If Lady Gaga has taught us anything, it’s this: When you do something outrageous, people pay attention. When people pay attention, you gain influence. Why else would people still be arguing the societal implications of Gaga’s infamous “meat dress” years after she wore it?
Businesses should buy into Gaga’s lessons. Though it can be risky to embrace outrageous forms of branding, it can also pay off with increased buzz for your business, which translates into increased sales. It’s important that you’re not just being outrageous for the sake of being outrageous, though. Follow these tips to push the limits of brand marketing in a smart and disciplined manner.
Appeal to the Heart or the Funny Bone
Studies have shown that much of the content that goes viral online evokes a strong emotional response in people. That stands to reason. You only share things you feel passionately about; you’re not going to pass along something that got no response, positive or negative, out of you.
When people think something is particularly adorable or funny, they are more likely to pass it along. That’s why cat videos have always been such a hit online — they are actually both. When crafting your brand’s marketing, favor approaches that include humor or pull at the heartstrings, and you’ll be much more likely to get a response. For instance, a GoPro video went viral, getting more than 20 million views on YouTube, when the brand featured a fireman saving a kitten.
Boldness translates into attention, which gets you in the face of potential buyers. It’s important to use this tactic strategically. A bold gesture without an intelligent message behind it will backfire, and people will see right through your attempt, but if you craft your marketing so that your boldness is also conveying a powerful message, you’ll get the results you seek.
A good recent example of a bold campaign that both draws reaction and is relevant to the brand comes from 12 Keys Rehab. The facility created a series of visually jarring ads showing babies and toddlers in disturbing situations, such as sucking down a cocktail or sleeping with a hypodermic needle, with captions that read “They are more like you than you think.” The point here is that kids model their parents’ behavior, and parents who are drug or alcohol addicts are raising their kids to be the same. If that message doesn’t make an impact, you may be beyond help.
Urgency is a key concept in marketing that you can use to help your brand. You create urgency when you set up a situation in which immediate action is required. That may mean advertising a limited-time-only sale or creating content so compelling that people are dying to see what happens next. Urgency is a key component to the sales funnel. When people think they need to act in a timely fashion, they are much more likely to make a purchase.
To create a sense of urgency in your marketing, do something actionable and important. Say you want to sell a new type of organic apple. Your marketing might focus on the terrible pesticides used in non-organic apples, and to give the offer an additional sense of urgency, promise to donate an organic apple to children in developing countries for every 10 purchased in the United States. Employ statistics about the dire state of produce for the children being ministered to. This creates a strong desire on the part of the consumer to run out and buy 10 apples in order to help the kids. You get a win-win: You spark your business’s sales, plus you’re helping someone who needs it, which is not just good business sense but being a good person, too.
Marketing is a competitive business these days. Your business needs to push the limits with brand marketing in order to stay in the game.