Running a business requires a careful and consistent approach to promoting your brand. Once you develop certain dependable, “wheelhouse” strategies that are successful, it can be easy to fall into a rigid marketing routine, utilizing the same rote promotional devices ad nauseum. After all, with so many different responsibilities and hats to wear, you likely don’t take the time required to constantly seek out new and innovative ways to market your brand.
This is worth reconsidering.
The more creative you are with your brand strategy, the more diverse your customer base will become – and the more potential you’ll have to grow. Different types of customers respond more invitingly to different types of messages, so use whatever time and resources you can to develop a wide ranging arsenal of branding methods. Promotional events, for example, are an effective (and cost-effective) way to get people talking about your company in a positive way. Here are some creative ways to use promotional events as brand boosters.
Hold an actual event and encourage your customers to attend.
Putting on an event is no simple task. You’ll need to find a tenable location, sponsors to partner with, and a cause or theme that people can rally around. The best way to manage all of these difficult tasks is, simply, to get help.
As we mentioned, sponsored partnerships are a great way to collaborate with the other local businesses in the area, even if in other contexts you might consider these businesses your competition. One of the best ways to overcome the initial awkwardness of that dichotomy (both in your mind and the attendees’) is to come together over a shared good cause. The best way to get people excited about an event is to incorporate a charitable element that they can feel good about contributing towards. Have someone contact local nonprofits to see if they would like to get involved (many will – it’s the type of thing that makes their entire model more viable) and suddenly you’ll find yourself with administrative and creative support to help make this event go.
Hold a promotional contest on social media.
People like winning things. It’s an oversimplification, but a true one.
As a business owner, you can use this simple fact to your advantage by giving them the opportunity to just that. When you set up a promotional contest, you get people talking about your brand in the context of something they are excited about – something they could potentially stand to benefit from. The logistics of these are tricky, but far less demanding of your time and resources than an actual attended event.
First, think about what you’d like to give away. It’s up to you whether you want your prize to be made up of your product/service, or whether it would be simply a cash prize (or something else that isn’t brand related – like a paid vacation, for example). This can be tough to decide: non-related prizes can be less restrictive for the customers and therefore represent a more valuable proposition (who doesn’t love cash?), but using your own product/service as a part of the promotion is a great way to make your brand part of the story.
Think about how engaged your audience is with your product. If you are in an industry where things like engagement and brand loyalty are high (food, alcohol, entertainment, etc.), it’s probably a good idea to keep the prize brand-centric. That way, everyone following along – not to mention the winner(s) – will internalize the idea of your product being something that represents not only value, but fun as well. If your industry is less easily connectable with the ideas of entertainment and fun (an insurance company, for example), stick with a prize that will drum up genuine excitement. You’ve got the audience already – they’re waiting to be shown what value you can give to them. A promotional contest can do that while strengthening your brand all the while.
Find more time to be creative about your content.
Finding time to develop a consistent stream of engaging content is tough for any business owner. If the returns aren’t immediate (and they typically aren’t), it’s easy to forget why you’re spending those precious hours developing blog post ideas when there’s so many other tasks that need to be completed.
This feeling of being drained by the need to create content will often lead to a mundane strategic approach – if blog posts aren’t quite working as well as you hoped, why add even more time to content creation in the form of other mediums? Well, in most cases, that’s exactly what you should do. The moment you become bored with the content you create, you might as well stop creating it. It will come through in the writing and your audience will be yawning even more loudly than you are.
Instead of stopping, why not treat you and your audience to a change of pace?
There are so many great mediums for creating branded content: pick something you haven’t tried yet and give it a shot. Try your hand at video content by making something around the office that makes you and your employees laugh. By uploading it to your social media accounts, you’ll give your audience a chance to see how things work behind the scenes at your location and will demonstrate a fun, engaging element of your brand. Other underrated content formats include podcasting, curating a company Snapchat account, or making use of some of the newly popular live-streaming apps like Meerkat or Periscope.