Sustainable Start-up Marketing on a Budget: Cheap and Effective Strategies

Sustainable Start-up Marketing on a Budget: Cheap and Effective Strategies

As a sustainable start-up, it can be challenging to navigate the world of marketing while keeping costs low. However, with the right strategies and a bit of creativity, it is possible to create a marketing plan that is cheap and effective. 

In this blog, we will be providing tips, tricks, and best practices for implementing a sustainable marketing plan without breaking the bank.

Social Media

Social media is one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools available for sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to reach a large audience without spending a lot of money.

By creating and sharing valuable, relevant and consistent content on social media platforms, sustainable startups can:

  • Attract and engage a target audience 
  • Build brand awareness and loyalty 
  • Generate leads

Of course there are many ways to utilise social media without breaking the bank.  Maximising the impact of social media marketing efforts on a budget is possible through the use of these strategies…

Joining and Creating Online Communities 

Take advantage of your social media by joining or creating online communities that are related to your products or services. This could include groups dedicated to sustainability or eco-friendly products. You can connect with potential customers who are already interested in your products or services, and build relationships with them. Through this, you can also share your sustainability initiatives and educate the group members about your products and services. 

Utilise the features and tools provided by social media channels such as Facebook groups, Instagram stories and Twitter polls. Startups can perform market research, receive feedback and create a sense of community which is imperative for building a successful business. For example, create a poll on your Instagram story to ask your followers what they would like to see next from your brand, such as a new feature or product!

One of the key benefits of online communities is the ability to share and educate others about your sustainability initiatives. This can include information about your recycling programs, energy-efficient practices, and sustainable products. By sharing this information, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and establish yourself as a leader in the sustainable space.

Highlighting Your Sustainability Initiatives

Social media is a powerful tool for building an eco-friendly sustainable brand. By sharing content that highlights your startup’s sustainability initiatives, such as recycling programs, energy-efficient practices or your sustainable products. 

Highlighting your sustainability initiatives on social media is an effective way to establish your brand as a leader in the eco-friendly and sustainable space. This can help to differentiate your brand from competitors and attract customers who are interested in purchasing from socially responsible companies.

One way to spotlight your sustainability initiatives on social media is by sharing behind-the-scenes content that shows the steps your start-up is taking to be more eco-friendly. For example, you can share photos and videos of your recycling program, energy-efficient practices, or sustainable products. This can help to educate your followers about your initiatives and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

You can also leverage social media to share your sustainability initiatives with a wider audience. By tagging relevant organisations, influencers or individuals who are interested in your initiatives, you will be able to expand your reach and impact.

You can also use social media channels such as Instagram, Tiktok and Pinterest to showcase your sustainable products and services in a visually aesthetic way. This can help to attract new customers and increase the visibility of your sustainable products and services.

Attracting and Engaging Your Target Audience

One of the first steps in attracting and engaging your target audience is to understand who they are and what they want. By creating a business account on social media platforms, you have access to useful data analytics such as insights on audience demographics, engagement rates, and reach. You can use this information to optimise your social media strategy and create content that resonates with your target audience.

Creating a buyer persona can also be helpful in understanding your target audience and their needs. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, and it helps you to understand their demographics, behaviour, motivations, and pain points. By creating a buyer persona, you can create content that is tailored to your target audience and increase the chances of attracting and engaging them.

Take the opportunity to use social media as a tool for customer service and building a loyal customer base. By having an active presence on social media platforms, you can respond to customer inquiries, complaints and feedback in a timely manner. This will help build trust and loyalty with customers. You can also share your positive customer testimonials and reviews, as a start-up, you can demonstrate the value and quality of your products and services. 

Utilise Free Tools and Resources

Making use of tools and resources that are available for free is a great way for your sustainable start-ups to market their business on a budget. Whilst many sites ask for a monthly payment, there are some useful and effective free tools out there!

A great free tool is Canva, a graphic design platform that can help you create professional-looking marketing materials like social media posts, infographics and videos. It offers a wide range of templates, images and icons that can help you create eye-catching graphics for your brand. 

Another free resource that can be extremely valuable for sustainable start-ups is email marketing. Platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer free plans that allow you to send emails to a limited number of subscribers and track the success of your campaigns. Email marketing is an effective way to keep in touch with your community and provide them with updates on your business and new products or services.

Try Google My Business, a free listing service offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By setting up a business listing, you can help potential consumers find you easily, and provide them with important information such as your business hours, location and contacts.

Another free resource that can be valuable for sustainable start-ups is Google Trends. This tool allows you to see how often a specific search term is entered into Google, and also how it’s trending over time. By using Google Trends, you can identify hot topics in your industry and create content that is more likely to be shared and engaged with.

