When the Competition Moves to the Sidelines, the Courageous Take Center Stage. This is true in any struggle… and marketing always seems to be a struggle. Navigating changing media channels, getting digital right and other active marketing benefits from one thing above all — a brand that creates difference.
Branding — Four Points to Consider
- Control your message. Control your perception.
In short, control what you can. Ever notice that you rarely see Coca-Cola, General Electric, Apple Computer, Microsoft or Ralph Lauren on the national news spouting some opinion. They let their products do the talking for them. These companies are all diverse and involved in many markets, but they put their products front and center.
- We have been plunged into a “value era.”
For many, the economy is still lackluster which means the average consumer is still more critical of your brand than ever. Companies up and down main street and Wall Street have a chance to stand out and showcase real value. Do you have a “value message” in place?
- Eliminate the bullet points and the bull.
People turn away from hype just as often as they turn away from boredom. Put your attorney in the closet and get your sales people at the table. They actually talk to customers who buy your products and services. Speak plainly about your business, it’s customers, your wins and your losses. Tell stories about actual sales. In the process, you’ll discover more about your brand than reciting your mission statement 100 times.
- Help customers and clients love you.
This is especially true for companies who have limped along with homemade marketing and survived on word of mouth with little or no growth for a decade or more of hard work. Just surviving is not a business plan. And branding is essential for business growth.
When you have a down economy, center stage is there for the taking.
But how? Do you identify new partners and markets? What are some new strategies?
A sluggish economy is the perfect time to do more prospecting. Look at your customers and identify the ones you value most. Which ones do you serve best? Once you can define that ideal customer, you can go find more like them. Develop a strategy to go after these prospects. Branding alone isn’t enough. When your list [of prospects] is wrong, nothing else matters. So identify your prospects and market segments carefully.
Go after your customers in the most inexpensive and creative ways. Using things like guerrilla marketing and social media can give small companies a great presence on the web. And for those of you who doubt social media, take a look at your websites. Are they creative and inspiring representatives of your organization? If not, perhaps you’re not taking your website seriously enough either. We think of social media like we think of intersections in a city. We want to be visible at the busy ones. Otherwise we are invisible.
Develop education [content] for your client base and potential client base. Do a series on interviewing an expert in field to showcase the benefit of your product. Do it with a regular camera, get it up, and get it out there. Develop content. Find experts in your company to develop that expertise. It doesn’t need to be an eBook, but make sure it’s spreadable and shareable.
In a quiet economy when competitors are all watching the bottom line, it’s the perfect time to build the brand of your dreams. Take center stage while it’s less crowded with loudmouths and low-price hucksters.
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