It is easy to see that the marketing landscape has changed in recent years. Social media, the ever-evolving digital landscape and the impact of technology on our lives means business owners need to constantly regroup and re-assess how they go to market. Consumer patterns and behaviours are also constantly on the move. But while this can be a challenge for small brands, it can also create new opportunities for businesses who adopt early and can tap into these market forces. To give you a head start, we have pulled together our top tips for how to thrive and optimise your brand communications in the modern market.
Stand out from the crowd
There is always going to be competition in business – you will have followers, copycats, other brands hitting up your ideal consumer, so how do you cut through the clutter? The true opportunity for brands today lies in being able to tell their authentic stories. What got you to where you are? What makes your brand stand out? Have you overcome struggles and challenges along the way? For example, in my business, I speak from my personal experiences and tell my story about growing up near the beach, and how important a role it plays when raising my kids. Focus on refining your story, aka your unique point of difference, and leveraging it to appeal to your customers. If you put yourself into your brand authentically, your appeal will flow from there. There is an art to storytelling and many businesses have built their audience and their profitability by injecting themselves into their brand. Stand behind yourself and push forward.
Align with real people
Eighteen months ago, social media and working with influencers had plenty of buzz and was viewed as a shining light for small and big brands alike. If you could get your product endorsed by a social media ‘influencer’ with 500,000 followers you were laughing! But how quickly things change. Consumers have seen through the sphere of ‘paid’ influence, and while it is still within the realm of larger brands to buy favour through influencers, it has quickly become cost prohibitive for smaller brands to ‘pay to play’. But more importantly, we have seen a shift within consumers, where they are gradually moving towards peer marketing as it has become increasingly apparent that the transactional side of social media influence has made it less authentic and aspirational. Brands that can successfully build credibility with real people via authentic transactions or be working with micro influencers who truly endorse their products, will start to grow as consumers look more at our friends and people we trust to influence us.
Look for new consumer segments
There are always opportunities to look for new audiences, and sometimes we need to look outside the box and turn our approach on its head as business owners. Understanding your customers is key to this, but has also never been easier. Where in the past you would have to fork out for expensive segmentation data or quantitative or qualitative research, nowadays you can simply pose questions to your social followers or Facebook group to see what they want and what motivates them. I frequently post questions to my Facebook Group, Beachside Tribe to get a view on beaches they recommend, even which social channels they prefer. Smart brands can also quickly identify potential new segments or shifting ones. For example, we have seen the growth of masstige, referring to relatively inexpensive goods that are marketed as prestigious or more aspirational. This category has grown significantly as consumers aspire to more luxurious items they spot on social media, but can’t necessarily afford them so look to purchase unique or step up brands. There is an influx of smaller, unique boutiques leveraging that demand and tapping into that market and who understand the consumer desire to find what is new and up and coming before their friends. Recognising these opportunities early on can really make or break a brand.