The first thing that strikes and fascinates me about this time of the year is that some small to medium enterprises enter the year as undisputed leaders in their segments earning an unrivalled reputation as high-flying companies. Only to fall from grace due to stagnation caused by a lack of a strategy that enables them to become relevant in the burgeoning global market.
By Nathaniel Mafemba
Once a firm can avoid buyer power and price-based rivalry it has found a portion of its industry where the competitive forces are weaker therefore maintaining consistency should be a priority if it is to develop into a great global brand while competing against much larger rivals.
Certainly, to position your SME as an inspirational leader in the global market, you need to develop products that connect your target market to your iconic brand. In every industry, small companies offer products that thrust them into head-to-head competition against leading companies. You need to choose segments and product lines that position the company so as to be least vulnerable to its competitive forces while it exploits its small size.
Even though the leading companies command sizeable marketing budgets sufficient to provoke serious envy among competitors, SMEs can exploit their limited marketing budgets through marketing campaigns that build strong brand identification and create great customer loyalty. Define your target market and produce compelling content that would connect customers to your brand.
However, innovations in marketing can raise brand identification or otherwise differentiate the product. A good example of this is advertisements by Nando’s South Africa, even if they are on-air for a week and are pulled off, the effect of those advertisements is felt even more than six months after. The adverts remain on people’s minds for a very long time. You just need one advert that gets people talking and the rest takes care of itself.
Broadening the scope of positioning SMEs, small companies have an advantage that decision making is quick and also they have the flexibility to maintain a narrow product line that can maximize product differentiation. Furthermore, offering extraordinary service through going the extra mile to provide customer satisfaction can never be understated. The password to become a global success is to use the power of efforts to distinguish your organization’s treatment of its customer base from that of your competitors. Success is based on your ability to communicate your uniqueness to customers.
When your company devises strategies that take the offensive and places customer satisfaction as one of the top priorities you will soon realize that you don’t need to confront competition in marketing with your limited budget. Your customer base will do word of mouth marketing for you. A simple example is Apple Inc.; it is one company that thrives on marketing done on its behalf by its loyal customer base wherever in the world and the quality of its product range.
In addition, having a presence on the internet can never be over emphasized. Even when you don’t have much content on your website, the layout of your website has a lasting impression on the general public. Whenever people go onto your website they should know what you are all about and not to have to guess exactly what you do. Place adverts about your products online that connect with people’s inner feelings about your company.
Many customers have learned the hard way that any system that aims only to reduce costs is flawed and that they also need to consider quality, which means that they are not lethargic when it comes to seeking it.
Great branding is when consumers know that anywhere in the world they can depend on having the same experience if they purchase one of your iconic products.
Nathaniel Mafemba is the Business Development Manager at Rand One Inc.