Sep 01

How to Get Your Customers to Advertise Your Business and Make a Profit Too!

lizard cartoon character designed by Malane NewmanI know it’s hard to believe that it’s possible to get customers to advertise your business for you, and even harder to believe that you could make a profit at doing it too. It happened for my client and I’m going to share with you how he did it.

Let me start by giving you a little bit of background about my client’s business. He cannot do normal business advertising because his product is unique and his customers are different from you and I. My client owns a remote weapon testing facility and his customers are military, government research scientists, and law enforcement. It makes sense that he cannot advertise to the public like most businesses do.  These unique customers come and stay at the facility for a few days at a time and often eat at my client’s onsite café.

Adding a Sense of Humor
All across the test site are little horn lizards and geckos running around, so many in fact that they often have to tell their visiting customers to “watch out for the lizards and geckos”.  And with all the loud sounds of firing and testing large weapons, my client imagines that they’re all probably deaf too. So they derived a name from this and appropriately named his onsite café The Deaf Lizard Café.

lizard character and tag line

Business Mascot
My client looked around at all the available clip art choices, but felt they just didn’t represent the uniqueness that his business encompasses. So I was hired to design a mascot that would represent the facility and The Deaf Lizard Café; a cross between a gecko and a lizard with a little touch of chameleon eyes to give a mischievous look. He wanted the mascot to wear clothing similar to the attire his customers usually wear when visiting the test site; a tactical vest, ear protection, and a boonie hat…thus ensuring a character that his customers could relate to. They named him “Gunny”, again appropriate for the character in relation to the business. Originally they intended to use the character on a sign in and outside the café.

Make It Memorable
Although his customers are being paid to do a job at his facility, men and women in occupations like the military, government, and law enforcement thoroughly enjoy going to my client’s facility and being paid to play with large powerful weapons. It’s more like an enjoyable vacation than it is a work assignment. My client wanted their visits to be even more memorable, so he thought of selling t-shirts that they could purchase and take home with them, essentially a souvenir. We designed a concept where the same art could be used on both t-shirts and signage so my client would get more bang (no pun intended) for his buck.

tshirts with character and tag line

Product Debut
The t-shirt debuted at a big VIP event. The Deaf Lizard Café and the company mascot “Gunny” was a big hit. During the event, they sold over 180 t-shirts and customers from all over the USA, UK, Australia and Canada will be wearing Gunny and talking about The Deaf Lizard Café. The volume of t-shirts they sold during this 2-week event not only reimbursed my client his initial investment but, also made a profit at the same time. And from this point on, the t-shirts will be available and profitably sold at The Deaf Lizard Café for all future customers to take home, wear, and remember the great time they had.

The Recipe
Let’s recap the recipe used and the ingredients for this success.

  • Start with what is unique about your company, products or services.  Not just what you think is unique but what your customers like most about your business, products, or services.

  • Add a sense of humor to the mix in the form of names and character traits. Put a spin on the uniqueness. Touch your customers through humor and emotions.

  • Design a character that your customers can relate to. Some elements to consider might be attire, expressions, cartoon style, features, attributes, pose, occupation, props, etc.

  • Tie it altogether with what your customers enjoy so they will remember and put it on something usable or wearable so it remains out front and not in a drawer.

  • Make the investment. Hire “me” <grin> to design your company mascot or your product. Seriously, hire a professional to bring it all to life. Don’t use clip art. It needs to represent your uniqueness and clip art is not unique and usually has a “clip art” sterility to it.

  • Don’t be afraid to put a price on it and sell it to your customers. If it is truly usable or wearable, and your customers can relate to it or have an emotional attachment to it, they will pay for it.

  • Hold an event that your customers will come to and debut your product.


About Malane Newman
Malane Newman is a professional illustrator and cartoonist for over 25 years. She is a master with color and eye candy. She has illustrated a variety of consumer products such as games, childrens books, board games, food and product packaging, magazines, greeting cards, and other consumer products. She provides new character design for clients and offers the copyrights at affordable rates. She can match most cartooning styles and works with creative directors on licensed character art (Barbie, Popeye, The Swan Princess).









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