There are many free online courses and webinars available that can help you learn more about sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms like Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses on topics like digital marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing. These resources can help you to develop the skills you need to market your business effectively.


Building relationships and connecting with others is essential when designing a cost-effective marketing strategy for your sustainable start-up.

Networking plays a crucial role in building a sustainable brand and establishing partnerships. By building relationships with like-minded businesses and organisations, you can collaborate on sustainability initiatives and gain access to resources and expertise that you might not have initially. Connecting with industry experts and thought leaders enables valuable insights into sustainable business practices.

Building Partnerships and Relationships

Networking events provide opportunities for you to connect with potential partners, customers, and investors, and to learn about industry trends and best practices. By building relationships with other businesses, industry experts, and potential customers, you can increase visibility, generate leads, and gain valuable insights into the market. One way to network on a budget is by attending industry events and conferences, such as trade shows, and meetups. Brands Lush and Lazy Oaf show us just how it’s done with their ‘Self Service’ collaboration! The cosmetic company, Lush has taken an extreme approach in not having social media sites. However, the business collaborates with other sustainable businesses to get exposure and to build those important relationships that get their name out there!

Additionally, you can also join online communities and groups, such as LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups that are related to their industry, and participate in discussions and share their expertise. Moreover, you can also join local business associations or chambers of commerce, which can provide access to valuable resources, such as mentorship, training and networking events. 

Utilising referral marketing is a great and affordable networking strategy for your sustainable start-up. By encouraging satisfied customers to refer their friends and family, you can increase your reach and acquire new customers at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods. This can be done through referral programs or referral incentives, such as discounts. 

Networking with Local Creatives and Events

Try networking with local creatives can be a great cost-effective strategy for your sustainable start-up. By creating relationships with local artists, designers, and photographers, you can access affordable and high-quality creative services that can help to enhance your branding and marketing efforts.

For example, local photographers can provide professional photography services for your website or social media content, this can help in showcasing your products and services in an attractive and engaging way.  Local artists and designers can create unique and eye-catching graphics, illustrations, and other visual assets that can help to enhance your brand and marketing materials. A local brand has done just that! Take it easy (a family-run indie film lab based in Leeds) have collaborated with Donzo a brewing company to produce “The ideal beer to go out shooting film with” – a perfect collaboration for both brands to get their name out there!!

Networking can be done through volunteer work or mentorship programs. By joining a local non-profit organisation that aligns with your company’s values, you can not only give back to the community but also network with other individuals and business owners that are passionate about the same cause. For example join the Creative Mentor Network, an organisation working towards a more inclusive creative industry!

Another way to network on a budget is through hosting networking events, such as workshops, meetups, and webinars. By hosting and participating in these types of events, you can share your knowledge and expertise with others, build relationships with potential customers and partners, and gain valuable insights into their market. Hosting webinars or workshops can also be a cost-effective way to build your personal brand and promote your startup while providing value to your target audience.


Building a community is a key component in any successful marketing strategy. By creating a loyal and engaged community of customers, industry experts, and supporters, you can promote your brand, generate leads, and drive long-term business growth in a cheap and affordable manner. 

Increasing Brand Awareness and Loyalty

First, building a community can help to increase brand awareness and loyalty. By creating a loyal and engaged community of customers, industry experts, and supporters, you can promote their brand and generate leads more effectively. Customers who feel connected to a brand or community are more likely to be loyal and make repeat purchases.

Another way to increase brand awareness and loyalty is by actively engaging with your community. This can include responding to comments, hosting Q&A sessions, and creating opportunities for members to provide feedback and share their thoughts. By actively engaging with your community, you can build stronger relationships with your customers and create a sense of trust and credibility with them. Sophie, creator of Pretty Little Marketer has created a strong community on social media with 47.3k followers on Instagram and 126.3k followers on Linkedin, she actively engages with her audience and regularly hosts webinars and Q&A sessions. Sophie has perfectly demonstrated how to successfully increase her brand loyalty!

Another way to increase brand awareness and loyalty is by creating a rewards program for your community members. This can include offering discounts, exclusive offers, and other perks to members who are active in your community. By creating a rewards program, you can incentivise your community members to be more engaged and active, which can help to increase brand awareness and loyalty.

Authenticity, Transparency and Honesty

Building a community can also help to create a sense of trust and credibility with customers. By creating a space for customers to share their thoughts and feedback, startups can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and honesty, which can help to build trust and credibility with customers.

