We live in a world of change. In a city like Singapore, there is no exception. Sacrifices would have to be made and we must change in order for us to progress and take the next leap either in our professional or personal lives.
The burning question that comes to our minds each time we are faced with this thought is: Yes, I’m willing to accept changes but how do I go about doing and applying it?
We are one way or another marketing ourselves as a brand name and creating awareness. We market ourselves during interviews; we engage ourselves in small talks and networking sessions. We are branding ourselves in one way or another.
Singapore is a hub for budding entrepreneurs and most of us have what it takes to become an entrepreneur; but what are the assets of becoming an entrepreneur and a successful one at it. That is the burning question that we are faced with each time we think of taking that leap of faith
What are then the elements behind being a successful entrepreneur? The big word is: BRANDING.
It is more important for us to employ an integrated and focused brand strategy in order to be successful. And this is no different for businesses, big or small – in fact, it might just be more important for any small businesses or entrepreneurship.
In a world of business or organization, we rarely have the time, the financial support, or recognition in the marketplace to simply challenge us to greater heights. In a world where manycompanies and products are vying for consumers’ attentions, it is vital to make sure you are positioning your product or service to attract their attention.
1. Make a Difference
When creating a product, or thinking about how to market a service, it’s not enough to just “dive” into the marketplace. It’s estimated that the average consumer is bombarded by over 6,000 marketing messages every day.
It’s no wonder then why consumers tend to develop habits that they stick with – especially when it comes to investing in products or utilizing services. It’s our job to shift these habits and loyalties over to our organization, and you do that first through differentiation.
You have to be different. In your particular industry (unless you’ve created the next light bulb) there are probably several competitors within a whisker of your location. More when you consider social media means, newspapers, magazines, etc.
So what makes you different? Why are you unique from your competitors? What sets you apart that will make your target market pay attention?
Here are some quick questions to ask:
A) Identify your main competitors in your industry – what makes your products or services different from theirs?
B) Why would consumers or others want to use your products or services over your competitors?
C) Make a list of how your products or services are similar to your competitors. Now make a list of how they are different. How can you exploit the differences to draw attention to your brand and away from your competitors?
2. Is your product or service relevant to the needs of the industry?
Is your product or service relevant to the industry’s needs and requirements? As important as it is, you can’t just be different. It’s not enough to offer your potential customers more choices – you have to offer them a clear and better choice.
Your brand must be relevant in today’s needs and technological advancement. Your brand has to matter to the consumer – otherwise, you may have the most unique product on the market, but nobody will buy it because you have not been able to convince them on the need to invest in your product or service.
Take Bubble Tea for example. Bubble Tea came up with a bang and had a great creative idea to it. It was a craze a few years ago and many of them were hooked to it. I would say it was a fad at that time and you could see teenagers especially enjoying that sip of tea with gelatin bubbles to chew on.
Even the elderly had a sip of it when I was making my way to bubble tea shops. Someone came up with the idea and the product in the early 2000s and it made a big splash initially.
How could something taste like Bubble Tea and be very clear about its uniqueness? It was clearly a unique product. However, the craze for Bubble Tea had one missing ingredient. It missed out on one important part of the puzzle, and as a result, the brand flopped a short time later.
They didn’t make the product relevant. People didn’t care. They figured, if it tastes like Bubble Tea, why not just drink it for the sake of it and have fun? Or maybe they liked other copy cats that taste similar to Bubble Tea.
The bottom line is that Bubble Tea created a unique product that people just didn’t care about. And it wasn’t successful. In the same say, you have to position your brand in such a way so that people will care about it enough to shift their purchasing habits.
It’s a challenge, but a necessary one in order to achieve success.
Some questions to ask:
A) Why should consumers buy your product or use your service?
B) What will make the average consumer shift their habits and loyalties from your competitors’ brands to your brand?
C) Why can’t the average consumer live WITHOUT your brand?
3. Your Product or Service needs to evolve
Finally, in order to achieve lasting success, your brand must be able to evolve.
The first step is to create a unique brand and brand idea. The second step is to define why consumers can’t live without your brand.
The third is to develop a long-term strategy for growth that allows your brand to stay ahead of the curve, and evolve with the changing market trends and consumer demand.
In your small business or organization, you must think long term. You must employ strategies and initiatives that not only keep your brand in the forefront of your customers’ minds from a unique and relevant perspective – they must see your brand as one that is not affected by change, but rather as one that AFFECTS change.
You’ve got to be a trendsetter, a leader, not a follower. It may be different from business to business, from industry to industry, but if you don’t pay attention to the shifts in market demand, you’ll find yourself with yesterday’s obsolete idea.
Some questions to ask:
A) What are the changes in market trends and consumer demand that I see in my industry in the coming years?
B) How can I position my brand to embrace change and evolve during those shifts?
C) How can I embrace technology to help my brand evolve – this can include the web, new media, and social networking.
D) Where do I want to be in 3 years, 5 years and 10 years down the road? How can I position my brand now in order to make sure my brand is still different, relevant, and evolutionary at that time?
In order to achieve lasting success for your brand, especially for small businesses and organizations, you must do your due diligence to create a different, relevant, and evolutionary brand strategy. And you must have all three – it’s an all or nothing play.
But if you work to create a brand strategy that effectively employs all three elements, you’ll go far in positioning your brand for success.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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