We hear it all the time: “Why haven’t I heard of it if it’s as good as they claim?” The answer could be that the product or new brand is not as good as it claims to be OR, more likely, it is a great brand, but the company lacks the funds to create a branding strategy.
I recently came across an article in a local paper about a fantastic cleaning product that has been able to strip wood and treat it without any toxic chemicals or ingredients. Despite the proven success from various carpenters, the product has only received distribution via two small retail stores.
This is an ideal example of a great product idea that may in fact be the uber wood-refinishing product, but without a strong branding or a strategic marketing plan, the public is just unaware of this product. In a world of supply and demand, if the public is unaware of a product then there is no demand, and with no demand few retailers are going to carry said product.
Unfortunately, without deep pockets it is difficult to get your brand noticed. Most large “name” brands not only had branding strategies, they had substantial marketing budgets that involved cross platform spending.
As a smaller brand, it is hard to get noticed, particularly by large retailers who need product to fly off their shelves. Though our pockets may not be as deep, the good news is we can all take a page out of the “big brand” approach by taking the initial steps of having a strong brand and a strategic marketing plan. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your small brand gets the recognition it deserves.
- Prove validity: Create a strategic plan (include some competitive research, outline your target audience, what makes your brand or product unique, etc.)
- Plan in: Create a detailed tactical marketing plan – this is where you outline marketing tactic details and your annual budget to implement said tactics. This would include pricing and finding relevant community events where you can market your product or brand, as well as pricing ads in publications relevant to your audience, the costs for sponsoring a sports team, etc. You will need to outline a yearly and a month-by-month budget with the details of what can be achieved each month.
- Build it: Create consistent messaging, imagery and branding (use the same colours, same tag, same placement, etc.)
- Stick to it: Stick to your plan; do not veer from what you have planned
- Evaluate: As the monthly activities are completed, assess and evaluate them for ROI. If certain activities had a good ROI, you might want to reinvest or even expand next year. If the activity did not meet the mark, then you may want to consider eliminating it, altering it or replacing it next year.
Without deep pockets, having a strategy and detailed plan will allow you to build a slow and steady brand… and as you may remember from the childhood story The Tortoise and The Hare – “slow and steady wins the race!” With the right amount of determination, your brand can become so well known that you can take your name right off your logo – and still be instantly recognized!
Do you feel if you had a larger marketing budget your brand would be more successful? Do you feel having a solid strategy has helped you build your brand? Do you have a tactical plan? Please share your experience in the comments below.