By forming an engaged and loyal community, you can generate buzz and word-of-mouth marketing more effectively and at a lower cost than other marketing methods. When consumers feel connected to a particular brand or community they are more likely to recommend that company or product to others. This is demonstrated by the clothing brand Patagonia, with their community Patagonia Action Work where they “connect committed individuals to organisations working on environmental issues in the same community.” Not only have they displayed transparency in how this side of the business works but they have created a community around a shared value of environmental stewardship, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy for the brand.

By fostering a sense of belonging and shared values among your customers, you can create a powerful marketing tool that is both cost-effective and efficient. This is because people are more likely to trust and recommend products or services from brands that align with their own values and beliefs.

Creating a space for customers to share their thoughts and feedback is a key element of building trust and credibility with customers. By allowing customers to share their thoughts and feedback, startups can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and honesty, which can help to build trust and credibility with customers. This can be done through various means such as creating a customer feedback form, hosting Q&A sessions, or creating a customer support group on social media.

Forming a strong community around your sustainable startup is about being authentic, transparent and honest. By fostering a sense of community, you create a loyal consumer base and drive long-term growth for your business. It is important to remember that building a community takes time and effort but with the correct approach it can be cost-effective and a powerful way to market your business.

Repurpose Content

Repurposing content is a cost-effective way for sustainable start-ups to market their business and reach a larger audience. By repurposing existing content, you can save time and resources while still creating valuable and engaging content for your community.

One way to do this without breaking the bank is by turning your blog posts into videos or podcasts. This can help reach a different audience who may prefer consuming content in a different format.

If this isn’t for you, take the key points from your blogs and create a series of social media posts or infographics to share on your social media channels.

You can also repurpose your content by turning it into a webinar or a presentation. This can be used to engage with your community in real-time and can also be used as an opportunity to gather feedback or answer questions. Additionally, you can also record the webinar and use it as a resource to share with your community.

Utilise social media by republishing your content on different platforms. For example, you can take a blog post and publish it on LinkedIn, or another platform that reaches a different audience. This can help you to reach a new audience and also increase your visibility on search engines.

Repurposing content is a cost-effective way for sustainable start-ups to market their business and reach a larger audience. By repurposing existing content, you can save time and resources while still creating valuable and engaging content for your community. There are many ways to repurpose content such as creating social media graphics, infographics, email newsletters, presentations, case studies and many more that can help you to reach a wider audience and also establish yourself as an authority in your industry.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is undoubtedly a cheap and effective way for sustainable start-ups to drive traffic to websites and increase brand awareness. SEO involves optimising your website’s content and structure to make it more visible to search engines like Google.

Keyword Research

One of the key elements of SEO is keyword research. By researching and using keywords that are relevant to your business, you can improve your website’s visibility on search engines. This can help to increase brand awareness and attract potential customers to your website.

Hashtags are a powerful tool and an easy way to start utilising SEO right now. They help increase reach and engagement on your social media 

Another important aspect of SEO is optimising meta tags. Meta tags are HTML tags that provide information about a web page to search engines. These tags include meta titles, meta descriptions, and header tags. By optimising these tags, you can make your web pages more easily understood by search engines and improve your website’s visibility in search results.

Long-Term Strategy of SEO

SEO is also about making your website mobile-friendly. This can be done by using a responsive design, which will ensure that your website looks great on all devices. Additionally, search engines prefer mobile-friendly websites, so making your website mobile-friendly can help to improve your website’s visibility in search results.

Another reason why SEO is considered affordable is that it is a long-term strategy. Unlike paid advertising, which requires constant investment, the results of SEO can continue to drive traffic to your website even after the initial optimisation work has been completed. This means that the investment made in SEO can continue to pay dividends for a long time.

In addition to that, SEO is an ever-evolving field, with new techniques and strategies emerging all the time. This means that sustainable start-ups can always find new ways to improve their website’s visibility and reach a larger audience without having to spend a lot of money.

In summary, SEO is a cheap and affordable way for sustainable start-ups to drive traffic to their website and increase brand awareness. Many of the strategies and techniques used in SEO are free or low-cost and the tools and resources needed for SEO are also available for free. 

Guerilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a cost-effective and unconventional way for sustainable start-ups to increase brand awareness and reach a larger audience. The main goal of guerrilla marketing is to create a buzz and generate word-of-mouth promotion for a business. Guerrilla marketing campaigns are typically low-cost and rely on creativity and surprise to capture the attention of the target audience.

Experiential Marketing

One form of guerrilla marketing is the use of experiential marketing. This can include creating interactive and immersive experiences that engage the target audience and leave a lasting impression. For example, sustainable start-ups can create pop-up events or installations that showcase their products or services in an interesting and unique way.

