8 Maids a-Milking

It’s Day 8 of the 12 Days of Branding. If you missed any of the series thus far, you can find them here. In today’s installment we look at unexpected ways to build an impactful and memorable brand.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Milking it,” right?

It seems to have originated in the context of finance. According to the OED, “milking” can refer to The manipulation of funds for (esp. unscrupulous or illicit) financial gain; (more generally) exploitation of resources.

Similarly, given what the physical act of milking an animal is like, it makes sense to think about “milking it” as “getting as much as possible out of a resource.”

On Day 6, we focused on the visual elements of your brand. All very important stuff, to be sure. But remember, your ideal customers have at least four other senses to engage. According to Martin Lindstrom, the author of Brand Sense, “Brand impact increases by 30% when more than one sense is engaged and by a whopping 70% when three senses are integrated into the brand message.” You’ll want to use every tool at your disposal if you want to clear all those marketing hurdles. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

#1 – Audio Branding

Most marketing efforts are purely visual. And when sound is included, it’s usually attached to a video or used as a mood-enhancer in a retail environment. But there are other less-obvious ways to leverage sound in your branding.

  • Consider creating a musical logo. Some quick examples are NBC’s 3-note chime or Intel’s short musical jingle.
  • If your product makes a sound when used, consider engineering that sound to be a unique representative of your brand. Mercedes has its own door-slam team — a group project to get the most appealing sound from a closing car door.
  • As a service professional, you may not have a physical product, but you do have you. Your voice can also be a powerful branding tool. Don’t overlook podcasts, teleseminars or even short audio clips as blog posts. (SoundCloud.com is a great tool for this.)

Consistent use is the key to effective audio branding. Whether its a chirp, a jingle or the sound of your voice, the constant repetition will help breed familiarity in your prospect’s mind.

#2 – Scent (or Olfactory) Branding

Smells are directly connected to our brain’s limbic system — the part responsible for emotions, memories, and pleasure. So connecting your brand to a pleasant scent can work wonders for creating a memorable brand. According to Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluence, “People will remember more about a product, even its ad copy, if it is scented…If your product is unexpectedly scented and competitive products are not, people will remember not just the scent but what you tell them about the product.”

#3 – Touch Branding

How things feel in our hands – their texture and weight — is a huge contributor to our emotional reaction. Heavy or high quality paper is generally equated with the more serious or formal document, for instance. And a solid handshake (over a damp, wimpy one) tells us more about that person than words ever could. Want to soften up your prospects? Make sure your office chairs aren’t overly firm.

#4 – Taste Branding

Your product doesn’t have to actually be edible to employ this one. Did you know that offering a prospect a hot beverage or a sweet treat helps to endear you in their memory? And if your product is edible, make sure you offer samples.

Sarah-PettySarah Petty from the Joy of Marketing on creating a valuable brand:

If you want to command a higher price, pay attention to the details. It’s not just about having the best recipe or getting the perfect shot. There’s a lot more that goes into creating a product that people will pay more for… If you haven’t branded each touch point your clients have with you, they’ll struggle to share their experience regardless of how great it was. And they certainly won’t be willing to pay more for it. Read the rest here.

#5 – Associative Branding

If you work with other small business folks on a regular basis (and you should), be sure to associate only with the best. Their reputation and brand image will affect yours (your mom was right when she said, “your friends are a reflection of you”). This is true even when you make a referral — if you refer someone who flubs the deal, your standards might be called into question, too.

#6 – The Tribal Brand

Give people a place to belong. Groups and communities build strong ties and strong feelings that get transferred to the brand. There are as many ways to do this, as there are special interest groups. Look for methods that match the needs of your prospects.

#7 – Eye Contact

All humans are hard-wired to find other faces. Babies will react more strongly to a line draw face than to a multi-colored mobile hanging over their crib. We carry this instinct with us into adulthood, so when you can, use photos of smiling faces (especially women and babies) in your marketing to help get and keep your prospect’s attention.

#8 – Gift Unexpected Value

Some business folks come at this from the perspective of building reciprocity. (That if you do something nice for someone, they’ll be compelled to return the favor.) I’d urge you to use that power for good, not evil. Always look for ways to build in extra value for your customers. Experts say it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. And the lifetime value of a loyal customer can mean thousands of dollars for your small business (not just in services and products they buy, but in referrals they send your way). Doesn’t it make sense then to create tens times the value for them the first time around? Open up, be a giver.

Photo Credit: Smabs Sputzer