What is Branding?
According to oberlo, Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind by combining such elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications. Effective branding helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.
You see, after attending couple of Agricultural fairs or seminars, I have found many products that are needed in the market or needed by people for example, Millet is quite scarce in the market now but a lot of local farmers have millet down here in the south west especially in Ibadan here but the products are usually poorly packaged and most people usually leave the products to buy better packaged ones that are substitutes or closest products that is not millet.
This is not to say that you should go and use all your seed capital to make logos, Facebook ads or what not; however, you need a good Logo, and if you need to seal the products, there are grants available to SMES that can help make it easy for startups. Most organizations that offer grants would need you to have started something and they then invest.
Let’s get right into branding for SMEs
According to Entrepreneur,
- Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.(Make it simple like AgropreneurNG or The SeedHub’s logo)
- Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
- Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
- Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
- Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
- Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
- Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
These are basic things Small scaled Agropreneurs should know; these are not expensive if you use the available tools you have such as your Smartphone and Internet connection (we call Data here). One of the best free tools available is CANVA: you can design your logo yourself. It may take a while because you would have to learn your ways around the app (which is free to download on Google play and apple store), but you get to make cool designs for the social media platforms (Such as Instagram, Facebook,and whatsapp stories-Yeah, sell to your friends and family) you would open for your business on this app. The limit to Canva is your creative juice or prowess; take your time; make mistakes but learn, grow and invest in your business.
Have names that people won’t forget; someone sells Ponmo on Instagram (cow skin); her name is ‘Anike_on Ponmo” and she sells via social media, she recently did a poll on twitter and asked if people would rather buy Ponmo from Walmart or from “Anike_onponmo”; obviously, people chose her because in the market for Ponmo, the name is relatable and local yet vibrant. Very Good marketing strategy.
In Nigeria, many people see Grants as free money and usually just collect and disappear forgetting that they had submitted vital details of their businesses to those offering the funds and they can be summoned by the police or law enforcement agencies at any point. For Example, there are a lot of news about many startup CEOs in Nigeria who basically take the Tony Elumelu Foundation grants and squander the money without using it for what it was received for. Don’t be like that; if you are lucky enough to get grants, Use it right, grow your business and be the Best you can be.
You’d have to spend your own money first but that’s fine; you are investing in your own brand.