What You Can Learn From Zooey Deschanel About Building Out Your Brand|
When you think of savvy businesswomen, Zooey Deschanel may not be the first person who comes to mind. After all, “business savvy” and “adorkablility” don’t often correlate. Though Deschanel claims to have no strategy, she is actually turning into quite the mogul, and we should take a few tips from her when it comes to her ability to build her brand.
A couple of years ago Zooey Deschanel was a working actress with a couple of hits under her belt (Almost Famous, Elf, etc.), but it wasn’t until 2012 that things really took off for the actress and musician. Her indie film 500 Days of Summer was a sleeper hit and she nabbed the lead in the hit TV series New Girl. Deschanel made being quirky mainstream. But Deschanel is also an artist who hasn’t been afraid to explore social media. In 2011 she launched the intelligent young women’s web site Hello Giggles with her two best friends, which has turned out to be an immense success.
Deschanel’s goal, with co-founders Sophia Rossi and Molli McAleer, was to provide a platform so young women could be heard.
“The community has really shaped the content and the way they’re connecting,” she told Forbes. “If we can be the place where 13-year-old-bloggers are engaging with 30-somethings, finding out how much all women really have in common, then I think we’re on to something.”
And now Deschanel and Rossi are starting a production company, according to DigitalSpy, and will be developing new drama and comedy projects for Twentieth Century Fox.
“We’ve known Zooey as an actress through New Girl, and as we got to know her as a producer through the script she developed, we quickly realized that there is so much more to her,” Twentieth Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman told Deadline. “Zooey and Sophia have their finger on the pulse of young people, and particularly young women, and we really responded to that.”
Her signature girly style and retro hair (which has landed her a campaign with Pantene) are also a big part of her brand. Though she is criticized by some, she stands firm in that you can be a strong woman and also wear Peter Pan collars and tights with polka dots. In the July issue of Cosmopolitan UK, she addressed criticism for being too girly: “[That] is weird, right? It’s the total opposite of what we should be doing. Why is being feminine or girly a bad thing? Why do we need to act like men to be strong and powerful? We all have different qualities but they’re equally as good.”
Deschanel’s brand is letting young creative women get a voice, whether it be through blogging or seeing themselves represented on screen. Though Deschanel’s character on New Girl is a bit of an odd duck, I can relate to her more than, say, the young women on 90210 or The Vampire Diaries or sometimes even Girls. Deschanel is going to make more shows that young women connect to.
“I really just love telling stories,” she says, “In whatever medium I can get my hands on.”
And clearly this is paying off, as Forbes estimates Deschanel hauled in $9 million in 2012 alone.
What tips do you have on building out your brand? Share them in the comments!