While there are companies that have been around for hundreds of years, Harvard Business Review found that the average lifespan of a company is about 18 years, and this can be even shorter when considering small business and start-ups. So how do you make it past this fateful lifespan? And more importantly, what are you doing that will help you leave your mark if you do decide to close up shop?
We always talk about the end goal when it comes to business strategy – what do you want to achieve. For example, with many tech start-ups, the desire is to be acquired in five years at a high profit other companies want to build a longstanding legacy. Some business owners don’t readily think of what the golden goal is, which is problematic in itself. But whatever your goal is, the idea is to focus on what you are doing to make your company thrive. The key to longevity and to reaching your goal is to reach and inspire your audience to create loyal brand ambassadors.
Here are a few ways to tell if you are inspiring your audiences:
- Have you built audience engagement and loyalty into your marketing strategy?
- Is your audience interacting with you through various channels?
- Is your audience sharing your content?
- Does your content spark conversation?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may have a problem. It is time to take a step back and evaluate your priorities. Without audience engagement, you will find it hard to grow your brand. Besides, what fun is it if you are only talking to an empty room? Even if your audience is small, you should seek to inspire them to take action, or even feel an emotion.
Here are some ways to approach your strategy:
- Get to know what makes your audience tick. It’s kind of hard to engage them if you have no idea who they are.
- Make sure you have a presence on the right platforms/channels
- Include a call to action in your outreach. Ask a question, ask your followers to share or retweet. Just as you aren’t a mind-reader, your audience can’t read your mind.
- Tell your brand story in a way that your audience can relate to it. It makes it more personal.
- Use a lot of visuals. A great video or image draws attention.
- Try interactive media or experiential elements to your strategy. Let people experience your brand in a way that makes them excited to share it with everyone else.
- Use humour. Tastefully used, humour often brings people together.
- Evaluate your strategy on a regular basis. Keeping track of what works and what doesn’t is the key to your success in future outreach.
Now, go forth and inspire!
This post was inspired by the passing of someone who inspired many in this world through laughter and the use of his incredible gift. Robin Williams inspired me incredibly on a personal level and professionally as an actor. And while we never met face-to-face, I always considered him a friend because I felt connected to even a small part of him. We should all strive to create magic and inspire change for our audiences just as he did, and maybe the world will become a better place.