Are you an owner of a Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) here in Malaysia? If you are, we’ve got just the thing for you in this article. As a small business, it may be challenging to compete with other big brands and enterprises, with devoted customers and huge marketing budgets.
However, that doesn’t mean that SMEs can never match up with them. With proper brand-building process and a decent budget, Malaysia’s SMEs will be able to leave a long-lasting impression on their customers and boost their reputation among other big names in the market!
What is Brand-Building?
Firstly, brand-building is a process to generate awareness about your business through strategies and campaigns to create a strong and lasting impression in the market. There is more to branding than just an attractive logo or cool advertisements. We need to do more.
A brand is also defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business. Therefore, building a brand is of the utmost importance for any SMEs because your brand is your reputation. Plus, CEO and Creative Director of Freshsparks branding agency, Sonia Gregory, advises all the entrepreneurs out there to build a brand, and not just a business.
Branding comprises a few elements such as branding strategy, brand identity and brand marketing. In this article, we’ll focus on some brand-building strategies on a budget for all the SMEs out there.
7 Brand Building Strategies for SMEs on a Budget
Building a brand does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time, planning and requires a strategy. However, the amount of time and effort you invest in a brand can bring you great results in making your place in the market, increase sales, and in establishing a long-term relationship with your clients.
Here are five brand building strategies for all the SMEs on a budget :
1. “In-Source” Your Initial Design and Branding Works
If you’re on a tight budget and not looking to spend too much on logo and design work; it’s alright, you can always create in-house design work for cost-effective solutions. Design is an essential component in your branding strategy as it helps lay the foundation for future brand strategies and showcase your company’s personality.
You can always try and create your very own logo and branding materials through logo design tools. It may sound unconvincing at first, but existing technology is still there for you to take advantage of for a cost-effective and unique design.
Designing your very own logo gives you an advantage too, in maintaining your creative control. However, if you’re not too confident, you can always look for a creative agency who offer branding and design services at an affordable rate.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
The next important strategy to build your brand is by creating a persona to understand your audience. A buyer persona refers to a research-based profile that depicts a target customer. It describes who your ideal customers are, along with their needs, goals and behaviour.
Buyer personas are essential to help you decide on how you convey your products or services. By having this information about your customers, SMEs can learn to develop an engaging and effective brand that reaches the right audience. Understanding your audience can help you save time, effort and cost; and bring in great returns.
Creating a buyer persona is not only for large companies, but SMEs can significantly benefit from it as well in gaining customer insights, helping you narrow your focus and adjust your marketing platform to better resonate with your customers.
3. Develop a Voice For Your Brand Through Content
Once you are much clearer on who your target audience is, you can move on to developing your brand’s identity and voice. You showcase your brand, and its voice by letting your customers know of your company’s value, mission, what they represent, and what you can do to help.
An essential way to develop a voice for your brand is through creating content. We cannot emphasise enough, the importance of an engaging and informative content that reflects and supports your company value. Your content can come in many forms, such as compelling emails, social posts, blogs, and websites that convey your company’s mission and vision.
One of the many ways to share your content is by creating a website. An attractive website design and engaging content will not only appeal to your customers, but it would be very convenient for them to get to know you, and gain all the information they need about you in one place.
4. Take Full Advantage of Social Media
As mentioned, content is crucial when it comes to building your brand. Plus, it doesn’t cost you that much! With the availability of social media, SME owners have a huge advantage in building and marketing their brand. It’s vital for businesses today to have a consistent and strong online presence across all platforms.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can help you build and strengthen your brand. With the help of buyer personas, you can check out how your target audience interacts with social media, and allocate your resources there. From there, SMEs can reach out and engage with their audience more, with relevant and engaging posts and content.
There are many tips and strategies on social media marketing. If you have too much on your plate, some creative and digital agencies also provide social media marketing services for your business. Through comprehensive solutions, SMEs can build higher brand visibility and tap into the mass global audience.
5. Start A Blog
Are blogs important? Yes, they are; and we cannot stress this enough. Blogging is of the utmost importance when it comes to marketing and building your brand. Blogs build loyal customers and followers. Blogs are indeed an essential game plan to reach your audience.
