While web design, online ads, and social marketing are always important marketing strategies to invest in, an environment where few products, ideas, and services are considered unique offerings and there’s a competitor on every corner, business and marketing strategies have found it necessary to go bigger and bolder to capture and retain the attention of their audiences. It’s called guerrilla marketing. Modeled after the surprise and unconventional tactics of low-budget guerrilla warfare, guerrilla marketing is all about using a limited budget to create an indelible impression and social buzz that promotes brand awareness. Let’s look at seven branding solutions perfect for Guerilla marketers?
1. Branded Vehicle Decals
Attention, exposure, low-cost; branded decals check all the boxes. However, they only do this when they aren’t stock logos blending into the sea of traditional advertising landscape. The imagery should deliver a unique, intriguing, and memorable moment that the consumer will inevitably stop, think, laugh, and link your brand to. Research to make sure your decal idea hasn’t been done before and then develop a clever means of delivery. The creativeness here isn’t in the decal itself; it’s in the message and delivery of the decal.
2. Sticker Buzz
Again, an idea that checks all the boxes when the imagery, ideation, and delivery are unique.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian describes the start of Reddit in the book Make Something People Love – Lessons From A Start-Up Guy. Throughout Reddit’s history, a total of $500 has been spent on marketing, and every single dollar was on stickers. Alexis took the cute little Reddit alien stickers with him everywhere to hand out and stick on things, and he says that it wasn’t a few months later that he began noticing people uploading them across the internet. Alexis credits stickers with building Reddit’s 100 million unique visitors per month, and he calls stickers “currency for startups.”
Use stickers to make people curious about your brand. A sticker sheet placed in certain books at a bookstore will undoubtedly make the reader wonder why and who? Calgary Farmers’ Market placed stickers on apples and hung them from winter-bare trees in urban areas to promote sales during slow winter months.
3. Create Photo-Worthy Spaces And Moments
Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have mapped many of entities as go-to places for photo opportunities via the viral social buzz photo sharing creates. The goal is to transition your audience from mere observers to participants. As such, they become an invaluable free component of your marketing efforts.
Labella lip balm, for example, provided a “kissing point” on a train platform that has since become a golden goose for branding by linking their name with hundreds of thousands of social media photos. Sunglass Hut’s “bling wall” is another example of how marketing strategies are incorporating photo-op inspiration to immerse their brand into the public’s social media streams. The Pulse offers some more examples.
4. Entrench Your Audience In The Marketing Scene
Coupons and promos are hit and miss opportunities that typically only peak interest when there’s a concurring need present. Guerilla tactics dig out a hole and invite the consumer to jump in and become part of the opportunity itself through treasure hunts, active competitions, offline gamification, online gaming rewards, and so forth. Treat customer engagement as if your business life depended on it.
Few can resist the lure of a game. Studies have shown that gaming marketing is the ideal way to engage audiences in that perfect storm moment between when they aren’t bored nor experiencing heightened anxiety. Gaming focuses the audience without closing their minds to the marketing message.
Adidas demonstrated this gaming lure with their guerilla-style blue duck game that placed plastic duck in Pilestraede, Copenhagen’s Enghave Plads fountain; the ducks read that they’d swam too far and needed help returning home in exchange for a reward. When returned to the new store opening, the participants received a freebie and got to keep the duck. The gaming element has remapped the packaging of a “coupon.”
5. Hack Your Own Product
Sounds counterproductive at first glance, right? There’s a central question that must be answered for any consumer-based business: do you know how your buyer thinks? The answer is no more often than yes.
Getting customers to see a product or service from multiple perspectives is actually a huge tool in your marketing belt. Imagine an egg basket. Now, imagine that egg basket with a “ 4/$1 Chicken Dinner” sign. You’ve just made your customer stop, think, and view the egg a different way.
Placement is another hack. Imagine a can of soup on the soup aisle. There, it’s just one of many cans of soup. Now, imagine that same can of soup at the end of the cold and flu medication aisle. Product placement has transitioned it beyond just a can of soup among the many other cans of soup. Guerilla branding solutions enable entities to take the resources they already have and hack the perspective, usage, and visualization of how those resources are employed.
Your product or service may be a hack in itself. A campaign could be to get consumers, experts, and various niches to hack your product. This could be product naming, challenging it, discovering new uses for it, and so forth. Brand visibility explodes when you allow outsiders a direct link to being a part of the brand itself.
6. Flash Moments
Flash mobs aren’t necessarily a bad idea if you have a unique and engaging spin on it. Flash “cleanups,” for example, are creating a lot of internet buzz for organizations. The idea is to work with event organizers with their own budget limitations to become or sponsor their waste management team. You show you care about the community and green efforts while you’re sporting workwear with your brand being advertised. These are unguarded moments to speak to your audience in an unexpected way.
It doesn’t have to be green. Think about what type of guerrilla marketing campaign embodies the core strengths, beliefs, or values of your brand so that onlookers associate the memory of the event and actions with one of the key components of your specific brand.
7. Big Displays That Link Ideas With Branding
Unicef took a water bottle dispensing machine and turned it into one of the biggest donation-grabbers in history when they filled it with diseased water bottles to show that the world still doesn’t have a clean water drinking supply.
IKEA used their Billy bookcase line to place books on Australia’s Bondi Beach so that passers could read, swap, and donate to support literacy.
A tampon company even dropped a load of tampons across a beach to connect their company with nixing the notion that women can only go to the beach at certain times of the month.
The examples of this connective power between ideas and products are endless. Don’t repurpose, however. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a novel idea that went viral supporting Lou Gehrig’s disease, but other entities fell flat and hard when they came off as contrived in mimicking the idea too closely. Creatively brainstorm how your brand can connect with taboo and meaningful ideas in unexpected, memorable, and unusual ways.
These seven guerilla-style branding solutions will work on even the most minuscule budget to provide huge impacts. Now, go put that brainpower and creativity to work.