During down economy, small business gets hit faster.
Due to the double whammy of demonetization and GST, small businesses are facing more challenges.
Generally, the most meaningful response to any such crisis is to stop all branding and marketing expenses.
This could be a big mistake.
Here are some low-cost brand-building ideas, which can help you grow your brand even during the low phase.
1.Branding is not a buzz word. It is a way of life.
Your corner barber shop needs it- Airtel also needs it.
Either you believe in it, or you believe in planned death.
2.It is a myth that only big companies can indulge in brand building exercise.
Big companies have become big because they did a lot of brand building when they were small.
3.Every small action which sends a positive signal to outside universe is branding.
Every negative signal you send out has to be compensated by at least ten positive signals. This math is simple.
4.People confuse marketing with branding.
In our view, marketing is actively promoting a product or service. It’s a push tactic. It’s pushing out a message to get sales results: “Buy our product because it’s better than theirs”
Marketing is about good packaging, logos, slogans and cute advertising.
It is about different ways to seduce your customer.
Whereas, branding is about answering some simple questions:
Who are you?
Why are you here?
Why are you unique?
How can you make a dramatic difference?
Branding is what you stand for.
5.Branding is about your stationary, your visiting cards, your internal memos, your logo, letters going out of your office with no spelling errors and a lot of smiling faces.
6.Traditional advertising has stopped working (TV, press radio, outdoor etc) you have to find new ways to reach your customers.
Think of modern retail, multiplexes, google advertising, social networking sites, fan clubs, loyalty programs, in-film advertising, e-mail, mobile marketing’s marketing and the list grows.
7.Today’s customers get bored easily.
Give them a good story.
Brand Building is about telling interesting and different stories-which have never been told before.
Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike,Apple, Amazon,MacDonalds,Patanjali ,Amul.
They are successful because their stories are interesting and different.
8.PR (public relations) is the most underrated branding tool.
Advertising will create awareness, PR will sell the product.
In a small business, CEO is the key PR person.
Sell your company through social communities, business forums, and networking. One Owner-CEO of a small company admitted that he spends almost two hours a day only networking.
Golden rule-networking pays.
9.Small companies do not need big research.
Big companies use research as a safety net.
As Peter Van Stock, CEO of Jones Soda says” Focus groups are like toilet papers. They are only used to cover your ass”.
In case you need to know some basic insights about your brand or customer behaviour, just talk to your ten best customers.
10.And finally, a word about marketing ethics.
When you were small, you behaved because the mother was watching you.
Now everybody is watching you.
Due to this connected world, even a small mistake which could be ignored earlier gets magnified 5,000 times.
Don’t do anything, which will make you uncomfortable, if it comes on the front page of tomorrows Times Of India.
The greatest insurance you can do to secure your future is to continue branding activities- always.