Tips for promoting your brands uniqueness…
As you know the Saffron Souk online shopping platform consists of over 150 + independent Gulf based online shops – and they are not just any old store!
The one thing each of these local shopfronts on saffronsouk.com have in common is that they are unique. However to be successful the store owners need to embrace their uniqueness and promote it, and so we have put together a few practical tips of achieving this… fingers crossed!
Lets face it – it’s a big world out there and even if you have the best idea, someone else is bound to have already done it or made it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something good going on. To succeed you need to successfully lead customers to see what your business has to offer that the other guys don’t.
So think about what makes you stand out from the crowd? And remember it only needs to be one distinct quality or product that sets you apart from your competitors (preferably in a good way!).
Firstly focus on your product – marketing and organic growth will follow. Natural growth requires a strong product (along with good service) that people will chat positively about and spread the word all over the emirate. So before you start brain storming bright ideas to promote your brand, pour your energy into product development and selection.
Your brand needs to offer value to consumers and a good way of establishing this is to have a top quality product that you know your customers want; talk to people, go to markets and events and showcase a selection of your range. Listen to the feedback you get, take it on board, be positive and refine your product and service accordingly.
It may take time to work through this process, and at times it may not be fun, but as the saying goes – all good things take time and the results will reflect how much effort you put into your product. We all hear the phrase “I will do it, but I am just sooo busy” – aren’t we all! Don’t let your ‘busyness’ get in the way of building your business, they go hand in hand.
This stand out product and quality IS your brand. Your commitment to building your product and service will shine through to potential customers. It will define your reputation and ultimately your brand. So now you have identified your uniqueness, it’s time to communicate your brand to those potential shoppers through your logo and tagline.
Your logo is the visual component of your brand. You want customers to be able to identify with your brand and understand what you are about at a glance. The saffronsouk.com logo was developed to reflect what we thought was our uniqueness and the image we wanted the brand to project:
- Non corporate
- Community feel
- Non gender specific and inclusive
- ‘Saffron Souk’ (in terms of an informal Gulf gathering for business, making and socialising)
The other component you need to consider is a written one – your tagline. Your tagline should clearly define the quality which sets your business apart from your competitors while highlighting the benefit for your customer.
You may have noticed that the Saffron Souk’ initial tag line was ‘Meet | Make | Market’. We had thought this was simple and direct, however we were finding that the ‘Little’ in ‘Saffron Souk‘ was not doing us any favours. What was meant to project a non corporate, approachable marketplace ‘where everyone knows your name’, was actually being interpreted by the expat community as a kids brand – which is not our uniqueness! So we weren’t afraid to change things up and introduce a more narrowly defined tag that clearly denoted our uniqueness “Shop directly from the makers & merchants of the Middle East”.
So now you have your uniqueness identified and a logo and tag line to reflect that uniqueness, it’s time to promote your brand. And these are just a couple of simple, cost effective ways that may hit the mark…
Press and online marketing doesn’t come cheap and if you are a new small scale business there often is limited spare cash to invest (believe us – we know!). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t achievable options, it just means it’s time to think outside the box. Why not give something away that reflects your brand? The key is to make sure it is a valuable service or product that will get used or seen by other people, on multiple occasions rather then a one time use.
For example, when Saffron Souk first launched we quickly realised that our marketing budget wasn’t going to get us very far and it was time to be creative. We developed some quirky sketches to be screen printed on tote bags and asked the wider Saffron Souk community on social media what their preferred design was. We then got them made up and dispatched to our favourite local joints; anyone that visited and mentioned Saffron Souk got a free tote! It was a good way of our brand developing relationships, giving exposure to those brands we thought were well aligned with what we were about and rewarding our social media followers. But the best bit is that the totes are now racing around all over the UAE 2 years later, in our signature green colour with web address and the quirky website personality shining through for all to see.
You could consider offering free pens, tees, caps, postcards – anything that you can brand, that reflects your uniqueness and that will expose your business to more people, helping to spread the word. Take a good look at your own products and services – what can you give away that (that won’t break the bank!)?
Everyone likes a good chit chat and snoop at what is going on around them, so firstly make sure your brand is socialising and is active on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, google +, snap chat). But don’t be passive about it – encourage people to get involved with your business. Invite questions, ask for feedback or run a contest. For every person you make a connection with, you have created the opportunity to start a word-of-mouth campaign that will filter through to everyone they know as well. We find that our social media posts (specifically facebook) have a far greater reach in terms of value for money, if we approach them this way, rather then simply paying for them to be seen by a greater audience.
Team Saffron Souk have embraced this! If you type it, write it, or touch it… brand it.
Leave evidence of your unique business identity everywhere you can. Your website, your brochures, your invoices and other physical documents, and all electronic mail should at a minimum include your business name or logo, your tagline, email address, website URL, and mailing address. And a stash of business cards containing the same information is essential any time you leave the house/office (admittedly, as many of you know, we are not so good at this!).
Word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind of exposure you can get. There’s nothing more powerful than a personal endorsement from a happy customer. Make it easy for people to tell their friends and family about your product or service.
Ask for customers to leave feedback at your online store for potential shoppers to see. Revisit reasons why customers buy from you; communicate with current clients and ask them why they keep coming back for business. Remember your existing client base is the most useful part of determining why your brand is chosen over your competitors.
You may even consider renting (or borrowing) someone elses facebook cover? If they have mentioned they love what you do and support your brand, why not suggest you supply them with a branded graphic that they can insert as their facebook cover? In the words of Mark Zuckerburg “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend”
See point 1 above – ‘love the love’ people and hunt out those creatives and brands you admire and suggest some mutual support. This could be blogging about each other, running a mutually beneficial competition, including a link to your URL in newsletters or even just sharing each others posts on social media to help spread the word.