During down economy, small business gets hit faster.
Generally, the most meaningful response to any such crisis is to stop all marketing expenses.
All training programms.
This could be a big mistake.
Branding is not expansive.
Not branding is ten times more expansive.
Here are some simple and proven ideas for small businesses, which can help you grow your brand even during the low phase.
1. Branding is not a buzzword. 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 about pull strategy.
It is about making buying decision easier for your customer.
It is about customer searching the brand instead of company searching the customer.
This is the simplest form of reverse marketing.
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 and the list grows.
7. Today’s customers get bored easily.
Give them a good story.
Great marketing is all about great stories told to them in different ways.
Customers don’t buy products, they buy interesting stories.
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-network and network more.
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, just talk to your ten best customers.
10. And finally, a word about marketing ethics. When you were small, you behaved because mother was watching you.
Now everybody is watching you.
Don’t do anything, which will make you uncomfortable, if it comes on the front page of tomorrow’s Times Of India.
Awesome companies are made by following these simple rules of Branding.