Protecting your Brand in an improving economy.
There are signs that the economy is improving. Hopefully, your business is picking up and your brand is getting stronger. What are some things you can do to ensure that the trend continues? Here are 4 simple ideas that can go a long way to keeping your business and brand strong for the long term.
Talk to customers
In my first job the owner told me that he called 2 clients every day. His main purpose was simply to assure them that the firm values their business and wants to do the best possible job for them. The contact is almost always appreciated and on occasion the conversation can take a turn like, “I’m glad you called. I’ve been meaning to speak with you about a new product idea we have. We would like to involve your firm.” Or, “Glad you called. I’ve heard from my managers that a few of our projects are getting behind schedule and I wanted you to know about it now, before it becomes a problem.” Both examples are important conversations and well worth the time.
Making a few calls is a good way to start every day. It is also reinforces, in a tangible way, your brand promise. And, even if you only get into voice mail, the effort registers.
Talk to employees
A good owner/manager is one who knows how employees are feeling about the business. Practice MBWA – management by walking around. The time you spend away from your desk can be some of the most productive time in your day. Making this a part of your style makes you more approachable. Remember, every employee is a demonstration of your brand – they are your brand! MBWA is a great way to get to know employees. And as you do you will become more informed about your most valuable resource receive the feedback that will make you more competitive. The effort you make will return many times over.
Know your competition
This may seem obvious but I am always surprised at how casually this area of management is treated. Whether you are a small or very company, you have to believe that your competitors are working their tails off to win your customers. If they are good, they will approach competitive assessment deliberately. You should too.
Assign specific intelligence gathering and reporting responsibilities. Breed a culture where employees know the potential competitive threats and are casually or formally providing feedback on what they are seeing and hearing. Visit competitors’ stores; try their products. Get on their mailing lists. Talk to their customers. Use the vast digital resources available to monitor their activities.
If this sounds a bit cloak and dagger, it is. And it is vital to maintaining your brand’s competitive advantage.
Challenge the status quo
Success can breed complacency. The old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can cause big trouble. In a thriving, well-run company where everyone is busy it is not hard to see why the status quo can remain the status quo. You may have heard the phrase, “innovate or die”. It’s true whether you are a Fortune brand or a small business. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. Remain aware of what you can do to strengthen your brand. Make it a part of your team’s responsibility to routinely evaluate:
• Products and Services
• Business processes
• Customer service
• Business designs, or
• New management approaches. These efforts don’t mean things have to change but the disciplined evaluation will alert you when change is in order, either because of a weakness, or an opportunity.
4 ideas are simple in concept but they require commitment to implement and stay with. When done with enthusiasm and done consistently, they will deliver results.
Originally published in Mainebiz.
If your brand is getting tired and needs revitalization and more effective marketing communications, Casey Communications has the experience and track record that can help you increase value from current customers, win new customers and be a market leader.