Filling a niche in the small business ecosystem

Small businesses looking to market themselves effectively to consumers should especially pay attention to the image they wish to convey. The development of a brand that instantly conveys certain qualities and emotions is the essential goal of any marketing strategy. Successful branding efforts result in logos, mascots or advertising images that quickly communicate security, dependability, thrift, kindness or a host of other qualities. However, this range of emotions fall into two major categories that describe how companies portray themselves, and small businesses engaged in marketing efforts should decide which to use. Choosing one or the other will allow companies to give themselves a stronger identity that will benefit their overall branding efforts.

Niche
The term niche comes from the ecological study of the natural world. A niche is the place in a biosphere that an organism occupies – also known as its position in the food chain or circle of life. In an ecosystem, everything is in balance and plays a role in supporting the entire framework. Ideally, the same is true of the free market. Companies have roles that sustain the entire system, and small businesses that promote their occupation of a niche are saying to customers that they do a few things and they do them extraordinarily well. Organizations that go this route can use mascots who are unique and well-suited to a certain task. They could also find success through the use of a tightly-focused promotional product campaign. This results in an overarching consumer impression that a company is essential and produces output that no other organization could.

Generalist
A generalist is an animal that is capable of surviving on a wide variety of foods, and some companies can find success by implying that they are jacks of all trades. This is an appealing tactic when a small business' industry lends itself to a variety of products, such as in retail or accounting. Companies that position themselves in this way can market their products and services with search engine optimization that focuses on a variety of key words. A successful generalist approach results in consumers who imagine that a small business is reliable and should be turned to in a variety of situations.  

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