The Brand Scheme of Things

Lisa Turner
Let's talk a bit about branding, shall we? Although branding is important to every company, whether mainstream, straight or gay, I feel that branding is more important and effective in the gay market simply because, in my opinion, gay men and women are more apt to buy a brand product or service. They are more apt to go with something that is well known, recommended by others, and is more recognized as a result of a company's branding effectiveness.

There is absolute brand loyalty in gay porn. The items I've personally found and noted to be the most effective methods of branding gay sites to gay surfers include adding an order form page offering a "How did you hear about our site" drop-down box that includes a plethora of options to select from. These options are basically places where a company advertises, whether specific to online advertising campaigns or various magazine publications. Ideally, the magazines or websites are all listed by name so a company can further evaluate specific websites or magazines that perform better than others for bringing surfers to their websites.

By far, word-of-mouth is any company's best branding and advertising mechanism. This is the result of extensive branding and advertising of the website name and providing a quality service above and beyond others in the market. I have to say, though, a catchy or recognizable logo that is remembered by everyone who sees it has been one heck of a branding tool over the years for Badpuppy, as well as many other companies. Even if you don't remember the website address, you do remember the name and logo.

It seems as though gay sites are more accepted in mainstream gay outlets such as magazines, parties and gay pride festivals, because more and more new people are going online everyday, and of those, a large percentage are spending more and more time surfing for adult content. As a result, gay websites are seen more, recognized more and are certainly a big draw for magazines seeking advertisers and bars or nightclubs looking for event sponsors. It's a way to give consumers something they are familiar with and want, sell more magazines and bring in more patrons to specific nightclub events. Not only does this benefit the magazines and nightclubs, but the website itself benefits greatly from the branding that comes from having a presence in many different places. Call it supply and demand, if you will.

Many companies and organizations benefit from the involvement of gay companies because the gay community has far more money to spend.

By using gay publications to advertise in and participating in many community events, such as online expos, gay choruses, gay rodeos, charitable events, pride events and bars and nightclubs around the U.S. and Canada, branding has a longer and stronger reach.

Even when a company cannot be present at a venue, it is important to sponsor many events by donating money, T-shirts, hats, videos, free memberships and more. The bars and events in turn use these items for giveaways, raffles or handouts to their patrons.

My suggestion for a superior branding campaign would be a three-part process. First of all, online advertising and having the ability to be seen on gay websites across the Internet should be your initial and primary focus.

There is nothing better than a direct, target market advertising campaign, where you can be assured that all who see you are online consumers and are in a position to buy an online membership or an online product.

Get out there and get listed on every site you can. Be seen consistently. Your name and your main homepage are your selling tool. Once you get the visitor there, you want them to take that next step. Give them a reason to come inside.

After a company begins to see results from an online campaign, the next step is to look at advertising in a magazine that has a large readership and a high percentage of online readers. Most magazines can tell you not only geographically where their magazines are available, but they give you much more specific details about the consumers buying and/or reading their magazines.

My experience has been that an ongoing campaign is much more successful with each magazine issue we appear in. Using different ads to grab the attention of different readers in each issue is the key to a successful print advertising campaign.

If you only have enough money for a full-page ad and a one-time run in a single issue, then think hard about that and consider placing a quarter page ad in four separate issues of the same publication.

Branding your name, your website and your reputation with the consumer is by far the most important thing you can do to make sure your site is a success.

Get out there, be seen and remembered by not only the consumer but your peers in the industry. The quality of your website, its content and the quality and support that you provide your consumers and peers will indeed make you or break you! Be smart, be the best you can be, and be seen everywhere you can.

Lisa Turner is marketing and advertising manager for Badpuppy Enterprises Inc.

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