This story appears in the February 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
You're brave enough to start a business, but are you bold enough to shout about it? Entrepreneur Howard Brauner definitely knows how to boldly market his Bald Guyz line of grooming products. Specifically designed for bald men, Brauner's product line was created to help them embrace, not hide, their baldness. A former comb-over devotee himself, Brauner, 49, knew his target market would respond to his in-your-face initiative, including "Bald is Beautiful Day" in New York City, a six-mile walk for proud bald men with the Bald Beauty street team of attractive women who pass out the product to potential customers. "We were saluting the bald guys along the way," Brauner says.
Knowing your target market is key to any successful bold initiative, say Dan Gershenson, Tom Olivieri and Joe Paul, partners and experts at The Creative Underground, an advertising company in Boca Raton, Florida. "The level of crazy really depends on your target audience," says Olivieri. In-your-face, bold moves might work well with teenagers, but not so much with seniors, he points out.
Still, don't think ultra-hip products are the only ones ripe for boldness--even more traditional industries like finance can sometimes benefit from daring marketing plans. Use humor to appeal to your customers' emotions, suggests Gershenson. And instead of spending your cash on a huge direct-mail campaign, a bold move might be to print your message directly onto dollar bills and blanket them in prime areas where your customers congregate, says Olivieri.
Knowing that his customers congregate at the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl, Brauner plans to take his Bald Guyz street team to those cities during the craziness. Whether it's passing out bright blue and orange shirts that say "Bald Guys Are Sexy" or encouraging customers to send in their photos to be the Bald Guy of the Week at www.baldguyz.com, Brauner is boldly getting his brand name to consumers and his products onto the shelves of drugstores and supermarkets nationwide like Albertsons and Walgreens. He expects 2007 sales to reach seven figures.
Remember, there is no limit to where and how you broadcast your bold message, says Paul. Think everything from T-shirts and street teams to YouTube.com and podcasts.
Adds Olivieri, "It's always better to be brave and bold than to be safe."