What do you stand for?

Welp, Barbie knocked it out of the park ($150 million in promotion against $500 million in ticket sales in the first week)! But it's not just a viral sensation; it's a marketing masterclass.

This week, our team reflected on what this means in the context of global entrepreneurship.

Our takeaways:

#1: Be specific about who you're talking to (very specific).

The Barbie movie isn't just for young girls. It's for everyone who resonates with what Barbie represents (and a few extra-supportive dads). But understanding who these people are and how they're different was essential to Barbie's messaging and marketing success.

#2: Know what you represent (and proclaim it loudly).

I'll admit, I always thought a Barbie was nothing more than a doll. But the movie paints a bigger picture. Barbie's about escapism, perfection, nostalgia, and authenticity. Every piece of marketing screams this.

#3: Understand where to find your audience (and meet them there).

From merchandise to music, fashion to food — Barbie was everywhere. Pink Tacos were sold in Mexico. "Barbie" pasta was served in New Zealand (it's made of beetroot). Pink biscuit boxes were launched in South Africa. Hotels underwent a hot pink revamp everywhere from Colombia to Malaysia. And Aldo, Gap, and Forever 21 sold pink attire in India.

Who, What, and Where — now that's excellent marketing.

In today's email:

  • Featured founder: Kenya’s Wandia Gichuru on creating a storm with genderless fashion

  • Becoming better: Master this form of marketing to make it in Latin America

  • Grow like a global entrepreneur: Have a limited marketing budget? Not to worry. We share ways you can adapt.

  • Weekly medley: Egypt is funding its budding entrepreneurs, India is upskilling its talented youth, and everyone is using ChatGPT

  • Watchlist: There are many ways to take a stand. What's yours?

Kenya's Wandia Gichuru on creating a storm with genderless fashion

If you're looking for entrepreneurs making waves using the potent trio of brand authenticity, customer resonance, and multi-channel reach, turn to Kenya's Wandia Gichuru.

Gichuru built the Vivo Fashion Group to cater to the unique clothing needs of black women. Now, she's going one step further and creating fashion for the queer community.

She says, "I think we should be more bold; I mean, just go back to the words 'choose your lane.' Say: 'This is where we will stand, and we're not afraid!'"

There's a significant market gap in fashion for the queer community: no one is making clothes with them in mind. Gichuru recognized how underserved this fashion-forward community was and mobilized her existing team to close the gap.

Vivo employees understand what it means to create fashion that expresses people's authenticities. Their clothes help their customers feel seen, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Her head of production is a pastor who's happy to design clothes for everyone, irrespective of their belief systems. And her craftswomen are Muslim women who choose to wear full hijabs themselves but are thrilled to create clothing for others to align with their identities.

Add to all this the reach the brand is building: Gichuru's collaboration with LGBTQ rights organization BOLD Network Africa means her fashion line is now a social movement that's uplifting an entire community.

💪 Becoming better

Hone your leadership skills with these insider tips:

What is marketing?

"Practice without theory is blind." Most business owners will invest in marketing at some point. But it's crucial to understand fundamental marketing principles before you do.

The role of marketing in business

Sure, marketing moves the needle. But how exactly? India-based marketing consultant Divya Dubey explains it all.

How to market in Latin America

To succeed in this region, you must focus on mobile marketing. Abel Delgado, marketing director of Americas Marketing Intelligence, shares why and how.

Level up your marketing with AI

AI is here to stay. Neil Patel explains how to get started so you don't fall behind.

🎭 Grow like a global entrepreneur

Think, build, grow. Three important pillars of entrepreneurship. For every newsletter issue, we dive deep into a specific topic under one of these pillars:

  1. Think (e.g., productivity and problem-solving skills)

  2. Build (e.g., building teams and products)

  3. Grow (e.g., growing revenue and market share)

This week, we look closely at how to grow your business with marketing, even if you have a small budget.

Every entrepreneur wants what the Barbie movie has: a big, multi-million marketing budget. (tbh, even half of Barbie's budget would be plenty.)

But small businesses and new entrepreneurs don't have that luxury. In most cases, they start with zero. That's why we're sharing ways you can get started with marketing without a fancy budget.

You're probably thinking... These strategies seem great, but can you actually grow your company with no budget? 

Yes, it's possible! Here is an excellent example of a company that channeled creativity and achieved its first five million users with no marketing budget.

Have a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Drop us a line at [email protected].

🗞️ Weekly medley

Every week, our team scans the entrepreneurial world for can't-miss news:

  • In Egypt, as many as ~73% of the population is exploring entrepreneurship as a career choice. The United States Government has partnered with the Arab League for an Entrepreneurship Development Program. As of February this year, Egypt even has its own version of Shark Tank.

  • Meanwhile, India is now the world's third-largest entrepreneurial ecosystem. Abundant opportunities (e.g., incubators, VC funding) are available to graduates of the government-backed Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management and those from elite private schools. But the country has yet to figure out how to upskill youth not educated in premier colleges.

  • Entrepreneurs worldwide are turning to OpenAI's ChatGPT to assist with business growth. Our friend, Jodie Cook, says the most common prompts are currently related to 'business ideas,' 'marketing strategies,' 'optimizing operations,' 'fundraising,' and 'expansion.'

🔎 Watchlist

It doesn't matter if you've got a hot pink-kinda brand or if pitch black is more your thing; what matters is that you take a bold stand.

El Salvador's Sonia Lazo is doing it by selling handmade Queer art that defies hate.

Nigeria's Soji Apampa is doing it by showing entrepreneurs how to navigate a corrupt system and build ethical businesses.

Germany's Julia Rohde and Thorsten Kuehn are doing it by saying we should take a healthier, more sustainable approach to food production.

And you — what do you stand for?

Until next time,

Nolan Bulger

Founder, Mergerous Media Co.

P.S. I’d love your feedback, constructive criticism, ideas for upcoming issues — whatever’s on your mind. Send it over!