Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can Small and Medium-Size Companies Build Their Brands?




The answer is yes, but it takes time and a real, long term commitment from management. The key is to develop an integrated marketing communications program and stick with it.

The first step is to conduct as much market research as possible--both internal and external. You need to understand your customers, your markets, your strengths and weaknesses, your competition, your distribution channels, your awareness level and current perceptions. The more intgelligence gathered, the greater the odds of being on target with strategies and positioning. Without this information, it's like shooting in the dark and your chances for success will decrease.

Long Haul Is The Key

If management can't commit to a long-term brand building program, save your money and lower expectations. A "start and stop" program doesn't work and is a waste of both time and money. Creating a branding program involves more than advertising. It is only part of a total marketing communications program integrated with everything produced, including advertising, brochures, websites, data sheets, email blasts, trades show exhibits and PR. Everything needs to ahve the same "look and feel" to project the personality of the company.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.

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I'm really just a "mature" guy picking up experience along the way. If only by osmosis, I've observed what works and what doesn't work under the marketing umbrella -- with 11 years in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble; 30-plus years in B2B publishing (including three years as a publisher); and 1,000's of calls on every size company starting with the likes of Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard all the way down to small, brash start-ups.

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