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Ticking off your 2012 business bucket list

Don’t rely on the excuse that you need to “wait for the economy to pick-up” before improving your business, check these five aspects off your 2012 bucket list now.

If you recall the 2007 movie The Bucket List, corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers meet in hospital and decide to do the things they’ve always wanted to do before they die. So why not take the same approach to your business right now and prepare your ‘Business Bucket List’?

Instead of ‘waiting for the economy to pick-up’ or ‘getting ready for the next big wave’ – imagine you only have a year to improve your business and make a lot of money what would you do?

Let’s get started with five items for business growth and survival that definitely should be on your Business Bucket List …

1. Create a brand not a business

Understanding the term ‘branding’ is the first step to successfully building a brand. Search Google for ‘brand terms’ and get an impressive list of 13,400,000 results, from which you probably only need six …

  • Brand Promise – your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and the benefits you deliver;
  • Brand Identity – the mark/s that visually present your brand;
  • Brand Image – the set of beliefs around what your brand stands for Brand Strategy – how you promote and build a positive perception in your customer’s mind;
  • Brand Positioning – how your brand stands against others; and
  • Brand Management – maintaining consistency with your brand.

Make sure you have all the elements of a strong brand and not just a pretty logo – it’s really one of the best investments you’ll make.

2. Own your slice of the market

You need to own your part of the market place and make sure that it is a ‘viable’ piece to own – Kodak the film manufacturer did this but failed to change and technology moved from traditional film to digital, now they face impending bankruptcy. Look at trends in the market, survey your customers to better understand their needs and keep innovative always!

Your brand needs to be easily identified and recognised for the niche market that you want to own and not confuse the audience  – simpler is better.

3. Create an online experience not just a website!

Invest in an online business platform instead of just a smart looking website, it’s what’s under the hood that counts! It should include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, an e-newsletter and Blog platform that links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media marketing platforms and effective search engine optimisation.

4. Embrace the world of digital video

They say a picture says a thousand words, well high definition digital video ‘shows’ a thousand words. The biggest driver of growth on the net is video with over 3 billion videos viewed a day on YouTube alone. Video can be used in so many professional and innovative ways including product demos, factory walk-throughs, time-lapse project completions, client testimonials, key management interviews and corporate profiles. Create some content and then establish your own YouTube Channel!

5. Get more bang for your buck

Get a bigger bang for your marketing dollar by cutting out wasted, non-effective marketing activities. To do this however you need to measure what works and what doesn’t – very difficult to do with traditional methods like direct mail or print advertising, but extremely easy and accurate with online marketing.

Google AdWords campaigns can be targeted to specific keyword searches that take place in a specific geographical area. You can instantly see what ones are working and which are not, make adjustments to your campaign in real-time and even change the ad or have multiple ads on the one campaign. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques can also bring you from obscurity on the net to number one on Google for nominated key phrase searches.

So try things a little differently this year – just because everyone in your industry is doing things a certain way, that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Get creative, be innovative and demand to be noticed for doing things uniquely.

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Tony Eades

Tony Eades

Tony Eades is the creative director of the BrandManager, a creative, marketing and communications agency based in Sydney and Perth. He is a business branding expert with more than 20 years experience in design, marketing, advertising and media production.

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