The business world is more competitive than ever. Companies compete across a wide range of industries and platforms, hoping to be the one consumers choose. Just look at the Apple App Store and how many apps there are to take notes. Evernote, BluLines, Google Keep, Paper, Super Notes, Any.do, Notability, and the list goes on. Not to mention that Apple has their own app, and a few others that can accomplish the task. This makes attracting a segment of the market incredibly hard.
An effective creative strategy is designed to unlock the potential of your brand and showcase it to the world. It is about maintaining control of how your brand is perceived and ensure your campaign is consistent and comprehensive. Specific tactics could include SEO, Google Ads and bidding on branded terms, social media marketing, or email marketing.
Below are several of the practical elements your business needs to consider when attempting to crack the market and gain a share.
- Define success
It is important to understand what being noticed means to your business. This allows you to gauge achievement, as well as have something to aim for. Your target could be an improved click through rate, higher revenue, more traffic, or all of the above. It doesn’t have to be something that can be measured in the traditional sense either. It could be one that aims to improve brand recognition or improve your business’s reputation. Whatever the goal, once you know it, you can aim to reach it.
- Be a goat, not a sheep
Companies that follow rarely become world-beaters. Your competition should be there to guide your decisions and learn as much as you can from them. It is usually more illuminating to see what went wrong for a company and see where improvements can be made, than try to mimic their success. Finding a vacant niche to exploit then pitching your company in that direction is a better plan than attempting to win customers from an existing powerhouse. Dick Smith Electronics’ downfall is a cautionary tale about trying to compete with bigger, more established companies in an overcrowded consumer electronics market. Their previous position as a seller of components and electronic miscellany was abandoned and they never stood a chance against the buying power of JB HiFi and the history of an Australian favourite like Harvey Norman.
- Take calculated risks
Being prepared to take a risk that on the surface may seem a little unhinged is a common quality of many successful businesses and entrepreneurs. The trick is to base the decision on more than a whim and have solid research behind you. When a business does something that is seemingly leftfield, it is rarely without careful consideration and a view of the greater plan. Steve Jobs is an example that is often cited, but he took several calculated risks when he took Apple from foundering to flourishing. From his initial cutting back of the product range from hundreds to four, to taking on the music industry with the iPod and iTunes, to revolutionising the smartphone with the iPhone, as well as mobile computing with the iPad, he was often told these things had been attempted before and they couldn’t be achieved. He turned what were risky projects into world changing events through meticulous planning, research and execution. Nothing happens by chance and a risk without research is tempting failure, but as part of a plan it can reap big rewards.
- Measure, analyse and repeat
Things don’t happen by chance and to successfully replicate a success and avoid the same failures your business must have all the information. Businesses that stand out are the ones adept at repeating the same levels of service and product consistently. This is never by accident and always by design. It is the result of constantly refining and assessing where things are working, where they aren’t, and adjusting as necessary. You can’t fix a problem until you know what it is and by gathering the data and using it, your business can keep ahead of the next problem and always show your customers the best of your brand.
- Don’t be afraid to give it away
Freemium is the practice of giving your service away for free. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds and has worked wonders for companies such as Spotify. The model relies on making the service useable, but with a catch, and that catch is ads. On the music streaming service, the music is interrupted every few songs with an ad. It is designed to make the listening experience just annoying enough to sign up, without pushing it to the point where the customer abandons it altogether. And it works. Spotify’s streaming model, despite being maligned by some major artists, is credited with holding off the industry’s slide into oblivion and total piracy.
Businesses are never lucky
Creating a lasting impression with your business requires staying at the leading edge of your industry through planning and goal setting. There is never a point where a company can think they have made it and rest on their laurels. Microsoft’s lost decade in the 2000s is evidence of this and their attempts to regain ground have never seemed well thought out or planned for the long-term. Pay attention to your audience, monitor your results and your business will be memorable for the right reasons.