boards or in the C-suite, because they simply don’t stick around long enough to get there.
This is largely because they feel like they don’t belong. SheFactor provides them the opportunity to find that community; a place to be frank, authentic, and talk about their daily issues.
Your first promotion is the most important. It’s what determines your growth in the company. You can never reach that growth if you leave in 6-18 months.
These large companies cannot connect with young women, which is why we see these job jumps.
Social Media Give and Take
Social media is a place where people are longing to see authenticity. They are looking for connection and vulnerability. SheFactor has focused on that and has allowed its growth to happen organically.
This has caused their social media growth to take place at a slower rate but it has been worth it for the investment and engagement of their community.
SheFactor has focused on micro-influencers who align with their brand to work with. This allows them to grow together.
Their one big, celebrity brand ambassador is Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was the Bachelorette and is now on Dancing With the Stars. Kaitlyn really aligns with their mission and they have now formed a friendship.
You have to be flexible and nimble as you grow. Watch your metrics and measure your progress. You have to watch your return on investment, whether it is your time, talents, or treasure.
Reaching Out and Sharing
Heidi and Tori follow other brands and companies that are similar to theirs to see what they are doing and what they are putting into the world. This gives them the opportunity to see these communities in action and then implement those things into their business.
Tori reaches out to a lot of her idols and influencers that she loves. She has made so many great connections by just asking. People are willing to talk to you and say yes when you are willing to just reach out and ask questions.
Women are willing to share with one another. They love to share what has and hasn’t worked for them. This openness provides them with the opportunity to empower each other.
Developing Confidence and Fearlessness
Confidence is the number one reason that Heidi wanted to start SheFactor. Confidence is something that so many young women are lacking. She doesn’t know why this is, but she wants to solve the problem.
Heidi and Tori want to build young women up to believe that they can go out and get anything they want in the world.
Learning fearlessness and that failure is part of your process is invaluable. Heidi highly recommends that women read “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.