My last post listed 10 “Great” Small Business Ideas which were all about building a brand around the small business owner. Everyone who is in the same line of business sells pretty much the same thing. Then how does one (particularly a small business) go about becoming a preferred brand? Building an endearing (which will grow in to an enduring one) brand is the way to go.
Reach Out To People
Why do most people prefer certain brands? Believe it or not it is for the same reasons that they prefer certain people. As people we are attracted to other people who enjoy doing the same things, are reliable and responsive. That is exactly what you as a brand need to do.
Take the case of eCoexist, a for profit social enterprise that associates itself with the recycling of nirmalya (offerings of flowers and coconuts) during the Ganesh Festival, a popular community festival celebrated across India. Their eco-friendly Ganesha idols and Holi colors are a manifestation of their commitment to “green” festivities.
Stand for Something
People have a sense of right and wrong and as such associate themselves with products and ventures that conform to their values. As a brand your products/services and/or behavior should reflect the choices that your customers make on a day-to-day basis.
Kremes n Krusts, a local savory store in Pune which donates unsold savories to a charity will definitely score higher on the emotional quotient of clientele rather than one which simply throws unsold eatables away. Find ways and means to do your bit for the environment or the underprivileged and see the results.
Make a Difference
While business is all about making profits it is also about making a difference to the world. Make no mistake in future every business will have to think about what it can do for society. Why not begin now?
Green the Gap Collective is a venture that is making a difference by retailing recycled products. Their Menwhopause collection of men’s accessories crafted from recycled leather such as tyres and old beer and milk bottles painted in Madhubani art are some instances of their own way of championing a cause- something far beyond money.
We are all drawn to people who are kind and considerate and this is precisely why brands that give that little something where/when it is unexpected end up delivering customer delight. A scooter mechanic who thought of investing in a couple of scooters which he regularly refueled, serviced and handed over for use to his customers while their scooters were at his repair facility earned gold stars in customer service. He thought about how stranded people would feel without their own scooters in the interim period…Now that’s what being thoughtful is all about!
Add That Special Touch
For this you will have to go back to “Why you started the business?” and “What is your niche?”
For instance the Akanksha store in Mumbai retails small gift items and curious crafted by children from municipal schools in the city who are beneficiaries of Akanksha the NGO’s teaching initiatives. Or eCoexist which follows a philosophy of making products through underprivileged groups of people such as rag pickers, marginalized women and children and the handicapped. The special touch in this case is not having a factory and yet making products through marginalized groups thereby providing them with livelihood.
Building an endearing brand is all about winning the “hearts” of your customers. It reflects in the way you (as the owner) and your employees think and act. Make people feel special and punctuate their experiences with those vital “special touches” and watch your business grow!
In my next post…logos and their role in small business branding…