Marketing, branding, raising brand awareness - its not easy but it is essential to any new brand in any business, t-shirts or otherwise. A few months ago John from J. Benjamin Clothing asked about marketing and branding and the likes so I figured I might as well share them with our Tees in a Pod listers/readers..So, here are my 9 marketing/branding tips - hope they are of some use.
1)Believe In Your Brand Not so much as a tip I guess but if you don't believe in it then no one else will. As a result of this all subsequent marketing or branding efforts won't be given 100% commitment as you don't believe in them - or, that's how I roll anyway..100% belief will yield 100% conviction, determination and application - all vital traits for brand marketing. It will take time and effort to build your brand, be ready to sweat.
2)Consistency In everything you do try have a common trend or a link between designs. In slogans, colour choice, logos and images try make it easy for people to recognize them as coming from one source, one brand. Further to using the above consistently use them constantly...anything that you "put out there" ensure that it has something that links it back to you, be it web address, logo, slogan, image, whatever - make sure that if people see it they recognize it and importantly associate it with your brand.
3)Suspense and Intrigue Build up a bit of mystique or intrigue about your brand. Don't just show your cards from day one but gradually give nuggets of enticing info that arouses curiosity in whoever may view it. We, humans, are curious creatures and are generally drawn to things that we don't know about, that intrigue us, that leave us wondering a bit. For example, Smirnoff Vodka (oh, how we love it) ran a campaign for Smirnoff Mule which just featured a plush looking velvet stage curtain on billboards. WiMax also ran a suspense rousing campaign that honed it on their target market perfectly.
4)Catchy and Memorable You want to make it easy for the viewer/reader to remember your brand. Use alliteration when writing slogans etc as this rattles around in our inner ear for a bit. Think of all successful brand names/slogans, they rattle around a bit. Prime example would be Coca Cola (um, with some Smirnoff = win). Another way to make things memorable is to make them shocking, get a response from whoever views it, motivate them into looking twice, taking a gasp or ideally, compel them to view your t-shirt designs. Also, the brain has 3 main sections which and a combination of food, sex and danger seem to spark a response from each region. I strongly suggest reading this blog which talks about the 3 regions of the brain and how to influence them - 11 Ways to Influence People Online and Make them Take Action.
5)Stickability You want your brand to stick around don't you? to be able to persist? Try think big in every aspect of your branding or marketing and invest time in creating things that won't be instantly dated due to surroundings or other. Think of other avenues you can venture down in a bid to expand your brand - hats, scarves, boxer shorts?
6)Be Remarkable As Seth Godin says be the purple cow, be a bit different, be something remarkable. Its not to dissimilar to being catchy but instead of going for the majority within a society be remarkable to a few who truly relate to your brand, get your brand and you could quite possibly be good buddies with. These people will help you find niches or possibly even create niches for you by getting all of their friends to like your brand. Brand zealots are a rare commodity and should be appreciated and thanked. Ultimately, you want to the purple cow to a few - watch this video.
7)Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) Word of mouth marketing is getting people talking about you. Think of what you pass on to your friends? "oh, there is a deal here" or "I got this for free from..." or "you should see this brand, so cool" and 9 times out of 10 you'll act on it, or at least consider it more because it was told to you by a friend. Some stat I heard stated that there is an 89% conversion rate on word of mouth market versus 12% on standard marketing. So, use competitions and freebies to stimulate some chit chat amongst friends. Another key element of WOMM is managing customer expectations. Customers inherently have an expectation of what they are going to get based on price, what you've said and what they've heard from friends. If you meet their expectations you get a pass grade and nothing really happy. If you fall below what they expect then you will have more than likely lost a customer. If however you exceed their expectations they will talk about you, they'll be happy with the product they have received from you and will be compelled to talk about you. How do you try to exceed your customers expectations?
8)Persistence Marketing and forming your brands identity and persona will take time. There is no overnight solution (not that I have discovered anyway although I'd love to find one) for building your brands reputation so be persistent. Never miss an opportunity to market your brand but don't overkill it. It goes back to my very first point really, you have to keep applying yourself and promoting and pushing your brand - if you don't do it no one else will..
9)Responsive Ideally what you want is to get the WOMM machine revved up and in high gear. You then have to be responsive to what gets said. How can you use what is said to further your marketing campaign or branding efforts? What opportunities are to be had by getting in touch with people who mention your brand? What if someone says a negative thing about your brand? Be responsive and thank those who like your brand and give them something to talk about. When receiving negative comments deal with them quickly and in a nice manner - turn the negative into a positive.
And so, there it is, 9 marketing tips and ideas. I'm not a guru by any stretch of the imagination but the above are just some of the things I am aware of and try practice myself. Your thoughts on the above, what your marketing efforts consist of, or any tips/ideas/suggestions are warmly welcomed - knowledge is no burden.