For Femtech founders, every week feels like another episode of the TV game show Ninja Warrior. Instead of climbing walls, crawling through mud pits, and dodging giant balls, those innovators have to fight big tech, regulations and puritanical nonsense.
Just to name a few examples: Men are selling pink tampon removal gloves and edible vagina deodorant that double down on stigmatization. Female pleasure apps are getting banned from advertising on big tech. And a historical lack of medical research and data makes creating solutions for underserved needs even more complicated.
Strategic brand building can help tackle some of these challenges. This blog post will explore building a Femtech brand that is inclusive, memorable, and contributes to a better life.
1. Brand Strategy for Femtech
Why Does Brand Matter Anyways?
This is a tough pill to swallow, especially for product-owner and tech-driven people: Product does not equal brand. Let’s dive deeper.
Let’s say your product is the objective thing you offer. It has features, functionality, benefits, pricing, etc.
Then the brand is what people subjectively think and feel about the product. Humans are emotional beings with a limited attention span and use mental shortcuts, such as the brand, for decision-making.
A brand is a unique mental network of the perception and meaning people attach to your product or service.
The growth of a business ultimately depends on customers choosing it over the competition. The perception of customers, rather than some objective truth, influences their choices. Therefore, building a brand is crucial for companies at any stage: The brand you create helps shape customers' perceptions, which can ultimately lead to their choice of your business over others.
Find Your North Star
A unique opportunity to build a Femtech brand is leveraging the founder’s personal story. Founders of women's health companies often come to the category with a personal story that inspired them to address an underfunded or underresearched health issue through their business. This is a stellar brand-building opportunity.
Founders can find inspiration in their hardships and weaknesses. Using their founder story, they achieve credibility and authenticity, which is incredibly hard for emerging businesses.
In case you're still hesitant to build your personal brand as a founder, here are some motivating statistics:
- Did you know that founders most active on social media secure up to 20% more capital when fundraising?
- Your founder story increases the perceived credibility
- And it differentiates from competitors to drive business growth
Listen to Atypical Customers
The problem with many companies is that they are built to appeal to an average customer with a biased selection of privileged people. In our current economy, this often resulted in products built for white men with higher incomes and no disability.
To build an inclusive brand that speaks to a diverse range of people, businesses need to look outside the bell curve and listen to atypical customers. Those exceptional people are often excluded from a product or service due to physical, cognitive, or contextual constraints.
Some variables that can make an atypical Femtech customer:
- Body type
- Extreme use case
- Gender beyond the binary
Learning from atypical consumers, or those who fall on the edges of the normal distribution can lead to radical innovation. Constraints can be opportunities that force creativity and clarify your thinking. In the end, you didn't just design a more inclusive product but created something with a unique value for typical customers as well.
Balance Science and Emotion
Femtech brands need to strike a balance between science and emotion. Let’s look at three examples:
- They can be a hyper-cerebral, medical brand that wants to give clarity with facts and data
- A rebellious, feminist brand that wants to challenge the political system
- Or a modern lifestyle brand that wants to comfort customers and give them a good feeling.
It’s a sliding scale, and the unique combination and selection of attributes depend entirely on the company, customer, and competition. Always aim for a mix of rational and emotional attributes for your positioning.
2. Brand Design for Femtech
In a crowded market, a well-designed brand can be the difference between success and failure. In this section, we'll explore why brand design matters for femtech founders and how it can help them build trust and establish credibility and uniqueness.
Where Does Stigma Begin?
Growing up in the 90s, I was exposed to messages that taught me to fit into a gender binary: Pink toys for girls, blue toys for boys. These useless categories were then perpetuated by marketing professionals, so adults know that pink razors are for women and blue razors are for men.
Femtech brands have the unique opportunity to break out of those dusty categories and create something remarkable.
To avoid biases and stereotypes, businesses must thoroughly research and understand their target audience, as described earlier. They should avoid stereotypical design elements, clichés, and wording. Be experimental about this step and always test your branding with a diverse range of customers.
How to Stand Out
Now that we have an understanding of how to avoid stereotypes, what does it take to create truly memorable branding? We have created an innovative method for this: The Phoenix Visual Brand Audit™.
We determine if your brand is distinctive and recognizable in the marketplace. After looking at 50 competitor brands, we can confidently answer: Does your brand stand out or fit in?
Research shows that brands with higher distinctiveness are easier to remember and get chosen over competitors.
A visual brand audit is for you if:
- You’re not sure if you need a rebranding
- You need an unbiased and unconflicted opinion from branding experts
- You need evidence (versus subjective opinions) to discuss further steps
- You worry about the quality of your startup branding
Would you like to learn more about it? Schedule a call and let's discuss the details!
We’ve covered the essentials of building a successful Femtech brand. To innovate, use qualitative research (1:1 or focus groups) and listen to customers who don’t have that typical experience. As you craft your unique brand, ensure it captures the right combination of science and emotion. Your brand’s positioning should reflect your company, customers, and competition.
To grow and improve your brand, try the Phoenix Visual Brand Audit™. Use inclusive language, and avoid clichéd design elements. All the while, keep an eye out for unique ideas that haven’t been done before–maybe you’ll be the one to pioneer it!