So your product isn’t going to have a wide appeal…That’s ok!
There are a lot of people out there, and niche products and services can be great businesses. Niche brands live on a base of loyal clients, so your branding marketing strategy has to focus on finding people that love your product or service and creating an interesting brand that they will love. If people don’t know who your company is, there is no way they can adore your brand.
While you can afford to take a risk on a niche business, you can’t overlook your brand building program. The online marketplace is filled with all sorts of stuff, and you will need to make sure your awesome company stands out.
The good news is that today’s internet is perfect for building up a niche brand, and there are amazing ways to use free services like social media for your branding program. It all starts with your product or service, and how you create positive associations.
People Need You!
People buy things because they either like or need them. In either case, your company has to find ways to tap into existing consumer markets and create interest around what your brand does best. So this means getting social, and showing the world what you love about your brand.
The upside to having a niche product or service is that your demographic will be both concentrated, and easy to find. Before the internet made far flung pockets of like-minded people easily accessible, building up a niche brand would have been much harder.
Today you can look for places that people with unique, shared interests hand out, and show them what your brand does best. If you make some sort of incredible kitchen gadget or amazing chef’s knives, then you need to look for places that your potential clients are waiting to meet you.
A cooking blog or foodie websites come to mind for the above example, but it will be different for every niche. What matters is that you know where your potential clients hang out, and what is trending in your community. Here is a nice article on building a massive community.
Once you identify the places your clients are waiting, then it is time to show them what your company is all about.
Start A Tribe
Some people look at niche branding as difficult, but it really isn’t. As long as your company has personality and ideals that your clients love, building up your brand identity will be a snap. What matters is how you communicate what your company represents, and create content that people will want to share.
A niche brand can become a way for people to express their own identity, and show affiliation with a group of like minded people. Marketing wizard Seth Godin used the term “tribe” to describe a loyal group of followers, and for a niche brand, your tribe is your most valuable asset.
Once people feel attracted to whatever your brand offers, in terms of both an authentic experience, and a positive image, they will love to talk about who your company is anywhere they are. Today this means a lot of exposure on social media, and you can use this to grow within your niche rapidly.
Starting a Facebook group is a must for any niche brand, so make sure that you have a great one that reaches out to your potential tribe members. People need ways to show what they love about themselves online, so why not use an individual expression to boost your brand image?
If your company makes vegan dog collars, then your Facebook group should be bubbling with vegan issues that drive conversations. Don’t use the group to push your products, just chat up issues that matter to your fans.
Make sure that people know how much you care about the group’s shared values, and show them you and your team aren’t just in it for the money.
The last thing people want is to deal with flat, uninteresting companies. For niche brands, creating a vibrant, approachable image will make potential customers want to know more about what your company does.
This is where brand building and an active presence on social media meet. It is also where you can use your interests to build up a great brand image for your company. When you go on to social media or start tweeting, don’t think about it like advertising.
If you use Facebook or Twitter like an email list, you will lose followers in a hurry. Don’t be a company, be a super interesting person that happens to work for or own a niche brand. Niche brand building on social media is all about showing your demographic that your brand is more than just a business and that your team is a group of real people with values and passions.
Look for content that shows off how your team feels about the world, or look for popular products that fit into your design philosophy. If your company specializes in finding and marketing eco-friendly cleaning products, your social media presence should be covered in green issues and tips for sustainable living.
And have an interesting opinion!
Choosing great content to share isn’t about making a sale; you are looking for ways to humanize your brand. People aren’t going to go crazy for a niche brand that won’t sass a little on Twitter, or show emotion over a trending topic on Facebook.
There is a natural reluctance to jam your face all over the internet, but when it comes to niche branding, your team’s faces are one of the most powerful tools you have. Smartphones offer your company a great way to reach your public, and they make it easy to produce inexpensive content.
Making videos can help your niche brand to get noticed, even if no one on your staff has ever been on camera professionally.
Another advantage that videos create is their uncanny ability to create a conversation. The comments section on YouTube is a gold mine when it comes to creating a positive image for your brand, and they let you easily communicate with people who love what you are talking about.
While some people don’t think that amateur videos have a place in the professional world, many customers love how accessible they make a brand.
What matters is that your brand is given the life and sparkle that a person creates. Having a funny, passionate person talking about something they care about is some kind of magic. Just choose things that you or your team genuinely love, and start talking into your smartphone.
Take It Easy
So how important is branding for a niche business?
It is the most effing important thing there is, next to having a rocking product or service. But don’t let brand building freak you out. It should come naturally.
Remember that your niche product has a loving, loyal consumer base; you just have to let them know your awesome company exists. Get out there on social media, and make sure that you look into any local events that could help your brand as well.
Commercial events are great, but doing good stuff in your community is a big help too. People love to see positive action, and there isn’t much better than helping the public good to show off your brand values. Remember to share and show off, and never be shy about how much your brand cares.
But Remember: Branding is not just for brands or products
The best thing about branding is anyone can do it. From corporations to small business, the opportunity is always there. Unfortunately, it is still somewhat confined to products alone. It’s time to widen your perspective and maximize your branding opportunities. Here are some virtually hidden gems right under your noses:
1. Business process. If you have a unique and highly effective system such as customer service, marketing or even logistics why not give it a name and promote it to augment your branded product. Disney has found a way to make money from this. It offers training in customer service, people management, and loyalty program thru its so-called Disney Institute.
2. Technology. Do you know the secret recipe of KFC gravy and Coca-Cola drinks? Even in their early stages, these companies have realized the importance of branding its technology and using it as a supplement to the main brand. If you have a developed a technology that is applicable to different industries then it can be a good side business.
3. YOU. Ever heard of Apple’s Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner, Virgin’s Richard Branson and BodyShop’s Anita Roddick? These once-struggling entrepreneurs have brilliantly created their own personal brands apart from their companies. As business owners, how you brand yourself can help boost your profits.
4. Location. What makes Holland tulips different from ordinary tulips? Or Italian pizza different from others? Where you are right now can be a huge advantage depending on the nature of your business.
These are just a few examples of branding outside your products. Review your current business model, check every branding opportunity, and take advantage of it.