The world of business has changed a lot in the last few years. Technology and marketing have created new avenues for businesses to reach clients. If in the past there was a time element that existed which played a role in how fast word got from one person to another, today it is instant. With such speed and advances that are currently available to anyone and everyone, there are 5 business essentials that haven’t lost their significance and relate to every and any business.
As many times in life, when something new comes along, we enter an adoption period, where the old can no longer function with the new nowhere to replace it. Yet, some things never seem to be replaceable. There are a few essentials that to this day, even technological advances cannot replace. Their quality has certainly been enhanced with technology, yet their essence still remains as crucial as ever before.
5 Business essentials that will never be outdated
The first business essential is branding. Branding at its core has little to do with design, and everything to do with psychology with a dash of sociology. Ever wondered why there are certain fonts, shapes, and colours that are used in branding? They did not come about from thin air, or because one person did it in the spur of the moment. There is a psychological explanation for the choice of every aspect of a brand’s branding. Studies have been conducted which show that people, on an unconscious level, are more confident and open when they see a certain colour. In the same way, as they may be more on alert or untrusting when seeing another colour. This has nothing to do with personal opinions, but rather, like the psychology of colour has shown, there are some general rules for everyone.
It may be hard to believe but we are yet to learn the capability and the minor triggers that play a role in our minds and eventually our perceptions. Branding plays a huge role in getting a silent message across to the audience on a subconscious level. Therefore, understanding how people react to certain elements such as colour, shapes, and fonts, separately and combined, is crucial in knowing how best to present your brand to the world.
Branding is not a fancy term to describe simple work in order to make it sound fancy. It is a simple term that describes the understanding of the complex minds of people. And doing so gives you the pieces of a puzzle that will help people recognize and connect to your brand on a psychological level, from the moment they are faced with it.
Today, of course, not everyone who specializes in branding uses the old school means of relying on psychology and understanding the delicate connections that our brains make. Many conduct market research to see what competitors and top brands in their industry are doing. By doing so, they collect all the information to get a picture of what they need to create visually. I won’t go into philosophy in this article, but it is no wonder that great philosophical minds have said that there is no such thing as creating something new. That which we call an original is somewhat of adoption of that which already exists.
This approach may certainly save time and be done by a designer, however, can also lack a deeper understanding of every element that branding needs on a psychological level, in order to build a connection with the audience that goes deeper than just the visual surface. Don’t get me wrong, there are old school branding experts out there and they easily stand out, however many businesses either underestimate their skills or do not understand just how important branding is.
The logo of a business stems from the branding and brand identity of the brand in question. The logo is not just a little written or drawn visual. It is a small visual that must translate an entire message of your business into one small image, making it another business essential. Ideally, it should be memorable and must stick in the mind of viewers. Imagine you are walking into a grand hall filled with people. Your only goal is to make a memorable impression on everyone present in the hall, and you only have one shot of doing this. That is your logo. You only have one shot at making an impression and trust me when I say that even though many seem to think a logo doesn’t matter, it does.
Your logo is equivalent to the first impression of your brand, which makes it a crucial business essential. People will either ignore it, have a lot to say about it, or remain in silence while the image settles deep in their minds. It is the third choice which is the long-lasting effect of a logo. The next time they will come across it, the memory will emerge from the depths of their minds and their minds will make connections, bringing together feelings and memories. All that is caused by a single image, which brings about an entire environment in their minds, all related to your brand.
So, until people will keep making their minds upon first impressions, logos will certainly be essential for any business. They are formulated based on branding and even though they can be adapted in time, they are normally kept within the branding guidelines of a business and reflect the brand’s identity. And if you are still not convinced of the power behind a logo check out the outrage from society when ZARA decided to adjust their brand’s logo. Their minimal changes to their logo had people questioning the motives and vision of the brand altogether.
Websites are also built around the brand guidelines of the brand. A brand’s website is probably one of the most important business essentials as they allow a visitor to experience and get a taste of the brand. Ever since the internet was there for everyone to use, websites became the permanent and unreplaceable source of expression, sharing, and connecting. Today, with social media platforms, some may think that a free online business page on Facebook or Instagram is enough for their business. These pages may be free, but they don’t give a business the ability of expression nor do they allow visitors to understand the brand in its wholeness.
Websites are virtual mini-worlds which not only reflect the brand’s nature, passions, and goals but allow users to get a glimpse of the brand’s world. The only thing that can get a client closer to the product, service or brand, is purchasing the product, service, or working with the business. Websites not only reflect the brand identity but allow owners to share information directly with visitors. Their structures are flexible and differ depending on the type of business. For artists and freelancers, websites act more as portfolios, allowing them to share their work, without limits to style or content. For businesses that sell products, websites give them the option not only to present their products in various ways but even to sell worldwide, without having to depend on third-party websites or platforms.
Today, technological progress has also enhanced websites not only in their speed, performance, and the diverse tools that the creators can use but also in terms of making money from visitors. Websites are no longer just virtual spaces. Many brands make a business from their websites. As mentioned earlier, advances have enhanced websites, however, the basic concept of a website is just as essential to any business today, as it was back when websites became an option to people.
