Is brand building necessary for a small store? We think so. Brand recognition is just another form of marketing that will ultimately pay dividends.

We put quite a lot of energy into brand building and spend reasonable amounts of money on things like radio campaigns. These are instantly quantifiable and we see a surge of custom each time we run a campaign.

We also conduct social media marketing and we place a lot of stock in our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Again, we can see immediate results if we post the right message at the right time. It is quite freaky how a simple line of text can result in increased trade.

Recently, we decided to produce and give away high-quality jute bags to our good customers. 

We resisted the temptation to go for low-cost cotton bags and decided to go all out and produce a bag of equal quality to the ones in Waitrose. One differentiator between us and the supermarkets is that we give the bags away free of charge. The supermarkets have tens of thousands of customers so this form of marketing is not really an option for them. They have to charge for their bags. 

Our bags have gone down a treat, the customers love them and it helps reduce the insidious use of plastic bags.

When giving these quality bags away, we encourage our customers to use the bags when shopping elsewhere. If they use them in Sainsbury’s and Tesco for instance, our brand may be seen by tens or even hundreds of people. These same people see a quality product which hopefully reflects the image we have for Lambs Larder.

If just one of these people visits our store, our choice to go with a quality, albeit expensive, product giveaway looks like good value.

The feedback we have had with this initiative has been all positive and we will definitely do another production run once our current stock of bags run out.

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