Belinda works with a  number of organisations varying in industries. Belinda has obtained a vast amount of knowledge about some of the challenges these verticals are faced with.  As facilitator, lecturer for Honours in Digital Marketing and Branding Belinda is able to provide advisory services that address the digital communications drivers.  



With only a limited budget available, marketing a small business can be a challenging affair. According to Nicola Kleyn, Associate Professor in Marketing at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), the critical issue for small businesses is how to acquire and keep customers. 

Belinda captures some of her experiences as a women embarking on the journey of a small business owner. Check out her blog.....

Personal Branding​

In a nutshell

-  Personal branding is the emotional connection you have with people.

-  It’s the little things that count when it comes to personal branding.

-  Creating your own personal brand starts with understanding your values.

-  Your personal brand is always on show.  Nurture it.

-  Social media can make or break you. Be careful  how you use it.

Marketing a small business - - Published: 13 March 2014

With only a limited budget available, marketing a small business can be a challenging affair. According to Nicola Kleyn, Associate Professor in Marketing at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), the critical issue for small businesses is how to acquire and keep customers. 

“Small businesses need to be very clear about who they are targeting, and then ensuring their offering is distinctive,” she says. They should ensure they are engaged with their customers and have deep conversations with their target audience. Only once they have done that should they be embarking on more traditional marketing communications such as building awareness of the brand.  

Budget constraints will ensure that adspend needs to be carefully allocated. Digital and social media are exciting opportunities, but only if this is the media your target market are consuming. “Marketing efforts will largely be dependent on the company’s business model: a high volume, low cost product or service offering is going to demand a very different strategy to a low volume, high cost product or service offering,” she points out. “If the business model is about reaching larger numbers of consumers then the chances are good that you will need to put out a broader message to a large audience.”

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is their ability to ramp up from being a small business, often owner managed, and to then scale up into something bigger. Nando’s – a classic South African success story – managed this very successfully but not all companies get it right. “Those companies that do successfully manage to ramp up have usually managed to effectively tap into a largely unmet consumer need,” she says.

While a small business may not be able to afford to grow a strong brand early on, what they can do is grow strong customer relationships. “In fact, they’re often able to grow stronger customer relationships than much larger businesses,” Kleyn reveals.

Independent marketing consultant, Belinda Wagner, agrees: “It’s not about your budget but about connecting. Focus on your existing business relationships and network. Make personal contact with your clients – even when they’re not buying from you. Rather than a big budget it’s about understanding who your clients are and delivering on their needs. People buy from people so it’s worth finding a way to connect with your customers on a personal level – and that doesn’t cost anything but time and interest. ”

Wagner also advises small businesses to remember that delivery is key. “Don’t over-promise and under deliver. Meeting your promises is how you will build your reputation.”  A common mistake, adds Kleyn, is that small businesses tend not to document their customer information and often don’t utilise outside marketing input. “It pays to talk through your marketing challenges with some kind of outsourced support, “suggests Kleyn. “Marketing support and collateral needs to be done properly in such a way that it communicates your brand and what’s distinctive about it.”

Personal branding is about the way you dress, the way you speak, the way you react in different situations.  It’s about the emotional connection you have with people; how you come across.

We often don’t realise the importance of managing our personal brand. It's the small things that count: responding timeously and courteously to e-mails and
messages; arriving at interviews and meetings on time; and dressing appropriately, for example. How you approach people, respond to situations, what you
say, and even how you say it – which surprisingly is sometimes more important that what you say – will determine how people perceive you.

Your brand is on show 24/7, so guard it and nurture it.

Personal branding starts with your personal values: what’s important to you, your beliefs and how you see the world. Being consistent and living those values on
a daily basis is what gives you credibility. Ultimately it’s your unique promise of value and how you project yourself that underpins your personal brand. Creating your personal brand 101 If you’re not sure about how to go about creating your personal brand, try answering the following questions:

  •       Who are you and what do you stand for?
  •       What values are important to you?
  •       What would you like people to say about you when you leave the room?
  •       What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? In other words, what makes you stand out?
  •       What is your purpose or role in your environment?
  •       What value does your presence add to those around you? (In your professional, personal and social life.)
  •       What are you passionate about? Do you make time to get involved in the things you love?
  •       Do you volunteer your time, talents and skills to a worthy cause?
  •       Are you continually investing in your personal and professional growth?
  •       Are you using your networks to grow your brand and allow others to help you create new opportunities?

Use the answers to these questions to try to live your personal brand on a daily basis. Don’t forget that every touch point you have with everyone you come across
leaves an impression. You therefore need to decide what to leave behind. Your personal brand should always reflect your true character. Be authentic. Don’tforget that your brand is on show 24/7, so guard it and nurture it.