Popular forms of guerrilla marketing are the use of street art and graffiti. Sustainable startups can use street art and graffiti to create visually striking and thought-provoking messages that grab the attention of passersby (of course, make sure you have permission for this). This can be a low-cost way to reach a large audience and create a memorable brand message.

PR Stunts

Sustainable start-ups can also use guerilla marketing to create buzz by creating stunts or pranks that catch the attention of the public. This can include creating flash mobs or creating unexpected events that are interesting and newsworthy.

One popular technique of guerrilla marketing is the use of viral marketing. This can include creating shareable content such as videos or images that have the potential to be shared widely on social media. By creating content that is interesting, funny, or thought-provoking, sustainable start-ups can increase their brand awareness and reach a larger audience without incurring significant advertising costs. UNICEF did just that, with their ‘Dirty Water Campaign’ where they used vending machines that dispense “dirty” water, with the goal of drawing attention to the poor quality of water that many people are forced to consume.

Another form of guerrilla marketing is the use of ambient marketing. This type of marketing involves placing ads in unexpected or unusual places. For example, a sustainable start-up could place ads on park benches, bus stops, or elevators, to capture the attention of the target audience in a unique and unexpected way. This can be a low-cost way to reach a large audience and create a memorable brand message.

It is important to keep in mind that guerrilla marketing requires a lot of creativity and planning, as well as a deep understanding of the target customers. Sustainable start-ups should also consider the legal and ethical implications of their marketing campaigns, and make sure that their campaigns do not violate any laws or regulations.

Key Takeaways

  • Social media is a cost-effective and powerful tool for sustainable start-up marketing. Platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to reach a large audience without spending a lot of money. 
  • Joining and creating online communities related to your products or services can also help to connect with potential customers, share sustainability initiatives and educate them about your products and services. 
  • Highlighting your sustainability initiatives on social media can establish your brand as a leader in the eco-friendly and sustainable space and differentiate it from competitors. 
  • Networking is a cost effective tool and plays a crucial role in building a sustainable brand and establishing partnerships. 
  • It is important to actively engage with the community, create a rewards program, and be authentic, transparent, and honest. 
  • Repurposing content can help reach a new audience and increase visibility on search engines and helps keep things on a budget.
  • SEO is a cost-effective way for sustainable startups to increase website traffic and brand awareness.
  • Guerrilla marketing campaigns are typically low-cost and rely on creativity and surprise to capture the attention of the target audience.

Feeling Inspired?

Take your sustainable start-up to new heights! It’s time to revamp your marketing strategy and set yourself apart in the green movement. 

Let’s make it a reality. Email us and let’s chat about unleashing your full potential!



How to Create a Cult Following for your Craft Beer Brand

How to Create a Cult Following for your Craft Beer Brand

With a market size measured at £1.4b, the craft beer industry is set to increase for years to come.

With the impact of both Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic looming, independent stores risked being shut down, destroying the hard work of many.

However, creating a cult following enables more revenue and eliminates the fear of closing down.

But how do you create a cult brand for craft beer?

Trust, Loyalty and Community

Craft beer has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many craft beer fans seeking out unique and interesting flavours from small, independent breweries. In this highly competitive market, it is essential for craft beer brands to stand out and create a loyal and dedicated cult following. 

One way to do this is by focusing on building trust, loyalty, and a sense of community among your customers.

To create a cult following for your craft beer brand, you must first establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable source of high-quality brews.

This means consistently delivering on your promises and providing excellent customer service for your consumers. Not only producing consistent and delicious beer but also being reliable in the way you communicate and interact with your customers. 

Once you have established trust with your customers, you can start to build a loyal fanbase and create a sense of community by engaging with your audience offline and on your social media platforms. This could involve hosting events, offering exclusive promotions or simply providing a welcoming and inclusive space for craft beer lovers and beer enthusiasts to gather and share their passion. As a result, the consumers become loyal to your business through trusting your brand and feeling a part of a group!

It is also important to engage with customers and address their concerns.

By focusing on trust, loyalty, and community, you can create a cult following for your craft beer brand and set yourself apart in a crowded and competitive market.

Transparency and Authenticity

Being transparent and honest in all communication is crucial to gain trust from your audience. Whether it’s about the ingredients in your beer or the way you conduct business, transparency and authenticity is key!

In a world where consumers are bombarded with choices; transparency and authenticity can help your brand stand out and create a dedicated community of fans.

