If you attended Natural Products Expo West this year, you know how many new companies have entered the natural, organic and healthy products market in recent months. The new entrants and innovation driving them are exciting, but the proliferation of brands and products make it that much more important for your company and brand to distinguish themselves. Here are 10 ways to help you build an organization and brand that will stand out from the crowd.
1. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
Be daring and take steps to ensure your company and your products stand out from the crowd. Look at what you did well in 2010 and what could have been different. Take bold steps to help your brand stand out in 2011.
2. HAVE A CLEAR PURPOSE
Make sure you have a clear and compelling mission and ask yourselves if you're living it. Make sure everyone on your team knows what it is, what business you’re in and what is expected of them. Look for creative ways to bring your mission to life with your team.
3. LISTEN AND HAVE SOMETHING COMPELLING TO SAY
Make a commitment to be a better listener. Commit to listening and then formulate your response. Actively seek your team’s input and feedback for new ideas. Listen to your consumers and understand what makes them tick. Listen to what they have to say and build a relevant and compelling conversation with them. Remember, if you’re not interesting or relevant, people will ignore you.
4. PICK A FIGHT
When you’ve got an opponent to beat, it increases your motivation to win; so choose an enemy to fight and rally your team around the battle. Make the enemy a competitor, a trend, or an element of your internal culture, and put it up on the wall so your team can find motivation and focus.
5. SET A BIG GOAL
Set at least one wild and audacious goal for 2011 — something you’ve never tried before. Outline the goal, share it with your team and challenge them to play their part in achieving it. Make sure you celebrate the small victories and successes along the journey.
6. INSPIRE YOUR TEAM
There’s nothing more important than your people, and there’s nothing more engaging than a team who feels acknowledged. Inspire them with your own attention and regular updates on the business. Also, bring in relevant speakers and articles to keep them challenged.
7. LAUGH A LOT
One of the best motivators for your team is a great work environment, and one of the best elements of a vibrant team environment is laughter. Next year, do small things that make your employees smile. Along with laughter and a light-hearted environment, small gestures or events can make a big difference. And the benefits won’t just stop with your team — they will show through everything that your brand does.
8. PLAN THE PLAN
Commit to setting time aside to plan your next year ahead. Set two days aside at the end of September every year to plan for the following year. Then, take a day out every quarter to review how you’re doing against the plan and revise it where necessary. Every brand needs a plan. Make a commitment to write one.
9. MAKE FRIENDS
Chart a "circle of love" and identify brands with similar values that you'd like to partner with in 2011. Assign someone to explore potential relationships and collaborations. You’ll be surprised by the results, even just the initial conversations you’ll have about your own brand.
10. SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION
Do what your mother told you! Thanking people goes a long way to create valued and appreciated fans both internally and externally. This year, find new ways to show you appreciate your team, your customers, and your partners in ways that truly make a difference in their lives. You’ll be surprised and delighted by the results.
Shawn Parr is the The Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, IDEO, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, Annie's Natural Foods and World Vision. Learn more at www.BulldogDrummond.com.