Company image is a big deal. Thousands of small businesses have not looked twice at how the public perceives their company, yet big companies spend millions of dollars per year on public relations. Customers mean sales, the better your image, the more trust that is created, the more sales are made. Focusing on your PR can be much more beneficial than just the short term publicity.
Small businesses have to do pretty much everything themselves, from marketing, to putting through sales, leaving most business owners thinking, that they do not have the knowledge or the time to deal with their own public relations(PR). But PR is more than fundraisers and charity spots. PR deals with advertising; focuses on promotion, marketing and following up clients. Small business owners are already working on their own public image without knowing it, and usually following the lines of big business, use one of two areas vital areas of marketing, branding or direct marketing.
So what is right for you, branding or direct marketing? If you have ever listened to your local radio, you will almost always hear direct marketing, with hundreds of businesses telling you to come in and buy their product right now. Very few use branding. Branding is advertising your brand or product without a call to action or sales talk; you will often see this with new products launched by large corporations. Branding together with distribution is a very popular tactic in industries such as the beverage industry. A client’s trust means a lot, but you will not get it by telling them what do to all the time. Many small businesses never become large businesses because all the advertising produced is direct marketing to their targeted audience.
Of course, in special cases, it is appropriate to use direct marketing without any branding, for example, selling and e-book or a program online. Using a single page sales letter in this case is completely appropriate, because branding would not significantly influence sales. That is, unless you wrote another e-book, or another program. Then branding may be appropriate.
Corporations and big companies use branding to launch new products and subsidiary companies. You will often see new products advertisements on TV, without them telling you where to get them, how much they are or sometimes even what they are. This is a great example of branding, the approach is creating trust around the businesses name, logo and if applicable, slogan.
We come back to the question, what is right for your business? Branding is for companies or businesses that are just starting out and what to create awareness of their service. Direct marketing will create sales. Depending on your marketing and promotion strategy (pay per click strategy for online businesses) you may choose either one. If creating sales, then gives you the money for branding, you might want to try that, but if you have got a little bit of capital, branding first will create trust for your direct marketing campaign, making more sales than without branding. The marketing strategy you choose will determine what the best is for your company.