Branding on a Budget
Can you fill in these blanks: ? First, let me warn you. You probably won’t like me much after reading below. I’ll tell you why in just a sec…
“Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named ______, poor mountaineer barely kept his family_____.”
“Don’t Squeeze the ____________.”
“The incredible, edible __________.”
“______ _______: Don’t leave home without it.”
“Like a good neighbor, __________ is there.”
“What Happens_______, stays__________.”
“Gillette. The Best a ____ ____ ____. ”
“Sometimes you feel like a _______. Sometimes _____ _______.”
I could go on and on, and you could too. You probably don’t even have to look up any of these slogans, jingles, and advertising themes to fill in these blanks. They just live quietly in the vault of your mind, stored there by some copy writer and media buyer with only one agenda: brand recall. The mind-vault is unlocked by a simple combination of words or musical notes, ready to be accessed when you need groceries (the incredible, edible egg, Don’t squeeze the Charmin,), insurance (Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there), razors (Gillette. The Best a Man Can Get) Mars/Almond Joy candy bars (sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t), credit cards, or a Vegas vacation (What happens here, stays here). You weren’t even thinking about The Beverly Hillbillies- and maybe you haven’t in years. You may not even have been born when the show went off the air–but you can sing every word of that dang theme song. And you probably will be humming it all day! (Don’t you hate me?) It’s brand marketing in it’s best and most glorious form.
Admittedly, these advertisers spend millions of dollars to get into your mind-vault. They hammer away at our conscious and subconscious through TV, radio, print, web, and other media. But what if you don’t have that kind of money? What if you’re just a local business, with a small but reasonable budget for your market? How do you get that kind of brand recall?
Here are three great relatively low-cost ways to brand your company:
Focus your market- Find or create a smaller space within your demographic to advertise and brand your product. For example, if you own a nursery, promote your brand to a segment of homeowners in particular neighborhood, home size, or geographic section of town. You spend less, and have greater frequency of message. I recommend owning all of ten percent of your potential audience than none of 100 percent any day.
Focus your message- Back to your nursery, you might try branding yourself as the source for home vegetable garden supplies, or the BEST place for ornamental trees, or the SMARTEST place for landscape design. Narrowing your message does not mean you stop selling the other stuff, but it gives you a foot in the door to expose your other products.
Focus your media– You don’t have the budget to be in all places your target audience is, but you can be in one place. Take advantage of it. Own that place outright. If it’s radio, buy a spot an hour if they’ll allow it, or maybe own part of their audience by airing all your spots in just one daypart. If it’s TV, own a program or a time slot.
But you have to be consistent. You can’t run all your spots in one day and expect your door to get knocked over with new customers. You’ve gotta do it week after week. You’ve got to cultivate your brand. There are other great, low cost ways to market your brand, but each takes work, time, and consistency. So get started, and you’ll see results and profits over time. Sing with me now…
“Well the first thing you know ole Jed’s a millionaire…”