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Tattoo Marketing: How to Foster EXTREME Brand Loyalty

You’re probably loyal to at least a few specific brands – Pepsi or Coke, McDonald’s or Burger King, Advil or Tylenol, for example. But are you an advocate to the extent that you would literally brand yourself with a tattoo of their logo? I’m guessing no. But some people are, and those are the people your brand needs to reach. Those people have the potential to turn into not only lifelong loyal customers, but lifelong brand advocates.

According to The Cult Branding Company, “… a brand’s outliers—their most outrageous fans and radical customers—are the people with whom marketers should engage, talk, and most importantly, listen. Although tattooing brand logos and imagery may seem too extreme to marketers, these outliers represent a brand’s choir. These radical customers understand your business on a deeper, more meaningful level than marketers.” So how do you find those potential “outliers” and keep their attention and loyalty?

brand logo tattoos

These are just temporary … but your brand could inspire the real deal.

First, you’ll need to understand why people choose to get tattoos of their favorite brands. Then you can harness those strategies and mimic them to get some lifelong loyal customers of your own.

Consumers choose to get inked with their favorite brand for a variety of reasons. As The Cult Branding Company state, some people do it to feel as though they belong to a unique social group, others because they have a special relationship or experience associated with the brand, and others because the brand embodies their ideals and values.

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for … how YOU can create a brand worthy of lifelong ink. Essentially, it all comes down to extremely effective, immersive branding.

Know your market, and stick to it. People get tattoos of their favorite brand because they feel that brand represents their lifestyle. For example, “badasses” (or bros) might get a tattoo of the Monster Energy Drink logo, hipsters might get a PBR tattoo, athletes could opt for the Nike swoosh, and a “child at heart” might get inked with the Disney logo. Vans represents the lifestyle of west coast skaters and surfers, and they learned the hard way to stick with their target audience. Establish which niche audience your brand is meant for, and then stick with it.

Appeal to your target audience’s lifestyle and priorities. Once you figure out who your target audience is, make sure that every experience they have with your brand reflects their personality and interests. This includes everything from your advertising, spokespeople, social media, and in-store experience, to your actual product. Every aspect of your brand’s personality should directly align with the kinds of customers you hope to attract. You shouldn’t simply sell your product; every interaction with your brand should be an experience.

atari logo tattoo

One Atari fan took her dedication to the extreme.

On a related note, you must create a cohesive brand identity. This is where your packaging, ad design, and logo come into play. You must be highly selective when choosing the typeface and design of your logo, because as the Retail Alphabet Game suggests, if you brand yourself effectivelyconsumers will be able to identify your brand based on one letter of your logo. And after all, if it’s your logo you want people to be tattooing onto themselves for life, that thing better be aesthetically pleasing and iconic.

If all else fails, you can try flat-out challenging your customers to get tattoos of your brand like Ecko Unltd. Or you can provide free tattoos of your logo and offer a relevant reward for those who choose to get inked like the alcoholic beverage Sailor Jerry did earlier this year.

What do you think? Are there any brands that you love enough to get permanently branded on yourself? What would a brand have to do to convince you to do so? Sound off below!

Photos courtesy of TerryJohnston, quinn.anya, and evil angela.


Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Jill Tooley

    Brand tattoos make me nervous. The only way I could see myself getting one is if it was for a company I started, or if the symbol stood for something profound, but even that would take some thorough consideration. I can see why people do it, though. Tattoos have become so mainstream that people don’t even think twice about getting one! If people will get wasted and stumble into a tattoo shop to get some random flash art on a whim, then why wouldn’t they get a brand’s logo for a major discount? It doesn’t matter to some people, I suppose…

    So I take it you wouldn’t get a Taco Bell tattoo for a lifetime discount, Jenna? Not even a small one? ;)

    • Jenna Markowski

      I totally agree. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for a while now, but I just can’t think of anything important enough to have on my body forever. But for some people that doesn’t matter, and more power to them!

      Hmmm, if they were handing out free Taco Bell tattoos in exchange for a lifetime discount I don’t think I could pass that up. I think I’d have to do it!

  2. Amy Swanson

    Wow, this takes brand advocacy to a whole new level, Jenna! Kudos to people out there who are so passionate about a brand that they’re willing to go under the needle for, but I haven’t found that brand for me yet. I’ll just stick to writing blogs about how much I love Dunkin’ Donuts, I don’t need to have their logo or a coffee cup tattooed on me- even if it meant free coffee for life ;)

    • Jenna Markowski

      You mean to tell me you don’t want a Dunkin’ Donuts tattoo, Amy? Maybe you should sleep on it. You might change your mind by tomorrow!

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I don’t know if I’d ever get a brand tattoo. I feel like with my luck, the day after I’d get the tattoo, that company would go out of business. But like Amy said, more power to those people who feel like they have a connection to the brand.

    However, if Starbucks offered some kind of discount for fans with Starbucks tattoos, I would definitely consider inking that siren on an arm. No shame.

    • Jenna Markowski

      I agree, Mandy. I couldn’t think of a brand I would get tattooed until Jill brought up Taco Bell. That might be my only exception. Starbucks would be a good call for someone who likes coffee! Plus, the logo isn’t too ugly, so it wouldn’t be too much of an eyesore.

  4. Eric

    I’m not opposed to tattoos. I’ve never had one simply because I don’t know what one, singular image defines me above anything else. With that said, if the most I had to say about myself is someone else’s brand, company, what have you? Business is a very public thing, and tattoos, private…unless you opt for some full-arm sleeves. At least that juxtaposition explains why brand and logo tats aren’t the most popular style. Interesting post, Jenna!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks for commenting, Eric! Your mention of private vs. public is very interesting — and true. If you really think your whole personality can be captured by a corporate logo…what does that say? However, if you just got the tattoo in exchange for a discount, maybe that’s worth it?

  5. Preston Mallory

    I have a monster engery drink logo on my arm and I want to know how much could I get for having a brand name logo on my skin

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