Is Your Brand Tattoo-Worthy?

5 Questions to Determine Your Brand’s Strength

Tattoos are a very personal, prominent and permanent way, to display identity, membership and achievement. These symbols may both serve as a rite of passage and contain a meaning that’s more than skin-deep. Groups such as elite military units, gangs and prisoners use them as a badge of identity and honor. Harley Davidson falls in this category; some owners, or HOGs as they call themselves, proudly wear tattoos of the brand to display their association. From a marketing perspective, this is a sign that you have an iconic brand.

While most consumers don’t get tattoos of their favorite brands, they do buy and identify with many brands, including premium priced consumables like beer such as Heineken, expensive clothes by designers such as Donna Karan, and high-end performance products like luxury cars such as Lexus. By flaunting these quality brands, consumers benefit from the brand’s halo effect and association just like wearing a tattoo.

5 Questions to determine your brand’s strength

Recently as I watched a college student show off his new tattoo to a group of friends, I wondered how marketers could tell if their brand had the same iconic value as a tattoo. Here are five questions to help you determine how strong your brand is in terms of association.

  1. Do customers wear and/or show off your product’s logo? This applies to a wide variety of clothing where the designer’s style and logo are part of the garment. One brand that has done a great job of expanding its visibility in this way is Coach. Coach has moved beyond its classic pocketbooks to a broader offering that often integrates its symbolic “C” into the fabric of the product.
  2. Do customers get a sense of status from your product and/or services? It’s important to think broadly since this isn’t limited to designer clothes and high-end cars, it can pertain to t-shirts from high profile concerts and vacation spots.
  3. Do customers pay a premium for your product and/or services? For most consumer products from toothpaste to toilet paper, this translates to will consumers pay up for your brand versus the generic store brand?
  4. Do customers buy knockoffs of your branded product? While this is most notable in terms of street vendors selling pocketbooks in major cities, it can apply to lower quality gray market goods and other imitation products.
  5. Do customers want to be associated with your brand on social media platforms? This connection can encompass “Like” on Facebook, tweeting and other forms of social sharing, reviews, comments and other types of participation.

Just as all tattoos aren’t necessarily permanent nor is your customers’ and fans’ association with your brand. Therefore, it’s critical to continually build and enhance your brand and its connections with your loyal followers to ensure that it maintains its value to your customers and your company.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

For some interesting reading regarding tattoos, check out this blog.

Photo credit: The Bad Astronomer via Flickr

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