It takes hard work to create a brand, and even more work to maintain one. A brand doesn’t just pop up out of the blue skies. It needs to prove value and establish its place in the community and economy. It may seem difficult for the smaller businesses that are in competition with the larger corporations to do so, but it isn’t impossible. Brand building can actually be more of an advantage to smaller companies because of the opportunities they have.
Many experts might say that a brand is established when a product makes consumers feel happiness, pleasure, security, or even beautiful. When a brand consistently provides and enhances desirable feelings, the value and power increase. Small business owners might think that it’s near impossible to compete with larger corporations because their brand isn’t as “pretty” or “powerful”. However, many big companies may not have the time to individualize and personalize messages to all of their consumers. It isn’t just about what your brand looks like; it’s about how your brand makes customers feel about themselves. Social media can make or break a brand. If it is used correctly, social media can do wonders for any business or organization. Social media provides an opportunity for consumers to connect with brands, and vice versa, in ways that never existed before.
People want a sense of originality and personality while also having the feeling of being personal with someone. When a company can provide this through social media, the value of the brand increases significantly. Letting customers know that someone is listening – more specifically, you – is what they want. People want to be heard; whether it’s a complaint they have, a suggestion for change, or good overall feedback. Let them know that you are listening and that what they have to say matters.
Giving back via community service is important to small businesses. Donating money on behalf of the company or as the business owner can be beneficial in the long run. Of course, there isn’t always hundreds or thousands of extra cash lying around to give away. Giving back to the local communities doesn’t have to involve shelling out loads of money. Check out sites like VolunteerMatch.com or Habitat for Humanity to find local volunteer opportunities that you and your employees can participate in. You may lose a day or two of productivity but group projects and activities like this can often boost company morale and camaraderie. Organizing food drives or providing a place for people to drop off used toys, shoes and clothes are also other ways to give back. Showing that you and your company care about others will help customers feel like they will also matter to you.
Small businesses should look at each other as partners, not competitors. It seems as if the big companies continue to get bigger while the small businesses get left behind. Now, more than ever, small businesses need to work together in order to compete with the larger companies. Businesses can harness the power of the collective community to move forward and up in the competition. Check sites like Meetup.com to find groups of like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs in your area. Networking and maintaining relationships is a two-way street. Don’t be afraid to lend out a helping hand wherever and whenever you can. You never know when you might need some outside help for your own business. By providing opportunities to other local businesses, you will be adding value to your brand and attracting others to your business. In simpler terms, you get what you give.