Surviving in an Industry with Low Barriers to Entry

When it comes to advertising, change is the only constant. With the industry recording double-digit growth Y-o-Y, it is on the cusp of a great shake-out. But it’s not just the growing technological advancements advertisers have to keep up with, the nature and size of competition to are changing! With limited entry barriers, it’s not just the traditional industry competitors and needs to keep an eye on, but new entrants from outside the industry, equipped with digitally-based business models. 

As the industry continues to welcome newbies of all sizes, backgrounds and competencies, with open arms and no strings attached, let’s not forget our existence within the ecosystem. The scale at which the industry is witnessing the digital transformation, to “coexist” simply isn’t enough to make a cut. So, while barriers to entry are minimal, if you don't disrupt your own business, someone else will. 

Here’s a four-point checklist to prosper in these disruptive times. 

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Planning in Advance

I had a client who went from selling clothes to manufacturing their own shoe brand. They had this whole plan of how they were going to go to China, produce 2000 pairs of shoes and sell them to Edgar's and all these other stores and make money to go back and buy more. That's exactly what they did but by the time they went to sell the shoes Edgars had already stocked for the next 2 seasons and told them their range was too small. See what the client didnt realize is that in order to stay ahead, professional companies need to plan in advance and can't afford to be caught on the back foot and risk making hasty decisions.

This is a mistake alot of small new businesses make. Once they go into business they rush into setup before proper planning and making crucial decisions about who we are as a business and what we stand for. It's a mistake most new businesses make. Being too focused on the products and services, forgetting the details around them.

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How far can your brand's design go?

We're all familiar with the standard corporate identity designs of a logo,  business card, letterhead, email signature etc. These are essentially all created to differentiate you and help customers decide if you represent them or another type of customer. But how far can a company go to differentiate itself beyond the usual stationery items?

The bigger you get as a company, the more sophisticated the competition becomes. In turn you need to be more proactive and more deliberate in trying to stand out to compete effectively. And how would you achieve this you might ask? Many companies take their branding a few steps further.

They develop characteristics for all of their communications, like a brand personality of sorts, and all the branding elements will use those definitions to guide the design. A good example would be Nandos. Every element of how they communicate to their customers is unique to them. Ever notice that they even have their own font, distinct colors and a consistent theme they stick to in all advertising? Here are more elements you can add to your branding to better position your company against competitors:

1. Custom Typeface: An original logo icon is great but a custom typeface for the logo's text can add that extra level of sophistication no one can copy.
2. Custom Icons: To be a leader in your industry you can't be seen to be using the same design elements as everyone else. So companies will also design their own icons unique to them.
3. Custom font: You can create a full alphabet that only your company can use in your promotions to make you even more distinct.
4. Culture/Personality: You can decide how you want your brand to present itself to its audience and make sure you use the correct words and expressions that suit your company culture.
5. Custom graphics/Imaging: Having a consistent theme of how your imaging and graphics look does alot to create familiarity and build trust with your audience aswell.

The more indepth your brand's designs go, the more layered your marketing  efforts can be and the more credible you will appear.


Why is your website not working for you?

Well let's first ask the question; why did you decide to get a website and what did you expect the website to do for you? 

Websites remind me of Verimark products. You see this advert that promises a product that can do so much; you buy the product, use it once or twice, then forget about it while it collects dust in the cupboard. That's what small businesses do with their websites, we don't know how to fully utilise them so we leave them on the net to collect random coincidental views.

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