In my conversations with many small business owners and home business entrepreneurs, branding is almost always considered the turf of big boys. Afterall, who has time to think of branding when they are busy selling and marketing their businesses? This is especially true among solo entrepreneurs doing everything by themselves.
This mindset is unfortunate to a certain extent as small entrepreneurs can benefit tremendously from properly positioning their businesses into a brand. They may not have the deep pockets needed to run branding campaigns, and their businesses may not become household names, but we small entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from knowing how the big boys develop and cultivate their brands, ensuring high top-of-the-mind awareness.
ChiefMarketer.com has an interesting article on the new rules of branding. According to Simon Williams, CEO of branding company Sterling Group, below are 10 approaches you can take if you want to turn your business into a brand:
- Influence culture to sell more – e.g. Google and Nike
- Stand for something; have a definite point of view – e.g. Fox News
- Involve your customers – e.g. Converse
- Customization is crucial – e.g. Ipod. Starbucks, Nike
- Wow your customers every day – e.g. Apple and Coach
- Be very clear as to what you’re selling; present your products clearly
- Find your weakest link — and rectify it quick
- Customers look up to brands that are socially responsible — e.g. Target
- Move fast — e.g. Google
- Innovation should be at the heart of your strategy
Some of the above make sense even for a one-person business. I think the above list shows what every entrepreneur dreams and wants for their business — having to implement them all, though, is an entirely different matter. While Google introduces new products left and right nowadays in order to make sure that they are so far ahead of their competition, a solo entrepreneur may forego sleeping altogether for months if he/she wants to move fast into the market. Not to mention the fact that resources will always be an issue!
Nonetheless, it is worth keeping the above strategies in mind when thinking of how best you want to set your business apart from your competition and be ahead of the pack.