By Jacques Hart
If you are not growing, you are stagnating. Particularly in the time of COVID-19, whereby industries are being roiled by change, anxiety, and uncertainty, this adage is more important than ever. To ensure your future growth prospects, it will be important to focus on not only what got you here, but what can help you survive and prosper in the new normal.
Roar Media was honored to be recently distinguished once again by The South Florida Business Journal as one of the 50 fastest-growing private companies in the state of Florida. We attribute much of our growth and success to the philosophy above, in which we are always striving for excellence in service of culture and identity, as well as evolving these to ensure they are relevant to current market conditions. More particularly, we have found that making investments in key areas is the foundation of our success; we believe our growth to be attributed to these six key fundamentals below.
Building your brand is going to be mission-critical in establishing your identity, underscoring who you are and what you stand for. To stand out in the noisy society we operate in, your brand must be perceived as innovative, different, invaluable, and forward-thinking. Brands that are perceived as traditional, staid, tired, or irrelevant will not gain traction, but those that are poppy, actionable, or disruptive will gain attention and make their marks in their respective industries. Your brand matters. Your logo, your color palette, your style guide, your messaging, your website are all very important in terms of how your customers perceive you and the value you bring them.
Building an engaging brand will also help shape your company culture. For example, at Roar Media, the icon in our logo is a lion. Our team members think of themselves as lions, being part of a larger pride that helps our clients rule the jungle. Tying this all together results in cohesive company culture and a memorable identity that sets us apart from our competitors on the open plain. Investing in your brand will pay dividends.
Covid-19 is forcing all industries to reexamine what their unique value proposition is and how they can better service new and ever-changing needs. The pandemic is forcing us to communicate and do business in other modes; as a result, it’s important to adapt and pivot your services to keep up with the shift in society to meet these new and evolving needs. Whether you sell automobiles, consumer packaged goods, or financial services, you must reexamine the types of services that you offer and ensure that there is a high level of utility and value in those services. Do they meet an unmet need in the marketplace? Do they solve a problem for your customers? Are they complementary or advance the value of other people’s companies or services? Aside from which services you decide to invest in, you also need to ensure that you are delivering your services in a manner in which end users can easily consume and interact with to their maximum impact. To do so, you must likely invest in new technologies, best practices, and ways of doing business. At Roar Media, we recognize that our client’s consumers are quickly moving online to source, buy, and service their solutions. As a result, our agency has invested heavily in e-commerce technologies that help our customers evolve from brick and mortar solutions providers into more digital-first e-commerce providers.
As you pivot and evolve your business, it is important to reexamine your human capital. If you are entering new marketplaces or delivering new services, you will have to ensure that your people are aligned with your brand promise. This may mean you have to make some difficult decisions between existing staff and new talent, and inevitably it means hiring new people who have 21st-century skills, knowledge, and experience to help you realize your vision. It is equally important to make sure that your existing staff can level up to these new expectations. Investing in mentorship, training, and certifications will help them contribute to the company’s new service lines.
Along the way, you cannot lose sight of ensuring that your team is inspired and motivated. Workforce dynamics have changed dramatically in the era of COVID-19. Quarantining and working from home often means that we are working more independently and without the same level of collaboration that you might experience in a more physical office space; now more than ever, it is important to focus on ensuring employee engagement and morale. At Roar Media, we’re addressing this by overly-communicating with our team members as to the status and direction of the company, providing a platform for ongoing training and certification, conducting fun and impromptu team building engagements, and providing team members with more mentorship and leadership than before.
Without the customary water cooler for the rapid exchange of ideas internally and the lack of impact that traditional media has due to quarantining at home, you must revisit the way you communicate both internally and externally.
Internally, it takes a tremendous amount of work to ensure your company is equipped with advanced virtual conferencing technology, real-time messaging tools, and collaborative and open calendars and content repositories. In addition to this, you must also intentionally schedule monthly touch-bases, quarterly reviews, and annual performances with your team. All the while, it is important to be clear, empathetic, and transparent in your communications and expectations of your company team members.
Externally, it is imperative that you get a pulse on your clients’ behavior, needs, and psyche. To do so, conducting focus groups, surveys, impromptu calls, and just flat out asking for their feedback is paramount to ensuring that your solutions meet their needs. Above all, it’s important that you’re incorporating internal and external feedback, adapting your products and services to these inputs, and closing the loop by effectively communicating these changes back to your constituents.
Technology is the lynchpin for your future success. Now is the time for you to evaluate your technology platform and assess whether your current technology vendors are meeting your needs, whether from a service or price perspective. If you find that they are not, identify and source new solutions that will help you get where you’re going. As a general principle, since the world is changing so quickly, it may not always make sense for you to build proprietary technologies in house, but rather license off the shelf and SAAS based technologies. Technology has the power to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and maximize revenues. If you have not invested in or are not happy with your CRM, your data reporting, your ERP, or your website, then now is the time to make changes. Use these technologies to guide your decision making, making sure that you are regularly polling and evaluating reporting to ensure that you are hitting your key metrics. At Roar Media, we leverage over 120 different licensed platforms that help us be the best marketers that we can be. We don’t just sign up for technologies, but rather lean into them by receiving demos, training, and orientations with our providers to leverage these tools to their maximum benefit.
Your clients are clearly the lifeline of your company, but COVID-19 is challenging your clients and customers in a number of new ways. It is vital to get a sense of what your clients’ aspirations are, what their challenges are, and what their pain points are. Investing in your clients now will create lasting loyalty in the future. Now is the time to go the extra mile, go above and beyond what is expected of you, be their partner, meet their needs, and provide value to them as they transition through the pandemic. Call your clients up and ask them what’s keeping them up at night. Read the news about your clients’ industries, view a seminar about your clients’ segments, read a white paper from an industry association, bury yourself into the psyche of your clients’ business so that you can become indispensable to them. This will ensure your everlasting partnership.
These guidelines above, while true and tried for Roar Media, may be different for your business as one size does not fit all; as you evolve through the pandemic, you’ll have to find the formula that works best for you. With that said, don’t lose sight of these guidelines along the way, as these are our tried and true best practices to accelerate company growth. At Roar Media, we have found value in these through trial and error and will continue to evolve them to ensure our companies best prospects. While we may not obtain the same growth we achieved in 2019, by implementing these practices, we will at least capture new opportunities and position ourselves to emerge as a stronger and better company.
Roar Media was distinguished by The South Florida Business Journal as one of Florida’s 50 fastest-growing private companies. Learn more here; https://tinyurl.com/y37f9c9p