The Start-Up Guide to Branding for Niche Markets

The Start-Up Guide to Branding for Niche Markets

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The powerhouse (and fictional) advertising executive, Don Draper once uttered, “Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s the billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.”

This marketing sentiment has remained unchanged across generations and is transcendent of time; we are emotional beings who thrive on connection, we respond to sensory stimuli and in particular, how that stimuli makes us feel and remember.

This sentiment is of course applied to all aspects of marketing, and in particular, branding. Branding is not simply a communication of what your product is or does; it is an identity which defines who you are and how the public perceives you. How does your brand connect with people, places, and emotions? And how does this connect with your product?

Have you ever been to a restaurant with 100 menu items and where they are serving pizza, sushi, pho, and burgers? Chances are slim to none that any of those 100 items is a step above edible. However, if that restaurant were to specialize in authentic, fresh and artisanal pizza (for example), chances are it would give the perception of the best pizza outside of Italy; it would smell, taste and feel authentic. And so it goes for niche branding; unlike their mass manufacturer counterparts, niche companies are excelling at their given product or service. It gives you the advantage of expertise and the ability to build community around your expertise.

With this in mind, here are a few helpful tips for building your brand around a niche:

  1. It’s all about identity: maybe there are a whack-load of companies offering the same product or service as you to the same niche. It can be easy to be trying to stand out while simultaneously, subconsciously imitating your competitor. Don’t forget – there is a market for your brand that people look for and need. Putting the brand out there in a relatable, authentic way is the fastest way to build connections and community.
  2. Get personal: Part of building community and authenticity around your brand is to put a face/name behind it. This particularly holds true when the main retail platform is eCommerce. When sending a product out, add a personalized message, signed by you. It makes the consumer feel connected with your brand and aids to build loyalty. I know how many people will scour at my next example, Kylie Jenner Lip Kits. As opposed to major big box cosmetic brands, the Lip Kits are a singular item, fine-tuned with expertise. In her first year after her launch, the company made 8.7 million dollars. Her hype has been generated from her celebrity, no doubt about that. But the beautiful thing about this success is that it can be largely attributed to how personal she seemingly gets with her fans. From her custom mailing boxes, to her custom product boxes and personalized thank you letters, consumers are getting a seemingly up close and personal look at King Kylie herself.
  3. Stick to a theme and be consistent! Is your aesthetic modern, minimal and sleek? Or is it nostalgic, crafty and eclectic? Does your font type kit remain consistent on your packaging, boxes, website and eCommerce platform? Regardless of the theme you select, make sure that it looks the same, uses the same colours and is recognizable across all product packaging.  

We hope that these tips are helpful in identifying and conceptualizing your niche.

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