(Photo via LinkedIn)
How should businesses catch attention in 2020 and beyond? By centering their brand and customers first.
I’m the CEO and founder of my own media production and digital brand consultancy, and I’ve worked as a marketing and brand manager for Howard University. Here are my tips on authentic marketing:
Email is still king.
A lot of emphasis is placed on growing social following, but if you rely primarily on social and don’t aggregate those users into an email database, you are putting your business at the mercy of the access the platform grants you at any given time.
For example, if Mark Zuckerburg decides to make all user handles and DMs private or paid, you’d lose your entire customer database. But if you move those followers to your email list and can add cell numbers, you can touch them whenever you choose with email and text opt-ins.
If they don’t know, you don’t grow.
You may have a niche market of loyal customers who are your core following and you should cater to their needs. But don’t dismiss or write off those opposed or who don’t know your product or service. Sometimes a little education on the benefits and advantages of your service or product is all you need to acquire new loyal customers.
For example, a business focused primarily on environmentally conscious products comes with a customer base who cares and invests in environmentally friendly products without question. But, those who are skeptics or even opposed may just need more factual information, or even to see the real benefits from small choices over a long period of time and the effects they can make to help the environment. Now, that skeptic may be a more conscious consumer and loyal customer, possibly spreading the news to others they know like them.
Be unapologetically authentic to you and your brand.
People like good products. People really like good brands. But people LOVE a great product with a phenomenal brand story! You are your brand, and your brand story. Own it.
Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk — what is their global allure? Yes, they are self-made billionaires, yes they have more money than things they can acquire, yes they have changed the technology landscape and the trajectory of the future as we know it, and yes they all wear the same clothes every day with no variation. But that is not why people have pictures of them hanging in their offices, in college dormitories, or mention them in business presentations and commencement speeches. It is because their names and brand stories are synonymous with their products and together they both inspire the consumer. They are the Ivy League college dropouts, the CEOs who got fired, the ones who failed for years before having a breakthrough, they are the ones who we channel at 4 a.m. as we bleed for our vision and demand success from our entrepreneurial endeavors time and time again. We say, if they can do it, there really is a chance that I can do it in my lifetime! Could I change the world with my idea?
People buy products because of how it makes them feel, and people want to be inspired. If your business has authenticity, integrity, and solves a problem for your consumer market, you already have success. As an entrepreneur, you are tasked with the daily challenge to be that round peg in a square hole and to dare greatly.
The time is always now to take action.
I’ll just leave you with my one of my favorite quotes, by former U.S. representative and motivational speaker Les Brown:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
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