I highly doubt there is any business industry now where you will not have competitors and people offering the same thing you are offering if not exactly what you are offering.
How then do you stand out in crowded markets and make customers see you?
For people starting out in business, branding can be very tricky because, you are just starting out.
You do not even know what your brand will look like a year from now
And you may have very limited funds to be creating high quality branding materials.
So, what can you do instead?
a. Become very clear about the core value of your company and tie that into your adverts and marketing
The most respected and well known brands do this.
Nike celebrates great athletes and great athletics and they apply this in all their adverts down to the people they collaborate with.
Coca cola celebrates family and friendship, they apply this in all their adverts
Apple celebrates a unique point of view; excellent people who have a different kind of thinking and, their entire product line and company shows this
They do not follow the trend, they set it.
Facebook celebrates connecting people and there platform is a wonderful stalker.
What is the core value your brand stands for?
Usually, this core value is derived from the founders of the business and their vision.
TheStartupRepot has its core value as making starting a business successfully easier for people.
This guides all the articles I publish, the videos I create and even the way I write
I came about this value again by paying attention to what matters to me in the industry of entrepreneurship
So, what matters to you when it comes to your own industry?
b. You can apply branding by using select images and colour, filters and video theme style
Coca Cola uses red and white,
Nike uses black and white,
Apple uses white and black
Instagram uses their colour mix and logo and all the major brands in the world apply their colours in different ways
On their website, on their articles, in their video adverts, for their fliers and banners
The more you use a specific colour, the more people recognize that colour anywhere they see it or logo as belonging to you.
On social media for example, when I see this kind of post, I know it belongs to Tomie Balogun, Investment expert
When I see this kind, I know it belongs to Glory , netroking expert
When I see this kind of post, I know it belongs to CNBC
Can people spot your brand images or posts anywhere on social media?
Without being told, I will know this imsgae belongs to houseofcb anyday anytime
Have you seen that Nike and Airtel follow a specific tone for their adverts?
You can spot a video by scalemyhustle anywhere on instagram
You can even achieve this by using a specific kind of filter, by using one model or splashing your Facebook all over your brand
The point is, if people cannot spot you in the crowd, standing out will be difficult
This is completely different from Branding
If you use an iphone and you use an android phone, you will know the difference.
The design, the functionalities, the user interface of an iphone gives a completely different experience than what you get with most android phones
Brand experience is also the difference between paying for an Airbnb and paying for a weekend at Hilton hotels
They are both in the hospitality business but, I will likely want to spend a weekend at Hilton and the odds are also high for you
Brand experience is also the difference between going to do your hair or barb it in the market or with the local barber and, going to do it in a Lekki salon
As a small business, you can leverage brand experience in the way customers place orders
the ease of transactions, the design of your website and email newsletters
the ease at which they can request help and get it, the packaging, all of it
Amazon didn’t become the giant in its industry when it came into existence simply because they sell items
people could order an item online and it will land on their doorstep within a few days and at great prices in great shape
It was a different experience for them and was well run
Facebook didn’t make waves simply because it was a social network
they made waves because of the experience people had when they would use it
How they coud easily connect with friends
This is an area I know I need to put in more effort when it comes to my business
but, brand experience is super key when it comes to standing out from the competition
Anyone can do mediocre and average work, anyone can aim to meet the expectations of their customers.
Be the brand that aims to beat their expectation
“People buy from people “
This is such an old quote thrown around by a lot of people in business but it is the truth
And yet, too many business owners are running their business with no human connection
and on instagram for example, no one will pay you any attention.
Example of a business that applies this very well would the green investment club by Tomie Balogun
Tomie s the face of her brand and continiously talks about her business and sharing her tips and stories as well
When I decide to invest in the green investment club, it will not be because there aren’t other options, it will be because I connect with Tomie Balogun as a person
I have seen how she has transformed her life financially and I want to do that for myself.
Another brand that used this method to grow their audience would be Apple
Apple became apple because people connected with what Jobs stood for and he took every opportunity to explain what it is he stands for
He made sure people knew he was a face behind the brand and people connected well with him
Another brand that has done this effortlessly would be naijabrandchick and her business, nellies
She has become a personality that people connect with
we know her story of how she left her very high paying job to start Nellies and when I think of organic snacks, I think of nellies
There are so many people like this who have built their business by using storytelling
Remi Owadokun of Totalmakeoverprogram, Ijeoma of Bubez food
You may be wondering, “how do I apply story telling for my business when I am just starting out?”
We will tackle this in a future article not too far away
But, for now, the ain take away here is that people connect with people so, get your face in front of your brand
People will always remember how you make them feel
and, if their feelings were strong and positive, they will be able to spot your brand on a shelve
Too many times I see small businesses and even large ones try to advertise by using logical advertising.
