Branding Collectivism and the Independence of Small Business

Branding uniqlo

Advertisements allow your company to put its best foot forward by promoting the unique selling proposition (USP) of your product or service. By concentrating on a specific element you are better able to break through to potential customers by appealing to a specific problem within their life, and how your product or service can solve it. While this may distance your effective communications to specific demographics, it allows a greater bond to be formed with those potential customers most likely to take action.

Uniqlo Lifewear

Promoting your product or service based on its USP is the traditional approach to sales focused advertising. However, if instead of selling specific products (35% off our jeans) you create an overarching brand to define your company, you unlock the potential of ideologically driven communications. A global branding campaign entitled “Why Do We Get Dressed?” was recently produced for Japan-based clothing brand Uniqlo for the Life Wear collection. This is global campaign will be translated and displayed in many various cultures, meaning it must be relatable to everyone, everywhere. Instead of selling something in particular, this campaign builds the Uniqlo brand by asking open-ended questions each person can relate to through personal experience.

“Why do you want to fit in? Why do you get dressed?”

Uniqlo Lifewear is a collection of essential items every person may have in their wardrobe – jeans, long-sleeve shirts, knits and more. By not branding each article of clothing with a prominent logo or design, Uniqlo has built a brand out of being intentionally generic. The company attempts to facilitate everyday life in cultures where people increasingly look the same. The company defines itself as “innovative high-quality clothing that is universal in design and comfort and made for everyone, everywhere.”

Where the apparel industry is traditionally promoted by the unique style of the designer, of the brand, Uniqlo promotes the individual. Within this advertisement, we notice the faces of each character expressing how an outfit doesn’t necessarily need to draw attention to it. Clothing reinforces who we are, illuminating ourselves in a crowd full of strangers.

Branding small businesses

Larger businesses are able to conceptualize abstract brands outside of the realm of the specific product or service provided.  When a market is already familiar with your brand, the opportunity to expand into abstract message can take many forms such as the multicultural pride of Coca-Cola or the patriotism of selling America (err I mean Budweiser). This is a seemingly monumental task to small businesses that must focus advertising on improving sales for specific products.

Don’t try to mimic the style of big brands as they are often constrained under layers of bureaucracy. This prevents them from being flexible and daring with their brand. Instead, define your own brand; consumers are more likely to relate to your brand if they see you standing for something you believe in, particularly in innovative, bold, and daring ways. There is a prominent consumer trend focusing on independent establishments. This includes a more authentic and independent aesthetic many big brands and chains are attempting to duplicate. The advantage of branding a small business lies in the personal connection that can be formed with a consumer, as opposed to attempting to relate on a personal level to a behemoth of a brand.

Show Off Brand Personality

In a small business, it is more effective to promote the company culture that drives it every day. Don’t over exaggerate your offerings and raise expectations as this results in broken promises, and shattered trust in your brand.  Create trust with honest branding; try offering more instead of slashing prices. Promotions such as these are an opportunity to reinforce the brand mission that shapes your company.

Study your product or service and identify the market position it occupies. By researching the emotional and rational needs of your customers you can develop a brand that resonates with the individual. Think of your brand as a person; consider the character presented by either a spokesperson for your brand, or the type of consumer you’re communicating towards. This brand personality will be made up of beliefs, values, and purposes that define your company; and it will define what the business stands for along with the type of consumers it resonates with.

Perhaps the most important element of building a brand is consistency. Speak to your customers with a consistently branded tone of voice. This tone should be applied to all of your content and communications to help reinforce the business’ character. Once you have determined your market position, work alongside the 1Digital Agency team of copywriters to flesh out your brand’s voice.  We will align your brand’s voice throughout blogs, promotional initiatives, website copy, social media and more to create a uniform brand.