In general, PR is the best way to build a brand. Here is an example of phases (in chronological order) of a simple PR-based marketing program:
- Establish a group of evangelists. Recruit a small group of "people with megaphones" (influencers such as bloggers, newspaper and TV reporters, and respected people in the field). Do everything you can do (e.g. training, etc.) to get them to use your product for free and become excited about it.
- Target key events. If possible, identify events at which attendees would find your product useful. For example, if your product is a cold beverage, supply it free at a small event that takes place in the hot sun. Try to provide them with something or some idea they will share with their friends after they get home.
- Focus on selling to a narrow subset of your market that will "drink the Kool-Aid". Start selling your product instead of giving it away for free. Target a location or demographic with a low barrier to entry, i.e. that contains people who it will be easy to convince to buy your product and to become excited about it.
- Get the media to do stories on your product. Call the local TV news stations. Call newspaper reporters. See if you can get Slashdot to publish a blurb about your product. The buzz you've already generated should already have gotten the attention of the media, so it should be relatively easy to get media coverage. Arm reporters with interesting usage stories from your product evangelists.
The idea is to tightly control the marketing rollout of your product in such a way as to maximize the positive word of mouth. Rather than try to blast your message to as many people as possible right off the bat, start small.