Last week I taught a class on branding at the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership. I shared with the participants a few techniques that can really jumpstart their brand. One successful way to market an individual, an organization, or a product is to develop a schtick. Yes, a schtick! “Schtick” is a Yiddish word that means a bit or a routine, mostly used to talk about comedians. I’m using it here to talk about an angle for communicating to your audiences.

You need an unpredictable way to deliver your message and when you create a schtick as a clever mechanism for delivering your message, the message becomes indelibly connected with you.

This is especially important if you are in a niche with a lot of competition. Marketing your product or service in a way that is unique and memorable will set you apart.

You can develop a schtick in a myriad of ways, even by coining a catchphrase. Here are three ideas that you might be able implement easily that go deeper than a tagline.


Creating a “system” that your clients can use is a great way. We Americans like a quick, easy recipe for success. We like it when the things we like are all together too. Take for instance, Curves for Women. Curves is a small boutique workout center for women. They developed a 30-minute workout using circuit training to help women feel comfortable going to a gym and achieving the results they want.

Curves did not develop the circuit training method.

Curves is not the first to have small boutique workout centers.

Curves is not the first to cater to women

Curves put all those things together and created a successful brand.


Steps are an easy way to mechanize the service you offer, but maybe not all of your services. The most famous, and probably most successful steps plan is the Twelve Step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill W. He developed the steps that worked for him and shared them in order to help others. Twelve Step programs now exist for many issues. Will it work for yours? Boil down your program to “five steps to keep a child healthy”; “three steps to avoid foreclosure on your home”; etc. Make one of the steps a call to your office.

Bill W. was an alcoholic, but not the first.

With the success of Twelve Steps, you know that a big number does not really make people shy away. How many diets promote 30 days to a slimmer you?

Steps make your program a recipe for success.


If what you are offering to solve is either a complex concept or is too close to home for people to readily face (the elephant in the room phenomenon), then create an analogy.

John Gray wrote “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” This was a great schtick he used to help people visualize that men and women are very different—planets between us! Both genders could relate to the way he spoke about them. He created a winning brand and a dynasty of products from the one analogy.

John Gray was not the first person to ever say that men and women are different.

He was not the first to ever write a book about gender differences.

John Gray created a winning way to communicate the gender differences concept and take it away from the dining room table or the bedroom.

Don’t be afraid of choosing one of these techniques for marketing your product or service. Once you develop it, create a way to promote it or it is totally futile. Take my word for it!

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