Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) as well as first time entrepreneurs in the small scale sector are often faced with a dilemma when it comes to marketing and developing a brand building exercise. Unlike the common perception, brand building is not limited to big brands and global organizations. Every business module irrespective of its quantum or client base can gain substantially from adopting small but meaningful brand building exercise. While there is no denying the fact that most SME’s and small sector industries work on a shoe string budget and it is not always possible to spend a lot of finances on marketing and brand development programs. While brand building can be an expensive affair, it can also be modeled according to the financial allowances of the small sector if done in an intelligent manner.
Marketing Vs Branding: Before embarking on any brand building exercise, it is important to have a clear view of the possible demarcation between brand building and marketing. Most SME’s and small scale industry owners often commit the sin of mixing brand development with marketing and are not able to maximize their potential in terms of either brand development or successful sales enhancement. Technically speaking, marketing is defined as management process that accounts for identification and anticipation to successfully satisfy customer requirements ensuring profitability to the business. Simply speaking, marketing is essential for business development while branding focuses on the way consumers and future clients perceive the product offered and the company offering the same. To attain best results, all marketing campaigns and strategies must intrinsically be based on the brand’s personality. A marketing campaign without a strong brand behind it may bring a handful of clients but with the power of a strong brand, the same marketing campaign can go far deeper ensuring repeated customers and long term success.
Recommended Cost Effective Tips For Brand Development: Now that we know the difference between marketing campaigns and brand building exercise, let us take a look at some of the cost effective branding tips that can be implemented by SME’s and other small scale industry owners without any financial burden resulting in successful brand development.
- Develop Brand Focused Stationary: The first steps of having a successful brand and allied brand development exercises begins with the company stationary including letter heads, business cards, logos, product taglines and websites. One of the most common mistakes made by SME’s and businesses with small budget is to keep changing their stationary over time without any brand value development. Business cards for such enterprises may look different on their stationary and websites making it a haphazard experience for the clients. Choosing a perfectly synchronized logo with the business is advised along with a catchy tag line that can promote the brand as well as the product offered. Developing brand focused stationary is not an expensive affair if done with complete focus on the brand and its product but brings with it a sense of professionalism and brand etiquette to the business.
- Customer is King: All businesses no matter how big or how small are about sales, sales and more sales. The only driving forces behind good sale figures are the customers and the broader client base. All branding activities must be done with the customer in mind. Small but meaningful steps like offering rewards to regular customers, appreciating feedback and offering customer support go a long way in making sure that not only the brand receives favorable word of mouth publicity but opens avenues for customers repeating the product owing to intrinsic customer support.
- Focus On Internal Branding: Branding exercises focused on the consumers and the client base is important but companies that focus on internal brand management make sure that all employees and company management is also an intrinsic part of the brand. Ethical business practices by the company and its organizational staff must be maintained at all times with the highest priority. Branding all in-house communications, presentations including quality checks are some of the ways to promote internal brand development within the company setup.
- Improve Credit Ratings: Along with internal and external brand management, all SME’s must make sure that the company maintains a positive credit rating resulting in easier influx of funds for future expansions. Since credit ratings are directly related to the financial health of the SME’s, improved credit ratings can allow for more funds for development of products and marketing strategies.
- Use Media Intelligently: In this information age, the role of conventional as well as social media is a very extensive tool to promote and deliver successful brand management. Choosing the right media platform for brand and product promotion must be chosen carefully. A company with a product catering to the youth is better off adopting a social media management policy rather than conventional ways of advertising in print or Television. Brands can use advertising, public relations, sales promotion activities and exhibitions as possible promotional possibilities. Press releases and a good media coverage act as silent but deadly tools to enhance brand promotion of various products offered by SME’s who do not have funds for large media oriented marketing and brand promotion campaigns. People offering product reviews on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc can also be enrolled as a part of brand promotion as brand ambassadors for the product.