The business world grows more competitive by the day, which means any brand that wants to stay relevant must keep up, especially with innovation and creativity. The question is how can you beat your competition? Let’s go on a fun ride as we take you through the roadmap to successful marketing.
In our previous posts, we just could not stop talking about inbound marketing, the method of marketing we simply love the most. However beyond that, what other things can you as a business do to stay ahead of the competition? Actions, they say, speak louder than words, so we’re just going to show you the way, using two great brands, Zappos and Toms Shoes to answer this important question. The key lies in capitalizing on relationships and laying emphasis on timeless human values such as integrity, teamwork, great customer relations among others. Customers often patronize brands they feel they can easily relate with and that have a human touch.
Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop makes their relationship with their customers a top priority. They sum up their service delivery in ten core values (which they describe as their family core values), namely delivering WOW through service, embracing and driving change, creating fun and a little weirdness, being adventurous, creative and open-minded, pursuing growth and learning, building open and honest relationships through communication, building a positive team and family spirit, doing more with less, being passionate and determined, as well as being humble. One thing that runs through these values is the ‘people factor’.
This brand ensures that they are ‘powered by service’, and this humane factor has helped the business to stay competitive over the years. In addition to living out their values, they also run a blog that focuses on the ‘playful’ side of the brand, with exciting articles such as ‘How to Rid Your Home of Stuffed Animals’, ‘What Core Value Will You Pass Down?’ etc. Zappos’ fun and relatable website interface just contributes to its already friendly and humane tone, which gives it a fresh and consistent brand image.
Another plus for this brand is the interest their employees have in volunteering in several charities, one of them being ‘Goodie Two Shoes’, an initiative that seeks to provide less-privileged kids with new shoes and socks to promote development and good health. This partnership began in 2007 and more than 460 of Zappos’ employees have been involved in almost 2,300 hours of volunteering. Imagine the boost this gives the brand’s image in the customer’s eyes!
Now let’s take a look at Toms, shall we?
One hallmark of Toms Shoes is how it gives away a pair of shoes to a poor child free of charge, for every shoe sold. With this ‘one for one’ principle, TOMS has had a human image right from the word go. This, of course, has kept the brand on top of its shoe game; with about 50% of its target audience constantly coming back for more especially as there is a golden opportunity to give back to society.
Boasting of providing over 35 million pairs of shoes to kids in 70 countries all over the world. TOMS is a great brand to learn from when it comes to focusing on human values and relationships to build a brand.
One way by which TOMS lets others know what they are doing and how they can join in is through social media, especially through pictures and blogs. Most of TOMS customers also contribute to promoting the brand by talking about their own experiences with TOMS shoes; they do this through pictures, tweets etc. What better way to remain competitive than to get your own customers to talk about your brand themselves?
Worthy of note is how TOMS makes an effort to remain intimate with its target audience. This enables them to keep up with what their customers are saying about the brand, and what they can do in response. TOMS is doing so well that it has now expanded into other products such as eye-wear, bags, etc. still using its ‘one for one’ model. Founder, Blake Mycoskie puts it this way: “More [customers] understand what the impact of their purchase is on the rest of the world. By doing that, we are able to form loyal customers; we are attracting new customers.”
So, how to rise above the competition?
From the TOMS and Zappos stories, we can confidently say, it’s all about the people! Simply put, your business’ organizational culture should have the customer at the centre. You also need to pay much attention to your employees, so they feel a part of the brand. It can never be overemphasized….happy employees mean happy customers!
We hope this roadmap has been an enlightening and exciting one! Can’t wait to see your brand shine above the competition! What strategies have worked for you? Share with us in the comment section below.