Three Reasons Why Independent Businesses
Need Authentic Key Messages To Succeed
1. Avoid Direct Competition.
Whether your company operates clothing boutiques, sells insurance and investment products, makes violins by custom-order, or does something entirely different from these, one dynamic factor affecting your success or failure remains: The availability of substitutes or alternatives continues to grow while communications technology renders the world a global village. Because of this, any company not seen as irreplaceable (must-see experts, the leading product, or the highest overall value) by its target market increasingly risks being perceived as one of many ...when it gets the market's attention.
This is how trying harder and offering buyer incentives (e.g. repeat-purchase discounts, free shipping) become default ways of competing for business. Despite keeping personnel busy and possibly boosting sales volume, such examples of trying harder typically reduce net profits, hinder the ability to grow, increase the pressure to innovate in profitable ways, and shorten the life of a company.
By propagating credible, meaningful, authentic key messages, an independent company can claim its turf as must-see experts or the leading product or the highest overall value for its unique value proposition. By doing this effectively, not only can a company avoid direct competition but also grow in its niche. Indeed, the more focused the value proposition, the greater the possibility for the company to transcend would-be competition from others, courtesy of the same communications technologies that make intelligently focused niche marketing so important today.
2. Deepen customer loyalty.
A key message communicates identity and purpose concisely, ideally in terms that the target market accepts instantly. Thus, not only can an effective key message (e.g. name, motto, value proposition) gain intuitive acceptance but also strike a chord with the values of the target market.
Key messages that authentically affirm and harmonize with the market’s values can deepen the sense of personal alignment that loyal customers already feel. This can better ensure their continued purchasing, more business per customer over a given period, and more referrals.
For example, the motto Nothing runs like a Deere from John Deere has contributed to many loyal users of John Deere products becoming more dedicated to the brand. The slogan is so right for some people that it galvanizes their brand loyalty so that they do not envision using any competitor's products. It even makes some like an unpaid sales force for John Deere. The rightness of that motto for the market turns an overall-positive brand experience into something heartfelt.
3. A narrower focus gives a broader reach.
Independent businesses that use authentic key messages to distinguish themselves from competitors and develop greater depth of relationship with their customers often find that narrowing their focus (e.g. from generalists to specialists) becomes inevitable.
To some, a narrower focus intuitively means limitation and sacrificed opportunity. In some cases, this could be true. However, companies that narrow their focus often discover that the strengthened status as a specialist brand draws more business from further afield.
Suppose you go to your family doctor with some health problem. The doctor prescribes treatment and instructs you to return if the condition does not improve in a short time. After a short time, you return with poor results. The doctor then refers you to a specialist.
It’s inconvenient to see the specialist. Yet, you accept this. Care for your ailment has escalated. The specialist assesses your situation and refers you to a more specialized expert in your situation.
Further inconvenience to see the third doctor does not deter you. According to the first two doctors, proper care of your medical situation makes it necessary. You view the third doctor as offering the best care and of highest importance in treating your condition.
This principle applies in business situations too. The more a company is perceived as making a premium product or as having special expertise, the higher the market values its brand. This opens up the possibility of higher fees or prices, perhaps reducing the sales volume necessary to make a good profit. Importantly, geographic reach could broaden significantly.
For the independent business that intelligently infuses its marketing and brand management with authentic key messages, competition can be reduced or avoided entirely, customer loyalty increased, and customers willing to pay more could come from farther away. These are three reasons why independent businesses need authentic, compelling key messages to succeed today.
- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.
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