Another crucial business essential is marketing. Marketing, at its core, does not belong to the field of business. It has existed long before, but only recently have we given it a term which the entire world now speaks of. In its pure essence, marketing is based on; 1. Human behavior, followed by 2. Human communication. Technically speaking, marketing has existed ever since the very first person, person 1 had something that they wanted to interest person 2 in. The approach they chose to introduce and interest person 2 in, is what we refer to as marketing.
Marketing, the same as language is fluid and is constantly changing. This is mainly because it is hard-wired to people, specifically the way we communicate and intake information. Marketing has become popular recently, so much so that some go so far as to say that it is what makes a business. I personally wouldn’t say that marketing makes a business, however, I would consider marketing more of a communication bridge between business and the audience. The absence of the bridge does not erase the existence or decrease the value of the business from our reality; however, it may make the connection between the two harder.
When it comes to the numerous approaches of marketing, it is important to use the tools that fit well with your brand and to carefully analyze what technique will suit your business and bring you to your goals. In reality, there is no ‘one rule’ for all. Just because a new marketing technique is out there and everyone is using it, it does not necessarily mean that it will work for your business. Not all businesses joined the social media micro-influencer trend once that came into the picture. Not all brands decided to follow that trend and, they didn’t run out of business either for not following suit.
The biggest downside to a new marketing trend is that many jump at it. Some choose it because it’s trending but that may not necessarily mean that it will suit their brand. Others try to ride the wave of trend and end up lost in the mass with others, whilst the majority want quick results in a short amount of time and usually opt-in for the option of less quality and more numbers. This hungry-driven number approach for social media advertising and the micro-influencer market resulted in there being too many ads and too many micro-influencers. The platforms simply became flooded with content that visitors mainly ignore now. There are many other issues that the social media micro-influencer and ads trend has created; however, I won’t be going into them now.
Going back to marketing techniques, we have been flooded with digital marketing, and truth be told, it seems more of a dying trend as there just seems to be too much of it and it has diluted its business essence. There is one person whose digital marketing strategies I share and that is an approach that I practice when dealing with digital marketing. I tried the whole mainstream approach and I not only hated it but I was put off social media in general. I then realized that I needed to use the tool as I needed and not as others claimed I should be using it. Roundabout the same time I came across some of the work of Sam Ovens, one of Forbes 30 under 30, who has also stepped away from what others say digital marketing should be like and has devised his own technique, where he uses digital marketing alongside other marketing techniques. These tools are adjusted and used in a way that suits him, which is pretty much what marketing should be.
Regardless of the marketing approach, you decide to opt-in for, always remember that marketing is less to do with business and everything to do with people. The idea of marketing is similar to that of branding, where you have old-school experts who understand the depth of the topic and what a huge and long-term impact an in-depth study can result in. And you have the majority of other experts who scratch the surface, using and reusing the ideas that are being used by others. In both cases, it is important to understand that when you have a deep understanding of the market you are working with and the nature of your brand, all the rest of the business essentials are simply tools for you to use and intensify that core essence of your brand.
Quality vs Quantity
This is not so much of a business essential as it is a question that at some point anyone who makes money from their work needs to ask themselves. It is a question that has always been there regardless of technological advances and resources, however, because of the fast-paced life we live in now, it seems to surface more than ever before. At some point, whether at the very beginning of developing your business or later down the line, the question of whether your aim is to focus on quality or quantity will arise. Some ask themselves this question and the answer to the question becomes part of the core nature of their brand, others come across it when it may be time to re-think business strategy.
There is no right answer to this question as it solely depends on your goal. The answer to the question, however, will help determine the approach you may want to take to get your business where you want it to be. This has a lot to do with the marketing techniques you will be choosing to communicate your brand to the audience, as well as the resources you will be needing.
Secondary to quality vs quantity is the matter of competition. Those who choose to stick to the old school mentality where there is competition amongst businesses are more likely to go towards the quantitative approach. This will more likely have them adapt their strategy in a way to surpass other businesses in their industry.
For those who choose the qualitative approach, their focus would place them on the opposite spectrum where they turn away from the concept of competing with others and focus their plans and resources towards investing in their business internally. This is an approach that would be highly reflected in the marketing approaches they choose. In such a case, it is more likely for them to invest in niche marketing rather than utilizing tools for vast marketing. For such businesses, their aim is to make a better product or service which will sell itself. Rather than focusing on numbers, they would be focusing on quality.
Our world has changed dramatically in the past decade and this has certainly shaken many of us to adjust and adapt. However, regardless of the technical advances that are brought to light, there is one aspect of our lives that will always be a constant; the fact that we are human beings and all these advances are created and carefully crafted to work in sync with our basic human tendencies.
These technologies get faster every day, but they also adapt to us and the way we think and react. Changes may seem vast and fast, however, at the end of the day, these technologies are here to be utilized if chosen to, by us.