3 Ways to Create Lasting Brand Fireworks

By RJ Walters

As Red, White & Kaboom lights up Lakeland tonight, many downtown businesses hope to see an explosion of customers buying goods, enjoying meals and treats and dropping money in a way that supports a free market economy as part of a holiday that celebrates our country’s freedom.

But not every day has the built-in advantage of thousands of consumers flocking to where your business is or is a national holiday where people are bombarded with messaging that essentially says, “Live it up with those you love because that’s the American thing to do.”

Come Wednesday, it’s back to business as usual: a competitive landscape impacted by inflation and labor shortages where consumers have endless options locally and globally to shop around.

At Lakelander Media we help businesses tell their story, compel their target audiences to action and turn their brands into local conversations.  

Here are three ways to shoot off brand fireworks all year long to show Lakelanders the value of your product or service in a way that is memorable and meaningful, and hopefully that helps put more Benjamin Franklins in local bank accounts.

1. Laser-Targeted Advertising

Ditch the one-size-fits-all approach and focus on precision-targeted advertising to captivate potential customers genuinely interested in your products or services. At Lakelander Media for example, we can tell you that more than ⅔ of our audience for The Lakelander magazine is 25-65 years old. Our Instagram audience skews younger, with 68 percent of our audience being between 18 and 44 years old.

Utilize data on demographics, customer surveys, and market research to glean insights into their preferences, interests, and purchasing habits. An easy place to start is looking at the plug-ins that are on the backend of your website and the free statistical dashboards offered on social media. 

Armed with this knowledge, customize your advertising campaigns and messages to resonate deeply with their needs and wants. Whether it’s through digital ads campaigns, direct mail, or local print ads, your marketing efforts must be tailored to hit the bullseye with your target audience.

An example of a spread of recent local print ads in The Lakelander.

2. Harness the Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

One of the most potent forms of advertising is still word-of-mouth recommendations from delighted customers. Today that means growing the positive impact of your Google reviews, your Facebook reviews and feedback forums related to your specific industry.

Some marketing experts go as far as to argue that online reputation is everything

Encourage existing customers to spread the word about their positive experiences by incentivizing referrals or implementing loyalty programs. As part of your sales process, encourage people to leave a review and offer them a percentage off a future service or product for their time. 

When someone leaves a negative review, have a process and timeline in place to respond, and if possible, try to privately connect with them to provide resolution. It’s certainly easier said than done, but a few bad reviews can turn potential customers toward a competitor.

The owners of the local Milkster Nitrogen Creamery shared with me recently how they prioritize customer satisfaction, to the point they have provided refunds and offers to try their product again for free on a few occasions. They recognize the power of making it right.

High Class Barber Salon in Dixieland is a young local business that has dominated this aspect of the modern marketplace, and in just a few years they have garnered more than 1,000 5-star reviews.


3. Reach More People Through Collaboration

Networking with local businesses and professionals can unlock a treasure trove of growth opportunities. Explore partnerships with complementary businesses to mutually expand your reach. Locally, we are blessed with entities like CORE Lakeland and Bridge Local who continue to connect like-minded individuals with shared vision but different giftings.

The recent success of the Lakeland Biz Bash is an example of the fuel they are providing local business owners.

Consider joining spots like the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and Catapult to stay on top of training and networking events, as well as to be around other movers and shakers.

Unleash the power of joint marketing campaigns, sponsor local events, or participate in trade shows and industry conferences to elevate your brand’s visibility within the community. Hosting workshops and positioning yourself as an industry expert will also enable you to forge valuable connections.

And of course, if you see a great resource or idea or story by a company like ours, please share it because we want to keep making fireworks, too!