[Podcast] Part 3: Brand Awareness for Local Businesses

Episode Introduction

How do you build a great brand that people talk about and love?

We hear about great companies like Disney and Amazon, but how did they come to be? What strategies did they use? And how can we adopt their methodologies to improve our marketing operations?

I’m your host Colin MacInnis, and THIS is the Marketing Qualified podcast.

Today marks the final part of our series on Brand Awareness and How to Create a Brand that People Actually Talk About.

As a recap, Part 1 explored 7 tactics marketers can use to build INBOUND brand awareness.

In Part 2, we covered 4 OUTBOUND activities marketers can use to stir conversation about their brand online.

And finally here in Part 3, the final segment of this series, we’re discussing brand awareness for LOCAL brands. These 4 tactics will help separate YOUR business from local competitors making your brand more relatable, likable, and reputable in your community.

1. Volunteer In Your Community Doing Something You Love

Volunteering helps build character, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

On one side you’re helping address a community need while on the other side, you’re making new friends.

Either way you cut it, you’re building your reputation and likeability as a volunteer AND as a business person.

Through the relationships you develop, your new friends and followers will support the things you set out to achieve. This carries a lot of weight for your brand’s success.

If you force your way forward and steamroll anyone in your way, you’ll damage your brand’s reputation. Take some time to narrow down the things you could be doing for your community. Then create a list of charities and non-profits in your community that could use your skillsets.

If you’re absolutely stuck for opportunities, reach out to your nearby university and express your interest to help the community. They’ll likely introduce you to relevant organizations, community leaders, and committees in your local area to get started.

2. Facilitate Workshops Related to Your Industry

Positioning yourself as an expert of your industry builds authority. You can fortify your position as an expert by hosting and facilitating workshop events.

In order to host your own event, you’ll need to have a small following on social media and some email subscribers. If you haven’t hit your stride on followership, you’ll want to try the following techniques.

Partner with Existing Groups that Run Events. Find a well-rooted community group that hosts events in your space. Reach out to them and start building a relationship. You can do this by having coffee with them, volunteering, going to dinner, etc.

Make sure you articulate your goal to do workshops early in the relationship. Otherwise, they’ll suspect you want something from them. The sooner this is addressed, the more transparent your relationship can be.

Be Careful. A big mistake founders and entrepreneurs make is loosely describing who they are and what they do. This means the partner won’t know what they can do to help you.

Instead, clearly state who you are, what you do for businesses, and give them an idea of the groups you align with. For me, I often articulate myself as a Salesforce administrator or Hubspot admin.

If you don’t have recognized certifications to mention, take an approach where you share the types of businesses you typically work with. For example, I typically work with small-sized B2B SaaS companies with less than 100 employees. These businesses usually spend between $20,000 and $100,000 per month on digital marketing.

Hosting Workshops OUTSIDE Your Local Community. It’s hard to do events abroad when you don’t have a sturdy foundation to stand on.

Once building up your speaker profile locally, you can start to probe at regions outside your local area. Take inventory of all the events taking place in your industry for the year. Next, see which venues are accepting speaker applications. If similar to your speaker portfolio, apply.

This process is very similar to how a band would grow. A band doesn’t start out performing at the Super Bowl, rather they build up to it.

3. Leave Business Cards at Your Local Coffee Shops

Never underestimate coffee shops.

Print a small batch of business cards designed to feature your company. Leave them in a way that encourages someone to explore your website.

You’d be impressed how your website visitors will grow. These people will message you, connect with you on LinkedIn, request help, and even introduce you to other people who can help you grow.

A Great Tip for Print Ads is to Match Them with Your Digital Ad Creatives

If operating close to your market AND running digital ads, match your print ads to reflect your digital ads.

We ran digital ads here in our local community and created print ads that were similar to the creative we used online.

The response was great.

Not only did our print ads re-engage people who already saw our digital ads, but we reached them through an entirely different medium.

“This is that ad I saw earlier! I didn’t know it was local!”

This experiment proved to be extremely effective for generating a return on investment.

4. Print Company Apparel You Will ACTUALLY Wear

When you’re starting up, no one knows about you or your brand. An effective way to get some brand exposure is to put it on your clothing.

But a typical startup tee-shirt won’t cut it. You need to sport clothing that fits with current fashions, your preferences, and that looks legitimate.

When I started my stand-up paddleboard company, SUP Baddeck, I had to get the word out. I bought a black Helly Hansen sports jacket with minimal designs on it.

I took the jacket to an embroidery store and requested they put patches on the jacket. On the left arm, I had them place the Paddle Canada logo on it (a club I had joined). On the right arm, I had them place the SUP Baddeck logo.

On the front (on the upper-left chest), they placed the words “Lead Instructor, Cape Breton Island Watersports Inc” (the legal operating name).

The jacket looked amazing and I was proud to wear it. I looked like I was a part of a formal professional group of athletes. This is how I wanted the brand to feel.

One day while wearing the jacket, I ducked into a coffee shop. While in line, I noticed some people were checking me out (who wears patches on their jacket, after all?). I knew they saw the SUP Baddeck logo, but they likely weren’t sure what that brand was. I wanted to show them a brand that had a stronger reputation. I turned to reveal my other arm – “Paddle Canada”.

By now, they could piece together that I was a person who did paddling. When I turned around with my coffee to leave, they caught a glimpse of my chest – “Lead Instructor”. The mystery of the brands I was wearing was solved.

This story might sound funny, but I actually had a lot of interactions just like this one!

The total cost of the jacket was $250.00, but I saw every penny returned.

I wore this jacket for years. Hiking, at the bar, opening shop in the morning, getting coffee, lunch, and so on.

Each interaction helped me build awareness of my local business, SUP Baddeck.

You can do the SAME thing for YOUR brand. Leverage logos and certification badges your audience would be familiar with. Then create an amazing piece of clothing you would love wearing.

People will see you coming and piece together what you do, what company you work for, and what suite of brands you align with.


Fans and followers, this concludes our starting series on Brand Awareness and how to create a brand people actually talk about.

From inbound tactics for awareness to making noise about your company locally, we wish you the best of luck developing your buzzworthy brand.

From all of us here at Marketing Qualified, thank you for tuning in to hear our advice for brand awareness.

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Mentioned Companies, People, and Sources


  • We didn’t mention any companies in this article


  • We didn’t mention any people in this article


  • There were no academic sources listed in this article. The tips and advice mentioned in this post came strictly from our marketing experience over the years helping startups, small businesses, and large enterprises build and engage their audience.
  • Music media was provided by WonderSProd (purchased from Pond5). For legal reference, here is Pond5’s Royalty-Free License Agreement.

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