While it's good to take inspiration from a successful company, SMEs need their own brand marketing plans.
This is the advice of brand consultant at Verve.co.uk Paul Hitchens, who said small businesses "cannot afford to be shrinking violets" and need to carve their own niche in their market.
He said that too many firms try and copy their more successful counterparts, adding: "Tomorrow's super brands will be those brands that think and behave differently and offer relevance to their customers."
One way to become more relevant is through content marketing. As the ContentPlus infographic shows, tailoring social media pages, articles, blogs and features to the relevant audience can result in higher engagement levels, an improved reputation, increased online visibility and more sales.
"Investing in your brand is investing in your people and SME's account for 58.8 per cent of private sector employment, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. A strong employer brand cuts down on the cost of recruitment and staff turnover. A brand strategy adds vitality and drive to a business, the brand is a company's raison d'etre," Mr Hitchens explained.
How to create a unique small business brand marketing plan
Content marketing is an important part of a brand and so is a good place to start when trying to create something unique and relevant to the target audience.
If an SME's demographic is young and tech-savvy, a heavy social media presence is important. Older shoppers will be more likely to use a PC or laptop to send and receive emails, and so email newsletters are a good way to communicate and engage with these consumers.
Yesterday, ContentPlus explained how small businesses shouldn't be afraid of being a little bit different and opinionated, following Samantha Brick's latest controversial article for the Daily Mail. Strongly-worded blog posts can soon rack up hits, while firms should not be afraid of using bold headlines and garnering debate on their social media pages.
Content should be as unique as possible, drawing on research, opinion and consumer polls taken over Google+, Facebook, Twitter and a brand's website. Insightful analysis is always well received, as is copy that goes beyond the obvious. Google's search spider loves unique and relevant content, especially that which is promoted over social media.
Taking a look at popular competitors' blogs, articles and social media pages can provide you with an idea of what works – and then you should add your own twist to stand out from the crowd.
Further small business content marketing advice can be found here:
What content marketing steps have you taken to offer your customers something unique?