Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. That’s not just a statement used by politicians in campaign speeches. It’s also something that the people believe in and hold dear.
A report published by the Business Development Bank of Canada mentioned that Canadians prefer to purchase products or contract services offered by local businesses. Not only that, but some are even willing to pay more for them. Moreover, these local products are also highly appreciated internationally, making it easier for businesses like IT companies in Winnipeg to sell their products abroad.
But let’s stay within the country borders for the moment. Yes, marketing yourself as a Canadian, local business can help boost your sales or increase your profile, but it’s not to say that just slapping the Canadian flag on your product will do the trick. There’s a nuance to it.
Here are a few helpful tips on how you can brand your small business:
1. Have a Clear Mission
Canadians appreciate the businesses that stand for something more than those that are just looking to make a buck. Be careful, though: your company’s mission isn’t the same thing as its goal. For example, your goal may be to turn your startup into a large company with headquarters across the country. But your mission could be to enable access to better educational programs if you are a company that sells online courses, for example.
Find a cause that is relevant to your profile and show your customers a different side of your business. For instance, people appreciate a brand that is environmentally-friendly, or cruelty-free, so if your company is one of those things, it’s something to tell your customers. The same goes for issues related to local, regional or national interests.
2. Get Active
Presuming you’ve locked down the business’ mission, you can take it a step further and get actively involved. Consumers, especially millennials, appreciate corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns as long as they are sincere and have a positive impact on the community.
It doesn’t matter if you create an online campaign or offline one. These actions can help shape the way in which the public perceives your company. Being known as that business that gives back to the community is not a bad badge to wear around.
If you can’t find the time to organize a full-on campaign, even smaller gestures such as sponsoring the local sports team or giving something for free to those in need can help establish your local brand.
Just remember that although you are also doing it to boost your profile, the most important thing here is to be sincere. You genuinely need to make a positive contribution to the community. Doing it just to promote yourself will make you look insincere and, frankly, any customer can smell that from a mile away.
3. Highlight Your Local Quality
If you’re a local business selling locally-made products, then that’s a strength, one you should be marketing. Put it on the package, turn it into a slogan, or use it as a tagline for promotional prints – just make sure it’s out there. For instance, if you have a restaurant that only gets its ingredients from local farmers, then you can spin that in one of two ways: your food is healthier because it stays away from processed ingredients, and it’s Canadian.
People particularly like supporting the local economy, and they’d rather buy from small businesses than multinational entities. In a way, it’s like giving back to the community and making sure local companies have a place in the Canadian market.
A Final Word
While it’s certainly helpful to promote yourself as a local brand, it’s vital not to go overboard. Being “too Canadian” won’t do you much good – people will most likely tell it’s just a branding scheme.
Instead, think of the real value you add to the local market and work from there. Don’t just spin things to make it seem like you fit the category. Even if you’re not a 100% local store, you can still market yourself as one by getting involved in the community.
The post Made in Canada: How to Brand Your Small Business for Success appeared first on Home Business Magazine.