Small Business Saturday and Much More . . .

When looking at the above headline, what do you see?

OPPORTUNITIES NO WHERE

Or

OPPORTUNITIES NOW HERE

If you see the latter, you are probably a good candidate to recognize and utilize every available chance to brand your product.

Remember . . .

While branding is certainly a reflection of decisions you make about logo, color, font, byline, etc., branding is more importantly your way of telling the world just who you are, which encompasses all aspects of your daily operations and customer service.

What prompted me to write this article today was a recent great branding opportunity
. . . and my curiosity about the percentage of you that did (and did not) take advantage of . . .

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

“What is this event,” you might ask, “and why do I care?”

“First observed in the United States on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express.” (nicely summarized by Wikipedia)

In other words, Small Business Saturday is a national event accompanied by a considerable amount of publicity and fanfare that you can use as a springboard for your own initiative (taking advantage of ad exposure without having to pay!), which is always an ideal circumstance.  Furthermore, you will be associating your business and your brand with the positive small business characteristics being extolled.

So . . . what can you do to capitalize on Small Business Saturday?

  • Add a reference to the event on your web site.
  • Plan a blitz of social media postings.
  • Have a sale.
  • Write a press release or op-ed article supporting the cause.

American Express, which helped create this nationally recognized day, continues to promote the occasion and makes lots of information and tools available from their web site. (Be sure to check out the section labeled “How to Participate.”)

About now, you are probably pretty annoyed at me for getting you all fired up to participate in Small Business Saturday just a few days AFTER the celebration has passed.

Sorry?

Not really!

Cuz now is the ideal time for you to start thinking about the ways in which you might take advantage of:

National Small Business Week

 (May 3rd – 9th, 2020)

According to the Small Business Association (SBA):

“For more than 50 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.  As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”

Visit the National Small Business Week page for the latest news and events.

https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week

Again, you have an event garnering national and local attention and publicity.   Make your current customers aware and ask them to spread the word further.  Perhaps you’ll want to use this week as an opportunity to request reviews and testimonials from your existing customers.  You might want to recognize your employees and call attention to the local, personalized service you provide on a daily basis – nice qualities to associate with your brand.

Simply stated, countless opportunities exist to promote your brand in a very visible way without necessarily incurring significant expense and very often enabling you to generate new customers and sales.  When no event exists, try to find a creative way to make one, which is, of course, the way in which Small Business Saturday began.

Good luck . . . and don’t forget that holiday cards and gifts represent great branding opportunities, too!!

Create a Branding Activity Calendar (Template Included)

At some point after initial development of your branding elements, sales and service activities begin to overlap and incorporate brand management.  To ensure ongoing progress toward the goal of building an established, identifiable brand, a “Branding Calendar” can be a very useful tool that helps to add structure to an amorphous task.

The following is a list of activities that can and should occur within a month to promote consistent progress . . . and results.

  • Explore opportunities for charitable contributions/community involvement.  (Could involve a monetary contribution, a give-away item with a logo, OR the gift of time and can be used to develop promotional materials.)
  • Prepare and submit press releases (could be personnel or product/service-related or more geared to civic involvement as outlined above).
  • Send direct mail/e-mail to sell product/service but simultaneously support brand awareness. 
  • Perform Social Media postings for product or community-related news (as mentioned above); every press release, ad, charitable gesture, mailing etc. can potentially benefit from a social media followup.
  • Perform a customer care activity to try to make sure you know who they are and that they are well served.  Remember, your branding will only ever be effective when the customer’s experience is being reflected.
  • Address SEO (search engine optimization) activities, evaluating current search results and exploring possible ways to improve such as running campaigns to increase backlinks, adding content to site, channeling contact and sales information through the web site to build traffic, etc.

All of these activities represent opportunities to promote your brand, circulate your logo, incorporate any slogans/by-lines, reuse standard boilerplate language etc.  We suggest utilizing our Branding Calendar as a guide to monitor and structure your progress and make sure your sales activity incorporates the branding elements you’ve decided upon. 

Obviously, we encourage you to use our calendar as a starting point for you to customize to your specific operations.  For instance . . .

  • Perhaps telemarketing has proven to be a successful sales and service strategy for you.  Then, include that item and make sure your telemarketing staff has scripts that reflect your branding. 
  • Perhaps advertising is a key for you.  If so, be sure to add several days to create ad copy, build web landing pages, submit your creative, etc.
  • Tradeshows important to your operation?  Then, use them as an opportunity to promote your brand and deliver your message both verbally and in print, including the content of your trade show booth.

Our intention over time is to create separate articles about each of these potential vehicles for building your brand so we can explore the topic in greater detail and hopefully offer some very specific, concrete tips related to the activity.  Till then, hope you find our calendar a useful starting point in customizing your own. (Download our Branding Calendar template and activity worksheets.)