This post was written by Keith Coppersmith. Keith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. He enjoys writing and providing insight of the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.
To misquote Tolstoy: “All successful companies are successful in the same way”. But are they? To be recognizable in a market full of successful companies requires a lot from everyone, but most of all it requires attention. And attention can be gained in various ways. In the world of instant communication on an incredible number of platforms, anything is possible. It is up to you to follow the trends while simultaneously doing things slightly differently, in order to distinguish the brand.
How different are you?
Looking at the brand identity that you have been trying to build – what are the ways that you differ from others? If the answer does not come to you easily, perhaps it is time to give it a think. Of course, the large changes do not happen overnight – but the smaller ones could. Why not do a once over by changing the design of your logo? Remember that the color theory can help to keep everything neat and different. Are you using similar images in marketing as your competition as well? Again, something to think about and try to develop a visually arresting, but without mistake, your own image. Stand out a little.
Words and messages
What are you telling others about you? What are your company’s core beliefs? Do they permeate your entire company culture? Companies underlying spirit is nowhere as obvious as in the way their employees behave and talk. There is something that keeps people on the same “brainwave” when a company’s culture is naturally accepted by their workers. The feeling of working together towards something incredible brings out a lot of good in people. We are, after all, social animals whose number of people we can actively care about is limited, however, it is still large enough for a team or a department. And this will shine through in any contact with the customers you have and on social media as well.
Keep it social
Since we are on the topic of social networks, it goes without saying that you have to pay heed to them. Now, to drive more attention to you as opposed to your competitors, it is not only enough to be present on every platform worth a damn. No, you have to plant yourself deeper and constantly be on the cutting edge of developments. Practically every day a new social network is being thought of in a startup somewhere. It might be something completely different from what you are used to, like Vine was. And when it died, obviously it was sad for its users. But the main players of that platform have moved elsewhere, together with the audiences that they have built. Reach new customers on social media’s niche offerings and integrate them into your most powerful existing channels – and keep experimenting!
That first time when you seem someone, you usually create an image of them. It might be positive or negative, but regardless, it is most likely already made by the time you shake their hand. There is only so much you can actually do, as a company, to present yourself for the first time. Since your logo and visuals are already giving your potential customers a vision of who your company is, the other prong of this attack would be the appropriately designed business cards. Just like the other things that never go out of fashion, such as good wine or fine watches, a business card can tell a lot about you and your company to anyone who looks at it. Remember to always keep a stack at the ready. If you travel frequently, this is an excellent opportunity for you to be the ambassador every company needs.
Support your customers
What you do in the case when customers have issues with your products and services has changed quite a lot in the recent times, due to the tendency of people to directly complain to you on social networks. Even worse, they occasionally tend to criticize a company without directly linking to them or tagging them, which stops the customer support (as well as PR) to do their job. Luckily, they can use brand monitoring tools to keep on top and that is exactly what you should do as well. Not only do the customers of today expect a quick resolution to their problem, but they are not shy about it at all. On the one hand, that is great, because you will quickly receive feedback. On the other, you might be inundated with demands for support. Regardless, remember that statistics say that a growing number of customers have higher expectations than a year ago – and be proactive about it.
Think about the 80/20 principle
In the end, in some ways, your company might not be able to be as prominent as you would have liked. However, the process of trying to do better will improve you in more ways than one. One thing that you should always keep in mind is that you cannot please everyone. The famous 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle) says that approximately 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. In business, this means that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Sometimes it is OK to focus on those that support you the most and stop trying to be something else. Remember that it is ok to stop and decide you want to keep doing things your way.