Small Business Marketing Strategies: Small Businesses and Branding

Branding is essential in effective small business marketing. Many people mistakenly operate under the illusion that branding is something that applies only to big business. However, effective branding is how you influence what your customer thinks of your company, and it’s just as relevant to smaller businesses. In this article we look at how to build a consistent and strong brand for your business.There are many benefits to strong branding. In a crowded marketplace, you can present your business in a unique manner so it will stand out. By developing a strong brand, you can influence the thoughts and emotions of your customers, increase customer conversion and retention.Amazon’s Jeff Bezos explains it to a T. ‘A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do things well.’ Polo, Ralph Lauren, and Nike sell products because of their brand and logo. People want those brands as part of their lifestyle, and as a part of their own identity. However, a brand is not just a logo, it has several components:market positioning – is it a commodity or a luxury service or product?
categorization of offerings
values – i.e. quality, price or service
the name of the businessPositioning – where does your offering sit in the marketplace? The mass market sits in the middle to lower end of the scale. If you were to market as a premium company with premium prices, you risk isolating yourself as you may appear inaccessible in terms of price. Position the business where the most clients can access your offerings.Pricing – pricing is closely related to positioning. Where does your company fit on the scale? Do you want to be known for luxury products at premium prices or do you want to be more accessible to middle of the road prospects and reach more clients? Making a product too low in price can backfire – as it will smell of ‘cheap’ and could turn off interest.Categorization – some of your products or services might not fit neatly into one category. Decide where in the market categories your business fits. Overlapping and being inconsistent will not pay off when it comes to placing yourself into directories and niches.Core values – do you want the company to be known for value or quality or customer service? What core values make up your brand? How are they related to your unique selling proposition? Possible values include: value for money, quality, customer service, support, fresh, handmade, gourmet, boutique.Whichever core values you select, be sure that you can deliver, and that they are also running through each of your products and services.Business name – be careful when selecting the name of your business. For example, by calling your business ‘Smith’s Flowers’ – you will tie yourself into flowers and flower related products. If the business expands later and includes garden related products, you could be setting yourself up for some issues.As you develop your brand, remember to stay consistent, and think about how you can use it at every customer touchpoint: including emails, letters, envelopes, website, and business cards. Branding is a small business marketing technique that puts you strongly in the marketplace. Start branding now.