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Your Company Brand – Zero to Hero: 4 Marketing Tactics


Your Company Brand, the Hero that Saves the DayWhat statement does your company make? Do you have any idea? Is it shouting out its vision or is it sitting on the fence? Your customers will know which is why it’s important to take care with what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Whether that communication is an invoice landing on your customer’s desk or an online article or the spotless state of your vehicle, it gets processed as part of your company image and therefore your company brand. Your company reputation lies in your communications and your reputation gets you noticed – hopefully in a positive way. We’ve heard the SMME startup failure stats before. The key is to get on the ladder fast and hang in there. Do it right by giving your company brand a clear voice from the start.

1. Your Company Brand – what you’re saying

If your company were a person, what would they look and sound like? Here’s how it works:

Apple iPod = high energy, young, in acceptably mismatching socks
Established legal advisor = low-key, serious in a navy suit

Your website, business card, newsletter, vehicle, sales staff, every email communication must have one and the same voice. A client may be exposed to all of the above. One point of contact should lead to recall of another without creating any confusion around your company brand.

As a small business entrepreneur, you’ll be stretched for resources so accept you can’t be everything to everyone. Specialize in what you know. Pick a message and stick to it. Shout it out in any and all marketing media appropriate for your business.

2. Your Entrepreneur Gameplan – who you’re talking to

If you know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to get through to them. Work out the profile of your target market:
• Age and gender (young, old, middle-aged)
• Location (in SA or abroad, inland or at the coast, local or national)
• Education and income levels (university educated or street-smart)
• Marital status / family lifecycle (single, newlyweds, have children, grandchildren)
• Ethnic and religious background (generally not always applicable but may be relevant to your approach)
• Lifestyle (conservative, trendy, homebody, party animal)
• Social class (lower, middle or upper – this gives an indication of spending power)
• Leaders or followers (do they look for the latest gadget or wait to hear about it)
• Activities and interests (hobbies, interested in politics or environmental issues)
• Put all the info together and speak to them in a voice they’ll relate to. For example, you might talk to 25-30 year olds who have young families, little time for themselves, have a diploma and spend their R5000 disposable income on annual beach holidays.

It’s not imperative to know all these details but the more you do know the better prepared you’ll be.

3. Mic check – are they listening?

Are your marketing tactics growing your bottom line? If not, you might be talking via a channel they don’t listen to. Find out where they go for information when they need it and be THERE. If you’re targeting working moms, you may want to reach them on a local radio station that enhances office work time in their programming. If your target market is 70-year old retirees, make sure the font on your leaflet is big enough to read and avoid colloquialisms. Geddit? If you email newsletters or have a small business page on Facebook, you’ll know whether they’re listening. Online marketing provides great measuring tools.

4. Marketing Tactics 101 – keep saying it

It’s near impossible to get it right from the start so you’re not alone if you’re battling to find your way. The key is to know what your small business is about and keep your message consistent. If that’s clear, people will notice your efforts. Even if you change tactics, they’ll still recognize you.

If you’ve been at it for a while, are you still sending out a consistent message? We’re bombarded with advertising so people need reminding. They may not need you now but when they do, you have to be there. Expect to have to repeat yourself. You may need to use different methods to keep it fresh but maintain your tone and authority to build and maintain trust in your company brand.

Happy branding!
Claudine

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