If you think running a business is difficult, try running a niche brand. If you sell common merchandise such as toys and groceries, you can easily tap into a big market. Meanwhile, niche brands sell specialized products that attract fewer buyers and operate at the fringes of the economy. That said, owners of niche brands face the same responsibilities and deal with the same problems.
Trials and tribulations are common occurrences for niche brands. They have to juggle the myriad responsibilities of running a business, such as dealing with customers and ensuring the lights stay on. But they also have to sell products that have limited commercial demand and only attract a niche clientele. To survive in that market, they need to invest in good branding.
Branding isn’t just about giving your company a logo and a new face, although those are some of the basic components. A brand is how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. And in a small market, it could mean the difference between success and failure. A strong brand ensures that your business can weather any storms, such as the arrival of a new competitor.
Building a brand requires a lot of effort and resources, but it’s not an impossible task for niche businesses. Here are a few branding tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Put your niche front and center
Branding a niche business is relatively straightforward: You have to put your niche front and center. Since your business is strongly identified with what you sell, you want it to be the first thing people see. But you also have to be thoughtful about how you approach your branding strategy. For instance, you can start by building a narrative around your business.
Most niche businesses have a story behind them. Why else would the owner devote their time and resources towards selling unique items? For instance, if you run a memorabilia store, you can talk about how your love for rare collectibles led you to start selling them. If your consumers can see your passion, they’re more likely to come back to your brand.
2. Target the right people
The beauty of running a niche business is you already know who your ideal consumer is. If you sell vintage records, then you want to target music collectors. The challenge lies in knowing where to find your audience. You don’t have the resources to run a blanket campaign, which means you need to be more creative in targeting prospective consumers.
Start by understanding where your target audience tends to congregate. Niche enthusiasts always have their favorite sites, so make sure to do some research about their habits. For instance, you can place your ads on interest-based websites. It also helps to target wealthy clientele, who are more likely to make a splurge purchase of interesting items.
3. Solidify your position
In the niche retail business, you may find yourself in two different positions. Either you’re the established brand fending off newer rivals, or you’re the upstart looking for its place in a small market. Building a brand also means you have to solidify your market position, especially if your prospects for growth are limited.
The only way a niche business can grow is to expand the product lines. If you’re not interested in diversifying your offerings, you need to ensure that your business is at the top of the market. While choices are always good for customers, you don’t want to see your clientele flocking to your rivals. Building a brand also means you have to strengthen it.
4. Scope the market
You know your branding strategy is working if your sales are growing and customers respond to your new marketing. But there’s always room for improvement, even if you’re already at the top. You don’t want to get too complacent, or else your customers might get bored and your competitors will move in for the kill. You must keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry.
If you think competitive research is just for million-dollar brands, then you’re not working hard enough. You have to think creatively to get the data you need. For starters, look at what your competitors are doing. If most of them are making changes, it could be a sign of a shift in their market. Either they’re responding to a new trend or ramping up in response to your new brand strategy.
The bottom line
These four branding tips will help you solidify your company’s footing and ensure that your dominance goes unchallenged. Running a retail business is already hard enough, and choosing to sell niche items can make your situation more challenging.