4 Free Ways To Use Product Placement To Increase Brand Awareness
Updated: Jul 20
Have you ever watched a television show and seen one of the characters drinking a Coke and out of the blue, you suddenly had a taste for the brown beverage? If so, maybe that was just a coincidence. Perhaps you watched a new music video and saw the featured artist wearing a particular style of clothing and instantly realized that your wardrobe needs to be similarly updated. Maybe there might be a link...maybe not.
How about this, growing up, did you ever want to drive a particular car because you saw someone in a movie that you thought was cool driving it? If so, that's more than a coincidence; it's the effect of good product placement.
Product placement occurs when a brand has its product intentionally placed somewhere that doesn’t appear as an obvious advertisement effort to the audience. Product placement is extremely effective because it penetrates the mind of the audience subconsciously to create brand awareness and intent to purchase a product.
One downside to product placement for brands is that like traditional advertising, it can be very expensive. But let's leave that to the brands with the huge ad budgets. Here's four ways to use free product placement to create brand awareness.
1. Help Social Media Influencers so they can help you
Psychology isn’t simple. And while there are many nuances that comprise psychological theory; there’s one law in particular that every brand marketer should be aware of. That is the law of reciprocity. The law of reciprocity states that when people receive something from someone, they are often compelled to return the favor in kind.
As a brand marketer, you can use the law of reciprocity by reaching out to influencers and giving them an incentive to feature your brand on their social media platforms.
For example, if you owned a brand that sold coffee products, you could reach out to social media influencers that have a large following and ask them to try your coffee for free. And if they enjoyed it, you could give them more free coffee in exchange for them going on Instagram or TikTok while drinking coffee from a mug with your brand's logo in front of it so everyone could see.
If that influencer had 100,000 followers, that means 100,000 people had a chance of being exposed to your brand.
2. Encourage Early Adopters to share your product
The most effective form of marketing has always been word-of-mouth marketing. No matter how great a brand marketer is; your neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members will still have more influence over what you wear, the next new restaurant that you’ll be willing to give a try, and even which new series you’ll watch next on Netflix.
That’s because our peers are our tribe. And tribalism trumps traditional advertising. Which is why getting early adopters to tell their friends about your product is so important.
The way to do that is to offer exclusive prizes to your brand’s early adopters if they share images of themselves with your product on their social media pages. Let’s say your brand’s main product is designer phone cases. You could send an email to 200 of your early adopters stating that if they go on Twitter and tweet a picture of them holding their phone while featuring your product, they’ll receive exclusive brand access.
By encouraging your brand’s early adopters to share your product with their friends; your product will be seen more frequently, which will make it more common – which leads to more awareness.
3. Earned publicity
Another effective way to escalate brand awareness is via publicity. The best thing about publicity is that it’s usually free, and builds credibility in the mind of the consumer.
Let’s face it, we trust people and products more if we see them being validated on authoritative platforms. Be honest, don’t you trust people on Twitter a little bit more if they have that blue check next to their name that states they’re verified? That same sentiment applies to consumers when it comes to them trusting a product or service.
This is what makes attaining publicity for your brand so important. You can attain free publicity for your brand by reaching out to media editors, personalities, and producers with a pitch for why they should do a feature on your brand or one of your products. The best way to do this is by thinking of an angle that would be interesting to their audience. Remember the law of reciprocity, if you can help them get a good story, they’ll help you promote your brand on their platform…fair exchange.
4. Do it yourself (DIY)
Last in order, but not of importance – is you representing your brand to the fullest yourself. That consists of wearing apparel featuring your brand's logo/wordmark every chance you get.
It also means that just about every time you take a picture to post on social media, you’ll be wearing something that represents your brand. And every chance you get, you’ll show off one of your products on your personal social media pages. Or better yet, go on social media on a regular basis to post a picture or a video with the sole intent of showing off your logo.
If you don’t have any personal social media pages, create some, and represent your brand every day and become part of as many social media communities that are related to your brand’s category.