Top-Shelf Tip No. 120:

"Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate."

Beth Comstock

Three Lessons To Boost Your Marketing And Branding

You don't have to be a big company to learn from one. Smart marketers can save time and money by learning from the examples of some of the world's biggest and most recognizable brands. Some of the largest and most revered businesses in the world have built great brands by continually investing in branding and marketing. They employ massive teams and hire the brightest professionals to identify new ways to continually improve and grow.

Andrew Thomas, an entrepreneur, inventor and adviser, says small businesses can hack the process of building a great brand by observing and learning. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Thomas' lessons to boost your marketing and branding efforts.

1. Stand for something. Business is no longer only about profit; impact and social good are becoming just as important. Consumers, especially Millennials, want brands to stand for something, and they're willing to pay for it. Consider how companies such as Patagonia, Everlane, TOMS, Ben & Jerry's and Levi's are making social good a priority. Thomas says small business can follow the example set by these big brands. Identify a way to make an impact that aligns with your brand or purpose. Find ways to become more sustainable or to use your platform to advocate for the change you want to see in the world. Standing for something can be good for branding, marketing and sales.

2. Pay attention to data and context. Data is a driving force behind sound marketing decisions-and there's more of it than ever. Online marketing provides troves of data, empowering marketing and branding experts with the information necessary to improve their campaigns. Yet it's important to note that customers don't live in a vacuum. Great brands know that context is everything.

3. Don't forget about offline marketing. Thomas says one big lesson he has learned as a business leader is that sometimes the best thing to do is to zig while others zag. Whether it's Facebook ads or using influencers, there's no question that virtually everyone is focusing on online marketing. This presents an opportunity to tell branding and marketing stories via offline mediums with less competition. The lesson here is to look beyond online channels to reach and connect with your audience. Consider spaces and environments where your audience already exists, and find a way to reach them, even if it's offline.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel and you don't need the budget of a huge corporation to enhance your marketing and branding. Instead, pay attention to the strategies used by industry giants. When you see what's working for successful companies, you can borrow their approach and tactics. This allows you to better reach your customers and build a connection that will improve your branding and marketing efforts. ​

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Andrew Thomas is an entrepreneur, inventor and adviser. He is a founder of SkyBell Video Doorbell and leads business development and product strategy efforts. Thomas gives back to the startup community as a writer, speaker and mentor.

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