Brandon Chicotsky is an entrepreneur, digital marketing strategist and the founder of the recent start-up BaldLogo.com, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. BaldLogo.com not only offers ad space on the prime-time real estate of a person’s hairless dome, but you also get a living, breathing advertisement, which has led Chicotsky to coin a new phrase: Animate Social Marketing. Chicotsky took the time to speak with us about his new company (and its viability for pharma), explain this new marketing strategy, discuss important upcoming trends, and offer his advice for pharma digital marketers.
Can you describe what BaldLogo.com is all about?
BaldLogo.com specializes in ground marketing as well as online promotions. We have a team of in-house marketers and videographers that work to build strong SEO positions for our clients. We’re capable of providing content management and digital consulting as part of our service. We believe a purchase with BaldLogo.com does more than garner attention at events. We aim to maximize a return on investment (ROI) by amplifying brands online and increasing SEO position with desired results and keywords.
What lead you to believe that there was value in branding a bald head?
While in graduate school at NYU, my colleagues wanted to cheer me up after I retired my hair. They showed me pictures of children who spent their entire lives bald while battling Alopecia Areata and then I realized there’s a whole world of baldies that deserve more support and leadership. It dawned on me that a cause is the most uplifting medicine (not discounting the fine drugs pharma companies offer). From that point forward, I became a baldangelical—a champion of all things bald. As for the value of placing ads on my head, the amount of attention baldangelicals garner is strikingly high. BaldLogo.com is effective because we have a dual attack—online and live.
Did you have anything more to go on before founding your company?
I surveyed my NYU colleagues to build a strong case study about whether bald ads drew eyes. I then tested marketed ads in public spaces with hashtags. People tweeted the ads on my head at such a high rate that I could use the objective data points to qualify the expense for early-adopters who purchased ad space. Soon after, I began building my website, registered the company and filed rights to the business in every way available. Today, BaldLogo.com is building an army of baldangelicals across the world. Companies will soon be able to amplify their brand online and target specific events in areas across the world with BaldLogo.com.
You mention in one of the videos on your website how audiences have become turned off by “dinosaur” advertising, so what kind of advertising do you think is necessary to reach today’s audience?
Many demographics simply tune out above-the-line advertising. It’s also extremely costly for companies to advertise on big market television spots. The production expense alone can hurt companies out of the gate. A much better approach is to create entertaining videos that can grow virally. This increases sharing and interest among viewers. At BaldLogo.com we infuse humor, information and sales pitches.
Do you think this method should also apply to pharma marketing?
Absolutely, for the most effective form of advertising for the pharma market it’s advisable to pinpoint the area in which your target demographics spend their recreational time and have a ground game attack. For example, if elderly communities and aging Baby Boomers attend specific conferences or organized events, have a below-the-line strategy similar to BaldLogo.com (direct engagement and interfacing with potential buyers). Doing so enables more interpersonal communication with your potential buyers and more online amplification with photo sharing and status updates (47% of Baby Boomers maintain a Facebook account, per Mashable.com). People love to share pictures, tweets and stories of attention-grabbing displays.
You coined the phrase “animate social marketing,” can you describe what you mean by that and the unique value of this type of marketing?
Animate social marketing is a way to describe our effective method of combining retail engagement (constant engagement of people in a social manner meant for positive reactions) and social antics (using multiple people to push a brand or logo with displays exciting enough to have pictures taken and stories shared). Our promoters are animated, and each baldy is accompanied by two attractive female promoters and a full body spandex suit. With our ground game, we’re able to pass out thousands of fliers and attract serious online attention. With our in-house team of marketers, any video we produce or any online action we stir up on your company’s behalf will have extra fire power behind it.
Do you think that is something that could be used to promote any brand—even pharmaceuticals?
There is no doubt BaldLogo.com can increase sales and increase brand amplification among any targeted demographic for the pharma market. This is accomplished by tailoring our message and activity for goals set forth by companies using our services. We are deliberate and careful about our actions, especially with our animated approach to our ground game. With online services, we are extremely tactful with word placement and disclaimers (we’re aware of FDA regulations and the warning messages many companies have received lately regarding one-link distances from their ads).
One commonly overlooked tactic for effective online branding and viral growth is humor. BaldLogo.com’s team of marketers produces videos and blogs that are shared by thousands because our “bald humor” strikes a broad interest. We’re proud of our ability to take any brand and company and add our thematic tones to online promotions (infusions of bald humor particularly). If any company is struggling to repair their brand image, they should consider supporting a good cause, and BaldLogo.com is such a cause. Every client is praised for enabling our charity which supports children battling Alopecia Areata. Meanwhile, you get a high value return because we’ll pound the pavement at any event of your choosing and promote your brand.
You are also a digital strategist and consultant. What is your best piece of advice for how pharma marketers—or really any marketers—should be approaching the digital space and social media?
First, the obvious: Follow the law, no matter what. It’s easy to bend the rules online, but don’t fall in this trap. If you’re required to post disclaimer language in tweets, do so by providing a shortened link in every tweet. Make sure you place it strategically so it’s not what dominates attention in the tweet. It’s best to structure content online to carry the company’s message effectively, especially if you’re pushing new media.
As for less obvious advice: Leverage new media like videos and social platforms with an open API (e.g., Twitter and Facebook) and nurture community. This means, produce content people would want to read, and keep them hooked every day. Do this with entertainment, comedy, information and high value. BaldLogo.com can do all of these things for you. Just call us.
Do you have any outside-the-box ideas, like BaldLogo.com, that could help pharma brands garner more attention among their target audience?
We want companies to feel encouraged by creativity and come to BaldLogo.com to execute. Here’s a parallel scenario that any pharma company can apply in their own style. Though, we recommend you come to BaldLogo.com to get it done. A wedding photography business recently asked for BaldLogo.com to perform a new form of animate social marketing that would be memorable and gain followers. We then organized a wedding on stilts with female promoters passing out flyers around the display. This took place at a large festival. Right next to the wedding on stilts was a photography setup, where people could put on goofy wedding outfits and take pictures. They would receive the pictures if they tweeted using the company’s hashtag. This demonstrated buying behavior, created strong market exposure and provided demographic data necessary for future sales. Also, the name brand was shared widely among all of the online networks of anyone who participated in the event. The bottom line was that we helped their bottom line!
Are there any current trends that you are excited about and think that marketers need to jump on right away?
Crowd funding and collaborative consumption. For people who cannot pay for their medical bills, they will soon find readily available platforms to raise awareness of their condition and raise funds from family, friends and interested viewers online (some sites already posture for such exposure). Each micro-investment or gift is a form of crowd funding. Pharma companies could partner with such platforms to demonstrate social awareness for financial hindrances standing in the way of people receiving adequate medical care. Also, it will further ensure their product purchases by enabling less advantaged individuals to raise funds to acquire the pharmaceuticals. Collaborative consumption is the sharing of goods and services that enable people to streamline their lives in a cheaper, more economical way. In 2011, Silicon Valley icon, Ron Conway, called collaborative consumption a, “mega trend.” Pharma companies should take heed, because this demonstrates a more communal and socially engaged approach to how people gain information and share resources. As a result, it’s important for pharma companies to begin presenting a brand image that appeals to these market sentiments.