So you’re thinking about marketing your brand. After all, proper marketing will not only create the industry presence you want for your business, but it will help you inform your target market about what you offer, attract the right customer base, build a reputation around your brand and even help you with your sales.

However, marketing today looks like a lot of hard work especially given the countless platforms and ways in which you can start marketing your business. And this can lead you to think of marketing as secondary because you will begin to prioritize making your first sale, and marketing is something you’d want to hire a professional to help you with – which makes it look very expensive.  

But that doesn’t have to be the case – marketing a brand can be done by anyone, and you can look at transitioning to a professional after you have set up your business’s online presence and are looking for something a little more advanced. To discuss the ABC’s of setting up your brand’s social media presence and how you can create an authentic online or eCommerce brand, we recently spoke to Vikum Rajapakse – Co-founder of Kantala, and Sashini Jinasena – Founder of Leo The Label; both Sri Lankan brands with a killer online portfolio and this is what they had to say. 

Be authentic in how you present your brand
The first step to creating a good brand is to be authentic in what you do. Every entrepreneur may have felt like they are drowning in a sea of similar brands or services with almost a similar product offering but that is no reason for you to give up. Vikum advised his audience to not think of similar brands and businesses as competitors, but instead, look at them as potential collaborators.

He went on to mention that Kantala collaborates with similar brands, and this helps uplift the brand’s image and also conveys their efforts to be authentic, as he went onto discuss that authenticity comes from actions and so what better way is there to showcase your brand’s authenticity than being vocal in your brand’s ethics, beliefs and collaborating with other brands who have similar values to convey that. 

Be transparent with the work you do
Next, Sashini went on to mention the importance of understanding your business’s core values and communicating those values with your customers. Although this may sound a little confusing at first – because you’ll be thinking “how do I really communicate my values with my customer?” it’s a lot simpler than you think. Your business’s core values are ultimately ingrained in what you do – it’s your business’s modus operandi, it’s simply what your business stands for. So if you plan your marketing ahead of time, it will be really easy to have these conversations on your platform. 

For example, Sashini’s brand Leo The Label is a conscious fashion brand, born out of the desire to give their customers one-of-a-kind pieces that are made upholding their conscious consumerism-centered ethics and sustainability goals. For this, she created her brand’s social media pages 3-4 months prior to launching the brand, and discussed a variety of topics from seamstresses, to the material and even eco-friendly shipping packages, and even discussed the brand’s sustainability and ethics commitment on their website as part of their effort in being transparent with their community.

Listen to your customers and your brand 
If your brand has been around for some time, you may have found yourself wondering if you should take a risk in changing a little bit (or a lot) about your brand to suit the market’s growing trend or customer’s asks or even make a few changes for the brand’s improvement instead of continuing to do what you initially set out to do. And sometimes, this may seem like a tough decision to make as you may approach this change from the perspective of finances or even goal completion – and you may not want to make a switch if you feel like you are risking your brand, your goals, and or your finances. 

Having been in a similar situation, Vikum reminded the audience that it’s important to listen to what your customers are saying, and pay attention to the direction in which your brand is heading. If you feel like you need to make a change, more often than not, it’s a good idea to allow your brand to evolve over time, rather than letting it sit and drive towards a failing goal.

Giving a testament to his advice, Vikum shared that Kantala initially started out with a single bag that was created by folding a mat in half, and after testing this product with the market, they found out that they need to have a diverse product range. Similarly, after a few years of having their logo in black, Kantala carried out a survey with their customers to ask how they perceived the brand, And today, Kantala has a new logo in orange that conveys the emotions they want the brand to convey, along with a diverse range of products which at first wasn’t on their plan. You can read all about their journey here

Be mindful about the social media platforms you use
When you start a brand, you think of what are the best possible ways in which you can maximize your reach and increase awareness. The internet today is filled with so many apps – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & TikTok being the reigning apps. And it may look inviting to try your hand at managing profiles on all of these platforms, and running email, WhatsApp & even text message marketing campaigns simultaneously. While there is no harm in trying to get the maximum reach, sometimes managing and juggling more things than you can actually handle may ruin your brand’s reputation. 

There is no rule saying you need to be present on all the hottest social media platforms and utilize all of these trends. Get on the social media apps that you know will benefit your business, and take time to master them so you can maximize your potential on a select set of apps, rather than haphazardly trying your hand at managing more social profiles than you can imagine.

Be present and connect with your audience 
Don’t you hate it when your favorite brand suddenly goes MIA on social media? They post one day, and the next day, they’re gone. Or when you message them inquiring about a product or service, and you have to wait for a few days to receive a response? While this may look like it’s very bad customer service, the problem is rooted more deeply than you think. 

Sashini went on to advise the audience to never “post and ghost”, where one minute you are posting regular updates and replying to customer inquiries, and the next there are no interactions for days or weeks. Managing social profiles takes time, and creating content for these pages is also time-consuming. So while you are conscious about the types of platforms you want to be present in, it’s wise to make sure you are creating regular content and engaging with your audience to keep them interested. 

These are a few golden tips we picked up from the discussion with Vikum and Sashini. If you are keen to learn more, you can head over to our Instagram page, and watch our IG TV video to learn more about growing your businesses by creating an authentic online brand. 
If you want to know more about growing your eCommerce business and taking things to an international scale, we can simplify the process for you and show you it’s not as complex and expensive as you may think. Write to us at hello@swyft.lk or call us on +94114312525 between 9.30 AM and 5.00 PM on weekdays for a chat!

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