As a new business you have long uphill battle. You will need to carefully manage your business, attract customers, and contend with a market already saturated with wide-eyed entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough to keep afloat, never mind trying to extend your reach beyond your geographical location. You don’t have an easy task, but you already know that. One tool you can use to get your company on a similar playing field as national bigwigs is branding.
Before delving into how to brand, let’s have a quick crash course on what branding is. A brand, according to the Handbook of Media Management and Economics, is a “name, term, sign…” intended to identify and distinguish a product from its competitors.” A brand can elevate your company beyond the brick and mortar. It can give your company and its products a godlike identity that calls to people. Suddenly your service is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a vital product that can enhance the meaning of your customer’s lives. And when done right, customers will consciously and unconsciously gravitate to your service without even considering your competitors.
Before implementing local or national branding, you should iron out a few things. Determine:
-Your company’s philosophy and beliefs.
-How you want your company to be seen by buyers.
-What kind of service you want to be known for.
-The kind of employee that will appeal to your audience.
-What your customers believe in.
Establish these guidelines now. It’s vital that you control how your company is seen. If you fail to do this, your potential customers will be left to establish what your brand is for you. This can backfire. Especially on a more national or state level where you are not in the forefront creating a personal relationship with your customers.
Here are a few tactics to establish your brand on a state, national or international level.
Get out there. Travel to tradeshows, conferences and other events across the state or country. Traveling to these events will give you or your employees the ability to interact with people outside your area. You can demonstrate those values that you ironed out in your prep stage. You can also cement yourself as a possible supplier or distributor of the products that you make or sell.
Create an online name for the brand. Branding opportunities are everywhere, one of these places is social media. This study by Market Force Information has concluded that a strong social media presence plays an enormous role in the purchasing decisions of 78% of customers. Utilizing social media can be a huge brand building tactic.
Hire the right people. The employees that travel to these conferences or tradeshows should be carefully selected and trained. You might be the figurehead of your company, but at those events they have the more vital positions. They are the ambassadors that will be identified as “poster children” of the company. Any actions, speeches or apparel that doesn’t align with your brand identity can undermine your branding efforts.
Company apparel. We all see t-shirts all the time that proclaim an individual’s devotion to a certain company. Hundreds of people unconsciously choose to become walking, talking advertisements for Aeropostale, Converse, and Nike. Why not invest in t-shirts, jackets, suitcases or ties for your employees to wear while traveling? Branded apparel will expose people to your brand who might not have heard of you otherwise.
Event signs. You should carefully plan how your employees will set up their booths at tradeshows and events. Meeting and event signs are a solid way to demonstrate what your company believes in and what your company contributes to the global community. Make them useful and thought provoking. You want the people at the event to remember your signs.
Event Merchandise. Beyond the main sign, you can also invest in other branded merchandise like pens or pencils for the people attending the event. People love free items, but there are specific ways to find what merchandise your audience wants. Here are a few tips on finding the best opportunities. These items will travel with them to their homes in Florida, Colorado, or New York. Once there, other people will see them using that pen. Even if they don’t look up your company out of curiosity, they might recognize your brand at a later date.
In summary, creating a name for your company on a local, state, national, or international level can be hard. With the proper branding, you can not only establish your brand on a local level, you can give your business what it needs to expand beyond the borders of your home town.
Taylor Tomita is a creative writer and musician residing in Boise, Idaho. He loves all aspects of marketing and social media, and spends too much time researching these topics. In his free time you can find him creating music or exploring the town in search of good pizza. Follow him on Twitter (@Trvshlvrd_RR).Your sales team can help turn your small business into a big name. Find out more by downloading the free Salesforce e-book.