Ogilvy Malta issues white paper on brand building
Small businesses often shy away from building their own brands, mistakenly believing branding is the sole domain of large, tech savvy firms with significant capital.
To counter the myth, branding firm Ogilvy Malta has circulated a white paper on social media showcasing its philosophy on brand-building as the key to enhancing an SME’s competitiveness and profitability.
The response has been encouraging, according to Ogilvy Malta creative director Edwin Ward, who wrote the paper.
“We had been hearing people ask about tools available to small businesses,” Mr Ward told The Times Business. “Small businesses face intense competition and there is considerable uncertainty so we decided to address their queries. SMEs are, after all, the bulk of our business and they are part of our DNA. Our founder David Ogilvy was particularly enamoured with New York’s small businesses.”
The document is available on Ogilvy Malta’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and in various group discussions on LinkedIn.
It explains how many sectors like financial services, IT, and tourism, have undergone considerable change and attracted international brands to relocate to or tap into the Malta market. Brand-building may be the direction SMEs need to take to enhance their competitiveness in a business environment filled with opportunities and challenges. Ogilvy Malta outlines three steps to brand-building for local SMEs.
Firms must leverage strengths through core values. They must draw up a plan to be implemented in stages, identify their core values and target consumer groups. They can make use of Malta’s abundant cultural resources and heritage to differentiate themselves from international brands.
“Brand Malta is a resource that belongs to all of us and we should feel free to make use of the pillars that comprise that brand – heritage, hospitality and diversity,” the paper explains.
Innovation drives differentiation and identification. SMEs, however, should also increase their awareness of trademark copyright and safeguard against trademark pirating for reasonable administrative fees. Brand protection helps businesses develop ownership of their market through the recurrent revenues enjoyed by the brand.
There are several effective channels available to local SMEs which do not involve prohibitive expense – subsidised participation at international trade events and opportunities presented by social media. Audiences now expect brands to be online. In these spheres, branding can be used for competitive advantage, to increase awareness and to extend companies’ their reach.
The white paper follows the launch of Ogilvy Light, a bundle of brand-communication services for small businesses. The product has recently been relaunched with added thought leadership.
“We have witnessed the biggest change in the advertising sector, not just here in Malta, but around the world,” Mr Ward said.
“It involves the growth in social media and general consumers’ involvement in dialogue with the marketing companies, be they the brand-owner, their agent, retailers or an importer. The days of just importing the brand advertising from abroad along with the products and slapping it into the local market are gone.
“There used to be a one-way channel to communicate a marketing message to the audience. It is now very much a two-way channel. A business can never invest in its brand once. It is an ongoing process.”
Ogilvy plans to issue a white paper on social media within the next six weeks, Mr Ward said.