Tips for Building a Strong Brand in a Bad Economy
Yes, the economy is currently less than stellar, but don't let it distract you from continuing to do all that you can to making your company thrive. The truth of the matter is that while the economy could definitely be doing better, this is still a remarkable time in America's history because we are seeing so many people step out of working to make other people's dreams come true by going out and doing what they can to actualize some of their own desires. And, when it comes to maintaining the longevity of your company, one of the best ways that this can happen is to build a strong brand.
If you're a business owner and you're wondering how you can further develop your own brand in this (currently) bad economy, here are five tips that you can start applying; ones that will have you so focused on the growth and prosperity of your business, that the over economy will be more of an afterthought rather than a deterrent.
Keep your eyes on the (long-term) prize. There will be challenges, but when it comes to having anything of value, there always is. However, never lose sight of what your long-term goals are and make sure that your energy and efforts are built around those. Do consistent research on how to further develop your business, keep up with the trends of your particular market (as well as the technological ones) and stay in touch with your consumers (via online surveys, comments on website blogs, etc.) so that you can hear, firsthand, what their particular needs are. After all, if the customer is "happily returning", then income is continuing to come into your company as well.
Always market and advertise. Oddly enough, when business owners are in a season of not making a significant profit, one of the first things that they decide to pull from is their marketing/advertising budget. Yet, if no one knows that the company exists, how can any more money be made? If the budget is minimal, you can certainly get more creative with how you market your business and thanks to things like Facebook fan pages and YouTube channels, you can definitely do a lot of marketing free of charge. But if you have been paying for things like radio ads and giveaways in times past to drum up business sales, this would not be the time to let up on those.
Outsource (wisely). Unfortunately, sometimes you have to downsize to keep things afloat. If this is the case for you, consider outsourcing help (hiring a firm, like maybe 522 Digital, to handle some of the workload that you did within your business) or contracting workers rather than having full-time staff. That way, the work still gets done, but you are able to save a bit of money in the process.
Stay present online. The ways that you can be seen online are endless and honestly, there should probably be someone contracted out just to maintain this area alone. But whether you hire someone or do it yourself, make sure that you have a regularly updated website, that someone blogs consistently, that you send out messages via your Facebook and Twitter accounts, that you encourage people to bookmark your site via websites like Digg and Magnolia and that you start up a Pinterest account where consumers can share ideas with you. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to establishing an online presence, but in just following these recommendations alone, you are well on your way to maintaining a strong brand.
Revisit the plan. No company can have a strong brand without effective leadership. Along with your staff, make a special effort to meet on a fairly consistent basis to restate the core values of your company; to do continual research on your marketplace; to come up with strategic marketing plans; to assign quarterly goals and to give your staff realistic timelines and benchmarks with each mission. Remember, a plan is only as good as the people who are willing to put it into action, so be sure to plan and implement wisely.