If you own a small business, there’s no way that you don’t understand the importance of branding. It’s how you differentiate yourself with the competition. It’s how you synonymize your name with quality, reliability and success. It’s what enables you to put your own personal flourishes and creative flair into your business management.
A strong sense of brand identity is a cornerstone of a healthy business, but once that brand is established to your satisfaction it can be difficult to know how to make it flourish.
A good brand strategy is essential in:
- Promoting recognition.
- Building trust in your business.
- Supporting and enhancing advertising.
- Building financial value.
- Generating new customers.
- Ensuring loyalty of customers and staff.
Here are some simple but effective ways to organically grow your brand (without breaking the bank) that will hopefully translate into ongoing growth and success for your business.
Create branded materials
Many people associate viral marketing with online campaigns (and we’ll certainly get to that shortly) but the creation of branded materials allows you and others to raise awareness of your brand wherever they go. Custom printed stickers, stationery, pins, buttons, mugs, t-shirts, baseball caps and other ephemera are great ways to create brand awareness without sinking in too much of your precious time and resources.
Partner with other brands
By partnering your brand with another complimentary service or product, you can piggyback on their popularity, recognition and customer base while lending your talent and expertise to another brand. Whenever you see a coffee franchise stall in a museum, gallery or movie theatre you’ll see an example of this principle in action.
Many brands broaden their reach by incentivizing their customers to refer their friends and family. This is a tenet traditionally associated multi level marketing companies, but it’s an excellent working strategy that can be applied to a multitude of businesses.
Offering your customers a discount on their next purchase or a free gift when they refer a friend or family member is a great way of organically expanding your customer base.
Guest blogging and speaking
Nobody has your unique skills and experience. If you’ve reached the point where you’re operating your own businesses then the chances are that legions of would-be entrepreneurs will want to hear what you have to say.
By lending your voice to business blogs or speaking engagements you can demonstrate your experience and wisdom while also promoting trust, legitimacy and awareness for your brand.
Reach out to key influencers
It’s important to identify who influences your customer’s spending habits. Finding out which TV presenters, bloggers, journalists, actors and YouTube personalities your customers identify with and offering them freebies to incentivize them to promote your product is a hugely effective and relatively inexpensive way of growing your brand.
Start a social media community
Whatever the size of your business, you should have a social media presence in order to ensure a meaningful point of contact with your customers. You should encourage and reward participation with regular competitions, exclusive discounts and even helping your customers to promote their businesses or projects.