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. 😉
I truly love what you write, Brigitte. And that Jerk Alert idea is brilliance!! If only it were real. And it’s interesting what you write about branding—just thinking about what image you project vs the image you *want* to project, how you want to associate yourself with that image, it’s all such interesting brainwashing stuff. Advertising really does a number on us whether we want to admit it or not.
And I love your idea of scented blogs. I love honeysuckle too. Honeysuckle and orange blossom. But I’m not sure what my blog scent would be. I’ll have to think on this. Methinks Madame Weebles would have some sort of oriental-fragrance type thing.
MW, thanks so much and I mean that from the bottom of my herd heart. So glad we found each other’s, ya know? The Jerk Alert thing was such a blast, we filmed testimonials, one of the guys had a light behind his head so it showed him in silhouette, a “former jerk” changed by a woman using the product on him and me and another guy dressed up as a couple (I was a big-bosommed, let’s say FRIENDLY woman — had to use LOTS of stuffing to pull that off and he was a nerd guy and they met and fell in love because of Jerk Alert. We all presented it to the entire class with our data, film and all of us wearing labcoats and black glasses.
I definitely think Madame Weebles would have an exotic, mysterious dreamy kind of scent. Perhaps orange blossoms and a mixture of exotic elixirs/concoctions. :).
You’re so awesome. Thank you. xxoo
Jerk Alert! Haha! I wish you could also give the guy another spray and the Jerk Alert displays his Jerk level. ‘Coz yknow, women can sometimes tolerate some jerkiness. Haha.
And, just this evening, my aunt mentioned that smelling the aroma of the food cooking in restaurants really add appeal to the place and the food. 🙂
Ha! You know we thought about that. The deeper the red, the worse of a jerk he was. A man gotta have a little bit of hmmm, let’s say magnetism I agree, but still be nice and all that that entails, if you know what I mean.: Thanks so much for your nice comment. ;).
magnetism. haha! you’re welcome. 🙂
Aroma is a powerful trigger. Thanks for talking about branding. It is an important concept to keep in mind.
Love the Jerk Alert! What fun you must have had.
Thanks! It was so much fun. :).
Great Post – Have a Wonderful Weekend:)
Thank you, Craves and you too!!
Jerk Alert. Perfect! Sounds like a great skit for Saturday Night Live.
I’m not so sure I’ve branded myself in the right vein if I end up having more than one published book and can finally call myself a writer, but I guess it’s working for me now. You raise a good point; one all bloggers need to think about.
Well, that’s a great compliment–thank you. I’ve still got the film rights. ;). At least you have a published book, therefore you ARE a writer. Thanks for stopping by. BTW, you were in my blogger’s tale yesterday.
I’m so glad you directed me to that. What a great post! I’m honored to be included. Thank you. 🙂
I love the “Jerk Alert” project!! Great reminder about blog branding. I also dig the Smell-O-Vision” blog idea! We could send out cards? I’d lavender to my set. Confession: I recently purchased Spanx because of their funny branding. I love their illustrations and messages: “You can do anything in your Spanx! Put out a fire! Win a race! Cook a meal” Enjoy your meal!! Theadora
OMG, I’m going to get my Spanx on, I am. I have a dress where it absolutely requires it and those nice dinners and wine aren’t going anywhere but right inside that bad boy. ;). Thanks, T. — so nice to see you here again.
As an essential oils practitioner, I can share with you that the sense of smell is directly connected to the temporal lobe of the brain, which also controls emotions and memory. Small wonder that a whiff of anything immediately places us in that experience! Love your Jerk-Alert study – what a creative way to manipulate perception! And good reminder/info on branding and perception. Thank you!:)
Hi Margarita, thank you. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE essential oils and you are so right; our sense of smell so influences us in all kinds of ways. Thanks so much for your comments; it means so much. :).
Thanks, Brigitte. I also appreciate your visits, comments, and posts! And I’ve been smelling your husband’s delectable dinner plans since I read your description…except for the strawberries! 🙂
Brigitte, I love when you write such entertaining and thought provoking posts. I think regardless of if you have interest in monetizing or taking a blog to the next level, it is still your words and how they are perceived is important. Great stuff.
Why thank you, Simon. That’s so nice of you to say. I wish I could always write these posts that seem to resonate with people. Makes me want to go back and take all the sucky ones off. ;). And I agree with you, your words and how you’re perceived is kind of your legacy in a way, I guess. Thank you so much — you, the Blogging King commenting on my posts means so much.
You are too kind. I just have a blog that got lucky a couple of times, hardly the king of anything.
clever and witty as always … you’re a brand yourself … me still working on it
Why thank you!! I think you’re doing just fine….:).
ah thanks … hopefully I’ll have 100s of followers one day too … it’s a long long way off
One Freshly Pressed and all that will change. :).
well who knows if I will ever get there 🙂 …
I remember seeing an ad for this men’s cologne called “Bod,” which had a bunch of shirtless guys running around playing sports–real ripped, sexy shirtless guys, mind you, with girls whispering, “I want your bod.” Blatant sex marketing.
The next commercial was for a Bowflex home gym, and suddenly I wanted one.
Ha! See, it worked, that’s the point. :). Thanks for stopping by and your nice comment.
