Brand building is the keystone of any successful business, irrespective of its size. SMEs need to understand that brand building is a necessity, not a luxury. Marketing and branding are two concepts that no firm can afford to ignore. Keeping future benefits in mind, they should create a brand for themselves. Generally, multinationals see branding as an integral part of their business tactics. However, a small business often stand at a critical crossroads when it comes to marketing and brand building. Because small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operate on shoestring budgets,
FICCI, Google India and Nathan Economic Consulting India, conducted a survey jointly in 2013. The study found, 69% of SMEs using the Internet to promote their brand have seen a surge in customer base. Additionally, 65% a rise in profits, 64% surge in sales, 63% arise in their geographic reach to customers, and 44% a surge in employment records. Clearly, the process of creating brand value and effectively marketing products and services has begun for Indian SMEs.
Marketing Vs Brand Building
First of all, you must have a clear view of the possible demarcation between brand building and marketing. Before embarking on any brand building exercise, it is important. Most SME’s and small scale industry owners often commit the sin of mixing brand development with marketing. And they won’t able to maximize their potential in terms of either brand development or successful sales enhancement.
Technically speaking, marketing is defined as management process. It accounts for identification and anticipation to successfully satisfy customer requirements ensuring profitability to the business. Simply speaking, marketing is essential for business development. However, 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 . However, with the power of a strong brand, the same marketing campaign can go far deeper ensuring repeated customers and long term success.
Why brand building strategy is crucial for SMEs
SME leaders are increasingly adopting a global approach as they face intense competition from larger entities and empowered customers. In this scenario, effective execution of a brand strategy for SMEs is crucial. It is not just for their growth but also for the development of a particular cluster, state and the country as a whole.
A reliable brand strategy will help SMEs make inroads in the minds of their customers. Also, it ensures that all products and services have a visual identity and good positioning in the sector that SMEs operate in. A good brand strategy can help SMEs create a niche of their own and enable their target audience to identify and differentiate their brand in the cluttered marketplace.
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. Additionally, you must have 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 brand building activities must be done with the customer in mind.
Take small but meaningful steps. It includes offering rewards to regular customers, appreciating feedback and offering customer support. These 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 Brand Building
Generally, brand building exercises focuse on the consumers and the client base. And it is important. However, the companies that focus on internal brand management make sure that all employees and company management is also an intrinsic part of the brand. You must maintain ethical business practices. And your employees must maintain it 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 building management, all SME’s must make sure that the company maintains a positive credit rating resulting in easier influx of funds for future expansions. Generally, credit ratings have the direct relation with the financial health of the SME’s. And an improved credit ratings allows you access 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 building management. However, you must choose the right media platform for brand and product promotion very 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. However, these deadly tools are essential to enhance brand promotion of various products offered by SME’s. Specifically, the companies who do not have funds for large media oriented marketing and brand promotion campaigns. You can also enroll the people as part of your brand promotion who are offering reviews on the social media. Some of the most potential social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.