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Branding Through Guerrila Marketing
Guerilla marketing has come a long way since the term was first coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984. What started as an inexpensive way for small companies to reach the public has grown into a rampantly employed strategy for companies such as Nike, IKEA, Kit-Kat and many more. The possibilities are endless for those looking to get their name out there in creative ways, and for those willing to take some risks, the rewards are aplenty.
Before becoming the advertorial institution that it is today, guerilla marketing began as a low-cost marketing strategy that relied on creativity rather than a large budget. In the 80s, smaller companies without the proper funds would use graffiti, stickers, posters and flash mobs to promote a specific product or an idea. Today, companies of any size use guerilla marketing as a way to reach out to the public through branded, viral content courtesy of social media circles and YouTube.
Know Your Audience
Before you can do anything, you must first take the time to get to know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What kind of people do you want your company to be associated with? Why should anyone care about what you’re doing? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before concerning yourself with advertising.
Once you’ve studied the niche you want to be a part of, figure out what they would want to see in an ad and what they would respond well to. Many people have said that sex sells; if that is so, craft images and copy that reflect that. However, if your target audience is more wholesome, into sports, music, movies, etc., then use that to generate buzz around your company.
Knowing your audience is just as much about knowing yourself as it is about others. They may be the ones buying what you’re selling, but at the end of the day you need to live your brand and create an identity around it. By attaching a name, a face and a lifestyle to your company, you will become more accessible to your audience and therefore more successful.
Use Your Surroundings
Lavish installations may be the norm for many companies, but subtlety can also prove effective in the advertising world. For those with smaller budgets, using your surroundings as opposed to your wallet is highly recommended.
Stickers, posters and custom wallpaper can go a long way when placed in thought-provoking, high traffic areas. If you’re trying to really scrimp and save, pictorials done in sidewalk chalk are a great way to display your name and logo in high traffic areas. Combine any of these examples with some witty copy and you have a cost-effective ad that you can make yourself.
The DIY ethic may not be for everyone, but when it comes to promoting yourself, getting your hands a little dirty can be very rewarding. Larger companies may have teams of ad people at their disposal, but great advertising doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. Use your imagination and your surroundings to your advantage and you’ll be building hype in no time.
The best examples of guerilla marketing are a bit over the top. Many companies have used this in their own guerilla marketing campaigns to generate some extra buzz and hype around installations in places all over the world.
McDonald’s hung a giant coffee pot from a street lamp for a free coffee promo; the creators of the movie, “Death Proof,” left a fake severed arm with a copy of the DVD on a busy street corner; the Gun Control Alliance filled a vending machine full of guns to demonstrate how easy it is to acquire a firearm in South Africa. All of these are prime examples of successful branding because they stuck in people’s minds.
Although instances such as these go against the fundamentally inexpensive side of guerilla marketing, they are all prime examples of companies that profited from taking a risk. Even as a smaller business or organization, it’s important to have conviction in the message you are trying to send, believe in your brand as a whole and be willing to be bold.