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Free Billboard Ad To Build a Brand

BY FC Expert Blogger Dana Severson Fri Oct 23, 2009 at 11:44 PM

I must confess, I really have a soft spot for anyone with a larger-than-average size forehead — myself included. So, when I received an email from a fellow bold forehead compadre, I was all ears. (Bold forehead. All ears. Get it?).  Anywho, Mr. fellow big brain introduced me to a new, Toronto-based start-up branding agency, Distility, who refer to themselves as brand technologists. They’ve managed to incorporate their knowledge of branding and technology, to build a one day branding system that offers quick execution and minimal expense. Sounds cool, right?

So what’s the problem? Why would he send out electronic smoke signals (that’s how I know if someone’s in trouble) if things were going so well? Well, as it turns out, they do need a little heroic intervention. Their challenge: As a start-up, they find themselves in a very common pickle. Great product, but without the proper amount of exposure, no one will know that it exists. Can you imagine the horror?

Call it serendipity — or maybe just a hero’s intuition — but I just happened to be thinking about a marketing idea that would be perfect for their situation.

Distility, here’s what you do:

First things first. Secure a digital billboard for a predetermined amount of time. For simplicity sake, let’s say three months. Keep in mind, you’ll want to secure a location with a significant amount of drive-by traffic, but, don’t break the bank. Next, develop a program that will be available on your website, allowing visitors to choose from a handful of pre-designed billboard backgrounds. Additionally, this program should allow visitors to upload their logo, product images, etc. and perform some simple layout functions. Now, recreate that same program into a free iPhone app that will be available for download. Finally, hit enter, figuratively speaking.

Here’s what you’ve created: For lack of a better title, will call it, Build-A-Brand. Small to mid-sized businesses (your core prospects) will be offered the opportunity to visit your website and/or iPhone app and build a personalized billboard ad that will appear in rotation for a set amount of time, on your dime. A webcam — positioned across the street from the billboard — will capture the participants ad, while it’s live. This live video feed will also be available on your website and iPhone application. Armed with traffic statistics from the billboard company, you’ll know be able to go back to these prospects, provide them with a still shot of their ad-in-action and wow them with your branding knowledge.

You’ve now effectively used technology and brand exposure (as brand technologists are known to do) to create buzz and develop client relationships. Now, just imagine if you were to do this in more than one market? WOW!