Big brands often pave the way in marketing, and smaller companies try to ride the wave or emulate on a smaller scale. Recently there have been examples of marketing initiatives executed on by big brands that are easy for a small brand to replicate and build upon. The Gap Styld.by campaign is a great example, as is Neiman Marcus’ outreach for a fashion photographer at SXSW.
Brands should be inventive and find a way to “fit in”
The SXSW festival
is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin and has become a preeminent event for social media, emerging trends, and the arts. With “indie-classical” bands like Mother Falcon
, indie films and sponsors like IFC
, it’s ripe for a brandscape that can live beyond the show itself. However, as a more traditional brand, Neiman Marcus had to invent a way to be relevant and provide value both at the show and beyond:
Calling all street-style photographers! You could join us at SXSW, in Austin, for a week of music and style. Check out our Facebook tab, NM@SXSW, to learn more details and enter!
Although SXSW is not about fashion traditionally, artists and filmmakers and many of those in attendance do have style. And when Neiman Marcus sends a photographer already well-versed in street photography to the event, they become tuned in to the audience and create an opportunity for making a statement without having to sponsor the show or invest huge dollars. NM also has built in a way to potentially reach a new audience.
Can a non-comic brand have relevance at Comic‑Con
Smaller brands can learn a lot from the NM@SXSW example. Comic-Con
is one of those events that reaches a niche audience, and if your brand does not seem related to the comic industry, the event may not be considered for inclusion in marketing initiatives. However, Comic-Con is all about vibracy and color and individuality and fun, and certainly those values have wider applications.
Enter Superhero Chef Chef Jason Santos
, with his blue hair and his talents in molecular gastronomy, is a superhero in the kitchen. Sure, he’s been seen on Hell’s Kitchen
, among other food-related shows and events, but he encompasses vibrancy and color and individuality. Finding an expert who marries with the values of an event is a great way to find relevancy. Perhaps a food brand like Kitchen Aid with their line of colorful stand mixers
wants to sponsor an event featuring Chef Jason Santos at Comic-Con. Chef can certainly make a superhero-worthy meal.
Enter Superhero Makeup
A big part of Comic-Con are the costumes and makeup. A fun, young, cutting-edge makeup company could benefit from having makeup artists on site, helping people get ready to enter the show. I don’t know anything about Sugarpill Cosmetics
, but a brief look at their website reveals vibrant colors and an already established relationship with Hello Kitty. Perhaps Sugarpill could come out with a line of makeup specifically for superhero chics who want to be bad-ass but look pretty while doing it. Who was better at doing that than Linda Carter
Enter Superhero Paint
I came across Superhero paint splatter art
, and I immediately thought that a paint company could set up a blank wall in a booth at Comic-Con and invite people to come in to do graphic and street art in their booth. This is a fun and interactive way to integrate home decorating tips at an event not typically about home design at all. Bring in the paint splatter artist Arian Noveir and you’ve got a booth that will attract the most loyal comic fans. With a little creativity, any brand can find a way to be relevant yet stand out with a niche audience.