By Claire Hastings
It’s a daunting endeavor to enter any market with a fresh idea and a business that still has everything to prove and earn a reputation. Every single industry today may seem open to newcomers, and the climate seems particularly welcoming for startups, but even with the greatest business plans and knowledge of your customer base, many startups fail within the first year of their birth. So, if you are planning to move forward with a business idea, your timing is possibly excellent, but you can learn much from your successful predecessors.
New, young companies can learn so much from those long-lasting brands we all know and love. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few effective ways to shape your strategy in order to increase your chances of success.
Define your edge
Our modern existence has become one massive, practically endless, superstore. We’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices we get to make every day. Even the Starbucks menu seems intimidating for someone with a minimalist lifestyle and a need for a good-old cappuccino. Now, when you need to choose your coffee, your shoes, your smartphone, there are hundreds of brands from which to choose, and most fall within a similar price range.
So, in order for a single brand, let alone one of its many products, to become desirable, you need to structure the entire image around that one feature that makes it stand out. For Bombas, for example, it’s their desire to make a difference, so for every purchased pair of their funky socks, you donate a pair to the homeless. Suddenly, a random brand of colorful socks becomes an industry leader worthy of global praise.
Innovation is a must
There is very little a brand can invent today that hasn’t already been produced in one way or another. However, even if you’re selling something as commonplace as tech gear, you always need to invest creative energy, funds, and zeal into coming up with new ways to upgrade your offers. Simply look at IBM’s first commercial quantum computer, and you’ll understand the essence of innovation.
While it may not be a product designed for everyone from your toddler to business conglomerates doing expansive research, it’s still a significant leap (quantum, if you will) forward that once again puts IBM in the spotlight. Whether you sell toilet paper or high-tech fitness trackers, make sure that you keep developing your idea, because stagnation can only lead to extinction.
After you establish your “edge”, you need to make sure that your brand is widely available to your audience. Now, unless you’re selling raw, freshly made cupcakes to your local neighborhood, you can rest assured that there is no excuse to limit yourself to a single geographic location. With shipping fees getting lower and more options to pick from, you can now follow in the footsteps of brands such as Adidas and spread your wings across the entire globe, from the US, all the way to Australia and Asia.
With the fitness industry being one of the most saturated ones in the modern times, combining relentless omnipresence with a powerful brand message can get you the reputation you desire. It will certainly take time, but many of these big names have also started from a garage, a dorm, or someone’s bedroom.
Ensure brand consistency
With the ability to go global, modern brands, especially young ones, struggle to retain a consistent presence across the board. A seemingly simple issue, but consider how adding more people to your team, whether in customer support, production, or sales, adds more voices to your brand as well. The same applies to your in-house processes that build your brand inside and out – and Lush exemplifies wonderful consistency in this respect.
It becomes increasingly challenging to send the same message with so many different, often untrained people under your wing. This is where brand consistency plays a vital role in ensuring long-term loyalty and trust. When your brand has the same look and feel on a mobile device, a computer, and a brick-and-mortar store you’ve just launched in Sydney, then your audience will be able to trust your message.
Make some viable noise
Simply placing your brand on the map doesn’t come with an automatic increase of visibility, because of the aforementioned levels of market saturation. It takes incredible effort to build a unique entity, ensure it is consistent in every possible shape and form, and then let the world know you’re ready to dazzle them.
Marketing your brand successfully means staying true to the previous idea of consistency, authenticity, but also finding the best ways to get in front of the right people. That means using social media, networking events, lecture opportunities, partnerships, as well as everything else that comes with the digital realm as a must.
While starting a business from the ground up will always be an uphill battle, make sure to use these basic ideas in order to ensure better chances of success. After all, established brand names are your best source of inspiration, so use them wisely to fuel your own growth!
Claire Hastings is Australian based designer and writer. She is an editor of Dolce Placard Magazine and a regular contributor to The Booklet. She is passionate about brand management, sustainability and aesthetics.