Small Business Positioning and Branding

A challenge that small businesses face is building their brand. This is because it has limited resources and runs on limited budgets. Focus and consistency become very important in marketing programs if the resources of the business are limited.

Positioning & Branding Guidelines for Small Business

  1. Riveting advantage of product/service performance.
  2. Storytelling.
  3. Allow product/service try-outs.
  4. Strong digital strategizing
  5. Create a community
  6. Well consolidated brand elements

Let’s look at each one of them briefly

1. Riveting Advantage of Product/Service Performance

Riveting advantage of product/service performance. For a brand, a factor essential to its success is the verifiable and significant differences in the performance of its product or service performance.

Example – Death Wish Coffee

Death Wish Coffee states that it sells the “world’s strongest coffee.” It first launched in the market in 2012 Death wish did extremely detailed and extensive audience research before launching.

This is the key to its success. On researching, it discovered that a wide percentage of its audience care more about staying and feeling awake than the taste of the coffee. Apart from being sold online, this coffee is also sold in grocery stores all over the United States.

2. Storytelling

Storytelling is loved by all. By indulging in stories, instead of formulas and facts, a brand can strengthen its position in the market. Stories can make the customers curious and connect to them personally.

Small businesses that rely on fewer brands and key associations must strongly reinforce their marketing programmes and strategies gradually.

3. Allow product/service try-outs.

Experience-based approaches like allowing product sampling, demonstrations or other means to keep clients interested in a brand sets small businesses set themselves apart.

Example – Blendtec

In 2007, BlendTec launched the “Will It Blend?” series. Tom Dickson started a YouTube video series built around Blendtec’s flagship high-speed blender. He blended anything from cell phones to wooden rakes because he understood that people were looking at the sharpness of a blade and motor strength in a blender.

Starting from blending marbles, they’ve been uploading videos of eccentric scientist blending everything from iPhones to hockey pucks. The Blendtec YouTube channel had around 290 million views by October 13, 2020.

4. Strong digital strategizing

The internet enables small businesses to have a bigger profile virtually than they do in reality. Although the future leans towards digital communications, a firm must not rely completely on a digital platform.

It creates awareness among customers but doesn’t help with making customers buy a product or use a service. Hence, digital communication must be combined with personal communication.

Example – ALS (The Ice Bucket Challenge)

The Ice bucket challenge was an activity that promoted awareness among the people about the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neuron disease and in the US as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

It involved either self-administered dumping of ice water over a person’s head or it being dumped over someone’s head by other people. It required people to be filmed while doing the same in the first 24 hours of being nominated and went viral around July-August, 2014. $220M was raised by this initiative worldwide in 2014.

5. Create a community

Public relations, social networking and low-cost marketing and promotions can be good alternatives to the word of mouth promotions for small businesses to set their position in the market.

Example – The Cronut

Bakery owner Dominique Ansel, in 2013, created pastry out of a croissant’s dough that was filled with cream inside. Ansel’s bakery introduced The Cronut on May 10th 2013 in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York. The new pastry was reported by a Grub Street (an online restaurant blog) blogger on the same night.

The post received a lot of attention and in a span of 3 days, around 100 customers lined up outside the bakery to taste the pastry. There was a 300% rise in the website traffic and it soon became the trendiest pastry in town. A trademark was filed for by Ansel under the “Cronut” around nine days after he introduced The Cronut to the bakery’s menu.

6. Well Consolidated brand elements

Logos, mascots, slogans and packaging magnify the image of the brand and increase brand awareness. These brand elements must have as much creative potential as the brand can manage.

They need to be catchy and significant. Artistic and creative packaging can be a substitute for advertisements as it catches the attention of buyers while purchasing.

Example – Surly Brewing Company

Surly Brewing Co. manages to be noticed in an industry that is full of creative brands and prides itself on it. It is famous for its 16oz beer cans that have four different coloured cans. Even though the craft beer market is full of brands with good beer and beer names, Surly stands out on the basis of names.

It manages to catch a customer’s eye when browsing through shelves at a grocery store. It is sold in four-packs and big cans. Artistically, it is very different from other beer brands.