In today’s world of reality television, talent competitions seem to be continuously in the spotlight. There’s The Voice, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, Little Big Shots, The X Factor, and on and on. As thousands perform their hearts out in front of the likes of Simon Cowell, Adam Levine, and Heidi Klum and all of America, you can’t help but think, “They’re so lucky,” or “I wish I would be discovered.” However, over the years, not every winner of these famous reality TV shows achieved the same level of success as their predecessors and star-studded judges’ panel. But why not?
This phenomenon is something many small business owners can relate to, and the answer is simply hard work. Although we like to think so, the success of the biggest stars wasn’t entirely due to “luck.” It certainly was a combination of luck, skill, and a little charm, but most importantly, it was persistence. After being crowned American’s favorite, they made sure you wouldn’t forget their names by continuing to put the work in.
Small business owners encounter this reality every day. You may have a brilliant business idea, but in order to truly succeed, you need to be seen and heard by your customers. Unfortunately, most starting out for the first time in business don’t realize the importance of marketing and branding. Without these critical functions, your business is not likely to take off. You don’t need to necessarily start shouting, but you do need to build attention and awareness for your brand. The overall complexity of the process can be broken down into three main steps:
- Create an identity | A brand identity is extremely important. It is
a mainfactor in determining the value of your products, services, and company as a whole, and it directly impacts how many new and returning customers your business has. Think about what you want to come to mind when customers consider your business. Reliability? Friendly service? Environmentally friendly? Nostalgic? Everything from your logo design to customer service is used to create an opinion about your business. Make sure it’s one you want.
- Stop whispering and get heard! | While word of mouth is wonderful, you cannot rely on it 100% to gain attention for your business. Take matters into your own hands and start talking. Thanks to digital marketing it’s easier than ever for small businesses to reach a broad market of consumers. Social media networks, Google Places, and Yelp listings and reviews are just a few cost-effective ways of marketing your business online. Additionally, companies such as Entrepreneur, Small Business Saturday, and the Small Business Revolution are constantly looking for unique businesses to highlight, but they need to know who you are in order to do so.
- Develop a strategy | Strategy is vital in marketing and branding. The reason why is because you want to make sure your resources are being used efficiently to create a clear, consistent message for consumers. Explore different on- and offline techniques to determine the best options. With a well thought-out strategy, you can create marketing and branding campaigns that have customers rushing to your doors.
You can collect four-leaf clovers, keep rabbits’ feet in your pocket, and hang horseshoes all you want, but in truth, you don’t need