I have been scavenging my way through books and systems to understand this constantly evolving technique which they refer to as marketing. To the faintest of my memory, I fail to recall where exactly did this curiosity of mine for marketing and branding take root from. However, what I can remember is that now whenever I hear the expression, all I can think of is innovation, creativity and novelty — an ability to instil a sentiment in the minds of people which they would share for generations to come.
Take MDH uncle, for instance, he invented what constitutes one of the fondest memories of our childhood — sitting with our families watching television and this advertisement pops out of nowhere which has left a faint recollection in all of our minds till date, so much so that the entire nation mourned MDH uncle’s passing, probably because it marked the passing of an era, a generation and an entire sentiment.
Now, this is the kind of impact and legacy I would want to leave behind. After a considerable amount of brainstorming and standardizing, I have narrowed it down to the following: something if implemented with careful action and thought can help your business grow substantially.
Where to start from?
This is something most of us are stuck at, right? Now there are three categories here. The first category constitutes the kind of people who procrastinate just enough so that they think they do not have the apt skill set or the experience to start something anew. They have chosen to give in to their resistance and play it ‘safe’. And that’s absolutely alright for them if that’s what makes them happy and contended.
The second category constitutes the kind who have the zeal and passion to change something. They don’t like the status quo and know that they have the power to change something. The bottleneck then becomes that they look for the right opportunity, the right idea, the right moment to kickstart the life they always envisioned for themselves. But you see, nothing ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ has ever existed in the history of time. The inspiration you’re looking for is probably sitting right in front of you, but you’re so busy looking everywhere else that you tend to forget that magic and innovation lies in the smallest of things and efforts. Think but do not overthink.
Start right where you are. Start writing. Start creating. The world will open its arms to you and you’ll end up creating something beautiful. But beauty doesn’t lie in perfection. The first draft is never perfect. There will always be something you could have done differently. But that’s the thing about innovation, right? It’s your idea, no one take that away from you. It’s not going anywhere, you can always come back to it and revise it but the idea of doing it perfectly in the first go may end up you, not doing it ever.
The third kind constitutes those who have the right idea and skillsets but do not believe in themselves enough to open themselves to the world.
Identifying Your Audience
This one’s the foremost and the most crucial step. It’s futile to go on creating, branding and marketing your product unless you know exactly whom you are intending on targeting and building your brand for. For then you would be able to understand and empathize with their needs, interests. What resonates and clicks with them? What would make their lives easier? Is there a way you can remove a certain quotient out of their lives so that the remainder becomes happier and more productive? If you have these answers, you have your audience there, mate. If not, keep looking.
This is all where it starts, and this is exactly where some of the most brilliant marketing campaigns lack upon. It’s easier to overlook the quality and creativity of content as long as you think it’s reaching your audience via sufficient outlets and so, it doesn’t matter, right?
Well, here’s the secret: it doesn’t matter if your content reaches thousands or even millions for that matter until and unless it is noticeable enough for the viewer to stop their set of daily activities and look at it for a minute. You see, most of us are already busy in our everyday lives with classes, work, and assignments, and the little time we do get to get ourselves that cup of coffee and scroll through our Instagram feed, unless your content resonates with us on a personal level, unless it makes us think and wonder unless it answers our questions or needs in some way, unless it’s imaginative enough for us to put our imaginations on a standstill — that’s all we’ll end up doing, scrolling upwards.
The Practicality Component
So, I have worked with a number of brands and start-ups and one thing that has remained constant is that while brainstorming, we have come up with some of the most amazing ideas as to how to build the brand, how to go about marketing the product, the kind of content we want to have, how do we get it to our target audience, etc. but most of them were never implemented and that’s probably because while brainstorming, we tend to come up with a bunch of ideas which would never really be implemented- either they are too ambitious as they call it or not what the organisation needs at that point of time.
While it’s okay and in fact amazing to have so many possible outcomes and execution in mind, it’s also extremely important to streamline your thoughts and only shortlist the ones that are actually proportional to the growth and brand of your organisation, in some or the other way, no matter how insignificant.
Building Relations and Follow-ups
Again, this is where the game begins and ends. A lot of organisations fail to pay any heed to build client as well as B2B relations. I’d try and explain this from a first-hand experience. I am working with an ed-tech startup, these days and when I initially joined the organisation, we used to get 10–30 leads per week. However, after a thorough discussion with my manager, we came to a conclusion that we need to up our relation game, and so I reached out to all the societies and placement cells (the primary channel for marketing our product), got on a call with the heads, and as a result, not only did our number of leads increased substantially (100+ per week) but also we got a number of sustainable partnerships with these placement cells and cities, who now just market our content without any questions. We gave them what they wanted- new opportunities a very week, and in return, we got a sustainable medium for our product to reach a wide range of students.
Consequentially, what also then becomes pertinent to understand is that it doesn’t work in a way where you just build the partnerships and ten you go AWOL. it’s important to reach out to them on a weekly basis so as to understand their needs and incorporate any feedback that they may have into your services,
You don’t teach an artist or a singer or a painter their art and so this pertains to all the amazing content creators and creative enhancers that your start-up has.
Photographers. Graphic designers. Social media managers. Writers. Marketers. You need to trust in the ability and potential of the people you hire and give them enough space to breathe and create the art that would make your organisation the next best thing. MIcromanaging can be extremely tempting, however, we must resist the urge ’cause trust me they know their art. Ayush Wadhwa, a filmmaker and online content creator comments, “There is no greater joy when someone comes to an artist and says that they can be as creative as possible and explore and experiment with whatever they want and that they ‘we trust you and your art” — that’s where some of the best work takes shape from ’cause then there are no limitations and an artist can blend his understanding if an idea into his art and creativity. So, just hire the best people you know, and then, let them produce their best work.
Social Media has changed the dynamics of marketing and content creation to a great extent. Naval Ravikant in a tweet said “The internet has broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.” And so even the content that is created and marketed takes inspiration from and dives into the internet of various possibilities and probabilities. The challenge, then, becomes not giving into the social dilemma like most of them out there. Instagram, LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter etc. become the key channels communicating your ideas to a larger audience. Want to brand your product and target the youth? Open an Instagram page and start putting up reels and stories. Want to target businesses and other startups? Connect with them personally on LinkedIn. Want to create an impact? Join Quora and share all your knowledge and experiences with the world out there. Want to make your business scintillating? Post a tweet.
Thus, all that you need for you and your business to thrive persists in the very intricacies that we miss out on. You just need to look harder!