In our last article Why Brand Marketing is important we asked the question ‘Brand Marketing – why should SMEs care? We suggested you ask the following questions:
– Who are you? – Who needs to know? – Why should they care? – How will they find out?
SMEs often dismiss brand marketing as something for the ‘big boys’ – marketing strategists talk to their clients about how brand marketing can be embraced by SMEs, and demonstrate how it adds value to your business. They also show their clients that brand marketing creates/represents the culture of your business both internally and externally.
In this article we look at 10 reasons why and how an SME business can engage in enhancing their culture and build brand through their marketing strategy. These are:
1. Recognising the value of your brand 2. Defining your beliefs and values 3. Being consistent 4. Staying appropriate and relevant 5. Keeping it simple and manageable 6. Go niche, be the experts 7. Market position = $ 8. Understanding it takes times 9. Be real and authentic 10. Hold the brand
Here are some thoughts and ideas on how you and your team can deliver brand into your business through your marketing strategy.
1. Recognising the value of your brand
Building value in your brand is driven from the top. The entire executive team [and in fact all of the staff] need to be on board, understanding the value and process of building brand – this is all about articulating who you are?
The brand marketing is not just the logo and colours etc [this is the visual identity] it’s all about the behaviours in the business; what you stand for and how you show up every day. And for you to do that consistently [see point 3] it needs to be defined and communicated clearly – internally and externally.
2. Defining your beliefs and values
Take time out to work out what your business stands for, what’s the feelings and passion in what you do. Our experience shows us that businesses rush out and ‘sell’ their idea. The successful businesses look at what they are selling, who wants to buy it and how they sell it – what makes them get out of bed in the morning. This needs to be communicated across all of your marketing strategies and communications.
3. Be consistent
Once you have defined why, what and how you are presenting your business there needs to be a consistent communication through the business. This isn’t just words – the words need to turn into behaviours the staff need to translate it into their own daily schedule – their processes, language etc and it needs to be consistent at every level of our business. Driven by the executive team [see point 1] however embraced and understood by the whole business. Every time a stakeholder engages with your business they should have the same experience and feeling.
4. Staying appropriate and relevant
Spend time speaking to your customers and prospects; it helps you understand what you are selling and how you are selling it is what they actually want. We often have [what we think are] great ideas – however we need to verify and confirm we have an audience. Being sure we have something people want to buy and we are presenting it to market in a way our prospective buyers can easily buy.
5. Keeping it simple and manageable
Keep it simple and be able to articulate your proposition – don’t complicate your proposition and make it hard for your customers and prospects to buy from you. Understand the following areas of your business and make sure this is communicated internally and externally, and consistently.
* Market – what is your target market? Be very, very specific and remember it’s multi-layered and complex * Service – how does your business service its clients? Are you service levels aligned across your business? * Product – Are you selling the right product to your market? How can you segment your product and make it easy to buy from your business? * Price – are your pricing strategies aligned with your position?
6. Go niche, be the experts
If you can’t compete [nor want to!] with the ‘big players’ find a niche. It’s a specialist market [not generalist] – businesses want to buy-in expertise to support their in-house talent. Your prospects are looking to either increase their businesses capacity or buying skills they cannot afford to have permanently in- house. Be the expert in your area and be known for it!
7. Market position = $
Clients want to know who you are, what you stand for and how you do business – they want a relationship and know you are not just chasing the $. They want to know why they are working with you, how it’s going to benefit them and what you will deliver. Clarity on your brand and proposition helps them buy from you rather than you selling to them!
8. It takes time
Building a brand is not an overnight project, it takes time and consistency. Hold you nerve and don’t change your position [see point 5] make sure you know your market, service, product & price proposition. Most business change direction because they are bored or don’t see immediate results – building brand takes time.
9. Be real
Make sure all of your behaviour and activity is consistent with your values. If your values aren’t really driven through the business you’ll soon be found out. By laying out your values you are saying this is how we want to work with you; if you are not genuine and authentic this will be clear. If you are choosing values that you or your business aspires to rather than are real you will be found out!
10. Hold the brand and culture
Back to point  the executive team define and live the brand. The staff look to the management team to lead and BE it everyday. You and your executive team need to make sure your language and behaviours are living the values of the business.
9 Strategic’s simple 10 points are actions and activities that be defined and implemented successful in to any SME business. They can be used everyday to build SMEs brand. Good luck!
At 9 Strategic our vision is to transform businesses through marketing capability. We empower CEOs and business owners to develop strategic