The Importance Of BrandingJames Cox
The majority of people will tell you they’ve never purchased a single product because of a TV commercial, billboard, ad or anything else like that. They are unknowingly lying because the fact is that we all have purchased something based on advertising. That’s why every year companies dedicate a large portion of their marketing budget towards branding and if you own a small business you cannot overlook the value in building a brand.
Still not convinced at the value of building a brand? When you go home tonight look around your kitchen, look in your refrigerator, your pantry and your cabinets. You purchased all those products for a reason. It may have been due to a need and/or a promotion being offered but you made the purchase. Now grab one of those products and look at the name. For example, you may select a cleaning product from under the sink. Is it the generic version? Is it the cheaper version of that product? Probably not, you probably bought it from the grocery store because it was right there. You may have selected it because it was on sale but there was something else behind that decision. You were intrigued because of the sale but what really drew you in was the fact that you were familiar with the brand. You’ve seen the name on commercials, in ads on websites you’ve visited, coupons in ads you view every weekend. You selected that specific product because of familiarity with the name.
Building Your Name Up
You’re sold on the need for branding but how do you do it? There are literally hundreds of ways including TV and radio commercials, passing out flyers, paid ads, PPC, email marketing, social media and more. Some will work better than others depending on what industry you are in but they all will have value when it comes to branding.
Building A Brand On The Cheap
If you don’t have the budget for expensive TV commercials don’t worry, you can still build a brand without spending a small fortune. Here are a few things you can do that are cost effective and get results:
- Email Marketing: A great way of building a brand is to do a monthly email campaign. This can be sent to new customers as well as current ones to keep them updated on big news, promotions and other things going on with your company. An email marketing campaign can target millions of customers at a fraction of the cost of any other method of advertising.
- Social Media: Having a Facebook page, Instagram profile, Twitter account and so forth are all free. You can also put a little money into building up followers but they are free to have and free to maintain.
- Paid Ads: Obviously if you want to do paid ads it will cost you money but you can set your own budget. For example, if you have a big sale coming up over the weekend you can set a budget of $20 a day to boost awareness.
It Won’t Work, But Still Do It
If you are a car dealership you will see better results with email marketing than you will with social media or SEO. So you should only do what works right? No, in fact you need to do it all. Put the majority of your budget towards what will get you the best ROI but do not neglect other avenues. Remember the example of the household cleaner you bought from the grocery store? You didn’t purchase it because of a commercial; you purchased it because of the sale. However, seeing it in that commercial made the sale more appealing to you because you had familiarity with the company. When you are building a brand there is no such thing as wasted effort.
Protecting Your Name
You’ve spent all this time and money building a brand and establishing your name. Now comes the next phase, making sure you protect it. No business is immune to criticism and you would be amazed at how many sales are lost because a customer researches a company and finds negative reviews. What makes it even more frustrating is the fact that the majority of those reviews were written by competitors or customers who were unwilling to cooperate. The problem is that a small percentage of happy customers will write a review while a large percentage of unhappy ones will write a negative. Think of reputation management like insurance, it’s there when you need it and it’s good to have before you need it.
Branding is something companies do not spend enough time and money on. A large portion of your marketing budget should be dedicated to building your name up and protecting it. Luckily the majority of methods that go into branding are also great ways of promoting your company. For example, sending an email to 100,000 customers about a weekend sale will not only help put your name in front of those customers but it will also inform them of your promotion. When you combine promoting your brand with advertising and continue with a monthly campaign you will see a better return on your investment as customers feel more comfortable shopping with someone they are familiar with.