Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take advantage of the recession to build your business

It’s incredible how sometimes people seems to be hold back when it comes to branding. They often think branding is reserved for multi-million dollar companies, not realizing how good brand image can make them breach market. I can understand why small companies are not to warm at the idea of reinvesting in a new website or brand image after everything we’ve been witnessing in the last couple of month. The only thing is this; know that economic downturns are most probably the best thing that can happen for small businesses to grow some more market shares. Skeptic? Keep reading

An entrepreneur one day decide to put a business together. he is A. Driven by the dream of putting his invention on the market, or B. He’s been working for the corporate America for a ridiculous amount of years in a given field, and somehow figured a way to do better and smarter business. Of course due to a huge lack of flexibility from the corporation that employs him nobody wants to listen to him and take the risk of trying something different. He then decides to go out there, get funded and put together an amazing new solution that will cut by half the cost of the traditional way of doing xyz. That being said, that entrepreneur has a tremendous advantage on the big guys that rule his industry; better offer, better cost-effective ratio and most of all FLEXIBILITY. The only thing that can stop him from disrupting the market and going after the big accounts is of course, CREDIBILITY!!!!

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes
What does your prospect want???? If he his buying from you, he wants to know that you will still be around next year for customer support. Your prospect wants to know, especially right now with our financial meltdown, that every penny spent buying your solution will be an investment, not an expense. Nobody, you neither your prospect can afford to make a bad move in this economic context. So if you are bidding against GE or IBM, you better be ready. Your pitch and your presentation material must be flawless and at least match or even better overcome the visual quality of those big guys. Remember that breaching in is a game of perception.

The strategy might seem simple but simple enough to work and will help you build your way up. Effective brand image will buy you a foot in. No doubt. Now you just have to make sure your offer is compelling enough.

Still have doubts?
Study your own buying habits, everybody is human and we all shop the same way, especially if you are on a budget. Let’s say you need ketchup because you are having a barbecue for Sunday Night Football, you rush to the local grocery store, get to the condiment aisle and locate the bottle of ketchup Heinz. Tag price is $2.99, you grab it and then you are having a second thought because (you are on a budget). You browse around to see if there would be anything cheaper and find a low end brand selling for $0.99. The packaging looks awfully cheap, from a name brand you never heard of and you’re thinking: “There is no way that stuff can be the same as Ketchup because there is too much of a difference (and you are probably right). Disappointed, you browse some more and find the store’s home brand selling for $2.15. You grab it; compare bottles, label, ingredients, size and everything looks pretty much the same as ketchup (your reference for quality tomato sauce). In your mind, it makes sense to get an equally valuable product for $0.84 cheaper since you don’t have to pay for the brand name. With the same amount of money you would have spent for your favorite brand, you can add a pack of gum so you can get even more for your money! Seems like a good deal so before you know it you are out of the store telling all your friends about the great deal you just had.

Guess what, your prospect shop exactly the same way. In tough times, they will spend more time than ever researching online for a better deal for whatever they want to buy. Revamp your overall image now and turn that tough downturn into an opportunity to finally make a break in your industry.

My point
Billions of dollars are still switching hands every day; money is out there so go get it. Just remember the ketchup analogy. Study your competitors and how they do it to make yourself irresistible.

David Morin
Brand Artist

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