Consumers rely primarily on their instincts when they form brand alliances — instincts that are not so different than the ones that got us all through high school. Here are six golden rules for modern marketers pulled right from a high school yearbook:
1. Popularity Rules
In marketing as in high school, what is popular will almost always supersede what is not. Popularity is mainly about winning people over and having them consider what you’re saying or what you have to offer before anything else can be said or done. These days, with so much noise and clutter to cut through, popularity will set your brand apart and keep you relevant to your customers. Importantly, popular brands are both adored by their target/niche market and respected by people outside of their core segment.
Popularity can also extend your product life cycle and save your brand equity. Accolades and awards (just like becoming the “Prom Queen”) will keep you top of mind with consumers.
2. Sex Sells
Sometimes we behave like animals; to pique our interest is to sell us something. I hate to say it, but just like when you were going through puberty, sex is still an effective marketing tool to get someone’s attention — which is the first step on the path toward purchasing.
This isn’t new, and I’m not encouraging you to be gratuitous — but it is a fact of life. Great marketers don’t re-invent the wheel. They just find out where it’s going and align their products to complement it.
If you are going to sell something to people, start with something that piques their interest, whether it be eating or even breathing. Get their attention first and then decide what to do with it.
3. Weird Paralyzes
If it makes us feel funny and we don’t buy — whereas happy feelings equal happy, feel-good purchases. People trust their guts. If something gets under their skin in the wrong way, they will not buy.
Your goal as a marketer is to reach people deep into their hearts with a message of love and companionship with your brand. If you make them feel iffy, weird or nauseated, not only have you not done your job, but you have lost a prospective customer forever.
You usually only get one shot to make your first impression as a brand — make it count and make it positive!
4. Follow the Crowd
A thousand Frenchmen can’t be wrong, and neither can hundreds of mad consumers. Although consensus is a horrible way to come to a decision, in marketing, it’s all we have. People feel more comfortable buying what everyone else has bought, regardless of what else is in the market.
Once you create the perception that “everyone’s doing it,” you’ve pretty much won consumers over. Though psychology and buyer behavior play a role in what people buy, sociology and group behavior rule the market. So create something with which you can stir an onslaught of happy raves and reviews, and all you have to do from there is advertise, thus keeping your market share…sounds easy, huh?
5. If All Else Fails, Make a Joke
Laughter is always the best medicine, so take your happy pills and enjoy the funny marketing messages. Sad people like to laugh, happy people like to laugh — if your brand can entertain, it can win!
Jokes do very well in marketing because putting a smile on someone’s face makes them forget that they’ve been marketed to. Remember, marketing is about action. If your marketing doesn’t evoke an action, your work is not done. So make them laugh — the action is in the reaction.
6. Competition Is King
The only thing people like to do more than win is root for an underdog that refuses to lose. Underdogs give us hope that the universe avenges those who believe they can. If you believe in your brand enough to fight for it tooth and nail, eventually that passion and enthusiasm will carry over to your market.
What are you fighting for? What’s your motivation? How do you win over your customers? Competition is the best way to convince people of your brand’s value and sustenance.
Not only is your brand not going anywhere, but it’s competing for the number-one spot — and everyone likes a winner.
Kimberly E. Stone, founder of POSHGLAM.com, is an entrepreneur with a knack for recognizing creative talent and pinpointing successful fashion lines. She’s been featured as one of Black Enterprise’s Top 10 Women of Power under 40 and continues to set the standard for social media in the Fashion 3.0 realm.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.