With many small businesses in the USA struggling to maintain a strong brand through the current recession, many fail to pay attention to the future of their business beyond mere survival. However, with economic indicators pointing toward at least a partial recovery in the coming year, there is no better time to begin planning your post recession brand. Here are four strategies that will make your company shine in 2010.
1. Sharpen your brand. Is your brand ready for the new customer? Now is the time to modify your brand to meet the needs of your market as it will behave coming out of the recession. If you have been focusing on offering lower prices, decelerate and begin thinking about what sets you apart from the competition. Focus on communicating this through your products, your service, your marketing strategy, and your logo design. As spending power grows, so will your customers’ options. Give them a good reason to keep coming back.
2. Focus on your core products. This is an important part of sharpening your brand in the US, important enough to deserve its own mention. While diversifying is a good recession strategy, don’t diminish your post recession brand by neglecting core products. Find ways to innovate within these categories and always offer a fresher, more comprehensive choice than your competitors. Communicate with customers about what makes your core products superior to the competition. In most cases, a large percentage customers are coming to your store for this one thing; don’t make that a frustrating experience.
3. Be different. In this market and in the one to follow, creating a clear and obvious line between your business and your competitors is essential. You can choose to communicate this difference through innovative marketing, social networking, and/or your logo design and other physical aspects. Again, you should know what sets you apart from every other business in your field, and so should your customers. Otherwise, there is no reason not to shop elsewhere.
4. Engage employees. Many small business owners underestimate the power of their employees to make or break their brand. The people who staff your locations and answer your phones are as important as your logo design and your products. This year, take steps to familiarise employees with your brand and inspire them to truly buy into it. Use ‘we’ language and attitudes instead of ‘me’ counterparts. This motivated sales force will be far more likely to make the shopping experience a pleasant and well branded one.
Post recession economies have a unique set of rules, but they are not so much a set of restrictions as a clearly marked map to success. By getting a head start on preparing your brand for a new, recovering economy, you will be head and shoulders above your competition. While many are tempted to let their brand slide during confusing changes, being a forward thinker in this case means keeping your brand identity and logo design presentation strong while giving customers something to believe in.