How can small businesses reach greater heights?
Building a brand around a business is most likely at the bottom of the to-do list when it comes to achieving success for a small business owner. For many, branding comes after success – priority lies with technology, equipment, operations, quality and the like. Tight financial resources which in turn restricts the efforts of branding is also a common problem for start-ups and SMEs.
The importance of building a brand image should not be underestimated regardless, and SMEs should allocate time, effort and money towards marketing their company and product, with a focus on target customers and general public impression.
How did one company use a comprehensive and effective branding strategy to its favour? Let’s find out.
Case Study: UGS Singapore
Unique Gas Solutions (UGS) dealership of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) started nearly two and a half decades ago in 1993. The company began as a local LPG provider to becoming a market leader in Singapore’s commercial LPG industry. UGS is currently a key supplier to F&B organisations of Singapore in terms of LPC goods and services. Such a success witnessed by UGS can be attributed to its quality service and excellent branding, both which set the company apart from its competitors. UGS demonstrated an SMEs ability to make great progress in a short time frame by actively implementing a branding strategy and exploiting its Intellectual Property.
The goal for UGS was not only to stand out from its competitors but to also plan ahead for the future: the company had an eye on expnsaion into various other energy sectors beyond LPG.
In 2009, UGS began its momentum in overhauling its commercial image, which included a name change from Unique Gas Trading to Unique Gas Solution. The company also showcased a new logo which they believed to convey values of the company such as safety, positive growth, continuity, transparency and integrity. A company slogan was also implemented to demonstrate such values alongside reinforcing what the product and service of UGS was all about: ‘No Gas Disruption, Safety and Business Continuity.’
Hard Work Pays Off
UGS played to their strengths as one of the first companies in the industry nationwide to have received an ISO 9001:2000 from the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) by introducing a company mascot to the general public, MR UGS, which depicts the company as a supplier for diverse industries. UGS is recognised for high standards of safety and compliance, and to communicate such information to their customers the mascot was born. MR UGS contributed to the dynamism of the company’s commercial image and further strengthened its position as a leader in the LPG market in Singapore.
On four occasions in years spanning from 2010 to 2016, UGS was recognised as a Singapore Business Superbrand by the world’s independent arbiter of international brands, Superbrands Limited. UGS was also the first and only company in the industry to receive the international quality Business Continuity Management System accreditaiton, an important aspect for the company to quality for the ISO.
The company has only improved its branding strategy year after year since, with various advertising campaigns issued through multiple national newspapers and industry magazines.
SMEs need to understand that building a brand around your business is an essential, not a luxury, nor should it be an afterthought. Good product is as vital as good marketing, and success is most likely to occur when both instances coincide.
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