Behind every successful business is an element of great marketing – and no-one knows this better than Richard Branson. But how do you make sure you’re getting your marketing right? The Virgin Group founder has some advice…
“The key to great marketing is storytelling. And as Hollywood, Bollywood and the books and magazine industries demonstrate, nothing sells better than a great love story,” he says in a recent blog. “You’re wise to be careful about where you spend your profits, but reinvesting in marketing – as long as it is done smartly – is vital to the growth of any business.”
Richard says that he’s found one of the most effective forms of marketing – especially for Virgin Atlantic – has been to position himself as a visible part of the business. But he also recommends telling customers’ stories and drawing on their experiences.
“Another angle to pursue is content marketing, which is a term for sharing wonderful stories that bring a smile to people’s faces, while also highlighting your brand values and products,” he says. “The best marketing you could wish for is already at your disposal: In this age of social media overload, it’s crucial to have a differentiator.”
You may need to use some of your budget to invest in paid social boosts to make sure the right people see them. “Using the targeting available on sites like Facebook, more people who might be interested will see your brand. In turn, old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing can then come into play alongside social sharing,” he explains.
Another route you could do is to consolidate your efforts to make one ‘big splash’ like Naja, an ethical and eco-friendly lingerie, swim and activewear brand did. “When launching a campaign for a ‘nude’ lingerie suitable for women of all skin tones, I urged founder Catalina Girald to invest in one eye-catching billboard, then tell the news media that it was part of a nationwide campaign. It’s something we did successfully with Virgin Atlantic, too, and it works well if the initial billboard is clever enough,” Richard says.
“Taking my advice, Catalina created a striking visual poster campaign in one fashionable New York subway station. Social media picked it up instantly, and press interest soon followed. It worked so well that website traffic quadrupled, press coverage exploded and sales soared. Now, that’s clever advertising and budget management! Consider how a similar campaign could work for you, and think creatively about how, when and where to execute it.”
Great marketing is all well and good, but Richard notes that it’s more important to define the purpose of your business and make sure it’s at the heart of everything you do. “That’s the most effective way to begin building a long-term future for your company. Try to delegate key tasks, so you have room to think about the bigger picture (but keep your eye on the detail, too). And while it’s great that you and your husband are partners who can bounce ideas off each other, consider recruiting people with additional skillsets as your business grows.”