Are You Inked?

I have three tattoos: one on my back that resembles a figure-8 that stands for endurance, one on the inside of my wrist that is the symbol for hydrogen (the building block of life), and a Latin phrase on the inside of my right bicep that translates into “Dreams are Free.”

“Why do I have them,” you may ask.  “Why do I have so few,” some other of you may ask.  But the simple answer is that they each mean something to me.  I’m not going to go into the deep meanings of each of them, just to say that I am of the persuasion that if you are going to get something forever inked into your skin, it should have some special connection to you.  I will never be the guy who has a manatee on fire on his calf or a drunk penguin on his ribcage (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

I have them because I am passionate about what they mean to me.

What are you passionate about?  Better yet, what about you/your brand are your customers passionate about?  The best brands create an emotional connection between their customers and themselves.  They intertwine themselves into the lifestyles of their target markets.  How else would you have things like this:

Or my personal favorite….

These are brands that have literally woven themselves into the skin of their fans.  But how did they do it?

Let me suggest 3 ways to Ink yourself onto your consumers:

  1. Create a Compelling Story – Everybody likes a good story.  People automatically relate to one or more persona within the setting.  Don’t simply exist in the ether waiting to be consumed, sit down and write out why you are what/who you are.  What are your goals?  Who are you fighting for?  What problem are you trying to rid the world of?  Make yourself something worth being a part of.
  2. Practice What You Tweet – If I find your story compelling and then decide to interact with you, then you are…how do I put this…shitty, Stephen King cold craft your literary wiles and I wouldn’t be swayed.  If you say you have a great product and then you don’t, guess what, people will find that out.  If when I spoke, I had no knowledge of what I was talking about and instead showed slides from a visit to my Aunt Muriel’s, no one would ever have me speak again.  And word would spread, fast.  Make sure if you say something, that it’s true.
  3. Engage, Engage, Engage – Alright, you got me.  I’m here and your product is up to snuff.  Now what?  Keep interacting with me.  Don’t let me forget what you do and why I keep coming back to you.  That’s why I try to do nice things for my wife for no reason at all, to remind her why I’m awesome and why she stays with me.  Brian Solis has a great book titled Engage (non-affiliate link) and he says it better than I ever could, so pick up that book and read it.  you’ll thank me.

This isn’t earth-shattering stuff, I know that, but I think it is stuff we tend to forget in our world of “the next best thing”.  If you craft a compelling story and then live up to the promises in that story you will bring the right people to you, then all you have to do is treat them like people and engage them.  Then, maybe next Mardi Gras, some drunk frat boy will yell out, “You know what brah, wouldn’t it be awesome if I got [insert your brand name here] tattooed on my back?”

Yes, that would be pretty awesome.

What do you think?


About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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2 Responses to Are You Inked?

  1. Meredith says:

    Very interested twist on the idea of getting inked. I too believe you should have some personal connection to whatever you’re going to put permanently on your skin.

    I would perhaps add that the brands you mention (by way of including those specific pictures) are also brands that are good at lasting. They’ve been around for awhile, they can adapt and change as the world around them adapts and changes, but they never drift too far away from their core values. They’re willing to try something new and equally willing to try again if it fails.

    A brand that never changes as time marches on better be one hell of a brand in order to last that long, since change is inevitable. A brand that’s willing to be flexible, however, stands a better chance because the core will remain constant while still giving them the ability to take a few risks.

    • Joey Strawn says:

      Great insights and additions Meredith. Thanks! It’s true, every brand I mentioned found a way to last through cultural and economical changes. If I ever re-work this post I might go back and add a 4th point towards the idea of sustainability. If a brand can “grow up” with its market (or visa versa in many cases), those brands have a greater chance of becoming intertwined with how those markets see themselves.

      Thanks for your comment!

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