How many of your customers have your logo tattooed on their bodies? Or camp out in front of your store for a week to get a limited edition product?
If you've figured out how to turn branding into an art form like Johnny Earle has done for his brand, Johnny Cupcakes, your customers are probably out of their minds for you, too. Listen to About.com's conversation with Earle on branding and entrepreneurship here.
A bit of background: Johnny Cupcakes sells t-shirts and other gear at three stores, two in Boston and one in Los Angeles, as well as online on the company's website and on eBay, where, by the way, the company has a 100% rating.
Johnny Cupcakes has been around since 2001 and last year rang up more than $3 million in sales. When you visit the flagship story on tony Newbury Street in Boston, you can't see the store from the street because it's up a flight of stairs. So you might think it's a good place to buy, well, cupcakes. A lot of people are surprised, then, that there is no food for sale. Just very cool, exclusive clothing. Some people are piping mad about the playful trick, but that's actually good news for the brand: it gets people talking.
Our interview highlights a number of important points about great branding, including:
- Scarcity marketing: All shirts are limited editions, and there are only three stores (although he'd like to open one in London someday).
- The importance of a great name: A name like Johnny Cupcakes has soul. It has comedy. It has attitude. It's a great illustration of why a company name is so important.
- Using alternative advertising and promotions:, or "random contests" like this one posted to the company's Facebook page: "I'm going to put together a Valentines Day video filled with interviews of couples who have met through Johnny Cupcakes. If you and your loved one live in or around Massachusetts, please hit me up with details."
- Great web marketing: Check out the company's blog/website, which is personally managed by Earle. The depth of content goes way beyond what you'd expect from a t-shirt company.
Oh, Johnny just emailed us with another promotional venture he's launching: "I will be taking my cupcake van across the country and literally selling t-shirts out of the back of it, which pays homage to my beginnings of selling t-shirts out of the trunk of my beat up '89 Toyota Camry. These will all be limited edition, van exclusive t-shirts." If you miss it, there's sure to be video of it on his blog. He also plans to "Tell my customers to just show up at a random restaurant with their Johnny Cupcakes shirts on, and I'll treat them to dinner."