Growing any brand is no mean feat. It can take several years of determined effort before your company makes any real headway. You’ve worked hard to conceptualize and build your brand, and you’ve enjoyed several successes along the way, but now it’s clear you need to grow. This is often when the real work begins. That said, you didn’t come this far to give up, right?
Your first step will be to identify and name the obstacles standing in the way of brand growth. The next step is to attack them head-on. Consider using the three methods listed below to help your brand penetrate new markets while retaining existing customers.
1 Expand product distribution channels
Bringing a great line of products to market is one thing. Getting it into the hands of customers is a whole other ball game. Put, expanding your distribution channels is one marketing strategy your company can use to connect customers to your product line.
At its most basic level, only the manufacturer and consumer are required in a distribution channel. For example, think of a kid’s lemonade stand. The manufacturer — in this case, the child — distributes the product directly to the consumer. Moving up a few levels of complexity, a more common distribution channel involves wholesalers and retailers.
Say you produce organic cotton clothing and accessories. Working with a wholesale platform could benefit your business by exposing your line to interested retailers. Wholesale apparel websites help brands discover their products and find potential new wholesale customers, driving up sales and reach. Manufacturers increase awareness of their product line among retailers, allowing sales and market share to snowball.
Entering the wholesale marketplace might be a logical next step if you want to experience brand growth, but pause and consider before diving in. You will need to make sure you have both the financial and logistical means to produce your product in mass quantities within a short amount of time. You might also need to partner with a shipping supplier to move your product from its production facility to other locations.
Another way to expand your distribution channels is to set up an e-commerce site. With the help of website builders like Squarespace and Wix, your company can have a site up and sell your products in less than a day. Shopify is another e-commerce platform you can use or install onto a pre-existing website to manage and track sales quickly. As noted, remember that you might (hopefully) experience explosive sales growth, so keep your production capacity and shipping channels in mind.
By expanding your distribution channels, you can expect to increase your profits and build brand awareness. Additionally, it’s less risky to sell on multiple channels than by focusing solely on one. For example, if you sell your product to one retail chain and it goes out of business, you’ll have to rebuild your sales from scratch. You don’t want to leave loyal customers scratching their heads wondering where they can buy your products.
2 Concentrate your efforts on brand awareness, not brand recognition
Brand recognition is precisely what it sounds like, namely the ability for consumers to recognize your brand. They may recall your logo or your brand colors, but the relationship ends there. Brand awareness, on the other hand, is when consumers develop a relationship with your brand. They choose your product because they know what it stands for.
Take, for example, the crowded kombucha tea market. Once seen as a wellness drink sold in organic markets, this probiotic tea is now available nationwide at major grocery retailers. The market for this particular product has undergone a shift.
Even as new players came to the market, Health-Ade kombucha tea was developing a direct relationship with its consumers. The company distributes samples at central wellness and food events. Their social media presence is fun and bubbly, just like their product. For this reason, kombucha consumers have developed a direct relationship with Health-Ade and actively seek their products.
As this example demonstrates, boosting brand awareness takes considerable effort. You’ll need to develop a specific “voice” for your brand. Creating a consumer persona can also help with this effort, as can speaking with real-world consumers in your target market.
It would help if you also looked to maximize your social presence by creating consistent, helpful, and engaging content across all platforms you occupy. If you have a website or a blog, make sure you’re updating it regularly. Leverage your mailing list to attract attention in the email inboxes of existing and potential consumers.
By focusing your efforts on brand awareness, you’re setting yourself up for greater profits. Enhanced awareness helps consumers not only recall your brand but also understand it. They become comfortable with your brand and enamored of the products you sell. From there, it’s a short step to brand advocacy, where consumers start building your business through word of mouth.
3 Focus on quality over quantity
Before there was Honey Nut Cheerios, there were just plain Cheerios. It took General Mills 35 years of success and stability before developing products beyond the original Cheerios. Lesson learned! Focusing your sales, marketing, and selling on your core product is essential to growing your brand’s overall business.
While your brain might be overflowing with numerous new product ideas, growing your brand successfully will require you to think about quality over quantity. Your customers will tell you when they expect more goods or services but, for now, they expect great products. Remember, retaining your existing customers is critical for the expansion of a famous brand.
Keep in mind that, every year, over 95% of new products that hit the market fail. Concentrating on creating one or at most a handful of well-made products to start ensures your customer will come back for more. Brands that stretch themselves too thin set themselves up for failure.
Often, products are compromised because of manufacturing costs. One ingredient or one material is swapped for another to cut expenses and increase profit margins. Customers who were once loyal to your brand will quickly recognize the difference.
By focusing on quality over quantity, you’re putting the consumer first. You are thinking of their needs, wants, or priorities. Knowing your limits and expanding accordingly may hurt your ego — particularly if you’ve experienced tremendous success already. But by prioritizing customer satisfaction over your dreams of rapid expansion, you’ll help ensure brand growth over the long term.
Growing any brand takes commitment. Enter the process knowing that you’ll need to stay focused and energetic. Your brand can reach new heights by expanding your distribution channels, promoting brand awareness, and maintaining quality.