You had a great idea for a business. You filled a gap. You solved a problem in a better way. You showed your ideal customer that you were listening to their needs.
And then you stopped.
You expected that great idea to carry your brand through any storm, and to remain interesting and relevant regardless of what’s going on around it.
And that’s not happening.
No brand can evolve on its own. It needs to be empowered by you to change in response to consumer trends, customer needs and market climates. It needs to react to controversy and bend with industry shifts. It needs to maintain its values, mission and vision whilst being proactive.
What does this mean for you?
It means that the brand you built cannot be expected to be sufficient, exactly as it, in perpetuity.
Let’s talk about how you can build a brand that’s progressive, evolutionary…and therefore long-lasting.
Building a Brand with the Capacity to Evolve
The best brands, with the most longevity, are those that are always progressing—always moving upward, in order to move forward.
I think most brand-builders understand the importance of this; however, I don’t think they know how to make it happen. And so, they stay steadfast on that original path, unwavering in their original beliefs about what their ideal customer and the industry need in a brand [right now].
The truth? The market never stays the same. Consumers change. Industries change. Technology advances. And that means brands must change, too.
Here are the points I suggest you add to your way of thinking, so you can be better prepared for brand progress—an imminent requirement:
- Keep Creating: You may still view the creation of your brand as your biggest, most innovative accomplishment. Do yourself a favour and start thinking of that as a starting point. Your greatest innovations are yet to come. The solving of the biggest, hairiest problem your customers face will create new problems…and you can solve them, too. Less significant, but still bothersome, problems will be uncovered for you to solve. And your brand will continually be faced with responding to market shifts and consumers trends. These types of things should not be viewed as insurmountable obstacles, but rather as new opportunities for creating new solutions.
- Keep Competitors in Perspective: It’s important to know what your competition is up to. It’s important to know how they’re serving your ideal customers, as well as what they’ve been missing. This does not mean, however, that you should be so focussed on what they’re doing that you lose sight of how you can advance your own brand. Keep them in your peripheral vision. Look for opportunities to move forward whilst they’re sitting still.
- Be a Leader: Brands with reputations as followers rarely make their marks. You know the ones: the competition makes a change, and they copy that change in order to ‘keep up.’ What does this prove about their innovative spirit? Or their desire to demonstrate their unique brand benefits? Followers can never win. They’re too far behind.
- Know Who’s Leaving: Every brand loses customers. It’s to be expected. However, to let them go without finding out why will ensure that more follow. Something is causing them to go to the competition. Find out what you’re missing, or what the competition is doing better, and then do more than fix it—innovate your way into a market leadership position.
- Practice the Win-Back: If you do lose a customer, know that you haven’t lost them for good. Conduct a study into the intricacies of why they left, and how your brand is equipped to repair the rift that caused them to run to the arms of the competition. Now, I don’t suggest going change-crazy every time a customer leaves; however, I always recommend answering important questions like WHY and asking if there are progressive adjustments you can make—changes that forward your brand’s mission and demonstrate its corporate values.
- React Quickly: If you’re running a small business, you may be thinking you’re less equipped than the big brands to progress. You’re wrong. Small businesses are, by nature, more agile. They can make changes more quickly. They have uncomplicated processes, fewer systems and fewer team members to acclimate. By the time the big businesses propose changes to the board, SMEs will have already integrated those changes and introduced them to their clientele.
- Be Proactive: Always remember that no one can put you out of business without your permission. Those brands that fold are run by people who throw their hands up in the air and admit defeat. You don’t have to engage in a price war or compromise your corporate values; however, you do have to react, look ahead to anticipate the need for change and get there before (and with more ingenuity) than your competitors.
- Consider Acquisition: Some brands, instead of adding products or changing a portion of their processes, choose to pursue acquisition of those brands that are agile enough to fill the anticipated needs of their target audiences. In other words, if your brand is not capable of moving fast enough to fill a need you see arising in the future, you may want to consider finding someone who can, and bringing them onboard with your brand.
The brands that experience the greatest success and longevity are those that lead and innovate, every day. They are the brands that continually look for opportunities to improve and meet modern-day needs as (and even before) they arise.
Will your brand be that brand? Will it be the brand that is a market leader, always out in front? It can be, and it can do it faster and better with the three strategies I share in the B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a full-day, fully immersive branding experience. Those three strategies took my brand from £0 to £18,000 in just 12 weeks, and they can do the same for you. Click here to find a boot camp near you.