Marketing helps brands and brands help marketing. It’s all about creating a presence, a presence that is rooted in quality and trust. That ought to be the goal of every business, big or small. Don’t keep running after people, make them come to you. That’s an enviable position which one doesn’t often find oneself in.
The world’s biggest brands, however, do. It doesn’t matter which industry they come from, but rather what they have come to represent – relevance to the times, popularity, quality, reliability, and ultimately, financial success
Good brands do a lot of things. They tell you a story, they give you a sense of security, they make you happy after a purchase, and they make you want to flaunt your purchase. But above all, they make you keep coming back to them.
So, what can you learn from them
A lot, but primarily, the following:
Offer something valuable, and preferably unique
Before there was a brand, there was a product. And before there was a product, there was an idea. Each of the big brand companies today was at one point offering something that no one else was. That is what captured people’s fancy.
It may just have been flavored soda water, but hey, they thought it was interesting. And as a result, everybody else did, too.
The problem with most companies is that they do not offer anything unique, and if they do, they don’t adequately market that aspect of it.
What does your business stand for? What is its USP?
As someone who has owned a few small businesses, I can underline this as being the most important factor for early (and continued) success – an immense clarity about what you offer and where you stand in relation to your competitors. This is what takes you to the right people. Right people make your business.
People know what they can expect from a brand
Once you start attracting customers, you’ll need to deliver the best results every single time.
People turn to their favorite brand for a reason. They know what to expect from it; they have been served very well in the past, and they continue to be happy with it. They know they can rely on it for a quality purchase. And should they have a bad incident, they know their trusted company/outlet/website will sort them out.
Your performance should be such that you inspire complete trust in your customers. They come to rely on you because you are that good.
Are you there yet?
Create a desire
It may well be that people may not have much of a need for your product/service. Your job is to convince them that they do.
Your job is to present that in such a way that it becomes a no-brainer for them to come to you. This is not some Jedi mind trick, this is standard marketing fare.
How do the successful brands do it?
They know their demographics. They do their research. They know the problems, requirements, or desires of their targeted segments. And accordingly, they come up with products that fulfill a physical or psychological need. The result? People can’t help but fall for their products.
So your website offers designing solutions? About a million others do. But maybe not in your area, and maybe they don’t spend hours or days understanding the clients, their requirements, and expectations. There is always something you can do differently and convince others that yours is the best way.
Customers are fickle, and you’re nothing special
Apple may have reshaped the smartphone industry with its range of iPhones, but Samsung did not take very long to catch up. As per 2012 data, Samsung shipped more smartphones than any other company last year and is poised to be the leader in this field. Samsung is not a top 10 brand yet, but boy is it giving Apple a run for its money in what happens to be the latter’s stronghold.
The point is, even if you were unique to begin with, it might only give you a solid start. From that point on, it’s all about innovation to keep up with, if not ahead, of the times.
Since I run an online business, I’m always on the lookout for new technological developments that can give my customers a better online experience, and as a result strengthen my own customer base. Customers are always just one good rival brand experience away from being lost.
Create a catchy slogan that captures the essence of your offerings, and promote it on social media.
Just do it.
Small businesses don’t often think along these lines, but having a slogan will make you memorable to your customers. Even if you only have an idea of opening an ice-cream center in NYC, there are ways in which you can make your center memorable to those in your neighborhood.
Yes, you could start with a cool name, a cooler color for your van, great ice cream, and a variety of flavors. But underline it with a slogan that ties it all together for you, that works as a rallying point for your employees, and reinforces your memory in the minds of your customers.
In conclusion: Brands are all about personality, and good personalities are infectious. They strike a chord with people and turn them into your customers. Give your business a personality unique and powerful enough for it to become a brand, and see the magic unfold.
Why do some people prefer Pepsi over Coke? Nike over Adidas?
Andrew Cravenho is the CEO of CBAC LLC & Factor Auction. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and medium sized businesses take control of their cash flow. Prior to CBAC, Andrew founded an annuity financing company relieving tort victims of financial hardship.
Image credit: CC by Alexis Ori