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Be the Brand

Make your marketing an experience.

Brendan Synnott often asks people, "Do you want to get Bear Naked?" That phrase is part of the hip focus on brand experience that has gotten Bear Naked, the granola and breakfast products manufacturer he co-founded with Kelly Flatley, 27, into Costco and Target.

"People smile and ask what we mean," explains Synnott, the 28-year-old CEO of the Norwalk, Connecticut, company. "If we just sold granola, we would lose."

Experiential marketing is a full-court press to express a brand's key messages, says Charlie Jones, chief marketing officer at RedPeg Marketing in Alexandria, Virginia. Jaded customers see through hollow marketing messages, says Jones, who believes companies must ask, "How can my brand come alive in a sensory experience?" His advice:

  • Train employees on how you want your customers to be treated. Bear Naked's edgy come-on works well for the company, and demo teams distribute information about local walking trails and upcoming running events.
  • Design your d├ęcor to look like your brand--use colors and styles similar to those for which your brand is known.
  • Bring your brand to relevant events. You'll find Bear Naked's team at 10K races and other outdoor, fitness-related functions.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the February 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Be the Brand.

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