When you’re trying to persuade people to invest in you, or you product, you need to do something special for them: we’ve all been given enough keychains and post-it pads with brand overprinting to last us a lifetime, so how do you get people to feel that they are interested in you and what you do?

Ask them ‘either-or’ – If somebody shoves a can of some new fizzy drink in your hand, you’re likely to drink it, you might even enjoy it, but you haven’t really engaged with it. On the other hand, if the person handing you the drink asks you a question and stands ready to record the answer, your immediate response is to weigh the question against the freebie and work out why they’ve asked.  Take the soft drink scenario again, if you’re asked ‘Bees or Butterflies’ when you’re handed the can, you’re bound to wonder why. And when the brand promoter tells you that of their two new flavours, the elderflower one supports butterfly populations while the apple one is made from orchard apples that give bees the nectar they need … well, suddenly that drink is a lot more sexy. And if the brand promoter is wearing a butterfly-emblazoned T-shirt with a huge bee on the bag they’re pulling the cans from, the whole experience wraps you in an idea of the drink, the environment and your purchasing power changing the world for bees … or butterflies. It’s much more likely to grab the loyalty of the new drinker.

Catch people off guard – To get to people, try not to use the usual places. Railway concourses, airports and big shopping centres are all places that we get given freebies and we don’t really think about them. But a stall in a local high street, or a closed up shop that’s been rented just for the day, or a little stand by the bicycle racks are places where people have longer to linger and more time to explore your product and find out about your brand. And that gives them a greater investment in you. If you’re going to give away T-shirts, for example, hire a couple of therapists to give people a two minute shoulder massage before they get their T-shirt and use those two minutes to tell them about your brand. They’ll link the relaxation and being cared for to your products and that will encourage them to want more of what you offer.

Customise your offering with clothing – if you are selling something with a green pedigree, link it to hippy happy clothing styles, T-shirts with 1960s emblems on them and headbands. If you’re a slick, up-to-the-minute company, go for sleek modern styles and technical fabrics. Make sure you link the way you, and your staff, look to the brand because mismatch confuses the customer and confused customers don’t buy.

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