This week’s Prompt For The Promptless is about brands:
A brand is the name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one person’s product as distinct from that of other people.
It’s about time someone asked my advice on this subject, seeing as I am an internationally renown branding and marketing genius. Today, we’re going to talk about ways you can increase brand awareness.
Step 1: Have a brand.
Do you know what a brand is? It’s the same concept as one of these, but hopefully less painful:
A strong brand is invaluable. It’s the foundation of all of your marketing. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand… or you could just pick the first thing that comes to mind like I did for Fish Of Gold, because Goldfish was taken.
You’ll want to pick something that’s easy to remember, but not too common. Avoid brand names that are exceptionally long or difficult to spell. If you can’t avoid it, you can always abbreviate it. For example, I often refer to Fish Of Gold as FOG, because Fish Of Gold is harder to type. McGillicutty’s Multinational Multiplicative Multiplicities could be known as 4M (M&M and 3M are already taken).
The best brand names are short and easy to remember, but stay away from brands like Apple, McDonald’s or Google. Those are already taken and very litigious. You could always change the spelling though, e.g. Aple, McDuggald’s or Groogle.
Pro tip: do an internet search for your new brand. If another company pops up under that name, don’t use it, unless they’re in another country, because fuck those other countries. If you’re successful enough to go international someday, you can always throw a US, UK, etc. at the end.
Step 2: Logos.
Once you decide what your brand is called, you’ll need a logo. Since people don’t read things anymore, modern hieroglyphs, a.k.a. brand logos, are very important. Logos can tell people what brand they’re looking at without having to read a single word.
What do you want your brand to say to people? Do you want something that makes no sense and has its own word to describe it?
Or do you want something that’s related to your brand name?
Pro tip: what kind of brands do you like? Think about what it is that makes those brands and their logos memorable. Then forget that and pick some random bullshit clip art, because you can’t afford to hire me or another a professional graphic designer yet.
Step 3: Tagline.
A tagline is a phrase that, ideally, tells people more about your product or company ethos. For example, Nike’s tagline is “Just Do It,” Apple’s is “Think Different,” and McDonald’s is “I’m Lovin’ It.”
Admittedly, not one of those statements makes any sense, but sense doesn’t matter here. What you want is a short phrase that people will automatically associate with your brand and logo. Whenever you see the Nike swoosh, you automatically think “Just Do It.” That’s marketing at its finest right there.
FOG’s tagline is “Welcome To The Fishbowl.” A fishbowl is a fish’s home. It’s transparent and you can see all the way though it. There is nowhere for the fish to hide in a fishbowl. Make sense? No? Well, it doesn’t matter. Taglines don’t have to make sense. They just need to be memorable.
Pro tip: if you’re stuck on this, which you undoubtedly are, pick a noun and a verb that you like–or even better, that have something to do with your brand or product–and put them together. “Expediting Vagabonds.” There you go. Don’t think too hard on it. It should be natural and memorable.
Step 4: Sell something.
OK, now that you have your brand, logo, and tagline, it’s time to figure out what your product will be. Nike couldn’t very well have sold shoes if they didn’t have shoes to sell. This is probably the hardest step of all. What are you selling?
Some of you probably already have blogs or lunch meat you’re trying to promote. Do your words or bologna have a consistent theme? What is the essence of your meat? What qualities does your product have that set it apart from every other meat out there? I mean, good qualities. Don’t mention things like pig testicles or asbestos.
Pro tip: some companies sell more than one product. If you can’t decide between selling blogs or lunch meat, sell lunch meat-themed blogs or blog-themed lunch meat.
Step 5: Cross-marketing.
So, you’ve decided on your branding and you even have a product to sell. Good job! You know what you’re selling and in what package. You’re like a goddamn professional!
So, you have your Fish Of Gold lunch meat all ready to go, but no one is buying it. What went wrong? Why would no one buy FOGmeat™? Don’t they know how awesome it is? No, actually, they don’t. They’ve never heard of you or your brand. Well, there are ways to change that.
Don’t just sit in your office pouting; get out there and tell people how awesome FOGmeat™ is. There are plenty of businesses that will do quid pro quo marketing ventures to raise awareness of both of your brands. Advertise, sponsor events, do some promotion!
Give away free branded pens, magnets, bottle openers, T-shirts or parade balloons!
Pro tip: parade balloons are awesome.
Step 6: Bribes.
Alright, so you’ve put FOG balloons in every parade in every city, everyone’s using your T-shirts as rags, and the pens have all run out of ink. You’ve paraded around naked with only delicious FOGmeat™ covering your wang and you were arrested. Still, no one is buying your delicious meats.
Starting a business is hard. It takes time to get a foothold in a capitalist society where you can buy anything all the time. It’s okay. There are still some things you can do.
It’s no wonder that no one is buying it since they can’t even find it. You walked into the grocery store around the corner from your house and FOGmeat™ was buried over by the generic store meats. The prime real estate was taken up by huge companies that have been in business for years, the bastards.
Well, how about a bribe? Find out who is responsible for assigning grocery store real estate and slip them a bribe. Your meat will be front and center in no time!
Pro tip: make sure you feel out the bribee before you offer a bribe. The last thing you want is a boy scout. Ask questions that are likely to determine their moral standards or lack thereof (If you ran someone over and no one saw it, what would you do?) and their level of financial security (do you have any college-aged children?) before you offer a bribe.
Step 7: Profit.
If you’re willing to stab, bribe, kill, sweat, and do jail time for your brand, it will all work itself out. Years later, you can look back and laugh at how lunch meat wasn’t really an appropriate outfit to wear at a children’s festival. You can laugh at the public relations disaster of your lunch meat sponsor the Vegan Eating Contest. You hardly even cringe anymore when you think about your prison roommate. You can look at the pile of debt that you incurred with the bribes and parade balloons, and see how all that struggle was worthwhile.
Or it wasn’t worthwhile at all and your business has actually failed leaving you deep in debt and facing felony charges.
Pro tip: find a good lawyer or two. Declare bankruptcy and try to plea down on your criminal charges. You can start over again when you’re released from prison. That sex offender registration might make it tough, but there are ways around that. With all that time to think in prison, I’m sure you can come up with something.