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Importance of branding for Indian SMEs

Satish Kota, Founder, ReputationXL & Revbay

Jun 05, 2015 12:05

With Prime Minister’s Make In India initiatives, Indian SMEs are undergoing a humongous change. They have opportunities to showcase themselves and do business across the globe. However to attain success in the international business branding becomes a very important factor.

Many think that branding is not important for established companies and believe it is required only for new entrants. Though they may not need much of branding, it is very much required to ward off competition or while evaluating new markets opportunities. New markets do not know business and hence the trust level will be low. To gain better reputation businesses should resort to branding activities.

“The SMEs in India, treat branding as a trivial part of their business. But in reality branding acts as an effective catalyst for business growth in today's market.” Says Vinitha Suraj, Creative Director, Brand Equity Design Quadrant.

A good branding exercise builds trust, encourages loyalty and increases value. For a stronger presence, SME's should invest in branding. Businesses should change and innovate themselves to get recognized. At the core branding is nothing but identifying your businesses or products to particular category/segment. For example many people do not know the concept of Adhesive bandages, but they know Band-Aid very well and even when it is that of some other company, it is still considered as Band-Aid. The same way with Google. It is the brand for search engines.

What Branding should SMEs do?

Branding does not mean advertising in print media, radio or television alone. In today’s day and time, technology plays an important role. Branding has evolved into the world of internet and social media. They are today’s platforms for efficient communication.

“SME’s should promote its products through the internet and social media” says veteran advertisement guru Prahlad Kakkar.

It is very cost effective and can provide immense opportunities for the businesses. A simple campaign on facebook of Rs. 5000 could generate 1000 target audience following you.

What are the different online branding options available?

Online branding or e-branding solutions are a perfect way for an SME to improve their brand value in the internet. There are 3 major areas for SMEs to brand themselves

  • Building a branded website: Your website is the first impression and an entry point to your business from the internet. Hence it is critical to your branding activity. You should have a clean website and should be able to speak correctly to your target audience. The website should be optimized for various search engines, devices and also for engaging prospects. Call to action becomes very important element in your website. Since your website is a reflection of you, how well branded it is defines the company’s brand.
  • Social Media Branding: With over 112 million facebook users in india, social media branding becomes very important for branding activities. However with various social media websites such as facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+, Instagram, pinterest, foursquare, etc., you will have to decide how much active you should be in what networks. If your business is B2B, then Linkedin plays a big role. But if you are a B2C business then facebook, twitter and google+ would be a great choice. Decide which network you want to be active and based on that share valuable and good content that can be appreciated by your target audience. You can make the best use of social campaigns in all these social media websites to connect to new customers or leverage the benefit of influencers who can help you reach faster.
  • Search Engine Branding Activities: Search engine branding or SEO branding is a mechanism of how your brand appears on the search results. It is a way of optimizing your company to your business categories or keywords that define your business. By using various search engine marketing techniques such as SEO, PPC, CPC, etc., you could increase your brand value and be the first in the list to be found.

Branding shall help in building a better reputation and the trust among people. However before doing anything related to e-branding, SMEs need to know where all they have to invest to do branding. At TESTIMONIALSFOR, we help in assessments and identify the areas where branding is necessary for the business.