When it comes to building a cult following, transparency and honesty are even more important. This is because a cult following is typically made up of highly-engaged and loyal customers who have a deep connection with your brand. By being transparent and honest in all of your communication, you can foster a sense of trust and credibility with your cult following and further strengthen their loyalty to your brand.

Being transparent humanises your business. 

This has worked extremely well for companies such as Lush and Lucy and Yak who both have a strong cult following. By doing this, you can build a positive reputation and increase consumer trust through customer satisfaction and transparency. 


Being consistent is a key element of any social media platform. More so when creating a cult following.

Developing a clear and consistent brand message for your brewery is imperative in providing a good sense of trust between the consumers and the business. 

A consistent brand means you should have the same look, tone and personality on all of your marketing materials and social media platforms. This is crucial for creating a following because your brand will be easily recognisable.

This is expertly done by Beavertown Brewery. Although their branding is incredibly creative, they are consistent with it and therefore it is intriguing and quickly distinguishable from other brands.

Creating a consistent brand for craft beer companies is important because it produces a united and connected aesthetic, product and service. Implementing this into your content can have a bigger impact on your consumers. This is because it can increase your engagement rate and establish trust and credibility.

Inspire your followers

To create a cult following for your beverage company, you must inspire your followers and provide them with a sense of connection, belonging and excitement. This means not only offering high-quality beer, but also providing your customers with a unique and engaging experience that they can’t get anywhere else.

One way to inspire your followers is by sharing the story behind your brand and your beers. This could involve highlighting the local ingredients you use, the unique brewing process you employ, or the inspiration behind your craft breweries. 

By sharing your story and passion for craft beer, you can connect with your customers and create a sense of excitement and curiosity about your brand. 

To further connect audiences with your brand, share what you care about! 

If this is supporting a charitable cause or supporting local independent stores! Inspire your audience to connect with you. This will help build a strong and loyal fan base.

In addition, you can inspire your followers by providing them with exclusive and limited-edition beers, or by offering special promotions and events. For example, you could host a beer-tasting event where customers can sample rare and experimental brews, or offer a discount on a new release to loyal customers. 

These exclusive experiences will not only inspire your followers, but also create a sense of exclusivity and community among your consumers. As a result, they will continue to want to buy your products and follow your craft beer business. 

Utilise SEO and Increase your Discoverability

To create a cult following for your craft beer brand, you must be discoverable by potential customers. One way to increase your discoverability is by utilising search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques on your website and social media channels.

To improve your SEO, you should include relevant and popular keywords in your website content, bio and captions. Don’t forget to include hashtags as they make your content more searchable. Doing this will help search engines understand what your brand is about and make it easier for potential customers to find you and widen your audience.

You should use location tags in your posts and engage with other users, whether this is your location or a British beer festival. It will increase your visibility and reach on social media platforms.

Furthermore, it is important to engage with other users and craft beer drinkers! 

Social media algorithms are built on a foundation of engagement. The more engaging your posts are, the more likely algorithms will push your content!

Additionally, by regularly producing high-quality content and engaging with your audience on social media, you can build trust and credibility, and foster a sense of community among your followers. SEO can help you to attract new customers and cultivate a loyal and dedicated following for your brand.

By utilising SEO techniques and making it easier for potential customers to find you, you can increase your discoverability and reach a wider audience. This will not only help you to attract new customers but also improve the visibility of your brand and create a cult following.

To Summarise 

  • Trust is imperative for building a cult following – this can be done by being transparent and honest with your consumers.
  • Build a community off and online, people enjoy feeling a part of something bigger! You could even encourage this through members-only exclusives!
  • Inspire and excite your consumers so they will always want to come back for more.
  • Always be consistent with everything that you do.Be that communication, branding or how often you post content. Consistency is KEY!
  • Engage, Engage, Engage! You should both encourage engagement on your posts and also interact and engage with your followers!
  • Utilise SEO by making sure there are relevant and popular keywords within your content.
  • Include hashtags in your posts to make your content more searchable.


The Importance of Cultural Branding in 2023

The Importance of Cultural Branding in 2023

Consider the global environment we live in today. Customers are better informed than ever before. Employee expectations and career choices reach far beyond just their wage. Social consciousness is not only mainstream but due to the impact of social media, it is demanded and continually peer-judged. Skilled workers are in high demand, with companies across nearly every sector struggling to fill roles, driving up wage costs.

Ultimately, growing a company in 2022 relies upon more than just a healthy profit margin. In fact, a recent Linkedin study showed that 63% of workers put Work-life balance at the top of their priorities when looking for a new role. In the UK, 45% consider company culture a top priority. So for SME brands looking to break through the competition and the noise is Cultural Branding the silver bullet branding strategy for success?

