The energy sector is Canada’s beating heart. While being a challenging industry inundated with competition, significant opportunity exists for business. To not only survive, but excel, brands must shift their way of thinking in order to stand out from the crowd. But how?

Whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C consumers, here are five ways to get potential customers to notice you.

  1. Have a Stand-Out Portfolio

Your portfolio should tell your brand story, describing the “why” you do what you do and “why” you are the best at doing it. A good portfolio includes an “About” section (your brand story), samples of your work, testimonials from past clients, and how to get in touch with you. Features of your work from a range of different clients should be the primary focus of your portfolio, and should be chosen based on the audience you are trying to attract. It should define your strengths, and follow suit with your brand both through language and stylistically.

To build the best portfolio, do research on your target audience. Understand their drivers, motivations, what they value and what they don’t. Cater your content and projects to them. Do you have both B2B and B2C clients? Multiple audiences mean multiple portfolios and sell-sheets specifically tailored to that audience. One size does not fit all.

Having both an online portfolio as well as physical copies allows for increased visibility. For online portfolios, you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that when consumers search for something related to your business, product or industry, your company name will be ranked higher in the search results. Be sure to have something impressive and relevant for them to look at when they find you!

  1. Be Social – Use Social Media

Get on consumers and clients social radar – how can they choose your company if they do not know who you are, what you sell, or why you’re the best choice? Social platforms and energy news platforms allow you to target content specifically for the audience you are trying to attract. You can also decide exactly which platform to use based on who you’re targeting and which platform they are the most active on.

Social and energy news media offers unparalleled access to target audiences and decision-makers on their own terms, and on platforms of their own choosing. And guess what? They appreciate that. They also like when your social activity is an authentic representation of your brand, is honest, and is human. Know your audience, their interests, values, lifestyles and aspirations, and play to them. Whether it be sharing a relevant article, or just commenting on last night’s hockey game, communicate and encourage two-way dialogue. In all your communications, remember to explain the “why” of your brand and to share your story in a relatable way. While being social on social media is likely not going to close any major business deals as that will likely require face-to-face interactions, it will get your foot in the door and keep your “brands” in front of  people.  Out of sight….means out of mind!

  1. Network, and get Face-to-Face

Face-to-face conversations are the comeback of the business world. You will not be able to close any major deal without some sort of face-to-face interaction, be it at a networking event, tradeshow, community volunteering, client meeting, or so on.

Some of these events are likely to be outside of business hours, so be prepared for that. At the very minimum, invest your time and attend at least one after-hours industry-related event a month. While you may have business representatives for these sort of events, it never hurts to have high-level management present at important speaking engagements or conferences. Ensure that whoever represents your brand is fully aware of your products, services, and what is included in your portfolio and sell-sheets. They will be the human depiction of your brand, and will leave a lasting opinion in the memory of consumers and partners alike. Be sure they’re the right fit.

Fill up your tank, get business cards printed, have your impressive portfolio on-hand, and get ready to go full steam ahead. Networking and being present is a sure way to get noticed, and be remembered.

  1. Create a Common Enemy. Be the Solution, and Incentivize

Let’s first define the term “enemy.” Your common enemy is not a competitor, but rather a common problem that your target audience has, and one that you have the solution for. For example, think of early Apple advertising which considered PC as the enemy. Apple marketed themselves as partnering with consumers to solve any identified PC defects to create a better tech experience. Or, think of automotive companies which classify bad weather or the winter as the enemy, identify their product as the solution, and encourage consumers to unite with them to fight this enemy.

Ally with your target audience to unite against a common enemy. If they see the relevance, they will get fired up to purchase your products or services. It’s important to be extremely cautious when determining your common enemy. Do not relate it to politics, race, religion, gender, or other sensitive topics, as this could cause people to dislike you and your brand.

Instead, locate your clients weak or sensitive points, and use them to come up with your enemy. Create a sense of urgency and make a case for why this enemy is a problem that needs fixing quickly (i.e. winter is coming). Be and offer the solution, and incentivize these value-added services or products to inspire quick action. If its relatable, it’ll be sure to get you noticed.

  1. Invest in Your Brand – Invest in Marketing.

Nothing promotes growth quite like effective marketing. Depending on your target audience, you can differentiate your brand and gain a significant amount of attention if you base your marketing on the right strategy. Tactics compliment strategy, including social media advertising, SEO, radio ads, digital marketing, print collateral, or any combination thereof. The use of marketing tactics such as blogging can also help humanize your brand which helps distinguish you and make you more relatable. If your business looks attractive and is being promoted correctly, there’s a much higher chance that more people will walk through your door or reach out.

Your time, effort and investment in marketing can help you outshine your competition, build brand equity and enhance your overall reputation. In truth, an investment in marketing is an investment in your brand, and one with a high ROI if done properly. Even a moderate marketing budget can make a world of difference when it comes to getting your brand noticed.

Get going, and get noticed.