Bootstrapping: Building Your Brand on a Budget

Do you want press relating to your business every other day?!?! In a video fromAppSumo called “Why Brand Perception Sells (and how to build your own)”, Jonathan Kay from the Grasshopper Group is interviewed by Paul Hontz from The Startup Foundry to pick his brain as to why he is so successful at building the Grasshopper Group brand and gaining press. We are going to highlight a few of Jonathan’s points for building brand perception and show you how to build it on a budget.
If Money is an Issue, Give Your Time
Yes! If your budget does not allow for the expertise and experience of your readily available, friendly and fun marketing and pr team then you must invest your personal time. When you are a start up your time is your currency. This being said, if you are spending too much time on activities that are taking away from you generating immediate revenue you may find more value in spending the money than spending the time and seek consultation with a marketing and pr agency (cough cough hint hint).
Establish Your Guidelines
There are few things that are more daunting than a blank screen. Jonathan suggests to get started set a guideline in the form of a challenge. Challenge yourself to generate ideas that cost less than $15 and 5 minutes of time per person to make a personal connection. In Jonathan’s example he wrote a hand written letter and sent a $5 gift card for Starbucks to a blogger who he found had written a review. The total cost for the letter, postage and gift card was about $7 and from that low cost and thoughtful action of genuinely saying ‘thank you’ the blogger wrote more reviews.
Standout From the Crowd
Everyone expects and is entitled to a product that works, good customer service and competitive pricing. According to Jonathan these are not selling points, features, or benefits of your business. These are standards just to keep you in business. To keep your business competitive and growing you must standout from your competition.
Two branding examples Paul extracted from Jonathan literally made us jump out of our chairs in excitement. First Jonathan took a grassroots approach to marketing at SXSW. Instead of paying the seriously high price of renting a booth or a table he rented a matador costume, an actor, a bull costume and a sports car and drove around the event engaging with people on the street for a fraction of the cost of renting a table. He made such an impact that the paying advertisers wanted him removed from the area because of all the publicity he was receiving. The second tactic to standout was mailing chocolate covered grasshoppers (on behalf of the Grasshopper Group) to some of the most important people in America including senators and even the White House (Homeland Security was concerned).
Right now you are probably thinking “So what? How does that equate to revenue?”. As a result of Jonathan’s actions we at Little Jack have written this article, you have read this article, and most likely you have clicked on the links in this article. This is all marketing and advertising Grasshopper and Jonathan did not pay for but is a result of the amazing things he has done. Worse case scenario, sales and revenue do not increase BUT marketing and advertising expenses will decrease which impacts the bottom line. Your profit.
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