What is Cultural Branding?

In the most basic terms, cultural branding is the process of creating a brand that reflects your internal culture and ideals. Externally, this means representing yourself and your company in a way that aligns with your values, beliefs and goals. Authentically.

The authentic part of this is probably the most important aspect of cultural branding. It means acting the way you want others to see you inside the organisation and outside of it. The good thing is that you don’t have to be huge to achieve it. You can be an SME, a non-profit or a consultant and still have cultural strategy at the core of everything you do.

The authentic part of this is probably the most important aspect of cultural branding.

It means acting the way you want others to see you inside the organisation and outside of it. The good thing is that you don’t have to be huge to achieve it.

You can be an SME, a non-profit or a consultant and still have a cultural strategy at the core of everything you do.

What are the benefits of having culture at the heart of your organisation?

Aside from gaining a focus away from being focused solely on the monetary. Putting a cultural strategy at the heart of your brand marketing strategy opens up new opportunities across different generations.

Forbes reported that :

“A recent Harvard business review showed that in general, Boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964) tend to value loyalty and money over career specifics. Gen X (Born between 1965 to 1980) values ownership and autonomy. Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) value innovation, collaboration, freedom, experiences and creativity. Gen Z (Born between 1997 to 2012) values progressive equality, conscious consumerism, activism and pragmaticism.”


Generations Diagram

So if the current and advancing Gen Z buying consideration, puts their social conscience at the heart of the thought process, then for a company to grow, adapt and thrive having benefits within your organisation or brand that goes far beyond a simple transaction is going to be an important piece of the puzzle. Cultural branding allows you to create a loyal following. A loyal following in 2022, generates an unlimited number more opportunities than the simple word-of-mouth transaction in the Gen Z and Millennial era.

As a result, some of the benefits of putting culture at the heart of your branding are:


  • A stronger brand identity that is more memorable and easier to recall. Creating a sense of community.
  • More effective marketing campaigns, as you can target specific groups of people based on their cultural characteristics. Rather than just age and gender.
  • Improved employee retention rates as employees feel valued for who they are and not just what they do.
  • Increased sales as you can better understand your customers and tailor your offerings to match customer needs.
  • Greater profits, as you can charge higher prices, without losing customers.
  • Stronger relationships with suppliers, partners and customers as you all build trust through shared values.
  • A consistent and recognisable image, that isn’t hidden behind a corporate veil.

The importance of taking a stance and understanding the impact.

There are many different representations of what defines “culture”. The impact of your marketing team taking a stance on a topic that aligns with your cultural strategy is that you tend to alienate another group by default.

A Linkedin study on engagement opinions around posts that discussed “flexibility” is an example of this. In the study, the positive and negative engagements of a company mentioning flexibility were analysed and split into generational categories.

As we can see for Gen Z, flexibility is seen as an overwhelmingly positive aspect, but to a Baby boomer, the topic could alienate people.

Generations Diagram

The same can be seen across economic and social issues shared on Social Media channels.

Ultimately, If you’re going to take a public stance on a divisive topic, such as politics, the environment or social justice issues, then you need to decide if you’re doing that as you, or as your company.

If you’re doing it yourself, then you’ll have to accept that there will be backlash from some of your followers. But if you’re doing it as your company, then you can use that as a way to connect with other companies and organisations that share your views. Culture is something that is constantly evolving.

As new generations enter the workforce, the workplace changes too.

Examples of Successful Cultural Branding Strategy

Without going over the same iconic brands such as Apple, Nike, Under Armour, Coca-Cola and Gym Shark, let’s consider some of the successful brands in a local SME setting, achieving broader reach as a direct result of their focus on creating a cultural movement.

Get Baked

The Leeds-based bakery, with over 80k followers on Instagram, turned a PR nightmare into a cult brand opportunity after a customer sent a complaint to trading standards about the “illegal” US sprinkles they were using on products in the UK store. The company turned the whole thing into a positive, by being open about their passion and refusing to compromise on the quality of the product. The public banded together creating #sprinklegate where the company managed to turn the ordeal into a whole new sideline, working over the next few months to manufacture their own version of the sprinkles they wanted and would pass UK regulations.

Their foul-mouthed, and abusive customer posts on social media, is an example of how powerful and liberating a culture-focused approach can be.

Where most other business-to-consumer companies are slaves to their customer reviews, the Get Baked team earn more customers by berating the ones they don’t like.

