I live in the great city of Portland, Oregon — the hipster’s paradise. Here, we love our local small businesses, and for good reason. As one Portlandia sketch demonstrates, you can sell pretty much anything in this city, and chances are people will find it just quirky enough to buy. It’s all about “keeping it local,” and it’s not just in Portland — sick of corporations, more and more consumers are turning to locally based businesses.
That’s great, but it begs one important question: What happens when those small businesses become so successful that they become not so small? And what if (gasp!) they get so big that they become corporations themselves?
Having your business experience growth is a great problem to have. But it also comes with some changing requirements on how you market your brand, especially if you don’t want to be perceived as “corporate.”
Adjusting your messaging strategy
If you have grown substantially, how should you change your messaging? You’re still the same company and brand, so why should your have to change anything at all?
Although your growth likely means you have grown your consumer base over the years, it’s still important to engage the people who made you what you are — the customers who were with you from the start. If your business attracted customers in its early days by being a local, mom-and-pop type company, some of these original customers may be turned off by your expansion.
If there’s one lesson you should take away from the concept of content marketing, it’s that audience is everything. So if you don’t know who you’re speaking to, you won’t be able to communicate with them effectively.
Avoid the identity crisis
As you go about adjusting your strategy, don’t feel obligated to change your entire brand identity, as it’s part of what helped you grow in the first place. But as you consider your brand, think about your brand story and how the changes in the life of your company have altered it. Knowing your brand story and its development will help your audience understand your company’s evolution — and how they have played an instrumental role in it.
As you grow, it’s OK to acknowledge that you’ve become a bigger organization, and you should avoid trying to portray yourself as something you’re not. If the Hummer H3, for example, started making commercials touting its fuel efficiency, people wouldn’t believe it.
The solution? Consistent, continuous analysis of your audience helps you identify patterns and changes in their identities and behaviors. Look at that behavior and form a relationship between those changes and the changes that have occurred within your company. By being dynamic while staying true to your core mission and values, your messaging strategy offers you more weight and credibility.
Allison Lewis is an associate editor with ProPRcopy, a copywriting service that helps companies engage in effective content marketing strategies.