There are many different ways of building up the reputation of a product. Some opt to get it out to as many people in the target market early in its existence for a cheaper price so that people will become almost dependent on it and then spread awareness through word-of-mouth. Others want to show that they are better than the previous products or services that are already available on the market. They might do research and find that they are able to offer more features at a better price or could show that their product is safer for families for instance. As another example, Transway Systems Inc. (website), learned through their customer research that they could provide a new service; hydro excavation - and build on the reputation they've already earned with their septic trucks. One of the latest marketing techniques that's becoming big is Influence Marketing.
This is when instead of marketing your product directly to your target audience you instead promote it to influencers and allow them to bring it to your target. If you wanted young professionals to buy a condo in your building you might first promote it to some of the people on this year's list of Most Influential People Under Thirty, for example. If instead you were selling a business-to-business product you would expose it to analysts, consultants, and academics to get to to the right consumers.
We are not seeing this all the time with Hollywood as the influence for consumer products. Someone with experience in fitness and home health care can move out to Los Angeles and start promoting their diet and exercise plan with celebrities. Once it catches on there they can then come out with the books that show you how you can look like your favorite television star or the next Bond girl. Instead of spending money on commercials and magazine ads you instead have the statement of a popular person walking around as the example of your work.
If you can't get to Hollywood there are still many ways of accessing this technique within your own business. First you need to identify who the influencers are for your product. If you're a consultant that helps people decide between mutual funds and ETFs than you're likely going to be interested in prominent business people rather than teen idols. Once you have indentified that market you need to cater a strategy to them. The top level is to actually get these influencers to advocate for your product or service.
Whether you decide that your focus is an athlete like a member of an NHL hockey team or a popular TV lawyer you should keep in mind that these should be the trendsetters for the industry. They are going to be the first to jump on board with the latest thing but will also be the first to find something new when needed. You want to catch them at just the right time.