Small Business Branding Strategies To Beat The Pros

Thanks to my work as a brand consultant, I’m fortunate enough to get to spend time helping giant companies like Disney, LEGO, and Unilever discover the essence of their respective brands. But some of the conversations on this subject I enjoy most are the ones I have at events, offices, and coffee shops around the world with small business owners about the challenges they face while building an identity for their company.

Of course, branding for small businesses is different than branding for conglomerates. Small businesses don’t have the funds or manpower a Fortune 500 company does. But, many Fortune 500 employees who handle branding would gladly trade their resources for the advantages small business branding offers.

Don’t believe me? Then you need to read on.

Here are just some of the significant advantages I tell small business owners to exploit when they start a branding project:

  1. They can react faster – When there’s the opportunity to take steps to respond to new competitors or a marketplace event, decision-making doesn’t need to flow through to the boss’ boss’ boss, decisions can and should be made and executed instantaneously! No Fortune 500 company can do that!
  2. They can go micro – Whether by geographic or psychographic data point, smaller brands can narrowly define their appeal to their target market. Don’t worry about a global identity, but instead focus on how to appeal very specifically to each group of stakeholders you seek to serve.
  3. They can be more provocative – Breaking through the media and marketplace noise of 2018 means making bold statements. Smaller brands have a lot more freedom to do that than larger ones. Organize stunts, raise eyebrows, and make bold pronouncements (so long as it doesn’t alienate your target market).
  4. They are freer from creative constraints – There’s less red tape, and we all know that’s a good thing. Be flexible. Try looking to industries outside your own for inspiration. Find the ones that are doing something revolutionary or creative, or something resonating with consumers, and see what you can incorporate into your branding experiment.

These four advantages give small businesses an edge and provide a more dynamic and more exciting playground in which to establish a meaningful brand.

Still, there’s one thing small businesses have to nail. The best brands, the ones that are really built to last, emerge from businesses that have a true understanding of their consumer.

Fortunately, this is another area small business owners are better positioned to exploit than the big guys!

Big corporations have completely forgotten about their customers. Instead of focusing on consumer desires and insights, they spend their time on “key performance indicators” which are often completely unrelated to anything that has to do with keeping customers happy.

But YOU can do it differently.

Do you understand your customers? Do you know how they live, what their daily life is like, and how they spend their free time? Have you found the gap between what they want and what they have? If not, it’s time to reintroduce yourself, because a better understanding of the consumer is the single greatest competitive advantage a business can have.

Quite frankly, the above tips alone will go a long way towards building a great small business brand – one that can beat the bigger competition. But I’ve been asked so many times to help small businesses that I took my lessons and turned them into a short video. If you want to learn more about how to truly understand your customer, how to reboot an established brand, or what the most important branding concept everyone misses is, you can join my email list and watch for free.

What challenges is your brand facing right now? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


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