In an ever changing business landscape like Singapore, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are constantly on the lookout for business opportunities. The key questions are: how do you set yourself apart from your competitors and how can you craft that winning formula of creating a unique selling point that could bring you business success?
For many years, Singapore government has seen the need for local enterprises to strengthen their competitiveness through branding. Not only does it require a strong brand to compete in Singapore, it will be an added advantage on international stages as well.
With that said, majority of the SMEsare still having trouble understanding or executing successful branding initiatives, especially when it comes to finance.
Launched in 2005 and jointly administered by SPRING Singapore as well as IE Singapore, BrandPact was created to help SMEs fill this gap in terms of branding. With this grant, SMEs can get up to 70% grant on the cost of the branding project.
On top of that, BrandPact also covers the cost of the SME’s internal staff who will be participating in this exercise. Collectively, it has removed a major barrier for SMEs to embark on their branding initiative in an effective manner.
With the BrandPact grant, you could engage professional help in terms of the following segments in order to bring your brand to the next level.
It is important for you to find out who your competitors are and to discover how your customers feel about you. It is important to get a 3rd party’s perspective on where your strengths and weaknesses are.
Strategizing the brand
Upon understanding, the Brand consultant would be able to assist you to strategize and advise on how you should position your business. Crafting a good business vision and mission is important at this stage as it defines the rest of the re-branding initiatives.
Align the business with your brand
Many SMEs might be misled to think that Branding is all about how the external stakeholders see your business. The truth is, it’s the internal staff that is the key to a successful re-branding effort.
After all, it’s your staff that who will be interacting with your customers most of the time. How they portray the image of your company makes a big difference in the long run. Thus, measures have to be put in place to make sure everyone in your company is aligned with your new brand identity.
Visualize and communicate your brand
First impression counts. What your clients see about you for the first times speak volume about who you are and what you provide. On this aspect, the agency will create a well- crafted corporate identity. From your company logo to your sales collaterals, the design will communicate to your customers on your company’s mission and vision.
Like all investments made, results have to be measured in the long run. A successful brand is not created overnight; it has to go through numerous cycles of re-positioning, educating the mass market and evaluating results.
Thus, it is important for SMEs to know that adopting the BrandPact scheme is only the start. A professional brand consultant will be able to advise and assist the SME in creating a system to evaluate an enterprise’s branding effectiveness over time.
Johnny Koh, Project Manager, Ad.WRIGHT Communications Pte Ltd
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Johnny Koh is an Account Manager of Sabre Hospitality Solution. He helps hotels look pass today's complex and ever-changing communication channels, and to focus on ultra engagement with their customers.