In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of staying focused on your branding and marketing in the “down” or slow months leading up to the fourth quarter and the holiday shopping season. Disregarding your branding and marketing in favor of boosting your efforts during the holiday season can backfire, especially if your employees are under the impression that this down time is an opportunity to relax or even disregard their responsibilities as your informal brand ambassadors. However, we would now like to discuss the primary reason why losing focus or even pausing your branding and marketing efforts during this period and other slow periods is a bad idea. When you “disappear” as your marketing initiatives slow or even stop, you risk losing mind share among your target market.
The Importance Of Mind Share
A simple way to think of mind share is to conceptualize it in literal terms. The level of mind share your business enjoys with your target market directly corresponds with how large of a “share” of their mind your brand controls. Brands with large mind shares are often household names, and are usually the first ones that consumers think of when they are asked to identify a brand within a certain industry. At the highest level of mind share, the brand becomes synonymous with the product or service itself. For many years, people regularly referred to photocopying as Xeroxing, and many consumers still refer to facial tissue as Kleenex and internet search queries as Googling. Unless your business offers a completely unique product or service to a very select or limited market, it is unlikely that you command this level of mind share among your target market. Yet that doesn’t mean that the mind share you do command is insignificant or unimportant enough to ignore during your slow or down months.
Make Sure Your Brand Is The First That Comes To Mind
When it comes to mind share, the goal of the vast majority of small businesses shouldn’t be to become a household name, but to win a simple race within the minds of your target market. When a potential customer develops a need or desire to acquire a certain product or service that you provide, your brand should be the first one that comes to mind. Small businesses, especially retailers, understand that it has become extremely difficult to compete with large corporations such as Walmart, Target, or Amazon on price alone. There are few small businesses left that can compete with these retail giants based simply on price, let alone even beginning to approach the mind share that these businesses command with consumers. However, your small business doesn’t need to challenge or even approach this level of mind share with the general public. Instead, your primary goal with your branding and marketing should be to improve your mind share with your target market, and that market may be limited by the specific products and services you offer or by geographical location.
Maintain A Positive Impression
If your products, services, or location don’t differentiate your business from your largest competitors, the only way to do so and boost your mind share is to differentiate your small business in other ways, such as offering superior customer service, a more specialized product line, or through a personal appeal such as asking your community to support a local business. However, all of this will be for naught if you lose mind share during the down or slow period before the holidays. It’s imperative that your small business find ways to maintain the positive impression you’ve developed with your target market, either through less expensive marketing initiatives or by striving to impress through ordinary customer interactions.