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  • Writer's pictureAlex Johns


Updated: May 1, 2018

A few things that might help you think about your businesses direction of travel in a little more detail. Don't leave these things to chance, they are crucial for your businesses success...


So in the midst of businesses like Toys R Us going bust or well known restaurant chains like Prezzo, Carluccios, Jamies, Byron calling in the receivers or closing stores frantically, I've wondered what makes a brand or business go from good to great. Its the age old question and if the answer were simple everyone would do it, however I think there are few things that you can do to check you are as good as you can be & a few examples of businesses out there doing things well...

So in no particular order, here goes:

1. Product:

Sounds obvious and I hear you but is your product as good as it can be? Take a simple thing like a mattress, a few years back, you would go down to one of those stores out of town or perhaps try House of Fraser and the whole product area was undifferentiated, it was tough to see the wood from the trees. Well today that market has exploded with brands like Simba and Eve ahead of the curve as their product and the way they sell it speaks to todays audience. Its become a cool purchase, one you might tell your mates about, 5 years ago you definitely would'nt!

2. Staff:

Again so simple but how many businesses out there today really nail this? Not many and when you get great service, its memorable. Now I've had to search the old memory banks a bit to remember the last time I got really good customer service, that effortless, relaxed kind that immediately put me at ease and then I remembered a wonderful restaurant we ate at in Copenhagen recently called Fiskebaren where the staff where immaculate (and so was the product) but wow what a difference that made to the experience.

3. It's Local

Now this one can work online or offline but is becoming more and more important. I'm pretty sure that businesses that can make their offer local and relevant to its surroundings is going to win. So a store chain which embeds itself in its vicinity in everything it does to an online company who delivers to you really quickly like Amazon obviously but there are others who make you feel a little bit special to be a part of the journey, they understand where you live and make their marketing relevant and not broad brush. For this one I'm going to go with Planet Organic, their store down the road from where I live has been made to feel local & more should work harder to be so.

4. Simplicity

I'm not quite sure what I mean here but you know when you have such a good experience of a business, its just so simple to use and excellent in its delivery, well that makes a business. I'm going with Moo here, brilliant business, I love it.

5. The Little Things

I think this is really important. Those little touches which make you remember the business and go back for more. This is a slightly lost art in the fast, always on world we live in but I think there's still a place for it. There are a few I would choose but I'm going with Majestic Wine, not always praised by the market but every time I go there I love the experience of their stores. Free tasting, boxes carried to your car, your previous order remembered, immediately asked for help etc. I'm a fan of those little touches.

6. Value

I don't mean cheap here, I mean value for your money which is rather difficult to quantify and is normally assessed at the end of the experience or a day or so after you have purchased it. I think its important in the round and will keep people coming back for more. My vote goes to Uber here, yep its a no brainer in a world where we used to get black cabs everywhere & pay double what we do now. Sorry cabbies (I know your pricing policy is hamstrung by LUL)

7. Passion

This should be indelibly marked on your brands DNA, it should filter through everything you do but sadly it doesn't always seem to be so. Passionate brands are invariable better than lifeless ones going along for the ride, they don't try too hard, they just know their stuff and have a quiet confidence about them, they make you feel special and they get your talking about them proudly. I could pick a few which have that lustre but I'm going with an event which oozes passion, yes its niche but its a pretty slick experience for those that haven't been (and if you aren't into horse racing just go once and see what I mean).

8. Authentic

Autenticity is earned and can't be faked, again its embedded in its being and you can almost sense it when you eat, drink, touch, swipe, wear or drive it and it will mean hugely different things to different ages and genders. For me, a brand which oozes authenticity and is doing great job at keeping itself authentic whilst maintaining its relevance is my favourite shoe brand Grenson.

9. Credible

Brands which deeply understand where they sit and what will keep customers coming back for more are credible, they just get it and do everything they can to maintain it so that their customers trust them no matter what. In today's world that means gender equality, that means being conscious (see next point), that means just getting it and going the extra mile. I'm steering away from some of the worlds really big credible brands like Apple & instead opting for an airline who does a pretty good job, in tough times, to stay credible.

10. Conscious

Perhaps more important than ever for the younger millennials that are our customers. I think it matters to understand the climate and do what you can to make it greener and I really wish more businesses would do their bit, a business which is doing a great job at being overtly conscious is & other stories, I really like the way they do things.

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