What to expect from today’s article:
- Huge shot of confidence from learning about this bada$$ brand
- Quotes & images that include some *colorful* language 😉
- Little bit of fan-girl complementing (the more I read about this brand, the further I fall down the rabbit hole of loving Ash Ambirge)
- Tons of *fabulous* lessons and insights from The Middle Finger Project that you can DIRECTLY apply to your own brand.
- A fun break from your work day
Today I’ll be dissecting the brand, The Middle Finger Project, for your entertainment and delight. And believe me when I say, if you haven’t heard of this brand before, you will be inspired to go out and do something bada$$ for your brand…or yourself. Because you deserve it 😉 Ash says so, and so do I.
If you haven’t heard of Ash Ambirge, she’s the founder and CEO of The Middle Finger Project. To understand WHO she is, all you have to do is browse around her website for about 5 minutes. She is amazingly open, transparent and bold. You’ll quickly discover that she doesn’t hold anything back in her brand. You learn about her past, her goals, her opinions, and her challenges in growing her brand. You will find a deep passion for ensuring other women have the same level of confidence and courage to live their lives out loud and be unapologetically strong in approaching their goals.
Entrepreneurial Tip #1: Don’t be defined by just one story. We are who we are because of a myriad of experiences and opinions. Each and every story can have a place in your brand.
Ok enough introduction – it’s time to get into the real meat and potatoes of today’s edition of “Unlocking Big Brand Genius”.
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Within 2 seconds of browsing The Middle Finger Project’s website, I know that I want Ash on my side….both in a bar and in business.
She doesn’t waste ANY time showing that she’s a bada$$ chick with a purpose…and lots of opinions. This was the first thing I admired about her brand. She’s upfront and ensures you know her opinions about entrepreneurship and that you’re going to hear about them in an innovative, brash, and colorful manner. Everything she does is framed around her tagline that you NEED to be “Unf*ckwithable” to be successful. You are in charge of your life, so create it how you want to live it.
Entrepreneurial Tip #2: Never hide your values and opinions. Be upfront about who you are and be proud of it. You will attract a better audience as a result.
Adding to Ash’s complete transparency and gift for bearing all, she has a beautifully designed intro to her past.
After spending *so* much time on The Middle Finger Project’s website, I can only describe the writing above as “Ash’s signature style”. She covers serious topics and shares the challenges she overcame to get where she is today. Yet she does it with sass, humor, and honesty. You can’t help but have immense respect for who Ash is. And you have complete faith that if you work with Ash, she’ll take that same determined and strong-willed personality and apply it to your goals.
Next, Ash does a fabulous job on her website of establishing credibility, in a myriad of ways. She has the basics and posts where she’s been featured, although, keeping true to her sass, she calls this section “Bragging Rights”. But she goes *so* much further than just posting articles and logos of reputable companies. Take notice (which we want to copy ASAP) of the constant little popup (provided by Proof) in the left corner of the website. It easily catches your eye and tells you every time someone new subscribes to The Middle Finger Project. It instantly builds credibility in her vast network. Plus throughout the the website, Ash posts testimonials and emails from her audience. That’s what’s key here – she doesn’t just post testimonials of past clients that have purchased her product. She goes a step further by including day to day emails from her audience. These emails gush over Ash’s content and even go as far as saying that her e-mails are the only ones they consistently open and read. Talk about a HUGE compliment to the content of these emails.
Entrepreneurial Tip #3: Make credibility a priority. Get testimonials, create case studies, and brag about where you’ve been featured or where you’ve published your work. All of these add up to people trusting you’re a legit company that won’t take their money and run.
Here’s my final point for first impressions….there are just *so* many amazing tips from the homepage alone!
The Middle Finger Project’s website is fabulously designed. It fits perfectly with her archetype (which we’ll get to next) while staying simple and to the point. Ash doesn’t need a bunch of accents, flowers, or complex patterns to get her point across. She uses her set color palette with solid backgrounds and an easy to follow layout. The simple design matches her personality perfectly – strong and bold.
