By Ian Blackburn

Small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of their respective economies. They can boom into larger businesses and provide healthy competition to the brands that often dominate in terms of top-of-mind marketing and online presence. It’s this competition that often proves intimidating for many small businesses. It’s crucial that potential entrepreneurs don’t back out on their ideas and dreams due to some dominating competition. That’s where the importance of an SME’s brand identity comes in.

Find a Niche and Dominate It

First, it’s important to find a niche and be the best you possibly can in this area. Larger brands and ecommerce stores in particular tend to miss out on small areas by focusing their strategies on the bigger picture; this allows you to fill this gap.

Big ecommerce stores don’t have the resource to focus on creating content for small products that may not be overly-popular, but if that’s what your business will do best, your brand identity can be hyper-focused and renowned for what it does. Thinking in a hyper-local manner can allow you to further develop your SME identity through your surrounding area.

Make the Most of SME Events and Networks

The hyperlocal network around you helps to boost your brand identity hugely. In your city, there will always be small business events bustling around you as SMEs typically thrive when helping each other. Your SME brand and status allows you to network with other like minded businesses to grow together. To access such events, you can try sites like Meetup or join local Facebook groups or even set one up yourself!

Perhaps you have just started an accountancy service, many SMEs would appreciate the assistance and you could even trade services in a mutually beneficial relationship. You can then promote each other’s brands and you have then become a business involved with the local community and economy. This status is a powerful tool.

Embrace Your Small Business Status

People naturally want to help small businesses. It’s a common concept that’s sweeping western nations as people, particularly younger people, don’t want to give their money to a huge conglomerate, they want to be helping people feed their families. Most people would rather support their neighbor in their venture than go to a huge supermarket for example.

This sentiment is encapsulated in events like Small Business Saturday. In 2017, Small Business Saturday encouraged shoppers to shop local and made an increase around the $13 billion mark in the US alone. In general terms, events like this are growing alongside the sentiment to ditch larger corporations.

Become a Reactive Brand

A key branding advantage that SMEs have over large businesses is their reaction time. Whether this is reacting to new fashion, trends in the industry or popular culture, the chain of command in larger corporations puts them at a distinct disadvantage. This allows you to create new products or jump on social trends quicker. Get in touch with local publications and offer your thoughts on new trends. Once you’ve built a relationship with a local journalist, you have a constant supply of coverage for your brand which is engaged in your hyperlocal area.

Benefits of a Strong SME Branding

Aside from being able to be quicker, more focused and better than larger competitors there are other benefits to enhancing your branding around your SME status.

Employee Benefits

Some people prefer to work for smaller businesses as it’s often true that hard work is noticed easier than in a large business. If you become a recognized SME in your area, it’s bound to attract staff. It’s then easier to develop and grow your business with engaged employees who can chat to their managing director as they’re in the same room!

Customer Service

As hard as you try, sometimes things may go wrong. It is however, so much easier to correct your business’s faults with customers when in a smaller enterprise. An email from the MD or a direct response on social media which isn’t from a chatbot can go a long way to developing your brand identity and loyal customer base.

Ultimately, your small business status is a crucial card to play and has a variety of advantages. Bigger competitors are slower, more impersonal and they will try to cover more ground than they can handle. You can give a small area 100% whereas they will struggle to give it 10%. Leverage your brand to enhance your business and your small business won’t stay that way forever.