From the February 2009 issue of Entrepreneur

Psst, did you hear about the bank that sent everyone a potted plant and then performed random acts of kindness for people downtown?

When you're launching a new product or service, you want everyone to be pssting about your marketing campaign. The way to do that is to climb out of the generic marketing box you're in and get viral with a buzzworthy campaign.

BlueCurrent is a boutique PR firm that specializes in unique campaigns that get people talking. Take its Hibernia Bank campaign: It's the company that gave out plants as a "reverse welcome" to the neighborhood. And when BlueCurrent helped with an Einstein Bros. Bagels opening, it used a "bagel band"--an all-tuba band with large photos of bagels covering the horn openings--that played during morning rush hour while employees gave out samples.

Rob Martin, founding partner of BlueCurrent, reveals how to get people buzzing about your business:

  • Buzz doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need to stand out.
  • The most important thing is to connect with your audience: Find them in the right place, at the right moment, when they're receptive to your messages. Think about where you can intersect your target customers as they go about their daily routine. Look for ways to place your product in the hands of consumers or let them experience it somehow. Make it visual and larger-than-life to attract attention--like an all-tuba bagel band.
  • On the internet, find the influencers who can build buzz about your product or carry your message. For example, if you have a consumer product that appeals to families, tap the "mommy bloggers" who regularly write about what's new and interesting and carry a great amount of influence within their community.
  • People love to get things for free, but you don't necessarily have to give away your product. Think about something the consumer might need or find interesting or relevant. For example, Green Mountain Energy, an alternative electricity provider, launched its concept by handing out small tree saplings to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Don't neglect the traditional. Write a bylined article, give a speech or issue an opinion on a current event.
  • Get active online. Start by simply participating in the online world: Create a blog, respond to an online story or message, create a Facebook page, begin a conversation with influencers or post a video on YouTube.
  • Above all, be sure your campaign makes sense for your company or brand in terms of the message and relevance. Authenticity is critical today. If you're not authentic, consumers will dismiss your message.
Laura Tiffany is a web editor and freelance writer from Orange County, California.