There’s nothing more frustrating to a marketing executive than having a brand that’s not considered “relevant.” What happens when you’re not relevant? Competitors lap up the good PR. Customers dwindle and your employees lose motivation.
The loss of relevancy is debilitating, and this is probably why it’s so difficult to admit when you’re losing it. But, as an old saying goes, All progress begins with honesty. If you want to keep your company in the proverbial loop, to keep your brand relevant, the key is early action.
Not just any action, action directly connected to establishing real relationships with your desired customers, and stimulating the desire to share your message. No matter how big your budget, advertising and broadcasting does not create or establish relevance. Only connecting to emotions does.
This can be achieved in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at two major strategies for achieving relevancy—and keeping it.
Direct Customer Experience: A Shortcut to the Top
Have you ever heard of Sriracha sauce? You might have seen the condiment in grocery stores or at your local restaurant. What may surprise you about this brand is that they shy away from advertising; they simply let word-of-mouth (or direct customer experience) build their company up.
Providing your customers with a word-of-mouth-worthy experience is the quickest way to build up your own brand to a similar type of relevancy. You can do this a number of ways, including:
- Product demonstrations
- Product sampling
- Event marketing
- Branded vehicle tours
Each piece of your advertising budget is part of an overall puzzle that will help you boost your own relevance through direct customer experience. This is not a shortcut: it’s simply the most efficient route to brand-building.
Staying on Top Once You’ve Started
Of course, getting directly engaged with your customers is not a one-time event. You need to stay relevant if you want your company to continue to thrive. This means cultivating a brand that has an ongoing conversation with prospective customers. Social media sites are a great way to keep the buzz flowing. But it’s also important to keep your experiential marketing efforts going on a regular basis; you don’t want the buzz to die down.
Here again lies an important warning missed by far too many marketers. Social media is a powerful pied piper and amplifier, but it is not a stand alone tactic. With a solid strategy geared to create real connections and relationships it leverages and expands the conversion.
You must keep your efforts ongoing and you’ll eventually find a way to stay on top, continue to grow and stay relevant.