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once said he only wanted “cool, good-looking people” to shop at his store and that “a lot of people don’t belong” in his company’s clothing. As a result, the retailer’s sales swiftly dropped by $60 million, and Jeffries was forced to retire soon after. It’s important to remember that being authentic doesn’t require you to share your darkest secrets, political views, or controversial opinions with your customers. But it does require you to support causes you care about, answer questions honestly, and be genuine. When push comes to shove, you have to choose your business. Do you want to blend in with the masses or do you want to build a business that stands out by genuinely engaging with consumers? The decision may seem easy, but “playing it safe” by using tired and overused marketing strategies is precisely that — safe. You won’t step on any toes, you won’t alienate potential customers, and you won’t cause rifts in the business community. But you also won’t stand out or stay relevant. The choice is up to you.
But the second you begin heavily regulating the way you think, act, and feel, potential consumers are going to turn away. If you’re considering using authentic content in your marketing, here are three reasons to reassure you that it’s a good idea.
Every business tries to cultivate distinct and engaging content, but no one wants to take a big risk and be rejected. The problem is that most companies tie unique selling propositions (USPs) to the features of their product or service rather than focusing on what is truly special about their business: its leader. If you want to distinguish yourself by using a USP, try marketing your individuality. You may find that people want to be a part of something more genuine than formulaic. In many cases, highlighting your personality with branding will end up garnering more respect from your customers than just going through the standard marketing motions. But if you’re not careful, this strategy can also go wildly astray. The companies who have failed in this respect are well-documented, and their sales have suffered. Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO, Michael Jeffries, IT’S RESPECTFUL
Marketing is all about creating a dialogue. Take a moment and think about the most significant conversations you’ve ever had. Did any of them begin with you using a formula of how to engage someone? Odds are the conversation resulted from sharing a genuine moment with someone you value. If your business is truly seeking to have meaningful dialogue with customers, the best way to do that is to treat them like you would a neighbor or friend. All good communication takes is a sender, a receiver, and a medium. If you open up a deliberate channel, you’ll be more accessible to your audience and have a greater opportunity to create new ideas and strategies with them.
When Life GivesYou Lemons ... 4 Business Lessons From Young Entrepreneurs
Lemonade stands are rumored to have originated with New York journalist Edward Bok, who, as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, sold ice water on hot summer days to thirsty passersby. When other water salespeople tried to move in on Bok’s profit, he got creative by adding lemon juice and eventually sugar to the mix. The result of this innovation? Sales soared.
says, “I advertised through Facebook and word of mouth. I created my own business page. I shared it with friends, family, and the community. ArkLaTex Horse Rescue advertised my stand, and I posted advertisements to many local Facebook groups as well.”
Lemonade stands continue to be a popular summer pastime for burgeoning entrepreneurs, and there are a few things we can learn from these humble business endeavors.
BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AROUND YOUR VALUES.
of the stand was frequented by many French- speaking Canadian customers, and since the friend was born in Montreal and spoke French, the girls greeted each customer in English and French. More conversation makes more sales. ASK FOR REFERRALS. Megan, kid entrepreneur and owner of “Dr. Megan’s Mad Mango Lemonade” in Louisiana, knows a thing or two about the value of word-of-mouth marketing. Megan makes sure customers have an easy time spreading the word about the refreshing lemonade. In her second summer running the stand, Megan
BE ADAPTABLE. Warren Buffet has had business on the brain since birth. During his childhood, when he noticed that a friend’s house got more foot traffic than his did, the future tycoon moved his lemonade stand to the prime realty. Buffett obviously benefited from this innovation; the jury is still out on his friend.
Have you heard of anyone starting a million- dollar lemonade stand? There’s one person who has, and her name is Alex. She was diagnosed with cancer as a young girl, and her determined spirit motivated her to fight back. She started a lemonade stand to raise money for other kids with cancer. The message of the stand with a purpose spread, and Alex raised $2,000 in a single day. Sadly, Alex passed away when she was 8, but her legacy continues to thrive through her family, who turned Alex’s Lemonade Stand into a foundation. It’s raised over $127 million for cancer research.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS.
When Ann Handley’s daughter and her friend opened up a lemonade stand, they found a way to connect with their demographic. The location
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