A talented blogger I follow recently wrote she may take her blog a step further by having it go live on YouTube. She could, she’s funny, has thousands of followers and she’s made a name for herself in the blogosphere. Whether she realizes it or not (and I’m certain she has — she’s a smart cookie) she’s established her brand. What defines her. She appeals to a particular group, a large group, that wants more.
That got me thinking about branding. I learned plenty about it through experience and education and at one time, worked right in the middle of it. Long meetings trying to position a product just so, so that it would appeal to the demographic it was meant to appeal to.
It’s why we buy one product over another that is exactly the same thing. We see something and want it, television, print, internet — more ways than ever now, to reach millions of consumers.
It’s a science and marketing companies apply all sorts of techniques to get us to keep choosing their product over someone else’s. Visual cues, smells, subliminal messages and colors evoke emotions and maybe even urges.
That all-important demographic, 18-34 year-olds get much of the marketing geared toward them. They’re the consumers of the future. Others gear their brand toward boomers — the ones with money. Cars, wine, Viagra, hair-color, beauty products, skincare, creams, lotions, potions, fat-loss pills, hair-growth products for men, exercise equipment, — all the things that are going to make those peeps feel and look younger.
Most of the products involve sex in some blatant or subtle way because sex represents youth. Youth is the ultimate goal — the thing everyone wants and wants to keep. It’s everywhere — those youthful images — and we crave it. We all understand on a deeper level, it’s impossible to maintain, but still we do it — because maybe this product will satisfy that urge, that which we seek.
Perception is Everything
When I was in college, we had to pair off into study groups and we stuck with those groups throughout our marketing classes. I was the only female in my study group with four other guys. We had to develop a product and figure out how to get that product to the masses.
It was a long, involved process that I won’t bore you with as far as mass production, distribution channels, etc., but we did have to package it just so and market it in such a way that the demographic we were targeting would want it. It could be anything, as ridiculous as we wanted, we just had to make it seem as if it could be possible.
Our product was called Jerk-Alert and it was marketed toward single women. We came up with data that suggested the more testosterone a man had, the more likely he was to well, be a jerk. Our product had a chemical in it that reacted to that hormone and caused it to turn a certain color when sprayed on a man. Ridiculous, huh?
I wrote the script and we went to a couple of bars to film. I acted as if I was the woman who founded Jerk Alert and began talking about the studies, etc., to the camera — like one of those cheesy infomercials. It attracted a crowd and they were watching. I ended it with something like, “Let’s put it to the test.”
Jerk Alert was packaged inside small, attractive atomizers and a woman could spray it on a guy to find out what type he was. I then played the female and a couple of the guys from my study group (one playing a nice guy, one playing a jerk) struck up a conversation with me at the bar.
I sprayed one with the atomizer that had clear water in it, the other with an atomizer (that looked exactly like the clear-water one, but contained water with alot of red food coloring, discreetly interchanging the two) on the guy playing the jerk. After filming, a few women came over and asked where they could buy it. They actually believed it was real and they wanted it. (BTW, we make an A+ for our presentation).
What’s That Smell?
Companies are employing smell to make us buy as well. Studies suggest that certain smells trigger certain responses. I won’t quote all that data here, but if you think about it, smells have much to do with the way we react. Scientists call it the Proustian Effect, named after Marcel Proust who described it — linking smell to memory — in his novel, Remembrance of Things Past. Read more about it and scent marketing here.
I love the smell of honeysuckles because it transports me back to my childhood; my sisters and I playing in the backyard, making mudpies, running through the sprinklers, acting as if we were in a play, stuff like that. We had honeysuckle bushes growing wild in our backyard.
Maybe one day the blogosphere gods will figure out a way that when one clicks on a blog, a smell emits. Mine would be lavender and honeysuckles. Which brings me back to blogs. Your blog is your brand — make sure it represents who you are and your herd will follow. If an errant cow from other herd wanders over from time to time and doesn’t like what you have to say, don’t worry; he or she will meander back to the pastures where the grass looks, tastes and smells more to their liking.
My husband, who’s the cook in our household, made some homemade bread this morning. We’ll have it later tonight with some chicken that’s been marinating in a rosemary kind of thing with wine, roasted potatoes, maybe some asparagus and strawberries with homemade whipped cream for dessert. I can smell it now. Earlier I saw a commercial with a twenty-something, bikini-clad woman taking about weight loss and exercise.
I have this inexplicable urge to go to the mall and buy Spanx.
PRESS PLAY BELOW, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. ;)