‘Your brand is your business’ rings true for SMEs too.
As we make our way through our 20th year as one of Yorkshire’s leading brand consultancies, Managing Director, Laura Kynaston, shares with the Yorkshire Post her top ten tips for SMEs.
Laura Kynaston is Managing Director at Leeds based brand consultancy, Propaganda, which celebrates its 20th year of creating and transforming businesses this autumn.
- Your brand is your business. Your brand doesn’t live in the marketing department, you’ll be judged on multiple levels, from the way your people answer the phone, to corporate branding – even the way your vehicles are driven. A negative impression is very difficult to reverse.
- Have a clear proposition. SMEs shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to be different things to different people. Understand your offer and be clear about what makes you the best in your sector.
- Know who your customers are. It’s only by defining your audience, that you can be comfortable about your brand proposition.
- Know who your customers aren’t. Focus on your strategy rather than chasing to raise profile at any cost. Exposure is important to small and medium sized firms, but it means nothing if you’re not getting noticed by the right people.
- Strategy before tactics. First think about what you want to achieve, and then consider how. Recognise that not all communications channels are right for every business. For example, the latest digital media trend may be inexpensive and seemingly immediate, but inappropriate for your objectives.
- Prioritise. For SMEs it’s likely that there’ll be a lot going on, and board involvement in most areas of the business. Build a team you trust, and delegate as appropriate.
- Relate to your customers. By talking with them on a more intimate level, and embracing feedback, you can build brand trust, reputation and long term loyalty.
- Be social. Not on social media? Think again. Your online reputation is more important than ever, and business-to-business companies aren’t exempt from this. The chances are, even if you’re not talking about yourself – others are talking about you. Get involved, lead, and own the conversation.
- Be authentic. Find your differentiating truth, work hard to stick to it, and if you do happen to stray from it – apologise. In today’s world of the socially sharing customer there is nowhere to hide, and people want to engage with brands that are honest.
- Invest in your point of difference – polish it so it shines brightly enough attract business, investors or even a buyer.