As you define your brand, are you pushing beyond the status quo to discover its full potential? What is your level of effort to connect with your customers?
At Kansas City’s latest American Marketing Association luncheon Phil Bressler challenged us to answer these questions and then provided some thoughts and examples from other companies. Phil is a marketing/branding consultant and the founder and president of Latch – An Idea Company.
Studies prove companies with creative marketing do better than those who consider marketing a low priority. I am a creative person. I have worked in graphic design in one way or another since my career began. However, I, among others run into barriers that get in the way of being creative. I find I have too much administrative work to do or too many deadlines that take priority. Other barriers people shared at the presentation include ideas becoming bottle necked somewhere else within the organization, no one to bounce ideas off of, lack of meaningful customer insight, lack of leadership support, and unproductive brainstorming sessions.
One thing we do with our member retailers who run promotions in their stores is to put down on a spreadsheet or Google calendar all the promotions they plan to run throughout the year or at least throughout the next quarter. This way they can plan ahead with marketing and preparing graphic design for the promotions. It also gives them a clear perspective on where their calendar has holes or has too many promotions running at the same time and need to be spread out. But there’s more. Having a plan is a great start, but how are you going to be intentional to carry out the plan? Have a brainstorming session within your company and be selective on who you invite to the brainstorming session. Then go away to think on your own before coming back to a follow up session. Some people perform better in a group but others need time to walk away and think things over on their own before presenting their ideas. Bring someone from outside the company to evaluate your plan. Often times we need a fresh perspective without realizing it.
Come up with unique ideas to reach out to your customers beyond email marketing and store signage. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself thinking you must come up with big idea to make your organization a lot better. Instead, think about how you can make it a little better. A small gesture is easier to come up with and still can make a positive impact. It is also easier to digest and less threatening for those to say, “but we’ve always done it this way.” How about a personalized hand-written note once in a while to a customer to let them know you recognize their loyalty? Yes, it is more effort on your part, but something that personal goes a long way with a customer. It shows them you care more about meeting your bottom line and they are likely to continue coming back to your store for a long time to come because of it.
You most likely have a mission statement which you have put a lot of thought into, and that’s good. Your mission statement should be a true summary of the company’s values, goals and purpose. The words in your mission statement should inspire your employees and give your customers confidence in you, right? Yes, but instead of being wordy with a statement that sounds like that of every other company, make it simple and easy for people to digest. Here are some examples:
- TripAdvisor: To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip
- Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
- Humane Society: Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty
- TED: Spreading ideas
After sharing these marketing ideas, there is one big question you need to consider first. Do you or does your company consider marketing an expense or an investment? The answer to that question will determine what you are willing and able to do to promote yourself.