As a small business owner, it can be an ongoing struggle to compete with larger companies with bigger marketing departments and budgets. You may feel like everything you’re doing to try to get your company’s name out there is getting buried in all of the advertising “noise”.
So what’s a small business to do? The answer is to use your “uniqueness” to your advantage.
There’s one thing that small businesses have in abundance that larger companies or corporations often don’t—personality! And communicating that personality to the public often doesn’t require large amounts money—just some thought, time, and effort.
Find Your Company’s Unique Personality
The first thing you need to do in order to communicate your company personality to the world (or to your local community) is to figure out what it is. Think about what you offer your customers that’s different or special. Maybe it’s your exceptional customer service or your retail location’s quirky décor.
You could even identify your company’s personality by contrasting it with other companies in your industry. This is especially effective if your industry has a certain “reputation”. For example, if you own a car dealership, you could market your company as one that doesn’t have pushy salespeople. Or if you own a general contracting business, you could make your company known as the one that finishes projects on time and on budget.
For Lil’ Chit-Chat, a boutique speech therapy clinic in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, they have chosen to differentiate themselves through their community support and involvement. They regularly support local initiatives and charities that are important to them and their clients, such as those organizations benefitting the special needs community in their area. They also offer services to the community at large, such as an enrichment program for parents and caregivers of children dealing with speech and language delays, as well as classes in which children can work on their skills.
Make it Part of Your Brand
The next step in using your company’s personality to benefit your bottom line is to truly make it a part of your company’s DNA. Make sure your employees understand what it is, so the message will be consistent, no matter whom your customers deal with. If your brand personality has to do with your customer service or the quality of your work, make sure you train all of your employees to meet the standards you set.
Some companies choose to literally make their personality part of their brand by creating a tagline or slogan that clearly communicates it. In the Los Angeles area, there’s a plumber that advertises himself as “The Smell Good Plumber”. He promises that any plumber that comes to your home from his company will show up in a clean uniform and wear protective shoe coverings so as to not dirty your carpets.
Communicate Your Brand Personality to Your Customers
Once you’ve identified your company’s unique personality and have made it part of your brand, it’s time to tell people about it. Anywhere you talk about your company, talk about your company’s brand personality. This includes the home page of your website, the “about” page on your website, in your company’s description on social media, and in your advertising (digital and print).
If your company has a blog, you should post regularly on topics that speak to your brand personality. An easy way to do this is to highlight any reviews or testimonials your company receives that are related to your brand. Don’t be afraid to “brag” about what your company is doing or accomplishing. If you donated to or volunteered for a community event—tell people about it! Write a blog post about your experience with the charity or why you have chosen to support that particular organization. Or if your company wins a customer service award, write about that, including why your company stands out in that area.
Social media is another great place to communicate your brand personality. If you want your company to be know for its friendly, helpful staff, take pictures of your staff members and post them to social media with a few short sentences describing the experience your customers can expect to have with that employee. Post regularly so potential customers can see that your company is active and vibrant.
Lil’ Chit-Chat, the pediatric speech therapy clinic mentioned above, talks about their community involvement in both their blog and on their social media pages. By doing so, they are showing their potential clients that they care about more than just growing their business, but they also care about the special needs community at large. Their community involvement has also garnered Lil’ Chit-Chat several local awards, which has given them more opportunities to talk about their brand personality on their blog and in social media.
Your company’s brand personality is what can set you apart from your competitors more than almost anything else. Be intentional about regularly communicating it to your potential customers and you should see a noticeable improvement in your marketing results.