Sometimes, we lose sight of the core traits that make us great and distinguish us from our competition. It’s human nature to get caught up in what we do and lose sight of why it really matters.
I once worked for a company that changed their tagline just about every year. By doing so, they unwittingly demonstrated a lack of focus and left people wondering what they really stood for. By chasing the latest shiny objects on the hill and declaring, “Us, too!” they risked losing their unique identity and authoritative voice. A business that should have taken off and changed their market floundered, instead.
It’s always a good idea to take a step back and be more introspective about your unique qualities and strengths. By looking beyond short-term distractions, we often discover that we still have a place to fit in in a way that provides opportunities and is meaningful to our market.
Try taking an unbiased view of your brand promise and what it means to your clients and prospects. If your message is high-level (think 30,000 feet), you can withstand lower-level market change and still have flexibility to adapt. If you find yourself constantly retooling in reaction to the latest trend, then, perhaps, your message isn’t broad enough. If even a small amount of change risks confusing your audience, then you have most likely marketed yourself into a corner (think 10,000 feet).
What is that deep-down characteristic that makes you the expert? Why does it matter to your audience? What makes you the go-to resource? How can you build on your marketing without creating confusion? Can you do it yourself, or would you benefit from the objectivity an outside consultant brings? How about surveying your best clients to see why they’ve stuck with you over the years? Sometimes, we find that the best way to view our own business is through the eyes of others.
It seems that market dynamics are constantly shifting. That’s the reality of today’s fast-moving world. But, with it comes huge opportunities. Those who fail to embrace change and seize the moment to reinforce their role will quickly find themselves marginalized.
You seem to be great at what you do. You have a terrific product. Your media coverage has been impressive. You’ve been serving the industry for decades. But, what does it mean to your customers? What’s in it for me?
If your brand cannot adapt to change, you could end up burning cycles recovering what you lost instead of spending your time building on what you have. As Ben Franklin once put it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
As the calendar year winds down, it always a good idea to take a step back to revisit and refresh your marketing. Your business will be better off by doing so. But, don’t go overboard and be too disruptive.
Even if you’ve been able to put a check mark next to that spanking-new website on your marketing to-do list, get out your eraser. Your work has only just begun. A successful website is never once-and-done.
It’s important to look like you belong in your market. But, it’s more important to promote your own uniqueness. Remember, your brand and identity is about differentiation. It’s not about being like the others.
Spring is a season of renewal and rejuvenation. So, shake off the rust, get out the broom and add some polish to your business. Here are a few things you should consider at least once a year to tidy up your marketing.
I recently visited the websites of some of the top design firms in the world. It was both inspiring and, truth be told, slightly intimidating. However, despite that, I did notice one consistent problem with a majority of them.
In many ways, your website is the face of our business. It’s usually your first and best opportunity to distinguish yourself, connect with your prospects and tell your story. If it’s not engaging, well-designed, easy to navigate and informative, it could undermine your marketing efforts.
We’ve collected a number of the more salient points from our blog and are presenting them as a marketing reality check list. A good number of these apply to new or small businesses. But you’ll also find that some of the largest corporations in the world make many of the same missteps.