Brand Strategy: The Pledge, Turn and Prestige.

The secret to expanding your brand’s market share is your campaign’s prestige. Not the prestige you harness from past success but the concept of commanding a position in people’s minds with a simple turn of events. A slight of hand to keep your customer engaged, intrigued and ready to consume.

This technique is commonly used by even the most amateur magicians and can be adapted to increase the success of your next marketing campaign.

Act 1: The Pledge

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called The Pledge. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t.”

Imagine this scenario. A car company runs a television campaign that showcases a high-end vehicle, fully loaded, but never presents you with branding. They sell you on the features. Impact rating. Gas mileage. Customer service. Warranty and drop dead gorgeous style inside and out. If you are in the market for a vehicle this is your vehicle. No questions asked.

Act 2: The Turn

“The second act is called The Turn. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back.”

The price is shown. Desperately below what you had in mind. Surely, this has to be a high end vehicle. Maybe a BMW. Maybe a Mercedes. Possibly a Cadillac. You’re lured in. Completely sold on this vehicle. Eyes open. Mind open. But wait. This sounds far too good to be true. How could this be so inexpensive?

Act 3: The Prestige

That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”

It’s not a BMW. or a Mercedes. Not even a Cadillac. It’s something far less from an industry perspective. Think Kia. Respectable in their own right but not on the level of the others by a long shot. In this situation your reaction would likely be, “Wow, I didn’t expect that.” But why?

When the company marketed their product they focused on the customer experience. The features and functionality. Things that rivaled even the largest names in the business. By not using their name they were careful not to trigger an initial knee jerk reaction based on any preconceived ideas. They removed the bias and landed their message right where they wanted it. On the forefront of a demographic that ignored them.

There will always be a turning point when a business, of any size or industry, steps from the shadows and takes its place as a respected brand. That moment when the larger companies focus their brand strategy on leveraging their name and not their product.

It can be daunting to compete in such a large market place but your well known competitors were in the same position you are right now once. And implementing a three step technique such as the the Pledge, the Turn and the Prestige provides you with momentum to make a memorable impact.

Once your brand is top of mind you have already succeeded.

5 Comments

  1. AnonymousReplyJanuary 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm 

    Fantastic article and something i will be looking back at for guidance, I like the simile between the magician and car company, makes it so much easier to understand. I do believe that making something appealing and combining it with a few surprises is a great way to draw in your target audience.

    Great read as always Josh, hope your Christmas and New Year was merry. Best of luck with your projects in 2011!

    • Joshua GarityReplyJanuary 5, 2011 at 4:21 am 

      Thanks! So much is lost these days with bombarding potential customers with information. Less is more. Give them just enough to get their interest and then pull the rug out with something far surpassing their expectations. That, my friend, is brand value.

      Very exciting about upcoming projects in 2011. I hope to see more on your website soon! :)

  2. Jim RaffelReplyJanuary 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm 

    Joshua,
    Very nice post. I had quite a bit of fun with magic in my youth. I never made this leap, however, that is until today. I’m working on presentation for a speaking engagement later this month and I may try to use the magic trick model. I like it that much. :)
    -Jim

    • Joshua GarityReplyJanuary 5, 2011 at 4:26 am 

      Thank you Jim! Magic is a great craft and doesn’t get enough credit. I pulled the quotes about each turn from the movie “Prestige”. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.

      If this post inspires any great presentations or speaking gigs shoot me over a link so I can see how it turns out! Glad you enjoyed it sir. Always happy to provide a different perspective!

      Keep up the good work over there in Milwaukee :)

      Josh

  3. B ShahReplyNovember 1, 2012 at 10:55 am 

    reminds me of an article I read few months back… about Apple’s iPhone 5…
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/13/the-iphone-5-event/

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