Little surprise then, that when it comes to growing and marketing products and services, it’s easier to retreat to the tried and tested comfort zone.
But, things have moved on. People – your customer and employees – don’t want the same old, same old. For business who are ready to break free from churning out press releases and talking at their customers rather than with them – there are huge opportunities out there.
Know what makes your clients tick
How much do you really know about your customer or client? Have you spent time really getting under their skin to understand what makes them tick? It’s surprising how few businesses actually invest time in gaining those valuable insights. Much of the time it’s left to instinct and experience of what’s worked in the past.
Is that really enough to ensure that what you’re offering is head and shoulders above your competitors?
Setting aside time to take action and speak to a range of stakeholders will allow you to tailor your entire customer journey so that you stand out from the crowd, attracting new business, and building a pool of loyal advocates.
Be part of their conversation
Traditionally, PR and Marketing plans set out the ‘key messages’ that business want to tell their clients and other audiences. While that’s all good and well as a starting point for sharing a consistent story, the adage that brands are’ what people say about them’ stands true. More than that, I would add what they feel about you too.
Understanding that dynamic will help strengthen your offering and influence how you engage with people from the moment they first come into contact with you to when they become loyal repeat customers who support you throughout good times and bad.
Despite being armed with your key messages and elevator pitch, you’re no longer at the heart of your story – your customers need to be. Rather than being talked at and pushing messages out, you need to find a way to shake up the dynamic and engage with them in a two-way conversation.
Social media is a great way to start that off but it needs to also be supported with other marketing tools and wherever possible direct, personalised interactions – that doesn’t mean just putting their first name at the top of an email! It means truly demonstrating you ‘get them’ and value their support.
You’re special – show it
While it’s true that no-one likes a show-off, it’s also fair to say that no-one is going to do business with you if they don’t know what makes you a better fit for them than your competitors.
Sharping that unique story and sharing it consistently across multiple channels – be it social media, emailers, editorial and face-to-face will build trust and familiarity with your business and establish you as a leader in what you do. It will also help your passion shine through. Remember to recognise the other characters who are also playing a part in making that story a success.
Don’t forget your team
It can be easy to forget what an integral part of building your brand your team is but they will be critical to the success of building your brand. Whether you have just one employee or 1,000 make sure they feel they are part of the story.
Their input into shaping your story and feeding a regular drip feed of ideas and examples to help keep that story going is key. And, if you are strengthening your customer’s experience journey following your insights work – their support and buy-in will hinge on its successful delivery.
Everyone likes to do business with people they know – or at least feel they know so sharing building familiarity or your team with your customers is an important part of your brand story.
It’s going to take effort
Building an active pool of engaged customers, employees and other stakeholders takes time and effort. Increasing the profile of your business isn’t something than you can rattle off – you need to see it as an integral part of operations. Just as much as, HR, Finance, or Business Development. Even with the support of external help – the more you are an active part of the process the more you and your business will benefit.
It’s not always easy or comfortable to try something new – especially when you know others will see what you’re doing. But that’s precisely why it’s important to shake things up, even a little. People gravitate towards brands and businesses who are confident, knowledgeable, innovative and engaged. Wouldn’t you like that to be you?