As a follow-on to our previous blog about the crucial link between a strong brand and higher profits, set out below are nine ways companies can build their brands in their local markets:
1. Get Social.
Social media is one of the best ways to build your company's brand. It is among small businesses' most potent tools. You can build your audience and brand by creating a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for direct-to-consumer communications and LinkedIn for B2B communications. Posts that are informative, fun, or help your customers in their day-to-day lives can do much to build a small company's brand. See our upcoming post with 24 examples of how leading companies use social media to build their brands.
2. Create Sponsorships.
Another affordable way to build your company's brand is through event or sports sponsorships. When you sponsor an event or team, your company's name and logo become visible to fans, athletes, and other local event participants. This visibility can increase brand awareness and create positive associations with your company. For example, I have lived all over the country, and everywhere I go, the local Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsors a 10K event it supports along with other local employers. These excellent brand-building events for the Blues help cement their relationships with local employers (and their employees) who make up their target market.
3. Develop 'Ninja' Advertising Campaigns.
Advertising is another great way to build your company's brand. A cheap outdoor campaign, for example, can be hugely helpful to a local brand. You can reach many potential customers and positively associate with your brand by placing ads in strategic outdoor locations or running targeted campaigns on local radio, television, and sports media. The smaller your budget is, the more critical it is to be creative with your advertising. A local law firm I know is specialized in defense cases. It is considering buying advertising from home game announcers to use their name every time there is a penalty, just as the local car dealers pay to have their names mentioned with each touchdown!
4. Leverage Public Relations With Local Media Outlets.
Public relations is another excellent way to build your company's brand. Getting involved in community events or working with local media outlets to announce new products, services, or charity initiatives can generate positive publicity for your company and build your brand.
5. Accelerate Positive Word of Mouth Digitally.
Word of mouth is among the most effective ways to build your company's brand. Creating opportunities for referencing by surveying and then asking permission to post positive reviews on Google or Facebook can help digitize word of mouth and drive brand awareness.
6. Request a Local Celebrity Endorsement.
Not all celebrities are in Hollywood. For example, do you live in a city or state that loves its college sports? NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) creates numerous opportunities for "celebrity endorsements" from college athletes. Often, small businesses can cut deals using barter arrangements like burgers for life or free wash-dry-fold services for athletes in exchange for commercial endorsements. Increasingly common, new NIL opportunities are becoming increasingly organized and effective.
7. Go Above and Beyond.
Your company can garner favorable reviews by going above and beyond in various ways. You can anticipate your customers' needs and do something they will appreciate without being asked. You can exceed expectations by over-delivering. For example, a business can finish work before it is due or be highly responsive – always picking up customer phone calls or staying open late to help a long-time customer. While seemingly small, these can also create appreciation and build your brand with them. If you make a customer happy, encourage them to post a review that tells others about it. Finally, following up with customers to determine their satisfaction with your work can build trust in your brand and alert you to problems.
8. Sponsor or Participate in a Parade.
Sponsoring or participating in a parade can introduce many people to a brand and its products or services in a short time. A parade float can be fun for employees while effectively generating interest in a brand and getting people talking about it. A business on or near a parade route can use the event to increase foot traffic and generate sales. Companies can hand out flyers or promotional items, offer discounts, or set up unique displays to catch the attention of parade-goers and draw them into the store.
9. Place Your Product in Movies or With Influencers On Social Media.
Product placement involves placing a company's products or brand in a movie or television show. Advertisers can use placements in several ways. The characters in a movie can use the product, display the product prominently, or mention the product by name. Or, a skilled influencer prominent in a business's target segment can use the product for free in exchange for the opportunity to use "sponsored" products. So, although placement in a James Bond movie may be out of reach for many small businesses, many can afford to give their products to top influencers in their market segment. Outdoor sports manufacturers like Rossignol Skis or Wilson Sporting have provided top amateur or collegiate athletes with free equipment for decades. For example, Red Bull has a YouTube video channel dedicated to extreme sports athletes. Finally, if all that doesn't work, make a video! If it's good enough, the video can go viral! See our next blog article on Viral Videos to learn how this can work.