Entrepreneurial Tip #4: Simple can be better! Especially when it comes to design.
The Middle Finger Project boldly embraces its Maverick Brand Personality. There are some obviously signs that point towards Maverick…the dark colors, the swearing, the F-you attitude towards the norm. But, you can also find signs of Ash’s Maverick roots in less obvious places – which is a sign that she truly understands and embraces the strongest personality traits that work for her brand.
For example, all of The Middle Finger Project’s content is designed to empower and liberate its audience. It’s not just opinions or ideas about how to run your business…Ash writes to change your way of thinking about your business.
Take the email above, just a simple change in your frame of mind creates a valuable shift in how you approach your business. Ash *stimulates* you to be bold. You are the expert and your client needs you.
One really interesting content theme that you find time and time again with Maverick personalities is their ability to rant…. about what’s wrong in society, what’s not working, or what needs to change. But rants can get tiresome…a common pitfall of many Mavericks is the tendency to focus on the negative or appear superior in their righteousness. The Middle Finger Project is NOT an example of this. Ash’s e-mails every week are FULL of rants about entrepreneurship and business, but they aren’t smug or obnoxious. They’re empowering. They leave you feeling rebellious yourself. Suddenly, what’s wrong in business is so obvious and *so* easy to change. You’re on board with her purpose. This is a talent that sets Ash apart from most other Maverick’s in the marketplace. It’s impressive, to say the least.
Entrepreneurial Tip #5: Identify possible pitfalls you could encounter with your brand and find opportunities to create strengths instead.
Once again – social media rules the roost for this online brand’s marketing efforts. Ash does content and she does it well. And she does it often. She is a writer after all. And she kicked off her life of entrepreneurship with her blog. So it’s natural that she has a ton of killer content at her disposal for her social media efforts. BUT, don’t think this means it’s easy and she doesn’t have to dedicate time to it. In one of her posts, Ash states that she spends 3 hours *every* morning dedicated to writing.
Entrepreneurial Tip #6: Block off time on your calendar dedicated to creating content. You’ll always need it, but I’m willing to bet most of us won’t randomly decide to ignore emails and client work for an hour to write new content. Hold yourself accountable.
The Middle Finger Project is active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The content published on each of these social media platforms is consistent, relevant, and always on brand. Ash also understands how to be successful on the various platforms. For example, she posts the most on Twitter but varies these tweets from funny observations to promotions to glimpses into her day to day life…like having peas for dinner. #lifeofanentrepreneur
It was also very interesting to see her evolution on Instagram over the past year.
Here are some of Ash’s Instagram posts from September of last year:
The posts are fun and interesting. Plus they show Ash’s love of wine, which I respect 😉
But now, look at Ash’s posts from the last month:
See the difference? All the posts were professionally done, and keep to a consistent feel, but the posts from the last month have evolved. Ash is utilizing Instagram to further promote her blogs and she’s flipping between promoting a blog and posting “on brand” photos. The result is clean and draws your attention to reading the content between browsing fun images. It’s completely different from other strategies I’ve seen on Instagram and I love it. This is a great lesson to apply to your own brand! There’s never a bad time to try out a new strategy for your brand. Just take action! If it doesn’t work, you can always switch things up again. You need to constantly evolve to stay relevant in this crazy game of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial Tip #7: It’s never too late to switch things up! Try out different strategies or techniques to find your sweet spot.
The Middle Finger Project paints a vivid picture of the type of audience they want to attract and assist.
While a lot of her audience probably isn’t as brash as the description above, her audience members probably fall into one of these three buckets:
- The ones that truly do give the finger to convention, stand out as different, bold, or extreme, and don’t care what others think.
- The ones that have that side of themselves hidden under a few other layers but want to let it loose.