They logically run through the benefits and features of a product and service like a close-up advert and expect people to flock like sand
Imagine if you became the brand that applies emotional advertising instead because, at the end of the day, people’s buying reasosn has never been logical
People buy because they have a problem they want to solve or pleasure they stand to gain
You will never see an advert from Nike where they are talking about the features of their shoe
You will not see an advert from IKEA where they are talking about the features of their home products
To apply emotional advertising effectively, focus on your company’s core values and advertise from that point.
You have to throw out advertising from benefit, features , pain or pleasure
and focus on advertising from the core values and key things that your brand stands for
For example, if you are a brand that empowers stay at homes,
Put a pause on creating an advert showing stay at homes what they stand to gain from signing up to your brand, add also adverts that celebrate them
No call to action, just the name of your brand at the end
If well done, you will see people’s emotional reaction
In my world of startup and personal development coaching, there are plenty people online
What still draws people to my page is my content
I wasn’t focused on copying how people were already creating their own kind of content
I was focused on creating valuable content to my target audience.
I have maintained that dedication to create content my target audience will value not content as I feel like it.
Whatever niche you are in, there are a lot of problems your target audience have in your industry that you can solve for them.
There are also a million ways you can add pleasure for them using content
A lot of business owners think content creation here has to be exactly about the product you are creating and it doesn’t
If you cannot find anything to talk about around the product you are selling
for example, a cake baker not knowing what to create content on, create content on what your target audience uses the cake to do
Events for one is something cakes are for and you can create articles around that and videos
You can create horoscope articles ( the signs as cakes)
You can share an engagement post titled “If I was a cake, I would be vanilla, what will you be?” and have people join in
Content isnt always in one form, allow yourself to explore.
Anyone who knows me knows my business and knowledge base is in the industry of entrepreneurship
But, my focus is not just on entreprenuers, my focus is on just starting and aspiring entreprenuers
So, while people already with grown businesses will go to people like Naijabrandchik, Triciabiz, Hillbridgeconsulting
people who are still starting out or want to start will find their way to me.
I did this because, I realized that the market for startups versus traders and already existing businesses is still very empty
I also know this is where my strength is
So, go niche.
You are not just a cake baker, there are way too many people into cake baking.
The cake baker can then focus on creating specific kinds of cakes
The tailor can focus on just pant suits
The web developer can focus on just online stores
Of course, as you grow your business, you can choose to expand beyond this
but, starting out niche and then, growing from there is always the best way to go.
A great way to stand out in a saturated market is to become very clear on what makes your business different than the others.
What is that unique thing about your brand others do not have?
An example of this would be Airbnb.
Their USP is that they make everywhere feel like home even if you are miles away.
You can travel and experience different cities ike you live there versus you are a guest there
Hilton on the other hand still has their USP as LUXURY.
They want to give you the very best experience when it comes to hospitality
Dubai as a country has their USP as Tourism which is why they focus on this area with intention
Nigeria as a country has her USP as oil which is why people are killing each other and stealing for it
What is your business own USP?
Use that to sell your business, it connects faster than general terms
Use A Different Pricing Model
Amazon killed this with Amazon Prime.
My video shooting and editing masterclass makes it possible for you to pay for 4 videos or for 11 of them at a go.
Most people in this niche only offer a one-time payment and full
Can you create a way for people to pay or a pricing method that lots of people aren’t using?
I do not mean gateways here, I am talking of the different packages available to customers and how your business is structured for money
For example, BUBEZ PAPS uses subscription for her paps verus buying it one one.
You can decide to use performance based pricing model for your business, equity based pricing model, Package pricing and the sort
This article will explain more on this.
The whole point of this is that, pay one by one order as most small business owners do or pay me a one time fee for my service isn’t the only way to charge
Using different models and making this an option will also help in making you stand out amongst your peers.
Another angle to doing this could be”sticking to a particular price range”
For example, the5kshop stood out so much when they came out because, all their items were at 5k and below only.
You can make this a feature for your business as well,
Offer Added Value
My ocurses are all available to the students who register for a year
That is an add-on a lot of people do not see coming
You know what most people are not even thinking of offering, do your research on how best to do it and make that happen
For example, most people do not offer customization when it comes to shoe designs
As a shoe maker, one can make it so people see a design and they choose the colour and size they want it in
You have to think harder than free shippig for this
You can make it so that when people buy your product, installation comes free.
Of course, you will have planned this well so your business is not leaking money
The whole point is, offering added value than others makes you stand out and will always be a more reason why people will choose your business over others.