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PMG Digital Made for Humans

How Small Brands Can Make a Big Impact

6 MINUTE READ | December 4, 2018

How Small Brands Can Make a Big Impact

The vast and over-complicated media landscape has resulted in an outcome that definitely doesn’t seem to align with the “vast and over-complicated” tagline: increased accessibility. Anyone with a computer has the power at their fingertips to deliver their message via social media ads, search engine marketing, display banners, and more to their current or potential customers.

small business

The tools and the education needed to learn how to use these tools are both available — the majority of which are offered at no cost to the user.

It’s an alternate-future-capitalist-utopia that business owners couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago. The behemoths running back-to-back Super Bowl ads with their billion-dollar budgets aren’t the only ones who can grab the attention of someone sitting at home on the couch. In fact, they may not even have the best chance of doing so. It’s small business’ time to shine and you don’t even need to invest capital on a brick-and-mortar storefront to reap the rewards.

I selected a couple of my personal favorite small to medium-sized businesses and asked them about their experiences delving into the ever-expanding world of digital media offerings. Here’s what they had to say:

The first brand is a small clothing company based out of California:

Which platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Google Ads, Google Display Network, etc.) have had the most impact on your business (whether from a sales/awareness/brand image standpoint)?

Instagram has had the biggest impact on our business. It’s allowed us to reach a wide market and tell our story through the photo and video imagery we like to create.

Did the company you work with start before this sort of stuff was available? Or was it more or less made possible through developments in media placement?

We started in 2015 and knew Instagram would be a good resource. As it’s developed over the years, it is seemingly a large chunk of every modern business’ advertising and marketing.

Do you have to consider competing with larger companies with similar-categories of offerings when advertising in these spaces? Or have you found that the massive quantity of available impressions ‘levels the playing field’ despite the differences in scale and allows you to do your own thing?

I think it’s just trying to do something different and not sticking to the status quo that seems to win over impressions. In other words, I don’t think I consider it competing especially when you can join forces with like-minded companies with collaborations and co-affiliation.

Do you feel like you HAVE TO curate a presence in all these spaces to remain competitive? Does it ever interfere with what the company WANTS to do?

If we didn’t utilize Instagram and curate a presence it would be a huge missed opportunity. At the end of the day, we try to create authentic content doing things that we want to do, not what we think other people want to see. So I don’t think it interferes with what our company wants.

What sort of challenges come about when trying to maintain a unique and genuine experience/brand image while also fighting for space online?

Creating unique captions and keeping up with Instagram and other apps are not things we ‘like’ to do. We would rather be somewhere outdoors with no cell service than posting photos, but you have to value the importance of connecting with an audience. So it is a constant battle between balancing the time on or off your phone.


The second brand is a modern sunglasses and small accessory shop also based out of California:

Which platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Google Ads, Google Display Network, etc etc etc) have had the most impact on your business? (Whether from a sales/awareness/brand image/or anything else standpoint)

Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, and Email are the main channels we utilize.

Did the company you work with start before this sort of stuff was readily available? Or was it more or less made possible through developments in media placements?

A lot of channels, platforms, and technologies have evolved during the history of the company. New channels and technologies keep popping up on an ongoing basis. We test new channels and technologies when we feel there could be a good fit with the brand and the audiences we’re trying to reach. The challenge is to not get carried away with all the new tools and channels.

Do you have to consider competing with larger companies with similar offerings when advertising in these spaces? Or have you found that the massive quantity of available impressions sort of levels the playing field (in terms of fairness) despite differences in scale?

For Facebook, there seems to be a ton of inventory available. But as more and more advertisers join the network, pricing goes up. So eventually I believe it will become harder for smaller companies with limited budgets to compete. For Google Ads, common and popular keywords are expensive. It’s hard to compete against huge companies with massive PPC budgets.

Do you feel like you HAVE TO curate a presence in all these spaces to remain competitive? Does it ever interfere with what the company WANTS to do?

I think a lot of companies start out trying to have a presence everywhere (and feel that they have to). We’ve learned to focus on the channels that work for us and disregard the ones that don’t. By the end of the day, we look at the ROI of each channel to determine where to prioritize budget and resources.

What sort of challenges come about when trying to maintain a unique and genuine experience/brand image while also fighting for space online?

Keeping the messaging on brand while also driving results. For example, adding a coupon code to a Facebook A_d _will most likely improve performance, but it might not resonate well with the brand/concept/messaging.


While the brands are different (both in the tone of messaging and product offering), the similar attitude towards digital strategies was clear in their responses – even though ‘big brands’ aren’t considered ‘competition’ these larger retailers affect smaller brands by crowding the playing field online and overspending across channels.

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Luckily, the agility of small brands comes in handy as they are able to adapt to new platforms and user groups while also delivering curated content that creates an experience which is not only unique for the customer, but authentic to the heart and soul of the company and keeps both owners and employees passionate about what they do.


Posted by Blake Lucas

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