Growing a business is tough, (when your business depends on you “sticking out” in a crowded marketplace (think fashion and retail, consumer technology) finding the key to the success of more-established peers can seem indefinable. They have great products, you have great products (maybe even better), but most will find that defining your business’ personality in the marketplace and staying completely true to those qualities is what separates you.)
Consider the following major, worldwide brands – Apple, Nike, and Toyota. You know who they are, what they do, what they stand for. That understanding that you have is down to years of brand building and unwavering loyalty to that vision. Rather than doubling down on traditional ads or emphasizing your products, it could pay to emphasize your brand, its unique offerings, or to simply make sure consumers think of your brand whenever they think of your industry, even if you’re a small business and your brand is therefore on a more limited scale. Today, let’s break down how you can think like a brand marketer and grow your business at the same time.
What is a Brand?
A brand is simply what sets your product or service apart from other products and services from other sellers. It not only makes your business easily identifiable via your business name and logo, it can also become synonymous to your company’s reputation when you ensure consistent quality.
People often believe that a brand is merely the name, logo, and slogan of a company. That’s certainly part of branding, but it’s also more than that: it’s essentially immediately what people think of when they think of your business. That’s why your brand is perhaps your company’s most valuable asset.
Take for example, the multinational vehicle manufacturer Toyota, which has developed a reputation over the last several decades for building reliable and long lasting cars that are generally affordable to the masses. When people think of ‘Toyota’ they don’t just think of the Toyota logo, they also think of the reputation that reliable Toyota vehicles like the Corolla or the 4Runner or the Tacoma are well known for. This is why people will often say “buy Toyota because of the brand.” The Toyota brand has become synonymous with automotive reliability.
You can apply the same concept to your own small business. Develop an identifiable logo, and focus on delivering quality every single time. Then when people think of your logo, they will also think of your company’s reputation and recognition. Let’s put it this way: your brand is what and how your business is recognized. And when marketing your brand, you need to think about more than just your logo. You need to think about how to actually manage your brand. Speaking of which…
The Importance of Brand Management
In the modern economy, brand management is supremely critical. Why? Simply put, consumers are unlikely to try out a new business unless reviews are great or the brand’s reputation is stellar, regardless of industry..
Done properly, brand management can benefit you by:
- Improving brand recognition across the board and thus making it easier to acquire new customers. This will make it more likely that new customers will choose your company when dipping into your industry for the first time. Focus less on saturated brand presence, and more on information focused on the latest trends or industry specific advice, so you’re the expert.
- Again, the better your brand is known and the better that brand image is, the more likely it is that new customers will choose your company instead of one of your competitors.
- Improving consumer relationships. Consumers are less likely to jump ship if they feel attached to your brand
How to Grow Your Business with Brand Marketing Strategies
There are multiple ways in which you can grow your business by leveraging smart brand business marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at a few of the best strategies that you can start working on today.
Build a Community
Firstly, try to build and cultivate a community surrounding your company. A community can be anything from a website user base to repeat customers to a growing user base of subscribers for ongoing services.
On social media, for example, you can:
- Ask your customers to share their experiences online via social media
- Create content and offer advice on simple steps.
- Build your brand via hashtags and profiles.
- Engage with customers and users via asking questions, taking polls, and so on.
- Give customers incentive or benefit for writing testimonials of your business on social media
- Encourage customers to take pictures of your products or while using your services and share them online as well
Regardless, communities are beneficial because:
- They act as a form of passive brand marketing. The bigger your community, the more likely new customers will be to give your company a shot
- They can serve as brand ambassadors, spreading the good word of your company out to people in your target audience but who may not have been reached by other marketing efforts
You can build a community by:
- Creating and moderating an online forum
- Engaging with social media posts and comments regularly
- Holding community contests
- Hosting community events or hosting community content on your site
All of these efforts make people feel like they are a part of something bigger than just a company.
Offer Gift Cards
Alternatively, you might consider offering gift cards to your core consumers. E-commerce and digital gift cards are excellent for driving traffic to your store, reminding consumers about upcoming deals (especially during important times of the year, like Black Friday), and more.
You can offer e-gift cards online through email marketing, to anyone who arrives at your store’s landing page, or through other methods. If your business is partially retail, don’t be afraid to offer physical gift cards to people who walk in the door or those who make a purchase. Physical gift cards act as a form of passive marketing, as well, since anyone who sees them will notice your brand’s logo and aesthetic. At the end of the day, your logo is a small if recognizable part of your brand, while a gift card is a way to please someone new. Gift cards are also a great way for customers to help you acquire new customers through intended gifting.
Start a Loyalty Program
By the same token, consider starting a loyalty program for your consumers. Loyalty programs are great because they:
- Reward people for sticking with your brand through thick and thin
- Offer progressively better benefits the longer people stick around and keep making purchases
- Incentivize people to buy things from your site instead of a competitor’s, even if a competitor’s similar product is a little cheaper
You can implement loyalty programs with points systems, by rewarding customers for every few purchases, by offering loans, or by doing something else. Regardless, loyalty programs are great for bolstering your brand identity and improving brand awareness over time.
Post and Advertise on Social Media
Speaking of brand awareness, there may be no better way to do this than to market and engage with your consumers on social media platforms like Facebook.
Social media marketing is a cornerstone of online marketing these days, and for good reason. Social media platforms allow you to answer questions from your customers, communicate regularly with your core audience, and even post ads organically.
More importantly, marketing on social media spreads the word and imagery of your brand across the platform and to the friends of your current customers. Social media marketing is great because it offers you the opportunity to both retain consumers and get new customers at the same time.
Leverage Product Subscriptions
Depending on the products or services you offer, consider offering product subscriptions. Consider a subscription like “beer of the month club” or “insider club.
Product subscriptions use recurring payment models and systems like Gravity Payments so that your core consumers pay you every week, month, or year.
For example, software as a service or SaaS companies benefit greatly from subscription-based models. Subscriptions are excellent for your brand’s longevity. The longer a subscriber, often, the more secure they are.
Create Compelling Content
Don’t forget to make compelling, engaging content for your website, like blogs or informative videos. Content not only helps with your Google search rankings, but it also gives your core users interesting content to absorb related to your brand. This makes your brand a bigger presence in their lives and, in turn, bolsters your brand’s power subconsciously. Don’t forget to cross-post your blogs with the blogs of other sites, and to link to each new post via social media.
As you can see, thinking like a brand marketer could be just what your marketing needs to reinvigorate it. Brand marketing is incredibly effective, especially when it comes to digital marketing, so use these strategies today. You might see results sooner than you think.