If you’re wondering why blogs are so crucial, it’s because blogging is ideal for sharing in-depth materials and information. Not only that, but blogging also drives traffic to your website. For customers or business clients who are interested in doing business with you, your blogs will deem useful for them to know more about your brand, company and what you do.
With that said, one should not underestimate the impact of blogging. Although it takes time, SME owners can have a return on their investment in blogs. Besides quality and engaging content writing, SME owners need to utilise Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in their blogs. SEO services can help drive traffic and increase your visibility on search engines. One of the best ways to reach a wider audience is by having an SEO solution for your blog management.
6. Find Ways to Broaden Your Brand’s Appeal
Paid advertisements and campaigns are great, but if you’re an SME owner who is on a budget; you can always opt for a cost-effective or no-charge alternative. With that said, SME owners can find ways to broaden their brand’s appeal by going back to the basics: getting to know your customers.
One of the ideal ways to know your customer and get your brand recognised is by actively participating in the community you are serving in. Strategies such as participating in events, attending conferences, conventions and other gatherings are great for networking and learning what the latest customer trends and preference is.
SME owners can also work together and partner up with another company. By cooperating with more prominent brands, you can speed things up and create financial opportunities. Only make sure that the brand you want to partner with is aligned with yours, so it does not confuse the audience.
7. Make Customer Service a Priority
It might come as a surprise to some. How does customer service have anything to do with brand-building? Believe us when we say that pleasant customer service can help you market and build your brand through word-of-mouth by existing and potential customers.
When your customer service is top-notch, it can bring to earned media, which refers to publicity and recognition earned and not paid for, from people talking about what your company did that was impressive.
For example, customers tend to read reviews when it comes to purchasing items online. If SME owners have good reviews on their customer service, it increases the customers’ trust upon you and may be more inclined to do business with you. Overall, in a brand-building process, it is also vital to think about the values your customer would like to experience, such as excellent customer services.
Why is Brand Building Important for My Business?
As a small business, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is for Malaysia’s SMEs to stand out among the fierce competition. With that said, here are other reasons why a brand-building strategy should be optimised as much as possible.
- Stand Out From Your Competition. No matter what business you do, there could be hundreds of other companies who are doing the same thing as you. However, you can stand out and set yourself apart from the competition building a brand that is unlike any other brands.
- Branding Supports Advertising. When you’ve built a brand for your business, it is now more convenient for you to advertise further as advertising is another component to branding. As the goal of a brand is to create a long-lasting impression for customers, SME owners can now advertise their products and services with a consistent branding that will be memorable to their target audience.
- Increase Credibility. A well-strategised branding and professional image will undoubtedly gain the confidence and trust from customers and business clients. With proper branding, it gives the impression that your company is credible to do business with; customers and business partners can trust your company, your products, services and how you do business along the way.
- Branding Generates New Customers. When customers and business clients trust in your branding, it’s no surprise that you may land a higher chance of doing business with them. With that said, a well-established brand can help you generate new customers and revenue, as there is a positive impression of the company.
- Improve Employee’s Trust and Satisfaction. Working for a reputable brand can help improve the pride and trust of employees as they are working with you. Plus, when an employee works for a strongly branded company and stands behind the brand, they will be more satisfied with their job, feeling more fulfilled and proud of the work they do.
In conclusion, SMEs can elevate their business and compete in the industry by starting with building their brand. Also, building a brand doesn’t have to cost you a lot. It all depends on how much effort you’re willing to put in the basics—knowing your customers, build your online presence, blogging and more.
With all that said, SME owners don’t have to take up everything in their hands as well. It could be overwhelming to maintain and keep up with all these strategies in brand-building. Therefore, here’s a final tip to help lift the burdens of all the SMEs.
SME owners can build and market their brand through affordable services at Walk Production creative and digital agency. Almost everything that was said here from branding services, web design, copywriting and blog management are all offered by WP at an affordable rate. Start your brand-building journey today with the help of Walk Production, your one-stop solution for all your business needs.