You’ve done your research. You’ve talked to your customers. You’ve seen the beginning of what running a good business can look like, but things aren’t accelerating quite like they were. That initial boost of support and interest fizzled out and now you’re wondering if something you did affected the direction of your business. Business may not be bad, but you thought it might be a little more alive than this.
First of all, you haven’t done anything wrong. Second: you can always do more research. I talked about this in my first blog post, Who is Your Brand?Humans change, and as a result our culture, marketplaces, and beliefs change too. We react to small occurrences in rather large, and unpredictable, ways. So whether you’re dealing with a set customer base or an expanding one, trying to understand them one time isn’t enough. You need to constantly have your finger on the pulse of the people who buy from you.
But that’s not what this post is about. You’ve done the research, and you try to stay connected with people through social media, marketing, and one-on-one interactions. So why isn’t your business taking off the way you hoped it would?
It’s a mindset I’ve been trying to overcome in the past year, both in my own business and with the clients I do branding work for. Businesses big and small deal with this kind of plateau in their progress, and it comes from a pretty innocent tendency that is natural for us: if something works, we stick with it. Have you ever heard an experienced businessperson talk about their success? Most of them say they tried some things, and when one of them worked, they stuck with it no matter what. It seems to make sense. If something works, you want to ride that success as long as it lasts.
The problem with this mindset, though, is it doesn’t fit the modern landscape we do business within. Now more than ever, we expect businesses to be consistent, yet complex. I liken it to a good wine–its flavors should be unified, but each one should have its own distinct character that is unique, but lends itself to the whole. In the same way, your business should be made up of various characteristics that uphold a unified persona, but that each adds a complementary dynamic to your brand.
So maybe you’ve tried some new things, but you’re still not seeing a change. I’ve seen this a lot, as well as experienced it myself, and I think it has to do with the fact that there are a lot of businesses out there–more than ever–and they’re all becoming more and more educated about how to brand and market themselves. What does that mean for you and I? We have to try harder to make our brands known.
It’s one thing to have a solid strategy for explaining your product and creating awareness about the solution you offer, but it’s another thing to inject some stimulating personality into that strategy. Not only do people want to find the right solution and trust that yours the one, they want to be able to say “that’s my kind of business” because you appeal to them, as a brand, on a personal, social level.
Think of the people you remember, but have only met once. Chances are they either did something or said something that was unique, refreshing, or maybe even controversial, but fit their personality. That’s exactly what you need to do as a business. It’s the “crazy” approaches to your marketing that will make people remember you, and if those characteristics fit into the overall personality of your brand, then you’re on your way to building a brand that people will love at first sight.