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3 Ways to Make Your Non-Tech Brand Sexy Actually, you don't have to change the world, you just have to improve it for your customers.

By Cris Burnam Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It just doesn't seem fair that tech companies are born coated in the glitz and glamour of Silicon Valley. Without any apparent effort on their parts, tech companies get attention and royal treatment while the non-tech among us are left to sweat it out analog-style.

Well, there's good news. Although tech companies do boast immediate sparks that folks are drawn to, your non-tech company isn't doomed -- nor are you a fool for trying your hand in the old-school sphere of down-to-earth products or in-person services.

You're not stuck with an unsexy brand, either. In fact, there are plenty of ways to amp up your business and give it the same zingy appeal tech companies seem to have naturally. All you need is a little insight.

Understand what you're up against.

Take a look at this chart comparing relative startup values. Yes, startup success cleaves inordinately to tech companies and seems to steer clear of non-tech industries. Moreover, most of the household names we're familiar with in the startup world hail from tech companies (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin). However, their fame doesn't impact your probability of success -- at all.

Don't compare apples to oranges.

Look closer at the facts and what they mean for your business. First, understand that digital and tech startups launch with primary goals of reaching as many people as possible. For a tech company, that strategy makes sense. The more people using its products -- or even just staring at them on screens -- the better.

For a non-tech company, that strategy doesn't make sense. If you sell stationery, fresh produce or paint, there's no reason you'd need national acclaim before you could become successful and profitable. It just isn't in the business model.

Additionally, realize that tech companies are often hugely expensive to launch, which is why so much effort is put into generating startup funds. This brings tech companies attention, media spots and, yes, money. But often, non-tech businesses aren't nearly as expensive and can be funded by getting single loans from banks.

There's no denying that tech companies have a certain appeal that non-tech companies aspire to have. You can achieve that appeal, too, if you put in the work. You can "sexify'' your brand the old-fashioned way, with a modern twist. Here are some ideas for gaining attention and ramping up your brand:

1. Choose recognizable colors, logos and print collateral.

Any time a prospect or customer sees or hears from you, his or her experience should be the same. It shouldn't deviate. If design isn't your strong suit, hire a marketing team and a designer. But get it done one way or another.

2. Be available.

People are drawn to and grow attached to businesses they can rely on. Make your business easy to find, have good hours and don't unexpectedly close. Furthermore, put yourself out there with a great website, direct mail campaigns and online directories such as Yelp or DexKnows.com.

3. Don't skimp on social media.

Did you know that 74 percent of consumers make purchase decisions based on social media? Further, 28 percent of mobile users access social media daily through their smartphones. Given that 97 percent of local business searches happen online, you can't afford to ignore social media.

Even as a non-tech company, you must be in the tech space. If social media and the online world intimidate you, start small. Launch Facebook and Twitter accounts and build from there. List your business in five directories and gradually increase your reach.

Don't shoot for the moon when sexifying your brand. It might be a truly unsexy thing to say, but slow and steady still wins the race. It was true for the tortoise (that's as non-tech as it comes, right?) and it can be true for you.

Cris Burnam

President of StorageMart

Cris Burnam has been working in the self-storage industry since 1987. He has served as president of StorageMart since founding the company with his brother, Mike Burnam, in 1999. Burnam grew StorageMart from a single self-storage facility into the world’s largest privately owned self-storage company with 149 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Burnam was named a 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Services and Real Estate category (Central Midwest region) -- one of the highest honors an American entrepreneur can receive.

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