There are quite a few variables small business marketers must consider when they embark on a branding campaign. Besides simply raising awareness of products and services, companies also have to determine the best delivery methods, choose a customer base, select the imagery that will be associated with an organization and hire the right people to make it all come together.
However, sometimes small business owners find themselves missing the ultimate point of advertising – appealing to customers. This can be summed up perfectly in the term "unique selling proposition" or USP. Entrepreneur Magazine defines a USP as, "The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition." Companies need to define this for their organizations before any marketing materials are drafted or campaigns launched. Here are some ways to do so.
First and foremost, companies need to know that their goods and services will truly offer value to their customers. Three concrete reasons should first be defined so that organizations will feel secure when they make claims. These benefits should be something that all people could agree are true. For example, a particular type of printing process a print company wishes to market might be considerably cheaper than competing methods, have a fast turnaround period and be indistinguishable from more expensive types.
It is also important that products and services are unique when compared to those of other businesses. If the aforementioned benefits are true but can be achieved by other companies, an organization isn't going to be able to stand out from the competition. Consequently, uniqueness doesn't necessarily have to be a determination of value. Instead, it could be something as simple as dedicated and knowledgeable staff members or convenient locations.
The claims of a company may be well and good, but without proof they won't be anything more than shouts into the void. With the power of the internet at their disposal, consumers can become very knowledgeable when it comes to products and services. Review sites and customer testimonials are filling the online world with opinions about companies, so people have become accustomed to being swayed by such accounts. It is crucial for businesses to be able to back up their claims with proof, either through the use of product demonstrations, consumer testimonials or even by giving away free samples for consumers to judge on their own.
In the film industry, it is not uncommon for study executives to pass on a script idea if the screenwriter can't summarize it in one sentence. This hook is very important because of the number of scripts and story ideas that pass readers, producers, directors and executives every day. By the same token, a small business that can't summarize itself briefly won't be able to latch onto an appealing identity. For example, needing a paragraph to describe a company that offers sales leads because the process is so confusing won't succeed.
In many ways, these requirements for small businesses are crucial for their advertising materials. they provide a framework or early draft of every single piece of brand awareness campaign materials going forward. Until small business marketers understand how their companies and products will be seen, there's no way to effectively characterize them for prospective customers.