Imagine this: My client; 4 talented and skilled consulting professionals, 3 years of unexpected and reactive business success, minimal marketing and branding efforts. Lucky. Now; only one major client and 6 months of cash flow before a decision must be taken to close the business down. Ouch! The big mistake my clients have been making? Becoming stagnant.
Doing the same things over and again (or, doing nothing at all). Not innovating. And consequently, becoming irrelevant in a fast-paced industry crowded with competitors. “Be distinct, or be extinct,” Tom Peters has urged us, or, in the words of a famous actress, “to become known, you have to be prepared to give up your anonymity.” Are you? Are you relevant?
Relevance is about owing a piece of mental real estate in your clients mind. By that I mean, having people think of you, regularly, think of your first, and to not miss out on thinking of you because you are an unknown, floating in the quagmire of sameness amongst the other people, brands and messages fighting for mental real estate.
In the most fundamental sense, relevance has to do with effectiveness of communication. It’s about connecting ourselves to other worldly realities (the market, our clients etc) in a way that ensures we resonate and that our current and future value is recognised. Relevance is what Madonna does intuitively, refreshing her brand to connect with an evolving market.
Avoid become outmoded
In my experience, when brands lose sight of relevance, it manifests in websites that are stale and outmoded (some events calendars on websites show the most current event as happening years ago), stop/start marketing initiatives coupled with lack of consistency on social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.), stop/start networking activities with no-show at industry events, and bio’s, profile’s and photographs that are outdated. Similarly, when brands do not innovate in terms of evolving or expanding their product portfolio, their offering can lose relevance amongst newer, more innovative products.
Here is the fundamental question to ask to test your relevancy: are you losing or gaining ground? Gaining? – keep at it! Losing? – so, what might you need to give up in order to become known?