How to Use Your Brand to Connect With Your Audience (featuring PNK Digger)

PNK Digger lipglosses

I’m really excited to write this post. It combines so many things that I love all at once (branding, lip gloss, Howard University, slayfulness, and the like). This post also feeds my underdeveloped alter ego, who just happens to be a beauty blogger. A beauty blogger that would love PNK Digger. So this post is everything.

I’ve talked to you in the past about how developing a brand can help you connect with people. Today I’m going to introduce you to a brand that has done this exceptionally well and—by using its own personality—has helped me feel connected with it.

In order for you to really understand how this brand was so successful, I have to tell you some things you might not know about me.

Let’s look at what you know

You’ve just learned that a part of me fantasizes about beauty blogging. So whether I’m consistently glamorous or not (generally not), I am a person who pays some attention to beauty brands and how I look (or how I can look on the days when I decide not to look like a high schooler in an indie band).

Also, I’m only good at putting on foundation and lip products—don’t trust me with eye shadow. However, I’m not just into any makeup or skincare products. I care a lot about what goes on my skin. I love natural products so much that I make things myself if I have to. With that, I’m also very anti-paraben. Paraben free is not just a label that makes me feel better about buying something—it’s a way of life for me.

So now you know that I pay some attention to beauty brands, and of those, I’m partial towards the ones that are have more natural ingredients and fewer harmful chemicals.

I also like for things to be reasonably priced. I like for things to be easy to use. I like to support black owned products. And I love to shout out fellow Howard alums.

You’re learning a lot about me.

It’s a Match!

So, when my sister put me on to a lip gloss/stain brand called PNK Digger, it was inevitable that we’d be a match made in beat face heaven. Here’s why:

  • PNK Digger sells lip products that are “handmade with natural ingredients and safe colorants.”
  • Founder, Stephanie Bennett, is an HU Bison.
  • This is a black owned business.
  • If you check out her Instagram, you’ll see references to traveling and humor that I can appreciate.

I didn’t need to do a ton of research to find this stuff out. In fact, most of these things were relayed to me in a sentence or two. “Girl, look at these lippies handmade by a Howardite!”

Then I read that they were natural products.

Then I saw that they each run about $10.

Then I threw a bunch in my online cart and paid for my order.

Everything else I learned afterwards from PNK Digger’s social media presence helped me feel more connected to the brand. Now, it wasn’t just a line of products that I wanted to use, but a brand I identified with. I wanted to see it do well.

That’s the sweet spot you want to hit with your audience.

PNK Digger is here for me

It felt like everything about the PNK Digger brand and product line were made for me. See, Stephanie could have created something that was easier to mass produce and compromise her product. She could charge way more. She could hide her humor on Instagram and be more “professional” (I’ve come to hate that use of the word, btw). But all of those things would have kept me from being as big of a fan of PNK Digger as I am.

I wouldn’t feel this brand affinity if she had created something that she thought people would like, instead of creating the product that she believed in. I wouldn’t care this much about the brand if she didn’t create a unique experience based on her personality.

I say that because I work with SO many people who try to sell their services as if they’re for everyone, when in reality they’re really looking to sell to one kind of person. And that one kind of person is ignoring the brand because they don’t feel like the products or experience were created especially for them.

Marinate on that.

PNK Digger products feel like they’re made especially for me by someone who understands me. The only thing that could make me connect with this brand more would be me being from Atlanta (many of the lippies have Atlanta-based named).

But do you see how that doesn’t deter me at all?

I am PNK Digger’s target audience. I buy from and rave about PNK Digger. Raving and buying is better than liking on Instagram because the pictures are pretty, but never feeling compelled to buy.

Create for your audience.

Out-doing larger brands

On the PNK Digger Instagram feed, you’ll also see pictures of real customers wearing the products, which helps you get an idea of what the colors look like in real life. There are also posts of arm swatches (samples of the colors on a person’s forearm) to show what the colors look like on women of all shades—which is a major flaw in the beauty industry that PNK Digger is tackling effortlessly. This shows that PNK Digger respects and values its diverse customer base and believes that it should be easy to buy makeup online, no matter what shade you are.


So. Back to how this affected me personally.

Fast forward to Howard Homecoming this year (yes, the Howard University that Stephanie and I both attended). I felt (it’s important to note that this decision was based on emotion) that there was no better lip product to bring on this trip than something that came from PNK Digger. Because Howard <3.

So I threw every PNK Digger color I owned in my bag (I have like 10 of these lippies, minimum, btw) (and in the process of writing this post, I caught the 36% off sale and bought a few more! Yes, I have a problem. No, I don’t want to be helped.).

Best decision ever. In the three days I was there, I had like 5 outfit changes. And I needed multiple day and night lip looks to match (listen to me with my pseudo-glamor-isms).

The Brand Connection

Now, here’s where I’m about to get brand spiritual—if that’s a thing. I seriously loved being at homecoming and wearing only PNK Digger lip colors. Howard Homecoming is a real life holiday for any student or alumnus. We all take great pride in looking good during all festivities. I was thrilled to support a Bison every time I stepped out of the house, Lyft/Uber, club, brunch day party, insert other lit functions here. And I became an interactive advertisement for every person who complimented my lip color the entire weekend—directly advertising to an audience who’d be able to feel some of those same connections that I felt.

It was an incredible feeling.

Do you see how crazy it is that, as a consumer, I was excited to sell for someone? Better yet, do you see how desirable it is, as a business owner, to create this kind of connection through your brand?

A brand is whatever the consumer thinks it is. When I think of PNK Digger, I think of #BlackGirlMagic and I think of Howard. I think of how many bosses come out of our school. I think of how powerful it is to come from such a legacy. I think of how hard we work to get where we are. And I’m happy for the product of some of that hard work to come in the form of something that makes me look so damn good.

And, yes, I think about how much I’m going to slay just by walking up the street.

Best time ever!

A photo posted by AlannaOG (@alannaogarro) on

But I also appreciate this brand for what I don’t have to think about: whether or not the product’s ingredients are toxic.

All of that is what PNK Digger means to me. That’s what makes PNK Digger special to me.

Any lip gloss can cover my lips, but not every brand can make me feel this way.  Or make me happier to use its products. Or make me happy to spend money on them.

And, I’d never have all of these feelings if the owner of the brand never shared the parts of its personality that I connect with. I’d never be able to feel this connection if she didn’t share those parts of who she is and what’s important to her.

So when you’re toying around with how to show off your brand in a professional light, don’t get that twisted with washing your personality out of your brand.

The best thing you can do for your brand is to be yourself.

And to make a damn good product.

P.S. I was not paid for this post. I was not asked for this post. I’ve never even met Stephanie. I wrote this because I genuinely feel this way and thought it would be a great opportunity to continue teaching people how to create brands that audiences can connect with.

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