In today’s marketplace, you no longer require solely a good idea and determination – not to mention capital – in order to succeed in business. You need to have the ability to be flexible, to be innovative in order to adapt to the rapidly changing times. You need to be prepared to open your mind, to compromise and figure out new and better ways to make yourself and your brand a successful one.
Take these fellow innovators. They had a problem and they fixed it. Perhaps they might give you the inspiration you need to become unstoppable creative and successful. Isn’t that all business is? Creative problem solving? Opportunity seizing? Let’s dive into it.
Know Your Brand
Netflix has one of the best business models in today’s industry, in my opinion. They started off as a movie rental establishment, then developed into an online movie and television service. They give their customers exactly what they want – depending on which country they are viewing in. Being successful and profitable meant that Netflix had an opportunity to fund something special. Instead of bagging all that cash for themselves, they saw the opportunity to create fresh original content exclusively for Netflix. Making their brand even more attractive to those considering Netflix and making the investment even more beneficial for their current subscribers. So not so much a problem as Netflix seeing an opportunity in their current business model.
Have you any ways to invest in your own brand to increase your earnings and your customer’s satisfaction?
Use All Available Marketing Avenues
A group of entrepreneurs that embrace all marketing opportunities are so-called YouTubers. A decade ago, their career did not exist. Now, YouTubers such as Grace Helbig, Tyler Oakley, and Rhett and Link are well known TV personalities. Conor Franta, Zoella and Mamrie Hart are successful writers. Indeed, John Green, the author who wrote The Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns – both recently adapted into movies – is one half of the YouTube channel the Vlogbrothers (although he was an author before starting that channel, his channel certainly made his books more popular, or at least increased their coverage). Many YouTubers are now endorsers of brands. Beauty-gurus even have their own make up or clothes line.
These innovators are using their medium to promote their brand. Through social media, podcasts, television, and more traditional published works, they are seizing every opportunity and are doing so successfully. Some still believe that “YouTubers” or content creators as YouTube refers to them as, are not legitimate business people. I would argue that they are making a living doing something they love. This is not only enviable, but a clear indicator of business success and innovation.
Are you using every possible avenue to promote your brand? Have you neglected social media as you think it might not be relevant? Everything is relevant on social media. Get involved.
Develop Creative Marketing Campaigns
You don’t need a huge budget to make an impression. A clever sign here, or a fun play on words there, has the potential to go viral. No one can predict was ends up being popular. However, you can try to be as creative as possible. Where possible use puns, the internet loves puns. Don’t be afraid to fail, just don’t be cruel and you are bound to get some positive online traction. No matter how small or big your business is, all it takes is one tweet for you to go viral. Plus, it can be a whole lot of fun in the meantime.
Constantly Update & Upgrade
If you have a website for your business that hasn’t been updated in the past decade, then your site is perceived as beyond ancient in comparison with other live sites. Your website is often the first impression customers have of your brand. It needs to look professional, modern and reliable. It also needs to be adapted to work on smartphones and tablets – things which did not exist ten years ago. No one is going to trust a website that looks ten years old. There are many website builders out there like WordPress and Square Space, which can help you create beautiful websites with zero coding abilities. There are also thousands of web developers and designers in your area (wherever your area is, I guarantee it, unless you live in a desert). Your website is something worth investing in.
Use Your Niche to Your Advantage
For a local example, Izba, a successful Russian café here in Sydney has received tremendous success. Not many people think of Russia when they think of tasty treats but Izba has turned this around, at least in Sydney’s hip suburb Newtown. Izba know their niche and they use it to their advantage. On their Facebook page you’ll find links to other Russian related stores and stories. They are involved in local food festivals. They celebrate their history, their culture, their homeland, while also embracing innovation and local interests. A true example of innovative thinking and adaptive business practices.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try Again
They say God loves a tryer, so he must looove Richard Branson, the unrivalled king of publicity stunts. Since he started his first business in 1966, Branson has launched around a hundred companies, maybe more, under his Virgin brand. There was Virgin Cola, Virgin music, even space ventures. The Virgin label can be seen on airplanes, restaurants, even underwear. Branson sells himself as he sells his brand. From dressing up as a bride, to abseiling, tanks in Time Square and water cars, Branson pulls out all the stops in his marketing campaigns. They don’t all work, but he gives it his all.
The universe craves balance, so it can come as no surprise that his successes have been matched with a few failures – most notably Virgin Cola. He is quoted saying: “My mother drummed into me from an early age that I should not spend much time regretting the past. I try to bring that discipline to my business career. Over the years, my team and I have not let mistakes, failures or mishaps get us down. Instead, even when a venture has failed, we try to look for opportunities, to see whether we can capitalise on another gap in the market…Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming,” says Branson.
So if your business fails, don’t worry. Do a Branson and pick yourself up – although he does have his billion dollar fortune to fall back on….
Connect With People
Every year John Lewis release a Christmas advert on television that sends nations crying home to their mothers as they can’t take the “feels”. Last year it was stuffed penguin that tugged on our heart strings, this year it was a man in the moon. It is guaranteed to be a tear-jerker and people are already wondering how they are going to top it next year.
What John Lewis have done, is associated their brand not necessarily with Christmas, but with people’s emotions. For most in the UK the John Lewis ad is the start of the Christmas season. That is how much it is ingrained in the multiple psyche of British consumers. Try to connect with your customers and they will respond, although hopefully not with tears.
Don’t Shy Away From Social Media
Social media is essential for marketing campaigns today. HP, know this and took it a step further this year. Using Vine stars, they created content around the use of their products, transcending social media networks and interacting with consumers on multiple mediums. Basically, they took what naturally happens on YouTube, Vimeo and Vine with content creators connecting with their audiences and gave those content creators big budgets to do crazy stunts and promote their product. Creating quality content, with great turnover results. HP didn’t have to do the work, just provide the opportunity and let the content creators do the influencing.
I’m not suggesting that you hire a YouTuber to do a marketing campaign. I’m saying that social media is a fantastic tool that can generate real results. If you are unsure about how to go about it, there are many digital marketers and interns out there waiting to get some hands on experience doing social media for businesses. Embrace social media, it doesn’t cost you anything to Tweet.
Believe in Yourself & Follow Your Instincts
Sophia Amoruso, the Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal clothing spent her teenage years hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. She dropped out of school completely in her early twenties, and was broke, directionless, and sick with a hernia. She got a job, in order to get health insurance to fix her hernia, checking IDs in the lobby of an art school. That job, while boring, left her with a lot of time – and free internet. She set up a vintage clothes shop on EBay and without a business background, college education, or even connected friends or family. Today she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Sophia followed the road less travelled. She did what she felt was best for her, trusted her own instincts and played to her own strengths. It really paid off.
So, don’t get hung up on doing what everyone else is doing. Trust your gut and do what feels right, and you might just end up as successful as Sophia.
Your turn! Share the odd and the conservative but successful marketing moves you’ve bumped into. We would love to discover more opportunities. Share with the world!