Owners of small businesses (who dream of growing) have a lot to learn from the big businesses; and one of such essential strategies that small-scale manufacturing companies must learn is “branding”.
Why Does Every Business Need a Brand?
To brand a business is to create for it a distinct and parallel identity that totally sets it apart from the numerous of its kind in the ever competitive market.
The reality is that for any one product or company that satisfies a particular need of the consumers there are several others that could meet the same need; therefore what branding essentially does is to create a unique image for the company or its products that would easily appeal to the emotions of the consumers so that they can choose it ahead of its competitors.
For example there are at least four different brands of noodles in the market today and they all target the same class of consumers. As the target market is usually fairly inelastic (i.e. cannot be expanded), it then means that whichever of these brands that would make the highest sales will only do so by shifting the consumers’ attention away from its competitors. Well, that is no crime, and what a company should be thinking of is how it would be the one driving the market and leading in sales in the midst of inevitable competition.
How Can You Create a Brand?
1. Add Something to the Existing Quality
Branding your business begins with defining a standard for your product. Therefore the first step you must take to create a brand is to go a step higher on the existing quality in the market by adding a little unique element to your products or services.
Usually there is a benchmark or average standard that your product has to attain if it must have relevance in the market at all, but to become the market leader you would have to do something extra no matter how small; add a little extra something that is not in any of the products you are competing with. And this invariably means that you need to carry out a simple research so as to get a clear knowledge of the existing quality and then go on to determine what little unique element you would add to the existing quality in order to justify your entrance and stand in the competitive market. You would have to remember that in all of this, consumers’ satisfaction must be at the fore front.
If you are a furniture maker, for instance, you must be constantly dreaming up and creating new, better designs than your contemporaries; the same goes for a studio photographer, a fashion designer etc. In the end it is this extra thing that the customers would be looking for and which is what would open you up for more business.
2a. Create a Brand Image or Logo
Because there is a need for the consumers to identify your products and services in the market therefore you must create a brand image or a logo. This includes selection of a set of colours and designing of a particular logo in line with your products or services. But before you can do this you would have to first determine what attitude or feeling you want the consumers to have in relation to your products or services. Look for a symbol that inspires and identify with it.
For example a certain bank is associated with the image of an elephant which is a gigantic and strong animal. Invariably they are letting us know that they are a giant in the banking business, and they have strength.
The same strategy must be applied to your business such that your unique trademark must go with everything that you do.
A furniture maker, for example, may need to emphasize on elements such as durability, fancifulness, classiness etcetera and so create a brand image around such qualities. On anything you do, these logos and colour combination must appear. They also have a way of making the public take you serious too.
2b. Create a Brand Statement
What is the most important thing about your product or what drives you to
create such product? Is it for durability, or is it for beauty, fancifulness, extra efficiency, e.t.c?
Think about it and create a statement. Let this unique statement accompany your product wherever it goes. With time this statement will become engraved in the minds of your customers so that whenever they think of buying or using such a product the statement comes to mind.
For example, there is a particular telecommunication network provider which makes the users believe that they are ruling their world whenever they are making calls. So you must define the feeling that you want your customers to get any time they use your product by creating a brand statement.
3. Make Publicity
No one lights a candle and puts it under the table but on the tabletop. Every seasoned business man knows the importance of advertisement.
Mr. Billy Butlin, a British entrepreneur, says there is no point inventing new rat traps if nobody knows about the existing one. Little wonder why the big business owners around the world are never tired of exerting their presence on the market scene through ceaseless advertisements and promotions. Although the costs of advertisement might want to scare small businesses away, it is even much more costly not to advertise because the reason that a business exists and thrives is because it can keep its existing customers and attract new ones. In the ever competitive market what makes the difference between companies is the level of branding and publicity.
Seize every available and possible means to publicize your company or product. The benefits of advertising cannot be overemphasized. One is that advertisement allows for your name to be heard ever before you are seen. If you don’t blow your trumpet at all or loud enough you wouldn’t attract the kind of attention that you desire.
4. Make Promotions
No matter how little, make a point of creating a budget for promotions. It would do a lot of good for your company to give back to the public even if just once in a year during the popular festival like Christmas or New Year.
Promotions encourage the consumers because no one minds getting a freebie especially during special times and it also shows that you are thinking of them. Of course whatever freebie that you give must bear your identity and come to think of it, giving freebie is a win-win gesture because as the consumers enjoy the gift that you gave them they also help publicize your company further.