- The ones that respect and admire Ash’s bold and courageous personality and want permission to live more boldly themselves.
Each person that falls into one of these buckets is an ideal client for Ash. She truly wants to inspire and empower each and every individual that wants to take charge and create her own path in life. And these types of people show up in ALL avenues of life….
…the stay at home mom who wants to do something for herself.
…the individual working a corporate job who’s dipping her toes in entrepreneurship.
…the overachiever working 80+ hour weeks who needs a change.
What’s consistent is the desire to be in charge of your own fate. To be brave and to take life head on.
Entrepreneurial Tip #8: Identify your ideal client by painting a picture…who are they right now, what are their pains in life, what do they need help with, what does their utopia look like, what do they need from you. Answer these questions and your ideal client profile takes place. Figure out the mindset that UNITES your ideal clients, instead of focusing on the demographics that may seem wildly segmented.
Once again, it’s time for me to pass on my *humble* recommendations and (hopefully) thought provoking suggestions to this rockstar brand.
My first idea was a stroke of genius (if I may so myself). The Middle Finger Project empowers individuals to become the most “unf*ckwithable” version of themselves, so why not give examples of past clients doing just that?
It would be so interesting to see other bada$$ individuals that are living Ash’s principles out loud and the lives they are living as a result. What businesses are being created? What personality traits are these people letting loose on the world? Ash is absolutely an inspiration to anyone that follows her, *but* it can also be a bit intimidating to believe you can follow in her footsteps. As empowered as you are by her story, you also start to wonder how to even BEGIN to follow such a brave and extreme path. Which is why it’d be fun to see how others are approaching their lives in a the same courageous manner. Remember the buckets I talked about earlier? Some of Ash’s audience may already be outspoken rockstars but others are in awe of this new possibility of being in charge of their life. The extra stories could help give them the nudge of encouragement they need to take action.
Entrepreneurial Tip #9: Use a variety of methods to help all “buckets” of your audience to relate and commit to your brand.
Plus, The Middle Finger Project could branch out from this idea and also take inspirations from powerful, provocative women in history. It’d be a very interesting twist to take historic actions or accomplishments made in the past and apply them to modern day business practices or recommendations. Ash could find bold or “Maverick” inspired quotes and tie them into a blog’s theme or purpose. For example, she could take Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote, “Well behaved women seldom make history” and tie it into how to stand out in business…oh the possibilities are endless!
Another possibility for something different for The Middle Finger Project (and I fully recognize that this may be a selfish recommendation) is for Ash to do more public speaking…or even videos online. With how quick witted and inspiring her writing is, I would be one of the first in line to listen to her speak in public. I can only imagine how many bold, empowered individuals would be born after an hour listening to Ash speak about life, creating your own freedom, and drinking vodka (kidding 😉 ) While I know writing is her staple, it’d be an interesting twist to see her live on Facebook or listen to her on a podcast. There’s a different level of connection an audience gets by seeing someone in a video or hearing their voice as opposed to reading.
Entrepreneurial Tip #10: Try out different mediums of delivering your message. Even if it’s outside your “norm”. Pushing boundaries usually creates fabulous results.
Ash Ambirge is a rebel with a cause. She built her brand, The Middle Finger Project, with $26 in her pocket and a passion to create her own destiny. She doesn’t use the same cookie cutter approach that works for most entrepreneurs in the market. She doesn’t follow a standard number of words in her blog posts. She doesn’t follow a “how to” structure on her headlines that follow a standard length. She doesn’t use flowers and gold accessories in her stock photos. She doesn’t hide from the rough points in her life. She doesn’t smile pretty for all of her branded photoshoots. She doesn’t follow the rules. This works for her because it’s genuine. She follows her values. She’s real. She speaks her mind and shares her opinions. Most importantly, she passes that power and passion on to her audience. Her passion is to help others create the same freedom she has discovered in life. To empower others to take the bull by the horns and be courageous enough to build the lives they want to live.