Many times, when business owners think about marketing, they compare their company to bigger, well-known brands or franchises and make excuses about why they aren’t investing in developing their brand because “it’s different for bigger businesses who have million dollar marketing budgets.”
However, the value and the fundamentals of marketing are the same for small businesses as they are for big. And while you may not have the budget of The Gap, Facebook, or Nike, you still want your brand to be at the top of your target audience’s mind while identifying and reflecting your company’s values.
So, what lessons in marketing and advertising can a startup company learn from multinational corporations?
Tell a Great Story
The human race is naturally fascinated and influenced by storytelling. And because of this, storytelling can prove to be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. It isn’t dependent on a company’s size or budget and can be one of the most effective ways to brand your company with your target audience. Engaging ad copy can be compared to a good joke — it is likely to be remembered and retold.
For example, one of the most memorable ads from 2010’s Super Bowl was Google’s touching “Parisian Love” ad.
Within a 30 second ad spot, Google was able to tell a compelling, easy to follow story, demonstrate its service’s value, and generate an emotional response.
Also, it should be noted that Google accomplished all of this promoting something as boring as a search engine. So, with a certain amount of imagination, great, brand strengthening stories can be written about any product or any service in any industry.
Create a Hook with a Focus on the “Little Things”
Jimmy John’s really has it together when it comes to marketing and brand positioning. I’m always amazed at how fast I can get in and out of their restaurant during my lunch hour or how quickly it takes for my online order to arrive at my door. And while that may seem like a small thing, the efficiency really does add to my overall “lunch experience” and plays a huge role in why I choose the Jimmy John’s brand in the first place.
A promise or giveaway doesn’t have to be big for it to make a difference to a client — take for instance M&M’s claim that their candy will melt in your mouth not in your hand.
What “little” guarantees can you offer your target audience? What could make a difference in how they feel about your brand? To start, make a list of intangible things you can offer to your clients at little or no cost. While making this list you may also realize you are already providing a unique value that isn’t being marketed.
Hold Back with the Creativity
Many large brands struggle with being overly creative in their marketing. You can typically see a good example of this during the Super Bowl. Good marketing isn’t about filling your trophy case with advertising awards; it’s ultimately about selling your products or services.
A good example of a creative concept that went too far is Geico’s cavemen ad campaign. They may have created a buzz, but did they provide a clear message about why someone would benefit from the company’s insurance products? The ads’ tagline, “So easy a caveman can do it,” definitely needs more of an explanation than what the ads provide. When ads get too creative, they will lose parts of the audience they are targeting.
An effective ad clearly communicates a brand’s unique selling point. Your audience shouldn’t be left trying to interpret your commercial. It is important your message is instantly understood.