This article was originally published on the Business 2 Community Business Blog.
For business owners and entrepreneurs, every day presents a myriad of new business challenges. Chief among them is the constant and relentless pressure to grow your business in an increasingly competitive and noisy marketplace
As most businesses and consumers are risk-averse, avoiding an expensive mistake is the top priority in their purchase decision process. Having a solid brand strategy will allow your company to be perceived as less risky and as a more reliable choice. Here are the top eight reasons to manage your brand as a key business growth strategy
1. Customer acquisition. Building a brand that consistently (and without exception) places customers first and ensures a first-class experience with your company is the most critical reason to manage your brand. Delivering an exceptional customer experience when things are going well is usually easy. The more important customer experience is when there is a real or perceived complaint that requires delicate negotiation to successfully resolve the concern. Here’s where your brand must excel by living up to your customer promise of quality and service.
2. Innovation or reinvention. All businesses—small or large—must continually innovate or reinvent themselves to remain relevant and to consistently meet evolving customers’ needs and marketplace trends. For businesses, this is especially true, and it requires a commitment to forward-thinking and a willingness to adopt strategic and early adjustments to marketplace trends and changes. In this case, a company’s brand must be strong enough to build upon and to evolve with the changing marketplace dynamics without sacrificing brand equity.
3. Reputation. Managing your brand can significantly influence your reputation and enable your company to break through the marketplace noise to attain top-of-mind industry positioning. Additionally, creating a solid and positive reputation can be helpful when addressing a negative or crisis situation and can create opportunities to promote the company.
4. Profitability. A strong, positive and resonant brand will command premium pricing, as the customer value is clearly and consistently articulated through actions and communications. According to McKinsey and Company, business-to-business companies with brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher EBIT margin than others. In 2012, strong brands outperformed weak brands by 20 percent, up from 13 percent in 2011.
5. Talent acquisition. Want to successfully compete for the best talent? With a strong employer brand, business owners can and do recruit high demand talent. This is an area often overlooked, and even ignored, by many business owners. An Employer Brand International study indicated only 41 percent of companies have an employer brand strategy.
6. Disruption. Stagnation is a common challenge for many businesses. While disrupting an industry may be a long shot, becoming a disruptor within an industry niche is often doable for small business owners. Having a brand that enables the company to quickly build credibility in the new marketplace or to launch new offerings is imperative for success.
7. Resilience. Economic downturns happen, and most brands stumble from time to time. During these challenging times, it is important to expand your knowledge, capabilities and opportunities. Another imperative to remain relevant is to continually refresh your products to meet consumer desires and to stay steadfast to your brand values. Consumer responsiveness is a hallmark of great brands and should be a goal for business owners.
8. Engagement. Highly successful companies cultivate innovation and creativity and empower their employees to create a high performing culture. These companies embody their brand promise throughout their touch points and have no fear of failure as they celebrate, embrace and respect calculated risks with both good or bad outcomes.
Whatever your business status, managing your company brand should be strategic, purposeful and consistent to yield endless opportunities and unlimited success. A proactive and well-thought-out brand strategy is the secret to the long-term viability, growth and success of your business.
Whether you're operating a small business with a few employees or you're a freelancer or solopreneur, the ability to effectively market your products and services to your target customer is vital. Before developing your marketing campaigns, it's important to develop a well-thought-out strategy that conveys the right messages and achieves your marketing goals.
Whether you're operating a small business with a few employees or you're a freelancer or solopreneur to effectively market your products and services, first get back to basics and align your marketing goals with your business strategy.
Marketing is a critical part of every successful business. It’s crucial to take a strategic approach to your marketing efforts to optimize success and maximize your investment. Here are ten knucklehead mistakes that often hinder marketing success for small business owners, solopreneurs and freelancers.