8 Old-School Branding Techniques That Will Still Work for You Today

The 'Mad Men' days are long over, but what survives are such Don Draper trademarks as business cards, snail mail and testimonials.,

learn more about AJ Agrawal

By AJ Agrawal


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Everything seems so fast-paced these days: You go to bed one night and wake up the next morning to the announcement of an entirely new technology, or a breakthrough on a project that seemed far-fetched until, well, this moment.

Related: Marketers Are No Longer in the 'Mad Men' Era

If you personally have issues with the speed of change, imagine what companies contend with: To keep up and stay relevant, they have to adapt their branding, marketing and sales efforts at a pace at least as fast as that of the new techologies' debuts.

Gone are the Mad Men days of designing billboards and magazine ads (those jobs still get done, just in a different way and with different tools). In are the days of instant publishing. Despite the changes that the marketing industry has experienced, though, there are still some old-school branding and marketing strategies that work as effectively as before. Just because they seem old-fashioned doesn't mean they're out of date.

Here are eight aged but still workable branding and marketing strategies that are as effective in 2018 as they were back in the day.

Business cards. Business cards are less common now that text and email are so prevalent, but they're still as effective as ever. Rather than simply telling someone what you do and asking them to email you if they're interested, (though they may not remember your email address), a physical business card is more personal.

Business cards visually represent you and your brand -- they have your logo and contact information, which will visually stand out in your prospect's mind. Moreover, not only do business cards stand out visually, but because you made a physical, personal connection, the next time that prospect needs your company's type of services services, he or she will likely contact you first.

Snail mail. Who doesn't love getting a personal letter? Unfortunately, nowadays, mail most of the time is just bills and advertising disguised as letters or important documents. You on the other hand don't have to trick consumers into opening your mail, in order to have a successful snail mail campaign. Although impersonal ads are disappointing, coupons and discount notifications are not.

Related: What Can Modern Marketers Learn From Advertisers of the Past?

Public talks at events. Speaking at events is a great way to get your company's name out to people already interested in your industry. You can search out events related to your vertical or let connections know that you're interested in speaking; then prepare an address that is educational and meaningful and will make a lasting impression.

Think about the last time you attended an event about something you were interested in. Did any of the speakers stand out to you? Why? When you find a speaker to be impressive, take notes, then apply his or her techniques to the next time you have the opportunity to raise awareness about your company. Offer yourself to speak at an event.

Publishing testimonials. Testimonials are as effective today as they've ever been. Customers turn to online reviews and testimonials all the time before making online purchasing decisions or deciding which service provider they want to use.

So, asking existing clients for testimonials and then publishing their words on your website and printed marketing materials will help establish trust between your brand and your customers and potential customers.

Sponsorships for community events. One old school but great way to get your company's name out there is your sponsorship of a community event. Whether it be a local high school football team or a charity walk to raise cancer awareness, an event that gets you involved in your community through your sponsorship will raise awareness of your company and the things you do. It makes for great PR as well.

Cold calls. The term "cold calls" has a negative connotation, but why? Perhaps the reason is that rejection is tough and some people just aren't cut out for sales. Assigning one of those people to cold calling probably won't result in much success. Others, though, do their best work when making cold calls.

So, if you're pursuing this strategy, you'll need a plan in place that includes a list of potential customers, a strategy and possibly a script. Once you feel confident in your pitch, call the customers on the list. Don't be afraid to digress a little bit or indulge in a personal conversation, since it will warm your prospect up and keep the conversation friendly.

A branding redesign. If your brand has been around for some time, it may be time for a redesign. Although this can be a difficult undertaking, redesigning your brand, logo and the overall look of your company can get you a lot of attention. This is especially true if your branding is outdated. Old customers will enjoy a fresh new look while potential customers will get curious and pay more attention because, let's face it, sometimes we do judge books by their covers.

Trade shows. Trade shows like CES are still as popular as ever. Whether you attend trade shows in your local area or travel to national and even global events, participating in and presenting at trade shows is a great way to increase brand recognition. Not only can you get your name out there, but you can show potential partners and customers your products, what they do and what else you have been working on.

Related: 5 Reasons Business Cards Still Matter

Alhough these strategies may not be the newest ways to brand and market your business, they have been tried, tested and proven true. Which have you found to be the most effective for you and your business?

AJ Agrawal

Founder of Verma Media

AJ Agrawal is the founder of Verma Media, a marketing agency that focuses on emerging tech, like blockchain and AI, and on cannabis companies.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.


Are You Being Too Soft as a Leader? You Might Need to Try a Different Approach

At the core of leadership, we must provide purpose, direction and motivation to our employees — but not everyone is using the right leadership style to offer these things. Here's why you might need to consider a more rigid approach.

Starting a Business

Shopify's President Breaks Down the Best Ways to Grow Your Ecommerce Business

Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer and Shopify President Harley Finkelstein discuss the best strategies to grow an ecommerce business.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Business News

American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Kevin Greenridge was traveling from Honduras to Miami on June 4, 2022, on AA Flight 614 when he went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious mid-flight.