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Help! My brand’s not sexy

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

This guest post is by Maria Peagler (@SM_OnlineClass), founder of, providing 24/7 online courses and mastermind consulting on social media tools and strategies.

If you’re a marketer saddled with promoting a dull brand using social media, how do you compete with sexy brands such as Lady Gaga and Coca-Cola? Give your brand the rock-star treatment. Even if you’re not in a sexy industry, you can treat it as such.

I wrote an award-winning book on quilting, but you’re never going to see me on “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent.” No one wants to watch me at my sewing machine creating quilts, no matter how amazing they are.

Unless you’re a quilter, too. Quilters are interested, and they will watch. But how did I make my content sexier? I produced a music video of 12 quilted table runners I designed over a year and set it to music my son arranged on GarageBand.

I gave the audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of my creative process, from original drawings, color palettes and design journals to a tour of finished quilts. How can you do something similar for your industry?

Give it the rock-star treatment. Think music video, VIP pass, backstage access, T-shirt and memorabilia. Make your brand fun, place it on stage and rock on. Even if your product isn’t as glamorous as rock music, television or the big screen, treat it as such. Give your audience special treatment, and you’ll see traffic and sales increase.

Be memorable. Let your personality and that of your staff shine through, so your brand is approachable and personable. Southwest Airlines flight attendant David Holmes raps the normal snoozer of the flight-safety speech. Passengers not only pay attention but also are all smiles, offer applause and have recorded him and uploaded the video to YouTube. This was no publicity stunt but Southwest allowing its employees to be their best selves.

Be useful. If you’re providing a valuable solution to someone’s real-life problem, the person won’t care whether your brand is sexy. You helped at a time when it was needed most. You’ve provided value and established credibility, and your audience trusts you. You’ve gone far beyond rock-star sexy. Value doesn’t need to be expensive. infographics, checklists and video are all great ways of educating fans. YouTube is an excellent platform for how-to videos, and organizations such as the Smithsonian, PBS and Discovery Channel are using it to educate viewers.

Be yourself. How do you promote topics no one wants to talk about? A colleague in my women’s networking group handles waste management for large events, and while portable toilets aren’t anything people look forward to using, let alone discussing, she promotes her business with humor and is clear on the benefit her company provides: It handles the stuff you don’t want to.

Your challenge is to elevate an uninteresting brand to one that grabs attention and won’t let go.

What is the secret sauce that makes your organization stand out, and how can you promote that in your social media efforts?