Once you've selected your branding concepts, you might believe that your work is done. With regard to small business branding, it's best to consider how other aspects of your company affect your brand concepts. While your people handle the branding strategy using different marketing techniques, other company activities can adversely affect your company's reputation. Negative effects could undermine your current branding practices, which constitute an investment of the company's marketing dollars.
The Effect of Reputation
The actions of the company and its employees can affect your company's reputation. This includes everything from local press coverage about the owner and the management team to how employees describe their employment experiences to family and friends. The smaller the community, the more that word-of-mouth communications can impact the people to whom you target goods or services. The narrower the market that you serve, the more crucial it is to maintain a strong local reputation.
What You Can Do
If you've already invested marketing dollars in a branding campaign, then there are things you can do to enhance your company's reputation. Here are a few:
1. Offer a variety of employee incentives. Employees are motivated by different things, and so your company should offer both tangible and intangible rewards that reinforce positive behaviors. This might include giving employees "time off" to volunteer in the community without reducing their pay. You might offer them a free gym membership.
2. Encourage employee input into policy decisions. In small businesses, employees enjoy the potential to directly influence the current and future activities of the company. Put their best ideas into practice, which gives them more ownership of their identity as employees.
3. Recruit locally and offer competitive pay. Your firm becomes a pillar of the community over time, especially as a provider of jobs. Keep your compensation and benefits commensurate with the local market. Encourage employees to refer people they know to apply for job openings.
Maintaining a positive reputation in the community helps to reinforce the branding efforts in which you have invested.