Five Bright Ideas For Business Growth or agency. There are some basic principles that apply when any business is attempting growth, and they don’t just focus on sales transactions as a growth driver.
Idea #1 – Engage The Power Of Creativity
Creativity is probably the most contentious term in marketing.
It’s a force for creating new connections, requiring flexibility, fluency and originality of thinking, as well as an openness to risk.
It is not enough to just imagine ideas, either. You have to turn them in to reality.
When you facilitate that creativity, you can create an unfair advantage in business. That’s what gives creativity its ‘unreasonable power’; it tilts the playing field in your favour, enabling growth at the expense of competitors.
Creativity the legal stimulant; a natural buzz for business!
Idea #2 – Be As Famous As Possible
Ah, fame! Andy Warhol said we’d all get our fifteen minutes. However, he lived before the age of social media.
Here in the Attention Economy, we’re considered to attract just fifteen seconds of fame…or is it now 8?
But I think this is a bit cynical.
We might attract fifteen seconds of laughter for doing something stupid, or fifteen minutes of outrage for telling a bad joke. But that’s not fame. That’s notoriety.
Fame is different. Fame is something that comes from a solid record of interactions with people and audiences. It takes a long time to establish, and more often than not, it is a mantle worn with humility.
Growth from fame comes from establishing a reputation for something that people value, and that can be anything from quality and integrity, to frivolity and fun
That’s why celebrity is quite different from fame, too. You might find celebrities who are famous, but they are famous because they have a track record of connecting with audiences through concepts, characters and achievements that audiences consider valuable.
Growth from fame comes from establishing a reputation for something that people value, and that can be anything from quality and integrity, to frivolity and fun.
As a business, if you can be famous, you can lead a community who share your interests, your values, your goals. It’s not just being seen, fame involves being respected.
Idea #3 – Be As Relevant As Possible, To As Many People As Possible
This is related to Idea #2 – Fame, but it is subtly different.
Being relevant will involve shared value systems, but it also means you have to be timely, provide locally specific information and services, and be truly responsive.
Instead of getting customers to think the way you want them to, relevance means businesses need to shift their practices and products so they are in tune with the needs of audiences. Behavioural economics teaches us that as consumers, we’re all essentially lazy. We want to have things made easy for us.
And relevance just takes away the hassle of buyer research. So relevance is an obvious driver for growth, because it makes the buying decision that much easier for consumers.
Ironically though, it’s the same behavioural economics in business that makes the idea of being relevant so hard for companies.
Firms tend to like doing things the way they’ve always done them, because it’s harder to always be current, to change your products, and to be relevant.
It costs more to keep changing. But firms that don’t change to meet the needs of their current and target markets are those that are now struggling, and losing market share. And they wonder why. Relevance, people!
Idea #4 – Invest To Grow
I’m tempted to say ‘invest to innovate’…
Investing for growth should have an obvious meaning, but that isn’t always the case. It’s not about spending loads of money, necessarily.
It’s more about how you go about facilitating creativity, fame and relevance.
You need to think about how people are communicating, and how best to tap in to the brains trust of audiences and innovators who can work quickly to solve often complex business problems.
Investment is prudent; it’s a considered, highly specific choice about the path you want to take as a business.
Invest to Innovate. Use investment to facilitate creativity, fame and relevance
Investment shouldn’t be determined by the size of a marketing budget, but rather the size of the opportunity lost, by failing to innovate.
We’ve all seen the positive relationship between innovation and growth in business.
Investing for growth ultimately requires businesses to invest in innovation to ensure continuing operation and audience interest.
In a fragmented media marketplace, spending a fortune on a blanket media advertising campaign isn’t always an investment, because it’s often not where your target audience is playing.
If you want growth as a business, you need to invest in strategies that will attract and engage those audiences. Innovation is how you make the magic happen.
Idea #5 – Take A Long And Short Term View
Finally, if you want true growth for a firm you need to be able to adapt your forward planning back and forth, from short term sales goals, to long term opportunities.
If you focus just on the next dividend for shareholders, next half year’s revenue, or even next week’s audience zeitgeist, you risk your brand reputation (your ‘fame’) and your innovation potential (your ‘investment’).
Short term goals are only worth pursuing where they fit in with the long term plan for a company.
If you attract a few customers in one short-term creative sprint, but then lose them in the next measurement period, then all you’ve done is waste your investment in the sprint.
Indeed it can often cost more to attract a one-time customer than the value generated by increased sales.
You need to think about how and why a customer is worth pursuing, and how you can keep on earning the trust they put into your brand.
Short term projects can help drive longer term engagement, but to grow effectively, you need each short term project to help craft the long term vision.
Growth is a marathon. Sales will be a product of a good growth plan, however a growth strategy isn’t just focused on sales, but rather on how you do business.
Creativity, fame, relevance, innovation investment and the capacity for demonstrating long and short term strategic thinking are the best ingredients for growth.