One-hit wonders, the once greats of the music world. When an old hit pops into our mind, it has the power to take us back to a time and place in our lives and often leaves us thinking, what happened to that artist? One hit wonders, something about the artist or band didn’t stick, therefore their once great success becomes nothing but a nostalgic reminder of the past.
Irrelevance is inevitable for anyone or any brand not fighting to stay alive, and unfortunately is the song and tune for many artists and brands alike. The same principle applies to brands. In order to be a legend or legendary brand, you must avoid becoming irrelevant, even as markets and industries change.
Fighting irrelevance is a daily battle that requires blood, sweat, and tears. What makes one company successful and another unsuccessful? They maintain that fighting mentality through the years as they continue to grow larger and larger.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to return to your roots, how can you fight irrelevance and make sure your brand becomes legendary? Here are a few places to start.
React & Adapt to the Landscape
Every step through life requires reaction and adaption, and it’s no different for a brand - from the moment they’re born until their legacy is cemented. Brands must react to the current climate of their industry and either adapt or get out of the way for those that will.
Netflix is a prime example of a brand that successfully reacted and adapted. Instead of taking a back seat and hoping for the best with the changing landscape of video rental business, Netflix aggressively took the wheel and reinvented all together how our society consumers television and movies.
To stay relevant, you have to stay fresh. When developing your product, in the early stages of your business, don’t marry yourself off to one specific version of your offering or process. Prepare yourself and your team to have many options when launching and developing a brand in order to stay relevant and meet the demanding needs of the marketplace.
Empathize With Your Customers
Empathy is the ability to understand or share the feelings of others. When we first develop a product or service, we’re very close to the features and benefits of our new shiny offering. We’ve put the customers first and have developed something that will enhance their life or make the mundane easier. Never lose sight of that and always remain empathetic.
Check in with your product or service continually and ensure your features and benefits still align with the needs of the customer. When we put customers first and empathize with the challenges they face every day, our original mission stays relevant and needed in the marketplace.
Stay Curious & Keep Learning
The second you stop learning is the second your brand is at risk of irrelevancy. In order to fight the fight against irrelevancy, you must stay curious. From the start, create a culture of learning. Encourage employees to continually invest time into gaining certifications or attending conferences and training.
Establish a new technology group within the company by empowering employees who are passionate about the subject to conduct research, try new offerings and report back to the team. Have co-workers that double as bookworms? Meet on a monthly basis and talk about new industry books and articles that are changing the face of the marketplace.
Lastly, don’t shy away from competitors, study them! How are they leveraging their strengths to stand out and how are they reacting to the changing climate of the marketplace? That’s not to say, you should copy and paste their strategies, but it’s always better to keep friends close and enemies closer.
Be Transparent With Your Audience
This is applicable advice whether you’re a B2B startup building accounting software for construction or you’re a consumer goods business, selling all-natural makeup. Be transparent with your customers and in return give them the opportunity to be transparent with you.
When starting a company, feedback is the key to future growth or success. Be open to hearing from customers that are using your product. How do customers define your value proposition and what areas of your business could use some improvement?
Conduct regular customer surveys and tap into brand advocates to test new product lines or ideas. Don’t get buried in the tactics or features of your product without tapping into your audience for their honest opinions. In return, be transparent with your customers about struggles or successes your company is experiencing.
If your delivery system is down and delaying shipments, reach out to customers and apologize, before they have the opportunity to go looking somewhere else. In your infancy, it’s more important than ever to gain the trust of your consumers. By being transparent and honest about your brand, you’ll attract a crowd that’s in it for the long-haul.
Avoid being a one-hit wonder. Instead, end up in the “branding hall of fame” by staying relevant. Always react and adapt to the marketplace around you, never lose sight of your empathy for customers, stay curious and be transparent with consumers in order to have them singing about your brand for years to come.