It’s a simple word that can make the difference between a business thriving in its market space or closing up shop for good. It’s what all brands want to achieve, yet only a tiny fraction of businesses even come close.
This fact can be scary for entrepreneurs, startups, investors and even large conglomerate chains that have experienced the unforgiving fury of failure.
But what if you could guarantee that your business doesn’t fail? It sounds like fiction, but there is a way to keep your customers happy while ensuring your profit margins continue to grow for decades to come.
Think of a brand that you consider successful. The company can be in any industry and can be any size. You might be thinking of one of the technology giants in Silicon Valley (we talk about them a lot in our office). Maybe your favorite beverage company popped into your head. You could even be thinking about a local hotspot that serves the best burgers or frozen custard in town.
Whichever company you chose – if you look closely – has survived by adopting, implementing and maintaining three critical keys to success:
If your brand is a fine automobile, innovation is the fuel that propels it forward.
To many business owners, innovation can be an intimidating word with a lot of expectations. If you listen to the shareholders of a certain fruit-flavored technology company, innovation means inventing a new product or service that changes the way humans engage with the world every half-decade or so.
But to brands such as yours, this word doesn’t have to be so complicated. In its simplest form, innovation just means to “never settle.”
Looking back on your brand’s history, your company may have already done some amazing things. It may have already built a fantastic product for its customers or introduced a new ideology that changes the way your industry operates, and while this in itself is a great achievement, your brand cannot continue to grow by being satisfied with its past. You have to keep looking toward the future for inspiration: What else can your brand do to make its products/services better? Or what new products/services can you create to move society forward?
Like your favorite smartphone app, your brand should always be making improvements — iterating. Even if these changes are miniscule, the greatest threat to any brand is to stop building upon its future.
The world will inevitably continue to change. Your brand must change with it, or it will be left behind.
You may be asking yourself: What does humanity have to do with business? Everything, actually.
If you read over the last section on innovation again, you’ll notice several odes to humanity spread throughout it:
“Innovation means inventing a new product or service that changes the way humans engage with the world.”
“What new products/services can you create to move society forward?”
At Seafoam, we often talk about serving the people behind the businesses that we work with. Sure, a brand’s measureable income and success are important, but when scanning through spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of data each week, it can be easy to forget about the human beings who run these companies.
The same goes for your customers. These people aren’t just dollar bills on an earnings sheet. They are living beings with real wants, needs, concerns, emotions and more. They go to work to support themselves or their families, they pay bills to keep the lights on, and they face challenges, some of which may be even greater than those you’ve ever experienced.
As a company, it is your job to remember that your customers are human. What product or service can you, with all of your knowledge and industry expertise, provide so that your customers’ lives are truly better with your brand than they are without it?
This third key to success isn’t just here because we’re a marketing consultancy and agency. Marketing is really important.
The old adage states: “If you build it, they will come.”
If the proprietor of this saying lived in a small town where everyone knew his/her name, this may have been true. But today, as millions of businesses compete to sell their products and services in real life, as well as across the web, this saying no longer suffices. Street corners and online spaces are chalked full of companies trying to sell their products to turn a profit.
What makes your company unique?
In addition to innovating and keeping humanity at the forefront of your business strategy, good marketing is how you break through the noise. Without it, search engines, like Google and Bing, cannot find your brand and show it to the people who are looking for the products/services you sell. Your business is less likely to appear in Google Maps, thus preventing consumers from visiting your business.
Without marketing, your brand and all the hard work associated with it is invisible. If you’re invisible, you perceptually don’t exist. And if you don’t exist, consumers cannot find you, see what you sell and invest in your business.
By the time you reach this final section of our article, you most likely already know how your company fits into the business model outlined above. You know if you have neglected one or more of the keys to maintaining a successful brand. You also know if this neglect has begun to impact your month-over-month earnings.
The good news is: if you have neglected any of these keys to success, now is a good time to reorganize your priorities and get your brand back on track. As long as your business is alive, you have the power to make it better.