Branding and Marketing in Small Businesses
Today we cover a topic that may be of use to students studying the ‘entrepreneurship and small business management’ module (and may provide students with the tools needed for the creation of their own ventures in the future). So, what’s the best way to get started with branding and marketing in a small business?
The decision-making process in a small company should be quickly established. What level of decision needs approval from the upper echelons, and which can be taken quickly by those working on the ground? It’s important to set out these responsibilities early to avoid confusion and streamline the process.
Tailor to your audience
If you don’t know your customer then you don’t know your product. A small amount of research can go a long way to helping you make reasonable choices when spending that precious marketing budget. Combine the information garnered from research with a company-wide session aimed at thinking how to innovatively target your audience through their habits. If you know them well enough, you’ll find the perfect place to be seen.
Let your research guide every decision
That data you’ve obtained shouldn’t just provide you with raw marketing insights; it should inform everything the company does. The data guide the development of the brand identity; Branding agency B&B Studio helped food producer ‘Bear’ to turn the product from a baking aisle nonentity, to the UK’s biggest selling children’s fruit snack in 2015. After researching the product and its customer base, B&B Studio saw the product’s potential as a healthy alternative for children and began shaping the brand’s look around this idea.
Having a presence online is a must. A website offers an extremely cost-effective way to open up a shop front, whilst social channels give you a free outlet through which you can research, share and engage with potential customers.
Don’t confuse logo with brand
The carefully designed marketing collateral will help the brand stick in people’s unconscious thoughts, but don’t rely too heavily on the visual aspect of the brand. Logos tell people who you are, the brand message should tell people what you are.
Work with partners to get your message out
Thinking innovatively when choosing a partner company to work with can save money and may well just introduce you to a group of ready-made loyal customers. If the partner brand has a dedicated following, the audience is receptive to your message, and your brand identity is strong, you may have just hit on a following that would take years to build alone.