The New Year is a perfect time to pump up your business's brand recognition. Take a cue from big brands you love and apply their brand development tricks to your small business (because we all can agree that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?)
Here are 5 takeaways and tips that you can apply to your small business marketing strategy this year.
1. User Generated Content
Otherwise known as UGC, is a tactic for getting your customers to upload pictures (or videos) via their social profiles. UGC is a great way to generate word-of-mouth referrals, engagement and brand awareness. The best platform for this is Instagram. Ask your customers to upload photos of their in-store experience to their social channels, tag it with a catchy hashtag and offer Bonus Belly Points to the customer with the most likes.
Warby Parker does a great job of encouraging UGC. When they launched their latest Chicago store, they asked their customers to pose in their new frames and to share those pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #smilechicago.
Use your customers' brains! Let them come up with a new product or service at your business, whether it's determining the wardrobe for the mannequins in your front window or naming this season's specialty drink. Offer these opportunities as low value rewards so that more customers can participate. Generate new ideas and engage with your customers at the same time!
Remember Frito-Lay “Do us a Flavor”? Lays asked consumers to submit ideas for new Frito flavors. This was a huge success for its brand development and went viral across all social channels receiving over 12 million submissions.
3. Giving Back
It's common for many brands to partner with charities. This is a powerful way to not only make a great impact, but it also strengthens brand affinity and relationships with customers. Consumers like knowing that the purchases they're making can help make the world a better place, even if it's just in a small way.
7-Eleven supported local food banks over the holidays by turning Belly Reward redemptions into meals.
Ask your customers to vote on a local charity and kick-off the partnership by donating a percentage of profits one day.
4. Event Sponsorship
Endorsing a large local event (or even a small race in town) can definitely boost your brand awareness and attract new customers, too.
Here in Chicago, summer is all about street festivals. A local brewery partnered to provide beer at the free concert series in Millennium Park. What better way to reach the masses!
5. Annual Holidays
Celebrate all the holidays! Threadless celebrated Presidents' Day by offering a special sale over that weekend last year. Make sure to come up with unique ways you can tie holiday themes into your business objectives.