Let’s talk about initial and ongoing brand growth.
So, you’ve been plugging along for a while now and nothing seems to be working? But, you haven’t really done anything to change your situation, you’re just patiently waiting for something to change. The thing is, we always need to try, test, and measure new things in order to move forward.
Below we’ve listed 5 things that we feel hold people back from moving forward.
1 – Planning a solid strategy
Your strategy is your overarching plan to accomplish what you want to do with the brand – it’s the master blueprint. It should have an alignment connecting to your business plan or direction and should provide a solution to solving the main points.
- Who are we targeting?
- What is the goal?
- When do we do it?
- Where do we position ourselves?
- Why do we exist?
- How are we going to do it?
It’s not just about setting up a logo, making a website, jumping on social media, and expecting sales to come rolling in. There is a magnitude of intricates involved in getting all the cogs working. It requires the strategy to be tweaked and amended to suit the narrative. Without understanding how to solve those initial questions, you’ll be shooting blanks and winging it. Don’t get us wrong, when you first start a business, winging it is basically what you do, but it’s important to ‘try, test, measure’ along the way. Keep what works, do some tweaks to things that don’t, and always finesse. Nothing is ever truly done; your business will always evolve so your strategy needs to evolve with it.
For more, be sure to check out our past blog post ‘How Strategy Can Make or Break Your Brand’ here.
2. Staying in the unknown because the safe zone is comfortable
We would have to say that this is the prime reason why a lot of brands don’t reach their full potential. Doing things that are risky or uncomfortable are one of the biggest obstacles in moving forward and it stems from imposter syndrome and fear. Putting yourself out there can feel overwhelming, and everyone feels it at one stage or another. Though, in order to charge forward, it’s important to take calculated risks and step outside of the safe zone to make some change.
- Breaking down the ‘generic’ tone of your brand and inject some vulnerable content to build better relationships.
- Becoming a leader in your field to represent your industry
- Putting yourself in front of the camera to show the face/s of the brand
- Investing in new people, be it new staff, contractors to help grow the brand
- Putting up prices to reflect your worth
- Investing in continued learning to develop new skillsets
3. Overseeing and adapting to the current landscape
As mentioned in point 1, having a strategy is key to the direction and potential growth. Though it’s important to always keep an eye on the current landscape and what is happening. A strategy that could have been working phenomenally could suddenly stop working due to uncontrolled circumstances. Things like the current pandemic, the 2007 Global Financial Crisis, the 2019 Bushfires, etc.
How and when people buy is hugely influenced under the circumstances in which they are living. Understanding how people are feeling and what situations they are going through can also be important for your messaging, and how your brand communicates. For instance, right this minute, the locked-down states in Australia (NSW and VIC) would be spending very differently in comparison to those in other states. Their mentality would also be different and so would the ‘type’ of things they would be buying. Understanding how to amend your strategy and apply a segmented approach could be really beneficial for your brand’s success (if feasible).
There may also be opportunities to amend pricing to be more accessible under the circumstances or creating new product offerings that would be better suited for the market as it currently stands. These decisions don’t necessarily need to stay concrete, but they could help your brand to move forward by capitalising on them to get through. Who knows, the changes could see a positive impact that could stay as a permanent solution.
4. Social Listening
Social listening is a great way to gain intel on what consumers are doing and saying. Watching conversations play out from either side of an argument or topic can help you to finesse how and what you do within your business. It’s hugely important to keep note of what people are saying about your brand and making sure you stay on top of it.
It’s also interesting to hear what people accept vs. what they don’t accept on social issues. Manufacturing is a big one to consider, for instance, a lot of people during/post covid want to support Australian-owned and made businesses.
It helps to understand your industry, the audience, their buying behaviours, the social conversations. It assists in staying ahead of the game and understanding how to move forward based on what you see and hear. Talking about issues as they are arising puts you at the forefront instead of on the backfoot and aligning to trends. You can also find new opportunities, for instance, if people are complaining about something specific that you can prevent or solve, it will give you a leg up on competitors.
It all comes down to doing a bit more groundwork, but if a bit of research is all you need to get and stay ahead, it’s worth it.
5. Mindset shift
One thing that can deter growth more than anything? A fixed mindset. The inability to accept other opinions and try new things. It’s really important to always go in with an open mind and to listen to what others have to say, or what people are doing that may go against your way of thinking. Inevitably it is up to you to make the final call but having a little leeway in thinking, can open up new opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
Having a growth mindset can help you with the good ol’ saying ‘in order to succeed you must fail’. Understanding that if something doesn’t work, it may need to be adapted or changed, no matter how much you think you had it right.
It’s also about being proactive vs. reactive. Proactively seeking new opportunities before you need to will help you to stay ahead. Staying reactive and doing what you’ve always done because it suits the agenda at the current time can result in problems later on. We’re finding this a big issue now with a lot of businesses scrambling to make themselves known during the pandemic when options are limited. You’ll find that the businesses that did excel had solidified a decent brand presence and reputation, so the consumer went to who they knew and who had provided them with a solution prior to needing it.
While taking new risks and doing things differently to what you’ve always known can seem daunting, after doing it, the process becomes easier, then you do it again. Growing a brand is a constant evolution, the wheel never stops turning and there should always be someone in charge of pushing the brand forward in development. The commonality is that a lot of people can get caught working IN their business instead of on it, and this should be a call for alarm. If this is the case, it could mean that you need to make a hire in order to offload the work, prices could be too low, or you need to put the wheels in motion to start getting the brand known out there. This can be done in a range of different ways from paid ads (with an objective), phone calls, emails, creative pitches, and more.
In the end, success doesn’t come from the comfort zone, and as business owners or key decision-makers, we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
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