I have a childhood friend who is a top fashion designer. Whenever I am in her city I make it a point to visit her chic and upmarket studio. Other than wanting to catch up with an old friend, I'm always curious to learn about another industry and what may be applied to the work I do as a management consultant. I have questioned her over and over on business models, business plans, customer acquisition strategy- blah blah. But, I can summarize my learnings in three simple statements:
1. Be a trend setter - The Fashion Industry does not do market research on what customers want , because customers do not know what they want from fashion. They are waiting to be told and will follow. The industry captures latent need.
So, let your imagination flow, think future, think of elements that will help them outshine others and offer that product/service.
Question - What part of you business/job do you think you can set a trend in? It will set you apart for sure.
2. Customise.Customise. Customise - On every visit I've made to my friend's studio , I have always met a celebrity (another reason I drop in ;)). Movie Stars, Fashionistas, Rich Housewives. They come because they are treated very well, its the place to be seen and they get asked what they really need and feel good about what they get. They are the loyal customers who come over and over again.
Question - When was it the last time your client/customer felt great about what you delivered to them because they felt special and taken care of ( the emphasis is on the felt)?
3. Being "with" the right audience - These celebrities, bring in more celebrities - it works on word of mouth. Because they are seen at the right places wearing these clothes, and inevitably the conversation drifts to "who are you wearing"? its the classic snowball effect, especially before a new season.
Question: Are you meeting/hanging around with the "right" people, who can be your word of mouth at the right forums? If not start now!
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.