Branding for Small Businesses
Although most companies don’t have the budget to do media advertising, they shouldn’t avoid promoting their brands to their target market. When a company is committed to doing this locally, they will see adirect benefit to their business.
Branding is basically creating a positive awareness of the business in the mind of potential customers. Small companies can do this by participating in community related events. Often this may mean participation in charity, sponsorships and civic events.
In recent years, consideration has been given to whether or not this concept extends to political donations and activism. At best, the answer to this would be neutral. For every person that might be impressed with the support that you provide to a certain candidate, there is likely to be another person that will be unimpressed with the same candidate. Because your business is likely to sell to members of every particular political class, this is a situation that you will want to carefully consider before you move forward to do so.
While participation in existing events can and should be a good thing for small businesses, most would benefit most by creating their own sponsorships/events. This can be done simply by creating both 1) a contest and 2) an award system for individuals in the community. It would be prudent to do so according to their relevance to your target market.
Examples of these kinds of events have been companies that have given awards to women, minorities, children and those in certain age brackets. You have probably seen award/events for those considered to be the top 30 under 30, the top 40 under 40, etc. When you conduct an award like this yourself, this will generate a considerable amount of public relations for your business.
In fact, those receiving the award will do most of the advertising and positive bridge building for you. Consider the example of doing an essay contest and scholarship. Students would enter the essay contest so that they would win the prize. However, their parents (more likely to be your potential customers) would also come in contact with the brand depending on how you set your contest.
Although you will want to conduct any of your sponsorship in a way so that you will not appear disingenuous, it is a very easy way to bring a positive view to your brand. In addition to this, you should take up those causes within your community that have special meaning to you as a business owner.
For example, if you’re interested in education, consider making some donation to your local school district. If you’re interested in the resources available at your public library, consider not only making a sizable donation, but also giving some of your time.
Not every community related deposit you make will directly bring people in contact with your brand. While certainly the exposure will always be positive, your contribution will improve an aspect of your community that would have remained unimproved.
If you derive your satisfaction from doing this, your reward will be certain regardless of what returns to your business. That being said, others in your community will take note of your attitude and involvement and carry a positive view of your company in their minds.