Four ways businesses, brands and events stay relevant

The entire competitive spectrum around us – including best practices, competitors, customer expectations, trends, technologies and tools – is constantly changing. What was great yesterday is not necessarily going to be extraordinary tomorrow when everything shifts. The good news is staying ahead of the curve isn’t as hard as it seems: You don’t have to be psychic to see the future coming, just flexible enough to roll with the punches that it brings.
Four ways businesses, brands and events stay relevant
Several tactics can help you polish your crystal ball and stay relevant.

  • Abolish fear. It’s a killer of products, brands, businesses, careers and even entire markets because fear causes us to sit still when we need to be changing. The incessant remodeling all around us means it’s imperative that organizations encourage a culture of participation and experimentation and create the processes, platforms and tools that allow people to incubate new ideas. Successful leaders encourage teams, employees, organizations to step forward, to put themselves out there, to dare to be different – and give themselves to permission to fail, so long as it’s with a smart eye towards eventual success.
  • Stay on top of emerging trends and potential business opportunities. Gone are the days of fire-and-forget products and services, especially for those operating in high-tech fields like apps and software development. Once your core product is on the market, whether it’s a cutting-edge customer relationship management platform, real-time inventory solution or even just a neighbourhood legal or accounting practice, you can’t simply operate on cruise control. Update, iterate, prototype and react – the only thing you shouldn’t do is sit still, or accept a status quo, which is always temporal.
  • Invest in relationships. To remain relevant you must forge a direct and ongoing relationship with your clients. First establish running dialogue with your key constituents. By proactively taking steps to understand their needs and specific problems they’re looking to solve, you skip random guesswork and gain the opportunity to smartly and organically expand service offerings or value-added components. Then create a framework that allows constant communication. Whether you succeed or fail with individual offerings, client feedback can provide precious insights that will fuel the rapid iteration which will help you keep ahead of changing markets. Similarly, by conversing with clients (or attendees) and playing to their desires, you’ll not only generate new and potentially recurring event ideas, you’ll also present a ready excuse to keep all parties buzzing, thereby constantly staying top of mind and relevant.
  • Create fresh, new, original and arresting content. Important for any product or service (innovation and expansion are crucial to growing and retaining an audience), this is an especially important lesson to note for websites and social media channels. Although it may seem obvious, if you don’t engage in regular content refreshes, your site will be static and less likely to land high on a search engine’s list while your social channels will be hard-pressed to pique the continued interest of observers. Plan and commit to a schedule of ongoing updates. If you can’t find time to constantly contribute personally, enlist a peer, friend or family member to help – just make certain a sense of dynamism, activity and momentum are maintained. And from time to time, visit your site, account or service as if you’re a user who’s never seen it before and explore links or consume content to gain a sense of perspective. Also ask trusted advisors to contribute their insights and observations.

A few points to remember as you manage change and adapt to shifting markets:

  1. Create a culture of participation and experimentation, incubate new ideas, and give yourself permission to fail – so long as you do so strategically.
  2. Establish running dialogue with your key constituents – by proactively taking steps to understand their needs and specific problems they’re looking to solve, you can build powerful relationships, gain vital insights and create opportunity.
  3. Take a step back and see yourself through others’ eyes: Constant refinement and reinvention can help you remain topical and relevant.

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