5 Reasons to Follow in the Footsteps of Sharpie For a More Successful Online Presence

Uncapping the Possibilities With Sharpie

Creating Digital Brand Presence Through 5 Proven Ways
5 Reasons to Follow in the Footsteps of Sharpie For a More Successful Online Presence

Sharpies are about as ubiquitous as Mcdonald’s – they’re practically everywhere, and they can be used anywhere too. In the hands of a very artistically inclined kid (or a kid-at-heart adult), a Sharpie can transform a blank, plain, white sheet of paper into an artwork worthy of the Louvre Museum. You can use it to brand stuff with your name and make marks on someone’s unsuspecting face during sleepovers.

Since Sharpie started production, in 1964, it’s been the marker of choice for most people who grew up in the last few decades or so. The former president of the United States George W. Bush loved Sharpies so much that he even used them to sign official White House papers (he has his own personalized set of black Sharpie markers). Who would’ve thought that a simple marker would enjoy such universal appeal?

Over the years, Sharpie has been getting the fat share (over 50 percent!) of the market for permanent markers. To keep up with the times, they underwent a major revamp of their advertising and marketing strategies. Their weapon of choice? Social media. An all-out social media campaign was started on all major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Leaving a Mark

You might ask, “Why exactly would they bother?” They’ve been letting their competitors bite the dust for some time now. But here are the facts – the campaign, headed by social media manager Susan Wassel, was a huge success. With nearly 3 million likes on Facebook and 250,000 followers on Twitter generated in a short period of time, it managed to catch the attention of people, especially the youth – an audience that is relatively hard to please with their short attention spans and desire to be quickly entertained.

How did Sharpie manage to do it? How did it firmly establish its online presence and renew public interest for these ancient permanent markers?

Sharpie Secrets: Creating a Standout Online Presence

1) Don’t sell your product, sell what it can do.

Sharpie is a pretty bland product by itself. It is simply a plain old permanent marker with no special characteristic whatsoever. How in the world can you market something like this to a youth demographic that is known for its hunger for excitement and variety?

Simple. Don’t sell it. Sell its possibilities.

Tons of unique artworks, projects and other creative uses for Sharpies are showcased on the Sharpie blog’s gallery. From paper cups to motorcycles, almost every object and surface imaginable has been touched by the Sharpie’s magical mark. There’s even a dedicated “Sharpie Squad” whose job it is to provide people with fresh, new ideas on how to use their Sharpies. If you’ve managed to see these genius pieces of art, I’m pretty sure that you would be inspired to grab your old, trusty set of Sharpies and create art pieces of your own too.

2) Don’t be satisfied with the status quo, challenge it.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Sharpie has always been the leading brand for permanent markers. If you think about it, there’s really no need for them to engage in another marketing or publicity stint. But you know what? They still went ahead with it. This new marketing strategy was very different from the other campaigns the brand had done before because it involved putting the consumers at the center of the action.

And the drastic move paid off. Sharpie sales have increased by about 10 percent in 2011. This campaign further increased the brand’s stronghold on its dominant market share, and at the same time, develop its identity as a fun and quirky brand that values originality and creativity.

3) Don’t talk to your consumers, talk WITH them.

Communication is always a two-way engagement. And the Sharpie social media team knows that. The Sharpie blog has a very friendly atmosphere where people can express their ideas and opinions on every post, while Sharpie’s social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest are very active online communities where people get to communicate with the Sharpie team and other Sharpie fans, as well.

4) Don’t be the salesman, let your followers do the selling for you.

The Sharpie social media team is constantly encouraging people to upload photos of their creations onto the main Sharpie website, blog, and social networking profiles. This is a very discrete manner of advertising without being too intrusive on the consumer’s end. It also promotes active engagement and builds brand identity at the same time.

5) Don’t be a product, be an icon.

The Sharpie marketing run has been a success in more ways than one. Aside from increasing sales and awareness, the campaign also created its own online social culture. This cultural movement, composed of people with an affinity for art and creativity, has made the distinctive Sharpie marker as its icon. It is its defining sign. From being a mere writing tool, the Sharpie permanent marker has become the symbol of a unique, creative community.

The Sharpie social media campaign accurately reflects its motto – “Uncap What’s Inside.” By showing people the endless possibilities that a simple marker can hold, the campaign inspired and moved people to express themselves by creating beautiful art.

*Check out how these 33 brands make the best of social media to display their beautiful artwork!

About Daniel Tan

Daniel Tan: A veteran Internet Marketer. Founder of SomoThemes, Social Metrics Pro, SEOPressor and XTabApps. Daniel's focus is to simplify marketing with technology, to help marketers reach more people in an organized and effective way.

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