SmartCompany, December 21 2016
When you opened your business, chances are everything was new and fresh. You had new processes in place, a cutting-edge logo and great products. Your business premises – if you had one – was likely smelling of fresh paint, with a new pot plant sitting on your desk.
Now, that plant might start overtaking said desk, growing out of its dated pot and shedding leaves all over your marketing materials that haven’t changed since you first took that whiff of fresh paint. If this sounds like you, it might be time to revitalise your brand (and buy a pair of pruners).
Not all small businesses think of themselves as a brand, but that’s what they are. Everything from your website and social media channels, to your packaging and customer service, represents your business brand. It is essential to make sure they all speak with one “voice” and represent the look and feel of your company.
Rebrand your marketing materials
One of the first things any tired brand should do is re-examine their visual materials. Part of redefining your brand could involve refreshing advertisements, creating new logos, or updating your packaging. Just be mindful that everything should stay in line with your core values and goals.
Ensure your marketing materials are consistent so that they share the same basic theme and information, and communicate the essence of who you are to your customers.
Your rebranding can be inspired by the narrative you decide to tell as you think about your product or services in new ways. Spin a new narrative around your product or service. Boost Juice isn’t simply selling juice – it’s selling a healthy lifestyle.
According to Ogilvy research exploring the most appealing types of marketing, customers most value marketing that provides ‘instruction’, helps people better ‘understand’ a message, or can provide information that helps with decision-making.
Evolve with your customers
Consumer preferences and technology change over time, and a business also needs to adapt to these changes.
Conducting market research, surveys or simply chatting to your customers as regularly as possible can help you can learn what your customers really expect so you can deliver.
“It’s important to clearly define your objectives in order to achieve useful results from your research,” says the WA Small Business Development Corporation. “Clearly defined objectives will help identify the best methods to conduct your research.”
We are now operating in a time where convenience is essential to standing out in a crowded market. This means you need to make it easy for customers to find you, your products or services, and – importantly – pay you.
If you have an online store you need to ensure you have the ability to offer a range of online payment options, provide assurances on security and privacy, and limit the amount of information you request.
Review your product or target market
Finding new markets or new customers can help you expand your business into new areas.
Depending on feedback from your customers, you could expand your existing offering or simply tweak what you have.
Take stock of what your business currently offers, and what products are performing well in which markets. Are you missing anything? Are there gaps that you could be filling elsewhere?
Think outside your existing customer base and about what you offer that could grow your business in new areas. Any strategy you devise should align with your core brand values so you can continue to build on it with other products and services.
Similarly, it is worth retiring any products or services that no longer align with these core values.
Small businesses and their brand must continually evolve to stay relevant, innovative, and competitive – especially given the fast-paced and agile environment we are living in.
While small business owners are busy people, it is essential to make time reassessing your brand and marketing efforts a priority.
The stakes are high – especially when it comes down to customer retention and acquisition.
Written by: Thea Christie
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