Yes — it’s kind of astounding to see how incredible Apple is, and furthermore, it’s impressive to study the company as a way to hone your business acumen and financial success. While there are undoubtedly many characteristics that make Apple incredibly unique, I believe there are a few marketing tactics that make it stand out.
Apple’s marketing is about association.
Sometimes it seems as if there is some Apple product intelligently placed in just about every major Hollywood film. Maybe it’s Tom Cruise in the latest Mission Impossible movie making a quick call on an iPhone, or Mark Wahlberg using Siri to help find a location in Transformers. While it may seem obvious that product placement helps products sell, most of us tend to overlook how we can utilize a similar tactic to help sell our products and services. We know that product placement works and we know that brand name association is powerful — but for some reason, most entrepreneurs don’t do this for their own business.
In the early years of my business, I realized that if I could become associated with fame, prestige and intelligence I’d be able to sell my services a lot faster. So, I did that. I started a podcast where I interviewed famous people, and every time I met a celebrity, I made sure to make posts and tag the influencer in my post. This kind of association worked wonders and in no time, I was being sought by leaders to be guests on my show and big companies sought me out to help them with their marketing.
The method I used was fairly simple: Any time I could associate myself with someone well-known I did it publicly. If I went to an event and a big-time speaker had a meet and greet, I met them and took pictures and then posted them online. If I interviewed someone my fans knew or admired, I made blog posts or videos about it. Anytime I could build an association between myself and something of high-value I did it. Even things like my trips to Thailand, Bali and all over Asia — I made sure to post stories and images.
It’s not hard to create this kind of association and if you do, it’ll help you appeal in a bigger way.
Before you market anything else, start asking yourself this one critical question: “How can I create an association that makes people look at my offers and see something bigger?”
As Derek Halpern of the blog Social Triggers points out, when you become linked to celebrities, even if it’s just through pictures and posts, it makes others associate you with fame, too. Just find ways to associate your company with something famous often and at some points it will solidify in the minds of your prospects that your brand and that thing are one and the same — which is exactly how Apple helped itself by using Hollywood to become associated with fame, prestige and status.
Whenever you think about creating any content (email, social media posts, etc.), consider how you can spin it so it’s not just your product that your customers buy — but also an association that you’ve carefully crafted and makes them want to be part of it.
Take pictures with famous people. Give away your product to your ideal client and take a picture of her receiving it. Interview niche influencers that your customers adore. Whenever you can, find ways to create an association with your product and something your ideal client would want. And whenever your clients have any big wins — share their stories everywhere possible.
Don’t just sell people your product; that kind of marketing is boring and forgettable. Instead, do what clothing companies have known for decades — images and brand name association is worth a thousand words. Do a quick Google search search of Calvin Klein and you’ll find images of fit, sexy and skinny men and women in just their underwear. Meanwhile, a search for J. Crew will come up with pictures of people riding bikes, sitting on yachts, having picnics or sitting in a trendy loft. Both these brands aren’t just selling you their clothing — they’re selling an association and lifestyle that you want to buy into by purchasing their products.
In the case of your company, find ways to not only sell your product and make it visible but ways to make your offerings associated with what your ideal client would want.
How to quickly build brand name association
The two best and fastest ways to create association are through stories and pictures.
If you can tell a story that speaks to your ideal client, it will draw them to your products and services. When you throw in images that speak to the desires and fantasies of your dream clients, it makes them want your products as if it were the answer their problems. When I took a picture with 19-time Oprah guest Dr. Harville Hendrix, I knew many of my ideal clients knew who he was. I knew that picture would make them go, “I want to learn how Luis got into that room with him.” When I hung out with comedian and celebrity Kyle Cease, I knew our picture together would help my ideal clients see that podcasting can open doors. And when I told a story about interviewing Jack Canfield and later having him ask me to write a chapter for his upcoming book, I knew it’d show my followers that podcasting can help you get special invitations from influencers.
In your business, there are a thousand opportunities for you to take pictures with well-known influencers — even if it’s just a photo opp at an event. There are dozens of stories you can tell that help illustrate to your fans how your product answers their problems and helps them have that dream life that only your particular offers can deliver.