Small Business Branding? Be Selective.

timessq.jpgI originally read about this story in my local Minneapolis Star and Tribune paper, but Brandweek did a better job of covering the event and prompted me to write a quick post about it.

Target Corporation ran an enormous branding event on New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York. The promotion included ‘word-fetti’ provided by Target and large animations running on seven video screens throughout the famous area of Midtown. Coming from a small business perspective, when I first read the story, my first reaction was that this was a very large waste of money. Target doesn’t have a store in Manhattan and with all the chaos of the moment, the huge spend will go largely unnoticed.

Well, I saw the story retold in Brandweek and they offered a little different spin. Said Jeff Straus, executive producer of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, which is co-produced by Countdown Entertainment and the Times Square Alliance.

“We were very impressed because with them it was all about connecting with the consumer, more than about the branding. It was about creating an environment that would bring something to the revelers in Times Square.”

I also was in New York this week and had the chance to see a replay of the events of New Year’s Eve. They did a good job with it. They definitely connected with the consumer and (if you weren’t too intoxicated) you walked away having been touched by the Target brand.

What does a major outpouring of branding cash have to do with small business? I think any marketing manager of small business can read this article and take away a couple points about branding:

  1. A branding effort needs to be focused and connect with its intended audience
  2. In today’s media driven marketplace, you need to give your audience a chance to ‘interact’ with your brand as part of your branding strategy.

With limited budgets and resources, research and opportunity are keys in any small business branding strategy. By research I mean knowing your audience and knowing when, where, and how to touch them with your brand. And with limited budgets, you can’t jump at every branding opportunity. You need to be selective and choose based on how many you will reach and how deeply you can engrave your brand in their memory.

There have been some good blog postings recently regarding branding. If you have time check out:

Jonathan Mendez’s Blog – Optimize and Prophesize – He wrote about paid search and the use of branding keywords.

Chris Brown’s blog – Branding and Marketing – She discusses the use of color in branding and re-branding.

Marketing Vox Blogwrites about the New York Times re-branding strategy


One Response to Small Business Branding? Be Selective.

  1. Brian says:

    Interesting article becuase most businesses do not focus on branding. One reason is that it can be very expensive without immediately trackable returns, secondly many small business owners do not understand the difference.

    How do you balance when a business should be advertising or branding? Keeping in mind that money is always an issue.

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