Good stuff, now I’ll have that tune stuck in my head all day. 🙂
Ha!! Sorry about that but glad you enjoyed. :).
Where is the film/jerk-alert advert now? You should put it on YouTube 😉
I’d have to dig it out of a box…it’s somewhere….thank you. :).
Your blog is your brand — make sure it represents who you are and your herd will follow. … great thought provoking Post.. still trying to figure out my herd or brand. I need to find the black sheep herd haaa
thanks for the insights.
Have a smashing good Friday
You’re most welcome, unfettered and personally I think your herd is great. You have a great one too. :).
Really enjoyed this. I’ve always been fascinated with advertising and the idea of manipulating people without their knowing it. I hadn’t ever thought of it in relation to blogging, though–interesting idea.
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post.
I could have really used that Jerk Alert, it would have saved me a lot of time. Spanx – now there’s a product. I think I put that lady’s kids through college. Hers and the owners of a few dozen vinyards! Branding is something I’m gonna need to hire some people to help me with; I don’t think sassy petite grande is working for me.
I hear that, sister. And personally I think you’re doing pretty d**m great with your branding/marketing — whatever the heck that really is anyway. Honie, you rock, you really do. :). Sassy petite grand. LOL.
I am intrigued by the branding thought process. Have had a little introduction behind the scenes of all that goes into it. Love your post! I would have given you an A+ too. You Matter! Smiles, Nancy
Nancy, Welcome and thank you. Yes, I do matter and so do you. What a lovely and warm comment and it’s so appreciated. BTW, love your blog and all the awesome Monday-ness you do. Great minds think alike, I guess, huh? :).
Thank you so much for YOUR sweet comments. Thanks for checking out my Blog…it is a 52 week commitment I made to my company-Every Monday Matters. You can read about it in my very first post.Monday Gets Purpose. However, What started as a commitment has now become a love and an addiction! I never expected to love blogging so much. I am following your blog so look forward to more of your posts. Smiles, Nancy
Thank you, Nancy and to you as well. It is kind of a sweet addiction. :).
Good marketing has definitely made me buy products I didn’t even desire until I saw the ad. But if the product doesn’t satisfy me, all the branding and marketing in the world won’t see me buying it again!
I’m with you on that Diana! It all has to do with walking the walk. Thanks so much for your nice comment and for reading. ;).
Jerk Alert. Love it! Hahaha I truly wish there was such a thing! I started my blog on January 1st,2012 with the new years resolution of a blog post a day. Not only have I actually succeeded thus far, its developed into something so much more to me. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to build up my own brand. Thanks for always writing things that make me think and give me a good laugh. 🙂
Yes, it was fun — a memory that I’ll always hold dear. :). Congrats for the blogging every day — that’s wonderful and I admire anyone who can do that!! To me, your blog is kind of your “brand” who you are and I think that voice always comes out, the more you share and the info you have on there. I know I’ve got some really nice and wonderful people following my blog — yourself included — and it has to do with the Freshly Pressed thing, but also what my blog and I’m about. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.
If you could please invent a product that would send me back to my college-age self and make her take something useful like marketing (instead of, say, Advanced Classical Acting Technique, or maybe Tumbling) that would be awesome. I would like to have a skill. Maybe you could write some informative-yet-entertaining posts on marketing for dummies — I mean, bloggers. If anyone can be informative and interesting enough that I actually manage to retain the information, it’s you.
Hi K, yeah that was in my college days and trust me, alot of people have those kind of degrees. Marketing is nothing more than describing a person, product or thing so others want to know more. And bloggers aren’t dummies. I don’t claim to be an expert at anything, seriously. This post was a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing from some things I’ve picked up along the way from being on this earth for awhile. I wish I had Advanced Classical Acting Technique on my list of the many jobs I’ve had. I want to take acting classes!! That’s on my list of things I’ve yet to do and want to.
And if you want to talk about entertaining, dear girl, it is most certainly YOU. You’re funny, interesting and your blog always, always makes me laugh. Keep doing what you’re doing, your “brand” is phenomenal.
Why don’t we put our talents together and begin a contest to bloggers about a product that could take us back and when we got back there, what would we do differently? We could ask everyone to invent one and then put it to a vote. Let me know what ya think. ;). Now THAT would be entertaining.
Thank you, though, for saying that — it means alot coming from you and I mean that sincerely.
Like it or not you have been awarded : http://jensinewall.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/perfect-three/
My heart is full and I heart you. Thank you, friend. :).
you are so welcome
This is brilliant, Brigitte. Loved it. You’re such a gifted writer. I’m curious who the blogger is you were referring to. I’d love to follow her. Best, Ron
Hi Ron — thank you so much for saying that! I so appreciate it and so are you btw. She is Sweet Mother, fifth from the bottom on my blogroll. Thanks again, friend. :).
You do have a brand! It’s called Fabulous! You blog is one of my favorites, despite feelings of envy!
Wow, what a great compliment, thank you so much. Your blog is beautiful, btw. :).
I love this! Great post and soo true! And great idea with the Jerk-Alert! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate it. Have a great day!! 😀
Thanks JL! It was fun and THANK YOU for stopping by my blog. :). You have a great one as well.