Big brands will always dominate the market. That shouldn’t come as news considering their incredible market share and their tremendous advertising and marketing budgets to guarantee it. Moreover, they have experience on their part, top-tier talent and a great deal of research. All these aspects will probably scare away some or sometimes all ambitious startups.
The good news is that there is a way to compete and even defeat the big players in the branding game. You just have to have an out-of-the-box mentality. Therefore, you need to put yourself in the shoes of young customers.
Just take into account the following two things:
First, not a single company benefited from brand loyalty or even affinity from the get go. Not even Nike, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Apple or Ford. The fact that friends and family have a great impact at a young age when it comes to influencing one’s exposure to brands, yet not necessarily loyalty, is highly debatable. The moment children reach the age of young adults, they will try to determine and establish their own identity, which encompasses branding themselves. This is the moment that marks the start of brand loyalty.
Second, for the generation I was brought up in and those prior, brand loyalty was in most cases determined by means of the television or being in every place we were, such as school, the food court, mall arcade, MTV.
Nowadays, this is not the case. Today’s youth are non-stop mobile, always with their smart devices in their hands. Moreover, they have the power to influence the decisions of a large number of friends simply by using the share button. For most entrepreneurs, getting in front of them at this stage proves to be a challenge. However, it’s better if you actually do this instead of competing with the big players on a larger scale.
To make sure that you have an advantage when it comes to brand loyalty, here are some strategies that may help you shift the efforts of your company towards the young adults who are always willing to consider and accept you as one of their favorite brands.
1. Be at the same level as them. When I was younger, people my age used to wear long hair, flannel while the discourse was influenced and revolved around Beavis and Butthead, Pearl Jam and so on. In my day, to impress young adults my age you had to be on the same level. This remains unchanged among today’s young entrepreneurs. To ensure that you are able to relate with your younger customers, the brand needs to understand their need and also empathize with what they’re talking about or thinking. Until you’re able to do this, you won’t be able to win them over.
2. Be in the same place they’re at. As I mentioned before, young adults are always mobile and social. Should you desire to reach out to them, you need to be in the same circles, whether it’s television, social media, streaming or even on-demand services.
Given the current technological boom, social media sites appear almost every day. And since the young adults are trying to establish their identity, they tend to move often, from one to another. That is why your brand should prove flexibility, savviness and willingness to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to trends.
3. Avoid assuming. If anything, the young generation is more informed than the past ones. Every single day they are fed or consume information and content from a multitude of different sources. Instead of thinking you already know what they want and trying to influence their way of thinking, try to constantly engage them so you can understand both their needs and desires. Afterwards, you can craft and hit the refresh button on your strategy as often as possible.
4. Offer high-quality products or services. While the degree to which you are able to grasp both the attention and loyalty of the young adults is important, you also need to offer outstanding products or services alongside an amazing experience. The moment you begin to struggle in this respect, the vast majority of your young audience will prefer to leave.
Apple has become one of the most valuable brands out there because they are able to relate to young generations who are purchasing their first computer, iPhone or other smart devices simply because they offer great experiences.
5. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you struggle in finding a way to reach and relate to the young generation, you only need to take a look at your most impressionable days. What determined and satisfied you to continue using a brand? Why were you willing to promote and buy a brand over another?
Regardless of the reasons, today’s generation is thinking and expecting for a similar if not the same experience. So, just treat them as you wanted to be treated.
To be able to compete with a big player you shouldn’t compete on the same level. The big players will sometimes be stuck in routines and ideas. Given the fact that they are known for slowly reacting to trends and market swings, your best chance is to step in when they don’t seem to connect with their base as much as they did and do everything within your powers to win them over.