The prospect of competing with national corporations and their massive advertising budgets can seem daunting for small business owners. The state of the economy can also make it seem as if there is little that can be done to outmaneuver a marketing juggernaut. However, local companies should take heart, for there are some significant advantages that big organizations don’t have access to.
Most large companies have already made themselves known to most Americans. Either through direct contact or cultural osmosis, big-enough companies will get their names into people’s minds. The benefit that this provides to small companies is that there will be little interest or curiosity surrounding them. A name that is vaguely familiar and known to be significant doesn’t rate the same way as something new and intriguing.
That is why promotional products are much more helpful to small businesses and local companies than they are for sizable corporations. People are exposed to the names of large organizations all the time, so hearing them an additional time has much less of an impact. Promotional pens, USB memory sticks, mugs, t-shirts and other such logo products carry much more mental capital than the same items with a recognizable company’s name branded on them.
Due to legal issues or company-wide regulations, contracts and communications with large companies are necessarily more detailed and complex. Small businesses have the ability to speak to consumers one-on-one. This gives organizations the opportunity to appeal to people’s personalities and connect with them more deeply.
It may sound superficial, but this is an incredibly important distinction. Representatives of large companies will always be speaking on behalf of their employers first and foremost. A small business owner and her employees won’t necessarily be constrained in the same way. As a result, advertising and marketing materials can be more personal. Another great way to take advantage of the natural humanity that small businesses are composed of is to put individual stories and employee profiles on websites and in blog posts. This allows customers to get to know staff members before they ever even do business with them.
Becoming a part of a community is very difficult for large companies, simply because they can never really claim any allegiance to a town or neighborhood. Small businesses, on the other hand, can run promotions with other local groups as well as learn and convincingly take part in local customs and traditions. This feeling of shared citizenship can often sway customers toward remembering and patronizing small businesses in their area over large, impersonal corporations or even over other small business competitors that don’t take advantage of the same opportunities.