As a young entrepreneur or professional with a small business you may be thinking how exactly will I be able to compete with the big leading brands out in the market and the answer comes down to a number of things. Firstly, being a success and surviving against competitors involves taking a lot of risks, being motivated and selecting the right ingredients for marketing your brand and product well. You will quickly come to realise that you will have more than one role to play within your own company or start up and right from the get-go, you will be marketing not only your business but yourself too through self-branding. It’s true to say that people have different opinions of what marketing should perhaps consist of, however when approaching marketing one phrase should always be kept in mind for you young entrepreneurs and that is ‘brand-experience’. So, here are a few ingredients to throw into your start up and get your brand noticed:
A Cup Full Of Branding
The most important ingredient in your mix for success is your brand name – do you have one yet? You may think it’s just a name but a name is everything that you will be represented by. You will find that the most successful brands in the world have a clear vision; a clear idea to the consumer of what they are buying into through their name. Have a think of what you have to offer and your target audience and create a simple message which they can buy into. Do some user testing and see how people respond to it, from there this should give you an indicator as to what works well.
Do take inspiration from leading brand names like Apple, Coca-Cola and Disney, think about what brands stand out to you and take note of their progression and how they visually and mentally stay in people’s minds. You could even learn off brands that have encountered major difficulties but turned themselves around to make it big in business again, sometimes it is good learn through peoples mistakes so you can do things better.
Bring To The Boil And Reduce The Heat – Learning From Martha Stewart
In business be aware that the pressure can rise quickly and can burn easily and any failure can be recovered. A good example of this and personal name branding with business success is Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart has a brand name that is a real name and used in all her business ventures. She is the creative American business woman who gained enormous success from being a television personality to publishing books, broadcasting and merchandising. Her global business success is known by her name alone and markets itself; host of “Martha”, Founder of “Martha Stewart” Living Omnimedia and publisher of “Martha Stewart” Living – as you can see her name sells well but back in 2004 she was found guilty of conspiracy. Making false statements to federal investigators had her sentenced to 5 months in a correctional facility and after this she had a 2 year period of supervised release, and she even had a 5 year ban from serving as a CEO, director and CFO.
Since that downfall Martha launched a publicized comeback which led her to being back in business and announcing a multi-year agreement with FLOR Inc to manufacture branded carpet tiles “The Martha Stewart Floor Designs by Flor”. She is back appearing in TV shows and runs her own show “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”. This brand name lives on even through imprisonment and will live on after she has passed away; there is much to take away from this case study as seen in the video below:
So, what have you learnt through the Martha Stewart business case? It’s easy to think running your own business will be easy but there are pitfalls. If you handle business in the wrong way or take advantage of success you could come falling down in parts like Martha and could damage your brand name but it is how you pick yourself back up and learn from mistakes that will have your brand name known and accepted again in business. Creativity, passion, inspiration and providing to your loyal customers will get you far.
Add In Humanity Into Your Mix
Aspirations, sharing knowledge and recording thoughts are all things that we as humans can easily relate to. Brands which relate best to people in fact use human characteristics to connect with their audience; known as ‘anthropomorphism’. To illustrate this point you need to solely look at companies like Apple and Virgin, who go the “extra mile” to connect with their consumers on a personal level; just like a real human being.
Bloggers love to write about Apple products because they connect well with the brand. When thinking about humanity in your business plan think about the type of things people may write about your brand. Do you have a product like “facetime” that Apple has and makes life sharing global and easy to communicate with? If not, why not – it’s a success!
Will you be offering freebies, vouchers, promotions or discounts to engage better with consumers? If not, why not. Humans like to see that they can save money and will share information about your brand discount offering through social media; a global and viral networking stream.
As a small business or entrepreneur you need to remember that an online presence and human interaction is vital to the success you will have with customers. Tap into everything free you can offer to establish a presence with your audience. Think e-mail marketing, still an effective method and will gain you subscribers to newsletters you produce with updates. Create e-books, tutorials, run webinars all for free and great for entrepreneurship. The freebies are out there, just make use of them.
A Pinch of Seizing the Moment
Thanks to the internet and mobile technology, consumers intake information on the go quickly. It is your job to keep up with them and what is trending. A handy tool to use is trendsmap – access Twitter’s trending news in real time.
It goes without saying that you need a social media presence for your start-up, without one you will find it tricky to connect with your target audience. So, throw a social strategy into your marketing and do analyse who is influencing which sector and who you are connected with; within a pinch of salt you get the attention and your competitor doesn’t.
You must have heard of the brand Oreo, they actually went down in the advertising and marketing hall of fame as a success for quickly tweeting an image ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ When the Superbowl had a power cut. Even though they were picked up by the mass media in an instant, Oreo didn’t have to pay for any advertising space whatsoever.
Cut into Online Retailing
Is your company just in the physical form? If so then get online and set up an ecommerce site. Going solo without an online presence is where you are pretty much doomed to fail in business; maximise your potential revenue by taking to the internet. It is not hard to set up your own website and can be done through the simplest WordPress set up. Try WooCommerce, a toolkit that can help you sell just about anything. You can transform your WordPress into a store for FREE. It is highly secured, provides reporting on your activity and products and you can even run campaigns for marketing and promotion, it even sorts out your methods off shipping and tax rates.
Taste Your Product Development
Always enhance your product development further to get to best outcome for success. Instagram allows you to upload short video clips so use this to give your audience a taster of your business or product and don’t fear the hash tags – use them its free marketing.
As you can see, there is plenty to think about when it comes to marketing and setting out to produce your new business or develop your small business.
Hannah is a writer who currently works on the Vouchercloud Sainsbury’s discount team. She has worked on many product strategies and project developments, engaging with the customer. In her spare time Hannah has a passion for travel and networking and believes everyone can motivate themselves to success.