Three Reasons Why Independent Businesses Need Authentic Key Messages To Succeed
- 1. Avoid Direct Competition.
Whether your company operates clothing boutiques, sells insurance and investment products, or makes violins by custom-order, it’s the same. The availability of substitutes or alternatives has grown while communications technology has rendered the world a global village. Because of this, a company not seen as irreplaceable (must-see experts, the leading product, or the highest overall value) increasingly becomes positioned as one of many.
This is how trying harder and doing things that reduce profit margins (e.g. discounting prices, reducing commissions, providing free shipping anywhere) become default ways of competing for business. These can reduce overall profitability and can shorten the life of a company.
With credible, meaningful, authentic key messages, an independent company can claim its turf as must-see experts or the leading product or the highest overall value for its unique value proposition. By doing this effectively, not only can a company avoid direct competition but even grow in service to its niche, serving a broader geographic market than it would serve otherwise, courtesy of the same communications technologies that make intelligently focused niche marketing so important today.
- 2. Deepen customer loyalty.
A key message concisely communicates identity and purpose, ideally in terms that the target market accepts instantly. Thus, not only can an effective key message (e.g. name, motto, value proposition) gain intuitive acceptance but it can also strike a chord with the values of the market.
Key messages that authentically affirm and harmonize with the market’s values can deepen the sense of personal alignment that loyal clients already feel. This can better ensure their continued purchasing, more business per customer over a given period, and more referrals.
For example, the motto Nothing runs like a Deere from John Deere has transformed some loyal users of John Deere equipment into more dedicated customers. The slogan is so right for some people that it catalyzes their brand loyalty to the point where they do not envision themselves owning any other brand. They talk like it, too. This makes them like an unpaid sales force for John Deere. The rightness of that motto for them encapsulates an overall-positive brand experience into something more.
- 3. A narrower focus gives a broader reach.
Independent businesses that use authentic key messages to distinguish themselves from competitors and develop greater depth of relationship with their customers often find that narrowing their focus (e.g. from generalists to specialists) is inevitable.
To some, a narrower focus intuitively means limitation and sacrificed opportunity. In some cases, this could be true. On the other hand, independent businesses that narrow their focus often discover that the strengthened status as a specialist brand draws more new business from further afield.
Suppose you go to your family doctor with some health problem. The doctor prescribes treatment and instructs you to return if the condition does not improve in a short time. After a short time, you return with poor results. The doctor then refers you to a specialist.
It’s inconvenient to see the specialist. Yet, you accept this. Care for your ailment has escalated. The specialist assesses your situation and refers you to a more specialized expert in your situation.
Further inconvenience to see the third doctor does not stop you. According to the first two doctors, your medical situation makes it necessary. You view the third doctor as offering the best care and of highest importance in treating your condition.
This principle applies in business situations too. The more a company is perceived as having special expertise, the higher the market values its products and services and the broader its geographic reach.
For the independent business that intelligently uses authentic key messages in its marketing and brand management, competition can be reduced or avoided entirely, customer loyalty increased, and customers willing to pay more could come from farther away. These are three reasons why independent businesses need authentic, compelling key messages to succeed today.
– Glenn R. Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.