Get Better With Age: Develop Your Business to Withstand the Test of Time

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Businesses that take off from the very beginning are rare, but even more rare are businesses that can withstand the test of time.

Businesses that take off from the very beginning are rare, but even more rare are businesses that can withstand the test of time. There will always be companies that you instantly recognize, usually because the business has been around for years.

Becoming known on a local, national, or even international scale in your industry doesn’t come overnight. It takes years of dedication, excellent marketing, and very few mistakes.

For example, everyone knows the name Coca-Cola. They’ve been around since 1886, when they sold their beverage for just 5 cents a glass at Dr. Pemberton’s Atlanta drug store. Since then, it’s become the world’s number one selling carbonated drink at soda fountains, restaurants, and grocery stores around the world.

This is mostly thanks to their popular product and excellent marketing efforts. Coca-Cola was also one of the first companies to take coupons to a national level. Their concentrated, ingenious marketing efforts are what have made them one of the most profitable products on a global scale.

On a more local level, consider stores like Dalys 1895. As the name suggests, this men’s high fashion clothing store has been open since 1895 in Houston, Texas. Their dedication to delivering strong customer service and high quality, trendy accessories has been the driving force for their local branches. They know that when doing business at a local level, keeping customers fiercely loyal to their products is the key to staying in business for 120 years and counting.

The dedication to customer service and product development that we see from these companies, and many others, shows that a strong brand can handle whatever life throws at them.

Both of these companies saw the dawn of the internet and the flood of marketing that has come since, and have continued to stand strong and use the economical changes to their advantage. This is saying a lot, since the average lifespan of a company is only 15 years. Any business can make the same thing happen for them if they work on a few key things.

Tell Your Story

If you look back on Coca-Cola’s 130-year history, you’ll probably remember the many stories they told through their marketing, most notably the ones with the polar bear and Santa Claus. Including these stories in their marketing efforts has taken them around the world, simply because they’re so memorable. It’s easy to recall a brand when it’s associated with a vivid story.

Another great example of this is Facebook. It’s been around for just 11 years, but that’s quite an accomplishment for becoming the number one social media network in the world.

Especially when you think about how it dwarfed all the other social media platforms, like MySpace and Flickr, along the way. How did it make it so far, so fast? Facebook is an entire website devoted to telling stories. Not every brand has the luxury of focusing all of its efforts on storytelling, but cleverly including a noteworthy experience here and there will connect brands with consumer loyalty.

Related Article: Telling Your Brand Story: How to Engage the Masses

Lean on the Crowd

If you have a great product and a strong marketing strategy, your target audience will likely be your greatest asset. One of the best ways to get your brand out there is through word of mouth.

In fact, 84 percent of consumers admit that they’ll trust friends and family about a product over any other source of marketing, and 68 percent say they’ll trust online opinions from consumers. In other words, it doesn’t matter so much who is saying they love your product, as long as they’re saying it.

Reach out to social influencers. On LinkedIn, these are the people that have 500 connections or more. On Facebook, it’s those with hundreds of comments, likes, and shares on their posts.

Offering incentives and asking influencers to test your products and share their experiences can reach a lot of people, allowing your brand to flourish through word of mouth alone.

Keep It Simple

Life is already too complicated for you to clutter things up more with your marketing efforts. Instead, try to add simple value without gimmicks and over-the-top performances.

Sell your product to consumers based on the sheer excellence of the product and transparent marketing techniques, rather than through shameless ploys.

Give Your Brand Depth

Real people have layers. They aren’t always the same on the inside as on the outside, and that’s something that everyone can connect with. If you want your business to last, humanize it by giving it a level of meaning and depth.

Customers enjoy peeling back the layers on a company one by one in search of something more. Whether it’s great customer service, a well-intentioned desire to make the world a better place, or a deep-rooted passion for a product, businesses that go deep will always last longer than those that are shallow and unconcerned.

Related Article: Content Marketing: 5 Tips for Better Brand Content

Focus on Content

The content on your website can be the key in telling a compelling story, relating to the audience, and building trust and credibility for your brand. Many marketing strategists are of the opinion that high-quality content is what builds a strong brand that can potentially last for centuries.

Form your content into a narrative to inspire your audiences to feel something when they see your brand. When you picture the Nike symbol in your head, how does it make you feel? You probably feel motivated to do amazing athletic feats. That’s the kind of reaction you want to get from your audience, and the blog posts you write, videos you develop, and data sets you display are the catalyst for that emotion.

A brand is nothing more than the feelings and thoughts a consumer has when they see the logo, product, or name, and companies that want to withstand the test of time will exude positive emotions in their customers. If consumers look at your brand and feel nothing, it’s time to take charge of your company and build your brand into something so memorable, it will last for years.

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