The world’s biggest brands – Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, and Google – they all have global branding and marketing strategies that make their products and services recognizable almost anywhere on the planet. But as a local or regional business owner, what if taking over the world isn’t your goal? What if it makes more sense, logically and financially, to focus your marketing efforts locally?
Before discussing the benefits of a local branding strategy, let’s take a step back and look at the definition of “branding.” The American Marketing Association defines a “brand” as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” More concisely, “branding” is the process of creating something recognizable that says who you are and what your business represents.
Developing a brand strategy is one of the most difficult steps in the marketing plan process, but it is absolutely vital in creating your company’s identity. It’s essential to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand in order to successfully integrate your brand strategy at every point of public contact.
So how does developing a strong local branding strategy give your business an advantage over your competition?
The first mistake many local business owners make is to completely ignore branding altogether. How many times, while you’re out driving somewhere, have you noticed a vehicle sporting a generic “Joe’s General Contracting Services” window decal? That decal simply consists of the name of the business, a phone number, and sometimes a website url. Ask yourself if that decal was memorable. By creating a memorable logo for your business, and then by repeatedly using that logo at every point of public contact, you already have an advantage over “Joe’s General Contracting Services.”
Consistency in your branding message is crucial to the success of your business’s marketing strategy. I can recall passing a certain local business storefront (business name withheld to protect the guilty) every morning on my way to the office. This company had the name of their business on their store’s front window, on a sign hanging over the sidewalk, and even on a sidewalk display. The repetitiveness of their business name was a good start, but where they failed was that they used a completely different font for each of these items. Being consistent with your branding evokes a feeling of professionalism that many local businesses lack.
Be careful not to think that branding isn’t important just because you don’t operate your business on a global scale. Local brands have the ability to create tighter bonds with their “hometown” customer/prospect base. Additionally, local brands often meet unique local needs, and they often have operational and logistical advantages over national and global competitors.
You can definitely run a very successful local business without going “global.” It is very easy to gain an advantage over your local competitors by applying very basic marketing and branding strategies. Learn more about our branding services, or ask us for a complimentary estimate for branding services below.