For the next month or thereabout, we’ll be looking at the various strategies you can adopt in marketing your small business to bring it to people’s awareness. I advice you adopt not just one, but a combination, so as to kick start the business and give it traction. We will start off by looking at ways of Branding Small Business.

If you landed here via search or other means, you may like to check out the previous topic in this series: SME MASTERCLASS: Small Business Setup, Models & Classification

Marketing to me, is the soul of every small business, because it helps bring in new customers and retain old ones. No matter how good your product or service is, if people don’t know about it and keep remembering about it, it will eventually die.

BRANDING
Today we’ll look at branding as one of the strategic efforts to use in marketing your small business. Branding is very important in marketing as all other marketing strategies will revolve around your brand. So it’s essential you do it and do it very well from the outset. It will be costly to you and confusing to your clients if you have to start branding later.

Branding should be the foundation for all your marketing efforts. It’s like the surname of your business. With branding, what you are doing is making people feel that where ever they see your brand identity or anything that looks like it, they should remember you.

Branding includes making a logo and choosing a colour which every of your advertisement efforts will revolve around. You may even go upto developing a tag line, which is like a quote associated with your business.

Some examples of good branding. My friend Morakinyo Beckley set up an online business called BringItBay.com which is into helping Nigerians shop from major online shops in the UK (he schooled in the UK). The logo has some kind of mixture of Nigeria and British flags embedded in it (See it in comments) This stood the company out as having something to do with Nigeria and England. When you juxtapose this with the business name “Bring it Bay” which translates to “a place where they bring it” the branding begins to make sense and begins to market itself. Well, this is my personal unbiased analysis.

In colour selection, you only have to look at our Telecom Giants to see how effective Branding works.
MTN goes with Yellow and all their adverts have yellow written all over it. When you need to buy MTN products, impulsively you start looking for anything yellow, even from far.
GLO goes with a shade of Green and Etisalat also went for another shade of Green.

How about Tag Line. The one that strikes most in Nigeria is “Y’ello Naija” by MTN. It doesn’t just talk about their brand colour yellow, it also resonates what the business is all about – phone calls which is represented by ‘Hello’. I have to admit it though, tag lines are expensive to get into the memory of people. It involves a lot of advertising. But it’s your call – do you have the budget to make your tag line popular? Is it absolutely necessary for your small business?

NigeriAds our new online business, a Digital Media Agency which will launch soon, has a tag line – “Digital Adverts That Outperform Radio, TV and Newspaper”. We intend to ‘punch’ radio, TV and Newspaper advertisers and show them that they can get much better results with the various online platforms we cover than whatevere they get or intend to get from those old media houses. And that’s a fact.

When crafting your tag line, concentrate mostly on “what people want to hear”; Aim to use it as a means to “grab the client”, not necessarily to “keep the client” The idea is that when you have grabbed the client, you can use a combination of various things to keep them. By then, they may have forgotten what attracted them to you ab initio. You can then keep the customer for life by upselling other products or services (we will discuss Upselling in subsequent topics).

For instance, there is a popular church in Port Harcourt whose tag line is “Home of Success”. Believe me, that tag line alone has brought in or has the ability to bring in many worshippers. Whether they end up becoming successful or not may never cross their minds again because they probably have been hooked by other things which fall under ‘Customer Retention Strategies’ (another topic we will look into later).

I happen to know 2 branding gurus. The first is Gibson who branded and designed almost all the shirts used by Rivers state PDP during the 2015 electioneering campaign, including those won by then President GEJ and his team when they campaigned in Port Harcourt. Rivers PDP got numerous accolades for their beautifully branded shirts, alI thanks to Gibson. He made me understand the importance of branding from beginning.

The second person is George Brandng who has branded himself ‘Brand Bishop’. George is a sweet talking brand pro who has worked with many small and medium businesses to come up with their branding ideas. If you need branding done well, you can contact any of them. I can vouch for their creativity.

I believe the message has been passed about Branding and it’s importance. We stop here today. Next week, we look at ADVERTISING as one way of marketing your business. Till then, I’ll respond to questions and comments here. Do have a wonderful week.

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