One major difference between large corporations and small scale businesses is that the former understands the intricacies of recognition and public perception. Over time, control of how the public perceives an organization or entity had been redefined as branding. Everyone who has a service or product to offer, however, has a brand. According to Mark McCulloch, founder of Spectacular Marketing says, “You have a brand whether you like it or not. It’s best to embrace that and find the best way to connect your brand with your target audience.”
Branding is all about the impression you make. If you want to succeed, that impression should do two jobs – it should convey what is special about your business and it should show said business in a positive light. So whether you’re a small or medium scale business, branding applies to you.
However, owners of new and growing businesses usually get tense when they hear the word branding either because they do not understand what it means or because they find it a tiresome process to think about. Their reasons could range from lack of funds, resources, to too little time to do many things. Small businesses also often find the process of breaking through the market clutter quite tedious.
But branding needn’t be an expensive or rigorous process. Perhaps, the first thing to do is tackle the wording. If you were to replace the word ‘branding’ with ‘reputation’, it might shine a different light on the word. Your reputation is how everyone sees you and your business. And while every business is unique, below are some of the pointers that can help most SMEs become a formidable brand with its own business identity.
1. Build on Customer Experience – See your customers as advisors. Make them feel as if they’re part of your team. Great service always leaves customers spreading good word and enhancing your customer base for you. Engage with your customers as you learn from their actions and feedback’s. Act to improve on the experience you’re delivering at all times.
2. Build the Character of your SME – Work to create a personality for your startup or SME, think of your brand as a person and what it needs to signify to your audience, then create content and communication always thinking of the same.
3. Media Exposure –It is understood that most startups and SMEs have no money for public relations or branding but that should not stop your business from having its story out there. If you cannot afford standard advertising on television or radio, you can easily go on social media to post your products and services. Simply find what platforms suit you best.
4. Customize your Merchandise –If you operate a business where your merchandise can be printed upon, take that opportunity. Have your brand or business name out there. You never know how far souvenirs and printable materials go.
Every business is unique and has its own share of rules. However, sometimes, it pays to try out bold, new ways of having a wider reach. What is required of you, is that you explore every available opportunity you can in getting your SME name out there.