While many countries may still carry the scars of the great recession, business growth and sentiment is beginning to embark on an upward trend. This is particularly the case in Western society, with the British economy leading the way having recorded small enterprise growth of 7.4% during 2014.
Businesses have also prospered in the U.S., despite the fact that economic growth in this region declined by 2.6% during the final financial quarter of 2014. While this is largely positive news for small and medium sized ventures, however, it creates particularly competitive markets where businesses must be proactive if they are to earn a dominant share of their target audience.
How to Successfully Uphold your Business Image
While there are many steps that you can take to gain a competitive market edge during times of prosperity, you should start by reinforcing your businesses carefully cultivated image. This can help you to retain existing customers and successfully target new ones, so consider the following steps to achieving this: -
Add a New Dimension to your Brand
Your brand is the visual representation of the business, and therefore extremely influential in how the company is perceived. The values of your brand should have been carefully cultivated to resonate with target customers, but while these should remain the foundation of your business there is nothing wrong with looking to evolve them in line with changing consumer behaviour. By recognising emerging social and environmental issues and creating commercially viable solutions to tackle them, you can a new dimension to your brand and more effectively engage knowledgeable consumers.
Recognise the Importance of your Employees
While brand values and perception are crucial, they can easily be let down by the negligent or irresponsible actions of individual employees. After all, it is the thoughts and actions of your representatives that help to execute a carefully conceived brand vision, and even misdemeanours committed outside of work can undermine this effort. You need only look at the rising prevalence of drink driving across both genders to understand this further, as the financial and human cost of such abhorrent behaviour can irreparably damage businesses regardless of their profile. With this in mind, you will need to create a culture that empowers employees as highly valued brand ambassadors, so that they recognise the importance of representing your business in a professional manner at all times.
Invest in Customer Service as a Key Marketing Tool
Historically, businesses underestimated the importance of customer service and viewed it as little more than a costly irritant. Not only is excellent customer service now considered to be a proactive and effective form of marketing, however, but it also offers you a unique opportunity to improve the image of your business and sustain a more engaged consumer base. Simply by investing in defined and regular training programs for your customer service staff and enabling them to communicate with consumers at a time when they are at their most engaged with the brand, you can drive a positive reputation and commercial image.