Growth & Overcoming The Seven Headwinds

GROWTH. If you’re not growing, you’re dying; and so every company is looking for growth of one kind or another–top line, bottom line or impact (preferably all three).

But there are seven headwinds to this growth we desire, which makes for tough sailing. Let’s quickly go over these before moving on to how we drive sustainable growth:

  1. Consumer empowerment
    There’s no hiding or bullshitting when consumers have all the information at their fingertips; they can go deep, compare, find out what others think and instantly reach thousands.
  2. Rapid Innovation & Mimicry
    It’s easier and faster than ever for others to simply copy what you’re doing, making competing on features and benefits moot as customs can soon find them everywhere.
  3. Shrinking Barriers to Entry
    Just about anyone can get in the game, creating more noise and consumer confusion, whether what they’re peddling is the real deal or not.
  4. Marketing Evolution & Cost
    Vehicles, tactics and algorithms are changing constantly. What worked yesterday or last season may not work well today, and what does work catches on fast (see #2), drawing more competition and, therefore, increased costs.
  5. Competition for Human Capital
    Great employees have never been more important, but they are hard to find and they are expensive–– especially when competing with the draw of Wall Street and big tech.
  6. Multi-Channel Complexity
    The addition of digital commerce and the shifting landscape of retail, combined with the consumer’s desire for –or rather, expectation of– instant gratification and a seamless multi-channel experience brings ever-increasing operational complexity.
  7. Price Pressure
    Larger companies, unable to compete due to headwinds 1-6 attempt a short-cut, race to the bottom on prices, taking smaller margins or even losses to push the competition out and with all that consumer empowerment, it’s easy to make the cheaper choice.   

The Antidote
The antidote to these headwinds is brand loyalty, an often misunderstood bond between the customer and the product or service provider. Let’s dispel the mysteries.

Brand Loyalty is the act of full price repeat purchases without considering the competition.

If consumers value what we stand for and want to represent those principles and values, we have the potential for brand loyalty.

When we repeatedly create customer experiences that exemplify our principles and values, we will attract and retain like-minded customers, cultivating brand loyalty: the key driver of high-margin sustainable growth.

Cultivating Loyalty
That growth all starts with defining our brand, our unique set of principles and values that create a one-of-kind value proposition. Historically, when a company set out to define its brand it turned to a creative agency. And while that ad, tagline, catchy jingle and image of happy people living their best life used to be enough, those days are gone (due in large part to those seven headwinds). What consumers experience today is our culture, not our marketing.

They are empowered with information, crave authenticity and demand accountability. They want to know what is happening inside our company, how we are living up to our brand promise and the experience others have had.

The brand ethos needs to be embodied in every decision the organization makes so that it authentically pours out of every consumer touch point.

The organizational filter, the people, processes and systems that make up your organization are what will define your brand, because it is these elements that define the customer experience.

  • People are decision making machines and the larger the organization, the more decisions are being made; centralized control of your brand ethos is not an option.
  • Processes are the guardrails to those decisions flying down the operational highway, they drive the flow of information and alignment.
  • Systems are the roads; they increase the speed of decisions, amplifying people and keeping them headed in the right direction

When we align our people, process and systems with our brand ethos, the organizational filter takes on an amplifying effect, attracting like-minded customers, building long-term relationships with those customers and transforming them into brand evangelists.

Building a brand and brand loyalty is no longer a marketing exercise; it’s organizational development. We’re here to help you fix, build and amplify your go-to-market organization.

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