*by Andy Reid
The Vespa has always been an object of great admiration. But when I first brought Vespas to South Africa, turning that admiration into sales proved to be a challenging journey. Only by completely transforming my business strategy, was I able to turn admirers to loyal riders. Here are my top ten tips for branding success:
1. Go big or go home
Invest and commit – the more you put in, the more you get out. Every decision you make influences the direction your company takes. No revolutionary ideas were born from taking it easy or playing it safe.
2. Get organised
Understanding exactly what you need to deliver will ensure success. Carefully map out your daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists – meticulous planning is essential. Sitting back and hoping to reach your targets or goals is not an option.
3. Empty diary, empty business
Never have empty space in your diary – it means you wait for things to happen, rather than making them happen. Time is everything, and the way you use it reflects your character and business.
4. It’s all about the follow through
If you have an idea, get on it immediately. Act on your game plan. This is particularly important in a target driven industry, but is sound advice for any business. Follow through is what sets dreamers apart from achievers.
5. People first
A successful business is the result of a passionate and fulfilled staff complement. Always look for motivated individuals that are keen to progress, and can stick to a plan. Nurturing staff is vital for continued excellence.
6. Sell the experience
Showing people a product – and all the bells and whistles included – is easy. Getting them to buy into an experience is a lot more interesting. Creating an interactive experience gives customers more than just a product and nurtures loyalty. Everyone wants to be part of something. Recognising that will put you in a league of your own.
7. Always be on the hunt for what’s new and exciting
You may have an amazing business idea this year, but that idea needs to be relevant in five years. Stay abreast of new trends relevant to your product or start trends yourself. You’re only as good as your latest offering.
8. Give them what they want
Look for innovation from your customers – they’re the ones who are most critical and know what they want.
9. Network, network, network
Keep good company that will help boost your business. Surround yourself with intelligent people who can be a source of constant learning. Get involved with professional organisations to interact with like-minded individuals.
10. Views, tweets, likes – find your brand its match
If you don’t have an online presence you’ll get left behind. Use social media as a tool to stay relevant and connected. Share product experiences in different ways that suit your offering, and look for honest feedback.
* Andy Reid is MD of Vespa SA. For more information on products and to book a free riding lesson at the Vespa outlets in Cape Town, Durban, Design Quarter, Wynberg or Melrose Arch visit www.vespa.co.za or call 08610 VESPA.