A small winter festival that began in 1890 as a way to celebrate the “Mediterranean of the West” and showcase the Southern California sunshine and flowers has since grown into a magical world-renowned celebration. The annual tournament of roses New Years day parade is now a monumental celebration, drawing millions of spectators from around the world each year. The festivities are broadcast in 200 countries, and the “Rose parade” brand is an international sensation, synonymous with New Years day.
This is a classic textbook case of how a non profit organization can build a strong brand presence, without the bells, whistles and deep pockets of larger corporations.
This article will discuss branding for small business owners, specifically, how to develop a unique brand on a small budget. Readers will leave with an understanding of how to choose colors that best resonate with their target audiences, and a handful of creative, affordable marketing ideas. The end of the articles provides a few simple action steps pertinent to developing a strong, credible brand.
Building a brand requires a keen understanding of how you differ from your competitors, the problems your product solves, and why consumers should select you over the competition. It encompasses the buyers experience and perception of your product. Developing a strong brand personality requires time, consistency, innovation and persistence.
The pictures below show examples of how several companies that started out as small, unknown brands have developed a commanding presence.(Article con’d)
The first step in building your brand is to decide what you stand for. First determining your purpose and mission statement. Keep in mind that you are establishing a promise to your customers, and a brand personality that matches that promise.For example:
If you are not selling an innovative product or service, think about companies that have outlasted the competition, like Nike, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or Southwest Airlines. These organizations don’t provide state-of-the- art, or rare products. They have differentiated themselves by enhancing the customer experience, creating memorable experiences, catchy tag lines, convenience, exceptional service, and a strong, integrated marketing plan.
Remember to use the A.I.D.A. formula in your branding:
A: Attention: Grab the attention of your target market.
I: Interest: Create interest in your story and brand by differentiating yourself.
D: Desire: Develop and instill desire for your product or service (why should someone purchase it-how will it make them feel or look)?
A: Action: Persuade them to take a specific action.
Companies with a strong sense of purpose almost always exude positive character traits like caring, courage, honesty, and respect. It’s everywhere; in the advertising, customer service, web presence, and brand personality. You come to expect and even depend on consistent quality, great service, or fast turnaround time.
The most important aspect to remember is that branding is ongoing. It starts long before the sale, and sometimes the most powerful branding happens after the purchase.
Some companies reach out after the sale. Have you ever had a service rep call you to ask you how your experience was? Or have you ever received a personal thank you note after making a purchase? Branding is ongoing. When it’s done properly, over time, it can do wonders.
I recently walked into a quaint bookstore in a small beach community with a good friend. We were greeted with “Hello, can I get you a glass of chardonnay or hot tea?” We felt as though we had walked into a cozy living room. This got our attention and interest. It persuaded us to spend some time browsing through the books, and strike up a conversation with the owner. It was personable and memorable. It was a simple but powerful strategy.Courtney’s Action Items:
Incorporate one of these unique branding ideas into your small business within the next 30 days:Brick and Mortar businesses
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