Why Businesses Need a Blueprint to Ensure Success
If you’ve ever visited the World of Coca Cola in downtown Atlanta, you know why this iconic company continues to dominate its market year in and year out.
As I stepped into the museum recently, my eye immediately caught the company’s core values emblazoned on the wall in the lobby: “Refresh the World Inspire Moments of Optimism and Happiness. Create Value and Make a Difference.”
The message here is reflected in everything Coke does, including marketing. As I learned from my visit, Coke is focused more on the experience associated with its brand than on the product itself. Coke sells happiness in a bottle. It is not just because of their secret combination of carbonated water, sugar, caffeine, cola, and natural flavorings.
Compare their marketing approach to Pepsi’s. Pepsi has relied on celebrities to advertise its product, often with disastrous results. Remember the failed television ad in which supermodel Kendall Jenner offered a Pepsi to a cop while marching in a protest a few years ago? There was so much backlash to the ad that Pepsi pulled it off the air after just one day.
Coke has followed a well-developed strategy that any business hoping to succeed should follow. The key takeaway from Coke’s success is that businesses need to know who they are if they want to reach the top tier of their market. Understanding your business identity is critical to driving growth and finding new opportunities in your market.
Begin with a Plan
The first step businesses need is to answer a few key questions: What is the focus of your business? Who is your target market? What do you want to be known for?
If your business hasn’t mapped out those goals, you should create a blueprint by putting them down on paper. You’ll need this plan to help you overcome the obstacles you will likely face on the journey to creating a thriving business.
In the case of Coke, it’s clear that the company knows its identity, its strengths, its message, and its audience. Coke has also followed another critical business strategy — it has stayed in its lane.
While Coke has diversified into hundreds of other products, such as juice, water, sports drinks, and iced coffee, it is still a beverage company. PepsiCo, on the other hand, merged with Frito-Lay and owns Quaker Oats, Tostitos and a range of other food brands.
That expansion into new product lines has proved a distraction for Pepsi, while Coke has remained focused on its core business.
Coke’s market share has grown because it continues to reinforce the experience of the brand. Its Share a Coke campaign, for example, printed the most popular names on its bottles and cans in place of the company’s signature in markets in more than 50 countries.
Coke stated that the purpose of the campaign was to “create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness.” The campaign later evolved into the Share a Coke and a Song campaign, with popular song lyrics printed on Coke bottles.
Reimaging Your Brand
Companies that have been in business for a long time should revisit their goals. This will help them determine if they are serving unmet needs in their market. Businesses that are stagnating would benefit by developing a forward-thinking strategic blueprint to move forward.
As your business revises its strategy, remember not to deviate from your core values and services once it is created. It’s easier to build on what you’ve already done than to venture into a market that’s completely unrelated to your product.
For example, when we started working with Island Kayak Sailing Adventures (IKSA), there was no strategy in place. They had two main issues: no brand recognition and low revenue. Together we worked to develop a brand strategy that would solve these issues.
The previous key message focused on giving customers a different perspective of the island. But the audience didn’t understand what that meant. What attracted people to this tourist attraction was the user experience — having an exciting adventure while on a kayak.
En’liven Creative Agency (ECA) replaced the old motto — “(Re)Discover St. Croix from a New Perspective,’ — with one that appeals to the aspirations of potential customers: ‘Say yes to fun, sun, and adventure!’ Up front customers know what to expect and are excited to create unforgettable memories with friends and family.
IKSA’s core values is about resetting your mind, body, and spirit, so you can be more productive all around. Our research proved that watersports boost your mental health. Studies also show soaking up sunshine increases your serotonin, which stabilizes your mood and feelings of well-being and happiness. The other benefits include stress relief, self-esteem improvement and expanding one’s horizon.
IKSA’s branding lead to a new website, signage, proposals, promotional videos, and marketing materials to emphasize the company’s messaging and core values. IKSA is being positioned as one of the best local non-motorized water-sport experiences.
With brand clarity, messaging, value positioning, and long-term strategic planning, Island Kayak Sailing Adventures will be a highly known tourist attraction. Leveraging its kayak rental services in new directions, increasing revenues, market longevity, and community value.
Creating Your Blueprint
Businesses need to develop a strategy to ingrain their core values, as well as jumpstart their growth. This is the first step by creating a roadmap to use as a guide. Without a solid plan specifying which tools to use, businesses could make the mistake of moving down a path that leads to lost revenue.
One way to create a solid business plan is to hire an outside consultant who will evaluate your company. As a business owner, it’s hard to look at your situation objectively and develop opportunities that will open the door to new markets.
Looking for a new direction in your business? Get a free consultation by contacting Kimmisha (Kim) Michels, owner of En’liven Creative Agency. She is a brand strategist for small businesses, and government agencies. You can reach Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.