tanesha and tiffany

One of my favorite Birmingham-based businesses is Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. I’m a fan of this company not just because the popcorn is delicious and not just because the company has been supportive of See Jane Write, signing on as a sponsor for our Scandal watch party and for our upcoming 5th anniversary party. I also admire Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner, the women behind Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, because they’ve done such a great job developing their brand.

If you’re not familiar with Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, don’t worry. You will have plenty of chances to get to know them (and taste that delicious kettle corn). This weekend on Saturday, March 12, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, they will debut a new flavor at Shamfest at the Red Shamrock Pub in Mt. Laurel. What will the new flavor be? You’ll have to be there to find out!

Also you’ll find Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. at Oak Mountain State Park on March 26 for its 9th Annual Easter Egg Hunt and they’ll be back at the Pepper Place Farmers Market starting April 9.

And if you attend the See Jane Write 5th Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 19 at aloft Hotel’s wxyz bar, you’ll have a chance to win a Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. variety snack pack (which will include the new flavor).

But before you go to figure out what you’re going to wear to the party, here are four tips I think we bloggers and writers can take from Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. as we’re building our personal brands.

nbn logo red copy

Be consistent. We all know that when striving to grow blog traffic it’s important to develop a consistent posting schedule, but consistency is important for building a personal brand, too. A strong brand will be consistent in its voice, values and visuals. Whether you’re following the ladies of Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn on social media, chatting with them at a local farmers market or festival, or hearing them speak at a business event, it’s always clear that their brand is all about being friendly and fun. And what better way to sell a product like popcorn! The women of Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn are also consistent with their visuals. The color red is always present in their logo and packaging and at events you’ll usually see them sporting their signature red head scarves and sassy red lipstick. Browse the See Jane Write website, Instagram feed and Twitter account and you’ll see I strive to be consistent with the color pink.

Now it’s your turn. Decide on at least one color to represent your brand. Also, choose five adjectives you’d like people to associate with your personal brand and brainstorm ways you can convey these attitudes or emotions in your content, whether you’re building a blog, striving to grow your social media presence or seeking to establish yourself as an expert so you can sell your book and land speaking engagements.

Be authentic. Though I loved Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn at first bite, it was after REV Birmingham’s The Big Pitch that I started to admire the women behind the brand. At the Big Pitch, a Shark Tank-style business plan contest sponsored by PNC bank, 10 local businesses — including Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn — competed for seed capital to help take their startups to the next level. Tanesha and Tiffany hit the stage and started their own remixed version Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” singing “Now watch me pop! Now watch me eat it!” and then they tossed bags of popcorn out to the audience. Tiffany even started doing the Stanky Legg on stage (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about). It was fantastic and fun, and thus in line with their brand. But best of all you could tell that the ladies were having a good time and being themselves.

To further connect to the audience, Tanesha and Tiffany shared their story. They were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug 20 years ago when they were just girls. Growing up in College Hills gave them direct access to Legion Field and the gridlock traffic that football games often brought. So they decided to start selling popsicles curbside, one window at a time. For their next business venture they wanted to sell a food that was as all-American as football and as nostalgic as hearing the ice cream truck. Kettle corn it was.

Take a play from their handbook; as you are building your personal brand have fun, be yourself, but also don’t be afraid to share your story. At the end of the day that’s what a brand is all about.

Get educated. The singing and storytelling and doing the Stanky Legg weren’t smoke and mirrors. Tanesha and Tiffany didn’t do these things to burn time during their presentation and distract from a lack of substance. Their business plan was on point and they quickly and confidently answered every single question the judges threw at them. They were able to do this in part because they got educated. Tanesha and Tiffany are recent graduates of CO.STARTERS, a 10-week program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

What are you doing to learn the skills you need to take your personal brand to the next level? Are you attending workshops and conferences? Are you signing up for programs? Are you working with a coach? (Are you a member of See Jane Write? Wink.) Don’t sit in front of your computer and try to figure it all out on your own. Get help!

Get involved. So often, authors, bloggers, and entrepreneurs are so focused on getting national attention, that they forget their very best customers may be in their own backyard. Tanesha and Tiffany have grown their brand and business by being very involved in the Birmingham community. You’ll find them at the farmers market and at festivals and they’re eager to give back, too. This weekend, for example, they’re speaking at the Young Women’s Empowerment Conference so they can inspire local teen girls with entrepreneurial aspirations of their own.

How can you better connect with your local community? What can you do to give back?

Be sure to follow Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the local events they plan to attend.

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.