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In Canada, we all know Tim Hortons, Shoppers Drug Mart, Dollarama, and Canadian Tire. They know how to build a brand. It’s not just about their logo, products, services, and marketing messages. Brand is how people experience a company. So how can a small company with a small “beer” budget build a “champagne” brand? Here are 7 key strategies you should consider to make your brand sparkle.
1. Know Your Ideal Customer
Does your business appeal to Millennials or Baby Boomers? Are potential customers highly-educated or working class? Are they married? What do they like and dislike? Unless you identify what your ideal customer looks like, it will be very difficult to strengthen your brand. When you know who the person is, you can speak directly to them and improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
2. Be Useful
Business Insider suggests your business needs to be “practical, tactical and useful” if you want to build your brand. Help customers relieve headaches or alleviate their fear and present you material clearly so they can easily understand what you offer. You must also make your business easy to find through multiple channels.
3. Master a Specific Niche
Don’t dilute your message by focusing on too many niches. Identify the qualities that embody your brand, make it more memorable, and appeal to your ideal customer. For instance, if you run a business consulting service, you’ll deliver a more powerful message if you focus. Building a brand for small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the Greater Toronto Area is far easier and more effective than trying to blanket all companies in Ontario.
4. Add Personality
Unless you’re amazingly lucky, your company has competitors. Setting yourself apart from others means creating a unique narrative describing who you are and what you represent. However, you also need to infuse it with personality if you want to boost your brand. For example, Apple’s personality stresses innovation and simplicity. Red Bull stresses high-octane adventure and fun. Mercedes oozes prestige and sophistication. Whatever personality you choose, always be truthful, authentic, respectful, and responsive. Paint a powerful picture of who you are and what you do so people can measure whether your business suits them.
5. Appeal to Emotions
Brands appeal to emotions, because people tend to rely on them when they make buying decisions. People remember how you make them feel. Sure, they want to know about features and benefits, but that’s not what makes them act. When you understand their desires and struggles, you can create a brand persona that satisfies their needs, appeals to them personally, and helps them relate to who you are. GoPro’s tagline is “Be a HERO”. It not only promotes their camera line, but suggests buyers can enjoy great adventures. The Egg Farmers of Ontario encourage people to “Get cracking” suggesting eggs promote healthy, energetic living. Molson Canadian takes it one step farther with the tagline “I Am Canadian”, indicating their product delivers precisely what patriotic beer drinking Canadians need.
6. Listen to Your Customers
When you listen to a prospect’s dialogue, you can define their needs. They’re not looking for products or services, but solutions to their problems. Focus on the information prospects provide and use what they say in your branding material. When they understand you can solve their problem or fulfill their need and you speak to them in their language, you strengthen your brand.
7. Reach Your Audience
It’s almost impossible to build a strong brand unless you reach out to your audience in the places they visit. Today, businesses can tap into online and offline mediums for maximum reach and effectiveness. Here are some “must have” online and offline strategies.
Website – All businesses need an optimized, accessible website – period. It is your number one marketing asset in our digital age and consumers expect you to have one, even if you’re on social media. According to LSA Insider, 87 percent of shoppers begin the purchase process online. Even if they come to your brick and mortar business to buy, they’ll still check your website out first. If you don’t have a website, they may not engage since they’ll consider you less professional and less trustworthy.
Social Media – You can’t afford to ignore social media today, since so many people connect through it. Entrepreneur.com suggests you choose a platform that works well with your brand. Choose wisely, since maintaining a successful social media platform requires regular posts to increase traffic and maintain your search engine rankings. Social media thrives on sharing, so you must also provide valuable, click-worthy content to make it worthwhile. Include images or videos as they receive 94 percent more views. Also leverage the success of influencers in your niche. You can ride on their coat tails and garner attention for your brand. Finally, don’t shy away from paid advertising. If a post gets plenty of likes and shares, it may be worth your while to extend your reach. You could also run a contest, post a survey, or offer a discount. Remember, social media can strengthen your brand, but algorithm updates can reduce organic traffic, so your website and offline marketing is always important.
Unfortunately, many companies focus solely on social media and/or their website and ignore traditional advertising mediums. Certainly, “sharing” your message is what it is all about, but traditional advertising mediums are very effective and affordable, and can reach potential customers in places untouched by the digital marketplace.
Business Cards – Despite technological advances, business cards still matter. They’re a valuable trust-building tool and can reinforce bonds made over the telephone or internet. They also help people remember your business name and company title and provide a first peek at your brand. Today’s business cards are often very inventive. For instance, one Toronto divorce lawyer perforated his card down the middle. He included his contact information on both sides so either party could reach him. However, many companies rely on other innovative ideas. Some businesses include QR codes on the backside of their card to provide mobile phone users with additional information. Others use a QR code to direct a person to their mobile optimized web page with their contact information so they can add the person to their contacts. Still others include a promo code for a product or service. Since business cards are inexpensive, portable, and easy to share it makes sense to use them. With so many card stock, print, and finish options available it’s simple to create a stunning business card people are sure to remember.
Billboard Advertising – Billboards offer a great way to cut through the crowded marketplace so a business gets noticed. A Touchpoint USA Billboard study found adding outdoor advertising to your media plan can also significantly amplify your success through other media. The more often a person “touches” your brand the more likely they are to act. In the past, traditional billboards were costly and limited to large enterprises. Mini-billboards are a worthwhile investment for companies of all sizes and especially those with a “beer” budget. Mini-billboards offer eye-catching, full colour graphics and 24/7 exposure. From initial consultation to installation, the process takes less than a week to create a mini-billboard design to build your brand, illicit emotion, and connect with your audience.
Vinyl Banners – Vinyl banners are also an inexpensive way to strengthen your brand. They deliver top-notch graphics and mobility for a very reasonable cost. They’re durable, tear resistant, and reusable when handled properly. Print them single or double-sided and hang them vertically or horizontally, indoors or out. Hang them on street poles, storefronts, buildings, interior walls, or windows. Common applications include trade shows, sales presentations, educational displays, sales promotions or specials, and outside of an establishment to encourage foot traffic. Vinyl banners provide scale, visibility, and drama to help you connect with your audience. They’re a very affordable choice if you want to build awareness and increase engagement.
There are many ways a brand can sparkle but small brands on a “beer” budget cannot afford to waste money trying to figure out how to build a bubbly brand. These key strategies are important to consider, especially in today’s cluttered business environment where brands must really pop to get consumers attention. Cheers to you as you take the first step!
If you’re interested in innovative offline advertising solutions, such as mini-billboard advertising, vinyl banners, or business cards – CONTACT US ANYTIME – We’re always happy to help! Postcard Portables is not just a sign company – we offer advertising solutions.