Is the status quo working? Here’s how to find out.
Some companies resist new marketing ideas with the same age-old rationalization used against advertising: “In good times we don’t need it, in bad times we can’t afford it.” At Creative Co-op, part of our job is guiding clients to be proactive and helping them make smart choices about their brand and marketing that positively impact their business. Because there is a price for doing nothing.
Too often, the status quo appeals to the marketer rather than the prospect. After all, it’s easier to stay with an established routine. But who wants their brand to be seen as routine and static? That’s why we sometimes use basic thought exercises to reframe stagnant brands through the perspective of an outsider, so that it’s easier to see the problems that may be holding their marketing back.
For example, try answering these five questions to assess your own situation:
- Can your branding pass a reality check? Compose a quick elevator pitch now, imagining how you’d communicate your brand to a skeptic. If you find yourself hedging about the company tagline, self-editing value propositions that seem a little fuzzy or struggling to say anything compelling, imagine how your prospects feel.
- Has your message aged out with key demographics? Millennials now outnumber boomers and Gen Xers will soon be the second largest demographic according to Pew Research, so your marketplace is changing. Are you promoting the kindred social values, multi-channel convenience and seamless customization these new prospects expect – or recycling vanilla messaging about brick-and-mortar locations they’ll never visit?
- Are competitors defining you? If customer misperceptions have put your brand on the defensive, or you’re playing catch-up against competitors with a new product or campaign, it’s probably because you stopped communicating. Today’s consumer is bombarded with messages, so you can’t leave a void for competitors to fill.
- How effectively do employees communicate your brand? Customer-employee interactions remain among the strongest deciders of brand loyalty. Do your people deliver a customer experience that’s consistently aligned with your core values, selling points and overall story? If not, beware. A 2018 study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers notes that 46% of consumers will abandon a brand if employees aren’t knowledgeable.
- Do you engage customers, or merely retain them? A recent Facebook IQ survey indicates that profitable repeat customers are typically split almost evenly between solid brand loyalists and those who can leave at any time. If your brand doesn’t inspire pride or excitement, or make customers feel that you’re the perfect choice, you might be bleeding revenue because attrition rates are outpacing new accounts.
If you find yourself with troubling answers, it could be evidence of “active inertia” – coined by MIT management guru Donald Sull to describe organizations that follow an established procedure long after market changes render it obsolete. In Sull’s analysis, evolving companies benefit from “Inside-Outsiders” who develop as managers outside the core business or HQ culture, freeing them to offer a fresh, objective vision while still leveraging traditional company strengths.
It’s a conclusion we strongly agree with. After all, Creative Co-op was formed to offer clients the very same kind of advantage.
Talk with us and you’ll come away with fresh insights for the future. Most marketers face tight budgets and a variety of internal challenges, but that’s no reason to let your brand or marketing suffer. Whether it’s a strategic assessment, analysis or virtually any service including rebranding, we can help you plan the next step in your brand’s evolution.