Branding and marketing tips for the small and medium enterprise

BECOMING a top-notch and world class brand among the deluge of competitors out there is no mean achievement for a small and medium enterprise.

People Management Issues with Robert Mandeya

Achieving this fit involves surpassing every other business in the market in both revenues as well as market share. And what is the secret this success? The answer: Branding!

Too often small to medium enterprise business owners in Zimbabwe suffer from a lack of foresight when it comes to branding their business.

More often, many are stuck with a poorly designed logo, a pathetic old fashioned website while the rest of their marketing communications is hopelessly outdated. What is the impression that a business like this projects to the outside world – in one word: cheap & unprofessional.

Business is all about perception

Be different. Stand out!

A lot of times the problem with small business owners lies in their mindset which is strongly resistant to change. Most small and medium business owners are stuck in the old mindset of wanting to do everything themselves – right from designing the logo, to doing up the interiors of their offices!

The result most times is nothing short of terrible. Here’s an advice – Leave the work of branding and marketing of your business to the experts.

It is a smart businessman or woman who realises the value of branding and does not hesitate to pay top bucks to “dress up” his / her business because at the end of the day your brand is your business! The poorer the perception of your brand, the poorer you will be when it comes to reaping the long term value of your business assets.

Hire a marketing consultant

Branding is your company’s personality, using the services of a marketing expert is expensive but can be hugely profitable in the long run. This person will be able to assist in developing your advertising,

Your brand is your business

To assist in your marketing endeavours, branding of your business is essential- including business cards, stationery, and brochures . Branding, a commonly used term throughout the business world, essentially means to create an identifiable entity that makes a promise of value.

It means that you have created a consciousness, an image, and an awareness of your business. It is your company’s personality.

A brand is also a kind of promise. It is a set of fundamental principles as understood by anyone who comes into contact with a company. A brand is an organisation’s reason for existing.

It is how that reason is expressed through the various communications to its key audiences, including customers, shareholders, employees, and analysts.

A brand should also represent the desired attributes of a company’s products, services, and initiatives. Many businesses try but fail to create a successful brand.

Ten of the most common mistakes:

Not thinking analytically

Too many companies think of branding as marketing or as having a catch phrase or a logo. It is more than simply vying for attention. A brand warrants attention on a consistent basis, and represents something that your customer wants, but does not get, from your competitors. For example, it could be providing the best customer service in your industry, not just through your tagline or logo but by actually providing the best customer service in your industry.

Not maintaining your brand

Too often, in a shaky economy, businesses are quick to change or alter their identity. Too much of this confuses your steady customers.

For guidance, think of big brands: Nike, for instance has used Just Do It as a slogan for years. One rule of thumb is that it is when you have become tired of your logo, tagline, or branding efforts, that they Trying to appease everyone.

You will never be able to brand yourself in such a way that everyone will like you. Typically, the best you can do is to focus on the niche market for your product.

Not Knowing who you really are

If you are not the fastest overnight delivery service in the world, do not profess to be. Too many business owners think that they are providing something that they do not provide. Know your strengths and weaknesses through honest analysis of what you do best.

Committing to branding

Often business owners let the marketing and advertising departments handle such things as branding, while others work on sales and other important parts of the business. Sales and branding, however, are tied together as integral aspects of your business. Many Fortune 500 companies are where they are today because smart branding made them household names.

Sharing the joke

If only the people in your office get a joke, it is not going to play to a large audience. The same holds true for branding. If your campaign is created for you and not them, your brand will not succeed.

Marketing plan
Many companies come up with ideas to market themselves and establish a brand identity but have neither the resources nor a plan for how they will reach their audience. You must have a well-thought-out marketing plan in place before your branding strategy will work.

Mandeya is a senior executive training consultant and communication in management advisor, a personal coach in leadership and professional development with the Institute of Leadership Research and Development. You can contact him on mandeyarobert@yahoo.com or mandeyarobert@gmail.com.

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