Straplines can intrigue potential customers and summarise what your company stands for. We spoke to Fritha Vincent of Secret Projects – a social business that trains and empowers women in India – and found out how interacting with customers led to her coming up with the ideal slogan.
Our social business is run under seven principles that were set out by Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He says social businesses are different from other businesses, as their primary goal is to solve a social problem. This is in contrast to businesses with a financial goal, i.e. to make a certain amount of profit per year. A social business has financial goals or targets, but they are not why the company was established. Our business goal is the empowerment of women.
The way we empower women in India is through a Training for Empowerment Programme and sales of the products our Makers produce. We sell these products on the international market, which creates revenue. Our most well-known products are the Secret Pillow and Secret Sari Dress.
Why use a strapline?
I am passionate about our primary business goal and vision – a world where all women have the confidence and resources to make their own choices for themselves and their children. I simply would not have the motivation to make and sell our products if they were simply made in a factory somewhere. Empowerment of women is my personal driver and I would say the same about the rest of the team as well. Ensuring our potential customers instantly understand what Secret Projects is all about is really important to me. That is why I opted for a strapline. A strapline is a three- to six-word statement about your organisation. It should be captivating, inviting and intriguing. Our strapline is Unfolding Women’s Power. It tells people what we do.
Creating our strapline
As a startup social business, we did all the traditional activities in order to get going. We ran numerous reward-based crowdfunding campaigns and we also produced some elaborate pop-ups. It was talking to potential customers at these pop-ups that really transformed the way we talked about Secret Projects. Prior to the pop-ups, I would embark on a full-scale geography lesson when explaining how we went out about finding new Maker groups. It was a very long-winded way of selling a Secret Pillow that retails at only £50.
Our strapline came to me when we were running a week-long pop-up in Old Street that we rented through Appear Here. We called the pop-up Discover the Secret of the Pillows. People were intrigued. They came in and saw us folding and unfolding the pillows, and they would look at the faces of our Indian Makers on the walls. They would put two and two together and would say, “I want one”.
At first I did not really get it – “surely they wanted my geography lesson?” It was Aimee, my longest standing colleague in Secret Projects, who took me aside and said, “people get it just by seeing the faces of the Makers and us unfolding the pillows. Stop talking so much and just do the transaction!”
That week made me realise the making and selling of our foldable pillows was unfolding women’s power. I decided then that we would only make products that are foldable, useful, purposeful and charming, and that our business simply did one thing – unfolded women’s power.
Breaking the rules
Sticking to the rule of only making products that fold up also led to a few problems! I worked for Red Bull when I was at Newcastle University, where I was one of their student brand ambassadors. One of the best things we did was go on conferences and learn about the company. I clearly remember when the MD for the UK said that Red Bull would never increase the size of their can or bring out multiple recipes. I was sitting in a café the other day and saw the whole Red Bull range – cherry, sugar free, large. It was then that I realised that all the retail greats can break their own rules, so why not us?
A winning slogan
I have just won the Prix Clarins Stylist Award 2018 for Secret Projects. Debbie Lewis, the MD of Clarins UK, said one of the reasons I won was the crystal-clear clarity our business model has and the succinct way I speak about what we do. That all flows from our strapline – Unfolding Women's Power.
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