During this pandemic, people all around the world continue to struggle in many aspects of their lives. Physical and mental health is at a decline, social lives of people are affected as well, not to mention the education of students are suffering. As most small or medium business owners can attest, this current pandemic has posed some of the toughest challenges their business has ever faced.
It is a tough time, but if you have sound strategies to get through this whole pandemic, your business will fly because you’re already preparing for that upward trajectory. As entrepreneurs, we always think about incremental growth but consider this: how about applying concepts and ideas that can bring exponential growth to your business?
When speaking about exponential growth, one thing can propel your new business to new heights. Brand leveraging will work even during this pandemic when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air, and investing your own money on anything, can prove to be too risky.
There are two kinds of companies. The first kind is a company that has hundreds of millions of dollars allocated for its marketing budget. The other group has little or zero marketing budget. We will focus on the second type and what you can do when introducing a brand to the world but have little to zero marketing or branding budget. If you have a business product or company that you intend to launch, where you don’t have any recognition, or you don’t have a reputation or credentials to be talked about through word-of-mouth, and you have no budget for marketing, what should you do?
This one thing that you can do to reach exponential growth straight away is to leverage! When we talked about leveraging in terms of marketing and branding, there are many things you can do. Let’s start with creating your story.
What are the three brands you need to create?
When you’re thinking about a story for your brand or product, typically as a corporation or business, you should focus on three brands:
Your company brand.
Your corporate brand builds up your internal branding. It is essential for attracting quality talent, loyal staff, potential investors, and other stakeholders. If you have a good company brand, specific skills that will help your company grow will find you and support you.
Your brand as an entrepreneur is your name and reputation as a business owner. It also includes your skills and experiences that distinguish you from others, especially your competition. Your brand can help you foster positive relationships with stakeholders and potential customers.
Your product brand.
It is the most common one. You would want to have a unique product name and work on having a unique selling point or proposition (USP). Your USP provides you with that competitive advantage that can sway customers towards choosing your product over the others, as they see the value in your USP.
The combination and story of these three brands can give you a unique selling point. Your product story, personal story, and company story make you distinguishable and unique, as these stories only belong to you, and your special message can help you leverage.
What exactly is leveraging?
Leveraging involves using your story and unique brand name to its maximum advantage. If you want to create a brand name for your product and find a domain name for your business, you may want to use some leverage. You can do it in a lot of ways. Here are some examples:
Fook Kin Restaurant
The brilliant idea is to find a name that resonates with your target market. For instance, on my father’s birthday, we went to this restaurant called “Fook Kin” with a tagline that says “Fook kin awesome!” and it immediately resonated in my mind. Fook Kin is a Chinese phrase that means super fortunate, but it means something completely different in English. The whole branding works. It’s a name that clicks with the audience, and when you connect with your audience at that level, they want to know more about what you’re trying to sell.
Cambridge School and Kent Ridge Education
When you associate your brand with something highly revered, you immediately improve your brand’s perceived value. For instance, these schools for young children in Singapore called Cambridge School, or Kent Ridge education resonate with prestigious higher education. These words automatically associate with prestige, intelligence, and high achievement. Thus, increasing the brand and its clients’ perceived value.
Certis Cisco is a security company in Singapore, but the name immediately connects with Cisco Network, a multimillion-dollar hardware company in the US. Despite having zero connection between the two brands, Certis Cisco is named conjures up an image of reliability, trustworthiness, and stability: qualities associated with the multinational tech company.
Leveraging your brand name and the domain name can go a long way. A word as simple as “The Cake Shop” and a similar domain name can help land your business on the top of search engine results. Being on top of search engine results automatically increases your brand’s credibility and perceived value. Other things like taste quality promptness and other items are important too, but the leverage gives you the initial push for your brand.
Manpowerbase.com and CM.PB Cafe
When we think about Central Manpower Base (CMPB), we think about the military and army associated with stability and security—leveraging this name, a job portal called Manpowerbase.com and a café called CM.PB elevated their brand by a massive chunk without investment, just by leveraging on the semantic association.
A creative Malaysian entrepreneur came up with WFC, a fried chicken brand similar to KFC. By changing one letter from the billion-dollar international food chain, his company brand immediately elevated his brand. The name piques the curiosity of KFC customers and would want to try the brand to see how much better or worse it is compared to KFC.
By picking a name, domain name, and a story that resonates well with your target audience, you can automatically elevate your brand by a vast percentage without investing hundreds of millions in marketing and branding.