There are 1 million and 1 ways to do this. Books and blogs are dedicated to exploring the various methods, courses promise to help you find 1000 strangers and make them love your brand. They are all aiming to achieve the same thing:
- Identify a human who knows nothing about you and your brand
- Then make them like and trust you enough to buy your product or service.
Sounds fairly straight forward, right? So why do people over complicate it? Because depending on what you are selling and who you are targeting, it can get complicated.
Startups do not have a lot of financial runway to implement elaborate strategic plans that require 100s of 1000s of dollars and require a 500 person team.
So how do you compete?
How do you get people to quickly know about your brand? How do you peak their interest?
Play the brand impression game.
Countless studies show that it takes between 6 & 27 brand impressions for someone to make a purchasing decision. If you are a startup, you might not have the budget to copy the strategy used by Amazon or Coca Cola. You may need to find more “condensed” ways to quickly collect this many brand impressions.
This is the easiest way to think of it, you need to earn 6-27 points with each person you want to turn into a client. How do you earn these points?
Each time someone
- hears your brand mentioned
- sees your logo
- sees one of your advertisements
- or randomly thinks of your brand, you get a brand impression.
you get 1 point. The catch is that you cannot track every brand impression and tally up the points each person accumulates, without becoming a stage 5 stalker. If a friend tells a person about your brand, that’s 1 point. Unless you wire tapped their phone (I do not recommend doing this), you won’t know you just scored a point.
Because you cannot tally your brand impression points with complete certainty, you need to utilize a bit of marketing strategy to increase your chances of someone getting all of the brand impressions within your desired time frame.
There are expensive ways to get these:
- Paid ads on social media.
- Buying up billboards.
- Purchasing ad space on a high traffic blog.
- Purchasing ad space in magazines and newspapers.
There are free ways to get these:
- Choosing a popular food item, animal or emoji to be part of your company name, every time someone sees the item somewhere else there is a chance that they will think of your brand. (I have past and current clients sending me pictures of pineapples in random places, on a regular basis. We chose that name for a myriad of strategic reasons).
- Actively participating in niche forums.
- Creating a brand impression overload.
What is an example of a real life brand impression overload?
The woman sitting across the aisle, diagonally behind me on the plane leaned over, placing her hand on my shoulder “Ok, I have to ask. What is 90×9?”
I smiled, my strategy had worked, “My company specializes in growing the revenue of startups by 90x in less than 9 months.”
Her eyes widened, “How!?!”
I twisted my mouth and thought for a second, “Could you teach me to be fluent in Japanese in less than 20 minutes?”
The woman looked at me like I was an idiot, for asking such a preposterous question “No.”
I smirked and responded, “It’d probably take a decade for me to learn to speak like an expert, right?”
“Yes” she answered.
“That’s how long it took me to gain the knowledge and experience needed to grow startups quickly. I can’t really cram all of that into a single sentence answer.”
We both laughed and I handed her my business card.
What just happened?
Prior to my cross-country trip, I printed out stickers and painted 90×9.co on EVERYTHING that would be in the public view:
- the trim on my pant legs
- the back right pocket of my jeans
- the rubber trim of my converse sneakers
- the back of my shirts & coats
- all 6 surfaces of my suitcase
- my laptop case
- my iPad case
- the case of my headphones
- etc (you get the point)
People sitting anywhere around me on that flight were flooded to high heaven by the number of times they saw my company’s short URL. I scored a brand impression points each time they looked at any item containing the URL.
I had “won” 27 points with the woman. In the early stages of your startup. This is your goal. It is not enough to wear a hoodie, you need to put your company’s name or URL on EVERYTHING so people are prompted to ask you what the company does, what it is about OR what you do.
How do you do this?
- Identify 6-10 items that you can / will take with you on your next outing (ex: water bottle, cell phone case, notebook, jacket, backpack, purse, etc)
- Print out vinyl stickers and adhere them to the most viewed area of each of these devices OR grab a fabric pen and write the URL on your items. BONUS: if you have the budget for it or are skilled with an embroidery machine, embroider your URL onto your garments.
- When you go on your outing, casually display the items with the stickers facing in the same direction. So that anyone who sees one, is sure to see them all.