There was a business which positioned itself as the best friend of the frugal. Its mission statement described how it pulled out all stops to supply the budget-conscious with the best quality at the best price. The enterprise did well.
Then a relative who had studied design introduced into the chain upscale merchandise ranging from Coach-like pocketbooks to hand-crafted earrings. Those sold like hotcakes at premium prices. Yet, the business considered stopping the line because it conflicted with the mission statement. In short, what the business said about itself or its narrative was getting in the way of more revenue and profit, with not a lot of heavy lifting.
As the economy keeps changing and organizations find themselves with new challenges and opportunities, their narratives can be holding them back. They might have adopted a risk-averse stance, for example, in hard times. Now that times are better for them those narratives about staying the course are constraints on growth. A bakery whose story is about total indulgence is hesitating in introducing heathy desserts. A writing firm which has been serving small business and promotes that in all its marketing material feels it cannot bid on larger accounts.
In short, your organization’s story about itself or its narrative can have more negative impacts than any competitor might. Here are four tips on how to break the hold of the past on your present:
Identify your narrative and determine if it still is accurate. Remember that everything changes. You organization is continually reconfiguring itself and you might not have realigned your marketing materials, including the mission statement, to what is really happening now.
Calculate the risk of adding or deleting elements from your story. You might be considering adding “luxury you can afford” to your identity as an ecommerce company providing the best bargains of the web. The risk could be reduced if you phase in the phrase, along with the merchandise, “Including some luxury items you can afford.” Consumers are more apt to accept change that is introduced in small bites. Ask for feedback on the addition or deletion. Consumers love to express their opinion.
Conduct small experiements. Even a mom-and-pop business can do test marketing. All that takes is to conduct small experiments which do not disrupt the rest of the business. For instance, the bakery can restrict one shelf to healthy desserts and promote them in a muted way. If that turns out to be too quiet a launch, then the counter person can offer complimentary samples to customers and an employee dressed like a vegetable or fruit can distribute flyers about the introduction in the neighborhood.
Host a special event, all the better with partners. Stage celebrations to include consumers in what’s new which stays. Special events are becoming increasingly in demand because Americans, after so many tragedies and disappointments in the 21st century, want to come together and enjoy being with each other. Also, they are weary of digital connecting. The bakery which is grossing one-third of revenues through healthy desserts can orchestrate a celebration in the neighborhood. The theme can be taking care of ourselves. That can be done in partnership with other healthy players such as the yoga studio, gym, farmers’ market, and chain drug store.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on your positioning, marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.