Generations Diagram

What underlines this approach is a high-quality product, a unique approach and a clear understanding of the target market. The owner, Rich Myers, demonstrates a clear passion for his produce, with an envious self-confidence and attitude that resonates with his followers in and out of the store. 

The combination is clearly a recipe for success (lazy and hideous pun intended).

Another Leeds success story, Tred is an eco-friendly fintech start-up that has launched a debit card that allows you to keep track of your carbon emissions through the transactions you make, with the option of offsetting any carbon emissions at the end of the month.

The company, having raised £1million through Crowdcube has a strong focus on engaging with its target market on the issues that resonate with the company’s core focus.

With a globally growing concern and a clear recognition for data-led action on climate change, the company is the perfect example of right place, right timing, perfect strategy.

Breaking something so complex, into a tangible and actionable service isn’t easy, we reached out to Tred to comment on their success. Eleanor Metcalf – Brand, Marketing & CX Lead at Tred had this to say about the culture at the organisation


Generations Diagram

“At Tred we believe team culture is an essential part of our success: we established our team values early on and they’re the first thing new starters are taken through in their onboarding when they join.

As a small team, it’s essential that we all behave in a way that not only produces our best work, but that also aligns with our sustainability-focused mission and produces the best outcome for our customers and, ultimately, for the planet. For example, one of our values is about building ‘a positive movement’.

Part of that is about fostering a positive team culture where we lift each other up and focus on finding solutions, not calling out problems. But it’s also about offering a positive outlook to consumers who might feel weary and defeated by the prospect of climate change – inviting them to join us in a collective effort to make a positive difference.”

Lucy & Yak

Lucy & Yak have built up a loyal and dedicated following based on their focus on an uncompromising environmentally focused clothing range, this creates an emotional connection alongside their approach to branding. With over 500k followers on Instagram and 50k on TikTok, the brand engages with its core customer base far beyond its original warehouse in Barnsley, Yorkshire.

Their focus on initiatives that create “positive changes” has been a strong central theme that continues to help the brand grow and gain loyal brand advocates that will support and promote them in everything they do.

This level of inspirational promotion can only be achieved through authentic branding and a commitment to a strong moral compass, this has led to the brand collaborating with celebrities and further strengthening its position in the market.

The brand has a strong social media presence and actively engages with its fans on multiple platforms, this level of interactivity helps the brand to create a personal connection with its audience and in turn, build trust. This is essential in today’s market where consumers are looking for brands that align themselves with causes that are important to them.

Examples of damaged cultural branding – Brewdog

Brewdog is a Scottish craft brewery that has been in the headlines a few times for all the wrong reasons.

The company’s CEO, James Watt, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by staff members. The company has also been accused of creating a “culture of fear”, with allegations of over-work, exploitation and bullying.

In addition to these scandals, Brewdog has also faced backlash for stealing marketing ideas from Job Interviews and agency pitches. Been accused of being transphobicsexist, and upsetting animal activists.

At its core, Brewdog promotes ideals that focus on climate change, and better working conditions and part of the B corp movement. The issue with a brand that is continually overshadowed by the behaviours of its founders, is that it distracts from the Good the company is trying to achieve, which splits opinions and loses followers.

For us, it’s a great example of how important it is to create a cultural brand that aligns with your own ideals.



Almost as soon as we wrote about Brew Dog Faux Pas, they score yet another own goal with their fake #MarketingforGood style PR stunts. The public backlash against the company has been overwhelming over their latest stunt. Just check out the headlines.

I mean they really take “Any PR is Good PR” as a mantra…

Five steps to start introducing a cultural branding strategy into your SME.

1. Define it.

What makes you passionate? Why do you work? Why did you start the company, or why do you work for it? Where do you find your joy? How do you want to be remembered? What legacy are you leaving behind?

Asking questions about what defines you and the culture of your organisation is an important first step. At Brand Ambition, we started with the idea of legacy. We decided that what we ultimately wanted our company to do was leave a positive legacy behind. Then we started to explore that out and make decisions about what that meant. We decided that the most important aspects of that meant firstly, supporting our clients to reach their ambitions and secondly, mentoring our employees into the best versions of themselves, regardless of how long they work with us.

Download our Cultural Branding Strategy Board

To help you put together your own defined Cultural Branding strategy, we’re giving away our Cultural Branding Strategy Board. Simply click on the image to download the PDF, or get in touch and we’ll email it to you.

The work on our Cultural Branding Strategy gave us focus, to create services such as Spark*, the SEO-first content and social media delivery service, that supports “digital skills for good” development in apprentices and graduates by ensuring their first interactions with client-facing marketing happen on campaigns that focus on leaving the world behind a better place.

