Recently I was approached by an acquaintance who has left their career in engineering to focus on a gadget he’s invented. He’s already created the name for it, worked with overseas suppliers, so now he is finalizing his branding and sales materials. We got to talking about his plans and it made me think about the work I’ve done on other products.
I started my PR career promoting events and that involved swag bags that represented the theme of the party for my media contacts to open up and enjoy. For example, for a halloween music festival we filled up jack-o-lanterns with booze and other beverages from our sponsors, promotional tchotchkes with other sponsor logos, and whatever else might scream out “Halloween Party,” to accompany our event information. On a local level, I like to think it worked. But perhaps our firm was the big fish in a small pond and our media contacts were solid enough that we could easily get the coverage.
For my acquaintance, he is now facing a sea of products that already tout they’re solving the problem his invention intends to solve. How can he get coverage and get his product noticed? How would he set himself apart? Here are the top three things that come to mind:
- Create buzz.
Perhaps it’ll start on a local level, like those jack-o-lanterns, but getting the attention of the folks in your own backyard is always a good start. If you’ve got your website and social media together, it’s a great place to start compiling photos and feedback from locals, friends, and family to build your credibility.
- Think big.
Get the product in the right hands at a larger scale. The buzz is there locally and now is live online and on social media, but now you need to find the right people to help you get noticed. Think of the publications, media outlets and key influencers who would find your product aligned with their goals. If it’s cooking-related, reach for the stars in the culinary industry, it’s bound to get noticed. Manduka, a manufacturer of yoga mats, started as a home-based business and the company’s founder wanted to get the mat used by the who’s-who of the yoga world by gifting them a mat to try. Today, those same yoga instructors and key influencers continue to use the mats and the company’s philosophy revolves around user experience, highlighted by an ambassador program.
- Stay passionate.
Even if you don’t get bites initially, you have to continue to try. It makes me think of Sophie the Giraffe and how it’s become the teething toy every baby is literally drooling over. People tend to get sticker shock when the find out that a piece of rubber for a baby can be so costly, yet it remains the gift that givers keep on giving for baby showers. Importing it from France to the US posed a challenge, but the French expat who brought it over knew that the quality and timelessness of Sophie would outweigh the price tag. Now, the toy has become so big that counterfeits are starting to appear!
My acquaintance, the inventor, has left his career because he obviously truly cares about what he’s created. I’ve heard good things about it from our other friends who have received prototypes of the product. Whenever I see him, it’s almost always come up in conversation. I know he’s passionate about it, but for now I hope he can get through the hurdles of creating buzz, thinking big, and continue to keep that passion going.
How would you get a client’s product noticed?