Building a positive consumer belief system about your company
One of the difficulties with running and growing a business is that with limited resources, business leaders must evaluate their resources choose the best investments in order to stay in business, or grow beyond current capabilities. Often, the most likely choices are those things that seem or hope to make immediate impact. Unfortunately, short-term thinking often yields short-term results.
As business leaders, when we look from the perspective of “slow and steady wins the race,” we are thinking in a way that will allow us to create a sustainable future for the companies we lead. This doesn’t mean that we do nothing while waiting for this big, magnanimous idea to present itself, or that we truly stand around and wait, but rather, that while we work, we make investments in activities that may not have immediate gratification.
An example of this might be marketing. If you look at larger companies – Cisco, HTC, Apple, J.D., Powers and Associate, BMW and many other companies, if you look at the way they have presented themselves over the years, they put less emphasis on selling products and more on positioning themselves as industry leaders. Their products change to meet the market needs, and consumers continue to purchase and believe until there is an overwhelming need to change.
Many people who believe in and have always purchased American-made cars would probably find it very difficult to nearly impossible to purchase a foreign model. You would find the same phenomenon when it comes to trying to get someone to change their religion. It would be easier to push a boulder up a mountain than to get someone to change their deeply held beliefs.
As business leaders, tapping into the belief policy means that you have an opportunity to shape the way consumers feel about your company. This means that your activities need to culminate at one point – thought leadership, product/service excellence, reliability, etc., – that will demonstrate your capabilities in a way that will shape peoples’ beliefs. If there are existing beliefs that need to be overcome, you will want to include this in your thinking. If there are differentiators that should be clearly defined and demonstrated, this needs to be at the forefront of your thinking.
Think about it: are smart phones truly that different? There are essentially a few operating systems to choose from, they do the same things, you might choose between speed, memory size and carrier, but you will probably find that there isn’t that much difference. Why is it that certain phones and certain manufacturers stand out? For most of us, it is based on a belief that we have about an incremental difference.
In the same way, because we operate in a competitive environment, your company needs to find a way to stand out – to be extraordinary – and have your audiences believe it! This is never a short-term process. Trust is built over time and will require long-term thinking to develop and follow through with crafting powerful beliefs about your company.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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