Small business customer and flexibility in the face of competition
In todays world companies need to be able to react rapidly to consumers and market changes. If they are unable to quickly adapt, sales can suffer:
- BlackBerry, once the mobile phone darling of the business world, has become a hidden device with users embarrassed by its lack of application prowess.
- Yahoo is struggling to compete with the likes of Google in search, email and data sharing.
- McDonalds has honed in on Starbucks specialty coffee market to resounding success. Will their fast food experience delight customers who dont like waiting in long lines for baristas to finish their drinks?
I am sure you can share many more examples like these.
The point is not that transformation and innovation is bad, nor not that competition is badit is that you need your employees and clients to stay with you through the ups and downs. If loyal customers are spending money on your products and services, they want you to know them and they want to know you.
- Changes in strategy need to be accompanied by clear communications.
- Telling Your Small Business Companys Story To Customers
This table may assist how you think about all the ways to tell your story using integrated marketing and communications:
|Communication Type||Communication Goal|
|External advertising||Corporate image; industry/client credibility; awareness|
|Social media||Creating a dialogue with individuals|
|Employee communities||Developing brand ambassadors and subject matter experts|
|Global events||Thought leadership and collaboration|
|Media partnerships||Unpaid media opportunities; reputation and influence|
|Direct marketing||Lead generation, sales|
The six distinct communications vehicles in the table must all work together to tell a consistent story like a symphony does to play the same song.
Using this template to cover your bases, I encourage you to develop brand communications that communicate your brand strategy with harmony. And, stay flexible by committing to an ongoing dialogue with your customers and employees.
About the author
Andrea Cotter, President and Founder, ACotter Global Brands. Andrea coaches executives and teams helping them to put in place strategies and communications that will take them to the next level. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communication at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
During a 30-year career at IBM Corporation, Andrea Cotter held many integrated marketing and communications roles for various IBM products and services and executive roles as Global Director of Linux and of Healthcare and Life Science Marketing. At UPMC in Pittsburgh, PA, Andrea was SVP of Communications, responsible for enterprise-wide brand marketing, advertising, clinical marketing and public relations. Most recently Andrea served as temporary President of a brand consultancy in New York, New York.