When you think of great branding, you probably think of big companies, like Coca Cola, Apple, or Nike. These big brands are more than just a logo – they elicit feelings and ideas from consumers surrounding their product and services. Something that these big brands were able to do well is to differentiate themselves from the competition.
It’s important to keep in mind that most of these large companies started as small businesses and their success stemmed from smart decisions, hard work, and dedication. Even with far less resources than the big brands, small businesses can develop their identity by executing strategic branding initiatives well. Great branding will in return create loyal customers and differentiate your company from the rest of your industry. Let’s take a look at some small businesses that have simply nailed their branding initiatives:
Content Marketing: CorePower Yoga
Many small companies have shown that putting money into content marketing provides the exposure that greatly broadens their reach. CorePower Yoga, a Denver Based yoga studio, has grown to be the nation’s largest yoga chain by focusing on branding and digital marketing.
CorePower uses social outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to engage its audience. For example, the yoga studio chain hosts #HelpfulYogi chats, which is an online conversation where users can submit questions to knowledgeable yoga instructors. By engaging customers and potential customers online, they are looked at as an authoritative and education brand.
Additionally, they have a fully developed blog on their site that appeals to beginners and expert yogis, too. CorePower’s social strategy and content marketing have eliminated the need to utilize traditional outlets such as print and television ads. Instead, they have broadened their reach through digital marketing tactics and word of mouth.
Point Program: Birchbox
Birchbox, a beauty subscription service, has relied on their points program to create loyal customers, and their referral programs to differentiate themselves from other subscriber programs.
For every dollar you spend in the Birchbox store, you can earn points that apply to future purchases. These discounts are what turns subscribers into loyal customers.
In addition, subscribers are enticed to earn points by referring their friends and family. Every subscriber has a unique referral link that tracks how many referrals the individual receives. These links can be shared out via Facebook, Twitter, or email, which engage users on a variety of different platforms. As an incentive, the customer will receive 50 points for each new referral, which amounts to $5 that can be applied towards their next transaction.
Another thing Birchbox subscribers can do to earn points is to review the products. This is a great tactic that encourages subscribers to be engaged with the Birchbox website and in the Birchbox community. For each feedback form that is submitted, subscribers receive 10 Birchbox Points. That means, when you review five products, you can get 50 points, or $5, that can be used towards your next purchase!
Birchbox has a well-developed point program that has transformed regular consumers into loyal customers. Their referral program has broadened the company’s reach and secured new subscribers. The point program is the core of the Birchbox brand, taking the company from a small monthly subscribing service, to a company that has thousands of loyal subscribers.
Sponsorship: Leaf Filter Gutter Protection
LeafFilter, a gutter protection company, took a unique approach when looking to differentiate themselves from the rest of the gutter protection industry. In 2014, the company teamed up with Blake Koch to sponsor the driver and the No. 8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camry to compete in the XFINITY Series.
This was a bold move, however, LeafFilter understood that this could be a huge branding initiative, if the company took full advantage of the opportunity. LeafFilter dived deep into their branding efforts, producing weekly behind the scenes videos with Blake Koch, tackling their social media strategy, and engaging with fans across a variety of digital platforms. This sets the company apart from other drivers and sponsors in NASCAR. With their weekly video, fans could have an all access pass to Blake Koch, view the inside of the hauler, and see what goes on in a NASCAR garage.
In addition to their weekly YouTube videos, the company has built up a strong social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. In order to generate social media engagement, the company has hosted driver Q+A sessions and hosts frequent giveaways of Leaf Filter Racing hats, t-shirts, and memorabilia.
The company has taken full advantage of their sponsorship of the No. 8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection which has proven to be a positive and successful venture for the company. The company has positioned themselves as a sponsor that cares – not only about their fans, but their customers as well.
Branding is one of the most important aspects for a business of any size – small, large, B2B or retail. By creating a strong brand, companies can differentiate themselves from the competition, creating a major edge in competitive markets.
First, you’ll want to define your brand. For example, is it known for being a luxury option or for being a discounted gem? Are you known for being innovative or reliable? Start thinking about how you want your customers to perceive your company and your brand. Write down your messaging on a piece of paper, along with some marketing channels that you want to start exploring.
From there, choose a few key marketing channels to invest time and money into, and your small business will begin to grow into something bigger. For example, small businesses can benefit from branding efforts such as creating a content marketing plan, investing in sponsorships, and developing a point program. By participating in this type of plan, your brand will only be able to grow stronger. Additionally, your company will build a stronger brand equity, creating loyal customers and broadening your reach. The best part is, these types of programs will not create a financial burden for small businesses!
What other tactics have worked for your small business? Which small businesses have you noticed that “get branding?” Leave your comments below!
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