By Henny Kel
If the title of the article brought you here and you are reading this sentence, then we can safely assume that you are aware of the importance of branding. You may have an established business or just a business plan; in either of these situations, it is commendable that you are thinking about creative branding.
Almost every business owner today follows the basic rules of branding such as choosing a target audience, having a professionally designed logo, creating an online presence and other standard guidelines. Almost every business does the same thing to attract their potential customers.
The difference between being average and being a winner is creativity. Here are 11 creative ways to build a winning brand for your small business. You should note that these ideas are only indicative as there’s no limit to creativity.
1. Be a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Create a unique brand message for your brand that can strike some emotions in your customers and society as a whole. Show society that you are not in the market only for profit and you are willing to contribute genuinely.
Have you ever heard about TOMS? They don’t only sell shoes, but gift one to the needy for each pair you buy. They are getting an overwhelming result for their initiative. We might keep on saying that we are living in a society where everybody has become selfish and corrupted. However, the reality is the majority of us are good at heart. Moreover, selfless deeds are always welcomed warmly. You don’t necessarily need to give away half of your merchandise in charity like TOMS, but there must be a good message attached with your brand to make it lovable.
2. Go Offline, Too
Creativity is a fancy name for uniqueness. Uniqueness is easily visible in the crowd of uniformity. So, when everybody is rushing online to flood the Internet with their advertisements, you can make yourself visible by going offline sometimes. The crowd whom you try to attract on social media do exist in the real world too. So, keep aside technology for sometimes and make your target audience do the same.
Instead of creating events on your Facebook page, organize some in different localities. Before uploading DIY techniques video on YouTube for your followers, demonstrate them in schools or colleges. In addition to doing an online survey and creating Twitter polls, take public opinion during roadshows. Despite the massive lifestyle change, human beings still develop an intense bond when they meet and greet someone off the screen.
3. Connect Your Target Audience with Your Story
Choose any medium you like but let people know your story. Be a speaker in local TED talks, get your interview featured in magazines, be the chief guest in some function or come up with something more creative, but create a chance for narrating your story. The human brain is always fascinated towards stories, so you are sure to get curious ears for your story. By going public, you are giving your customers a human face along with a digital logo that represents your company. Zuckerberg’s face is as good as the Facebook logo for the brand.
Be cautious while presenting your story. Don’t try to portray yourself as someone who has extraordinary skills or a great achiever. Talk about your struggles, your failures and your limitations as a human being so that your audience can relate to you. Everyone is more interested in knowing the garage office from where Apple started rather than the huge office it owns today.
4. Be a Contest Organizer
Create contests to keep your customers happily engaged with your brand. You can award extra points to the customer who shares the contest details with their friends to ensure your contest’s visibility on a large scale. You can create varieties of contests depending on the business you own. If you are a publisher, you can ask readers to submit book reviews within a stipulated time and award other books of your publication as the prize. If you are in fashion or cosmetics industry, you can create photo contests.
You can organize some interesting offline contests as well. If you deal in processed and semi-processed food items, you can go on streets with your eating challenge and thank the participants with a souvenir that has your brand logo printed on it.
5. Let Your Customers Flaunt Their Loyalty
Some online stores and apps are doing this, but you can still take advantage of the idea before it becomes a noticeable trend. Award your customers with points or stars for every purchase. The happy feeling of getting something extra encourages customers to be loyal to your brand. They will prefer you over your competitors’ brand even if they are getting the same product for the same cost.
You can either add monetary value to every point and let customers buy something after collecting lots of points or give them recognition and credibility on your site by ranking them with stars.
6. Celebrate Your Customers’ Birthdays
It has become a custom for every brand to celebrate all special events and make special offers for them. Some even have started celebrating a certain day of the week by announcing ongoing offers for that particular day. However, all these are a generic celebration. Celebrating your customers’ birthdays would be a specific celebration to make them feel special.
All online stores or websites have details about their registered customers. These details contain the name, email id and date of birth. Use these details to create a personalized offer coupon and email it to your customer with birthday wishes. You can also choose a lucky customer based on submitted coupons and give a gift. This will ensure the loyalty of existing customers and attract some new ones, too.
7. Become a Quora Expert
Everybody suggests creating content for SEO and putting it on your website to increase Google ranking. Although this is a good suggestion; it is not enough. Everybody is creating and posting such valuable content on their website. It is this strategy that has multiplied the demand for content writers over the decade.
Show your uniqueness and start creating content based on questions asked on Quora that are related to your business. You can add a direct link leading to your website but don’t force it in the answer. Quora can prove to be very potent marketing tool if used well. However, be sure to make your answer useful; Quora is known for its quality answers, and you need to maintain that level.
8. Be Visibly Involved in Your Customers’ Entertainment
If you have a big budget, you can contact mainstream filmmakers to use your products and make your brand name visible on multiplexes. Even if you don’t have a very big budget, you can make your brand visible to your customers by contacting various YouTube channels.
Short films, parodies and comedy clips on YouTube are seen and shared by millions of viewers. Do some research about the trendy channels with the same target audience as yours and give them your brand’s product to make it visible in their next videos. Customers don’t see it as an advertisement, but it sticks in their mind.
9. Get Involved in Everything That Is Trending
The rule of thumb for being popular on social media is to get involved in whatever is trending. Typically, brands try to engage only in such things that are related to their brand. However, the creative idea is to get involved in everything, whether you have something to say on the topic or not. You don’t have to search for any link between the trending topic and your brand. We call it branding without linkage.
“Fade up of Trump discussion? Chill with our cold-drink.” “Chew our delicious chewing gum because you can’t chew Mr. Kim Jong-un.” Hope the two examples are enough to make you understand the meaning of getting involved in everything that is trending.
10. Host Free Events without Advertising
You can host free-to-enter events that look simply a well-organized event rather than an advertisement campaign. Obviously, you can have banners of your brand name, but they should only sound like an introduction about the host. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.
Hosting free events without desperate marketing is one of the best examples of speaking silence. This would earn you some very loyal customers.
11. Make Influencers Influence Customers on Your Behalf
Every social media platform is ruled by influencers who can drive their followers crazy with one post/tweet/pin. Recognize the influencer having a large number of your target audience as their followers and ask them to review your product or simply tell the followers to use your brand’s product. People tend to believe the feedback about any product when given by someone unrelated with the brand. Moreover, social media influencers already have so many people to listen and believe.
Your goal should be to be as creative as you can and let your brand shine! If you have other creative branding ideas, please share in the comments!