Generations Diagram

2. Hire candidates based on culture first.

Skills in a lot of industries can be taught. But in a lot of industries, such as manufacturing and engineering trained skills are in short supply. So how do you overcome finding the right person, vs finding anyone that can just do the job?

The ongoing skills shortage makes it even more important to hire the right people. One of the business owners, Alex Beardsley of ABL Business I’ve had the pleasure of networking with always talked about how they were looking during the interview process to see if they were “ABL”. They turned their company name “ABL” into a verb, to describe the people they wanted. The people that fit in with their corporate culture. The rules set around this were purposefully created to be inclusive but focused on finding the right people that shared their ideals commercially.

Our clients are entrepreneurs, marketing managers of SMEs, busy business owners and booming start-ups. We know that our clients need a marketing company that can just get stuff done, and that stuff might be anything in full digital marketing spectrum; Branding, Design, Advertising, Email, Website Development, SEO, PR, Social Media, Content Writing, Video Editing etc. So we hire multi-skilled and talented marketing professionals that have a proven commercial track record. Our PR and Content manager Megan, owned and was a successful doughnut slinger and cult coffee shop owner before coming to work with us. Our first apprentice Amara came to us with a desire to learn marketing after obtaining a 1st Class honours degree in Law.

3. Reinforce your culture from the inside out.

Staff benefits. Staff away days. Staff nights out. Is your culture built around casual benefits, or tied to your core values? I was lucky enough to attend sessions with Culco. a culture-first peer networking group in Leeds. The focus of the discussions were sharing how culture could be made an everyday part of the companies sat round the table. The key was to start by defining what the culture was, then building it into the everyday.

Look at how the tone of voice is carried across internal and external communications. Are your brand values visible throughout the workspace? Do corporate events and team engagement encourage those core values? Do the staff benefit?

During the process of our own cultural brand strategy, we defined nine core values:

  • Family First.
  • Efficient Through Innovation.
  • People Before Profit.
  • Local Experts, Wordly Experience.
  • Planet Saving Digital Disruption.
  • Brutally Honest, Consistently Constructive.
  • Excite, Surprise, Delight.
  • Ignite the Fuse.
  • Explode Expectations.
Generations Diagram

Each one of these sits at the core of our actions. In the spirit of being brutally honest, this is of course marketing b**s**t. But, these core values also help guide our decisions on policies. We believe in putting Family first, so we developed a flexible working policy that works around people’s families. We look at ways that we can grow the business profitably but focused on the people we employee first. We work under an agile methodology, that continually looks at improving the way we do things. We talk openly to clients and internally about the quality of our work, and then we find constructive ways to improve it. We always find ways to go beyond our client’s expectations.

4. Celebrate it.

We all know that Linkedin is a cesspool of self-gratifying and celebratory posts. But, in this climate of noise, driven by social media, self-promotion is an important aspect of cultural branding.

The point of creating a cultural brand is to ultimately generate a loyal and growing customer base, that does your marketing for you. To do this, you need to build loyal followers by using considered communication that is led culture first.

So once defined, you can explore the meaning behind your values. You can get closer to your target market through shared experiences of the things you care about. Whether, that is the love of a local football team, a shared hatred of certain food groups or the celebration of businesses and people like you. Celebrating your culture across social media, your website, advertising, PR and wherever else your target market consumes their news, drives engagement and purpose.

Engagement creates a considered and structured loyal following. A loyal following creates self-appointed brand ambassadors. Brand Ambassadors spread your core messages far and wide, creating more engagement and followers.

5. Involve others, and continually refine it. Consistently.

Culture is a constant evolution, like a lot of things in business, it can’t be implemented and forgotten about.

To truly generate a culture-first attitude, you need to let it evolve with those that experience it every day. Your employees and customers need should have a voice, allowing the brand to continually evolve with respect to the views originally set out.

This might look like a monthly meeting to discuss existing and new ways to reinforce the cultural strategy. It might be regular staff surveys, that allow for anonymous feedback. It could be empowering employees to engage with one another on their hobbies and interests, a staff day focused around helping the environment or supporting a charity that aligns with your brand.

If you’re not sure where to get started with Culture, I attended Culco workshops in Yorkshire, that provided a clear insight into how other businesses approach to culture, how they engage with their staff and customers on their values and how we can work together as business leaders to implement a Culture first approach.

Here is our endorsement of the course…

Don’t forget to download your Free Cultural Branding Strategy Board.

In case you missed it,

Download your Free Cultural Branding Strategy Board by clicking on the image. This will download a PDF, simply follow the points and get to work creating your very own Cultural Branding Strategy.