In the last decade we have seen a great deal of improvement in the sophistication of business strategies. Through companies such as Apple and Amazon, the relationship that an organization holds with its customer has changed significantly and in this post we will look at the 5 companies that have stood out from the crowd.
The past decade has arguably been the most important in Apple’s history. Their iPhone range has become their most important product and continues to outsell itself each time a new edition is released, with the 5S and 5C models outselling the iPhone5 by 4 million units.
Their pricing strategy has never been about cutting costs, they’re a premium brand whose strategy has been to differentiate by quality. Coupled with relentless lifestyle marketing campaigns and a consistent brand image, they have been able to create a ‘halo effect’ where customers continually crave the latest Apple product as if it were actually an addictive substance.
Although more behind closed doors, Apple have also ramped up their Supply Chain strategies significantly over the decade. Whereas once on iPhone release day you were unlikely to leave the store with your new iPhone in hand, now, the chances are a lot higher. Slick supply chains have always been a guilty pleasure for Tim Cook, and he will be delighted that Apple’s supply chain strategy is getting their products to their stores quicker.
(2) Harley Davidson
In many ways, Harley Davidson is a unique brand. As connoisseurs of lifestyle branding, they have been selling emotive themes long before the term ‘social branding’ was created.
They did however face stiff competition from Japanese rivals like Suzuki at the turn of the decade – a trend that threatened to damage the stronghold they had enjoyed in the motorcycle industry for over 100 years.
In the face of this, they did what comes natural to them – create experiences for their customers. They now spend just 15% of their marketing budget on traditional media, instead concentrating on events like the ‘big bike party’ in Rome.
Customization as a strategy has also become rife, a development that Harley Davidson have fully embraced as an extension of their watertight relationship with their customers. It could be argued that Harley’s brand is a relevant as it was 100 years ago and still resonates with its customers strongly.
Over the past decade, Starbucks have become the go-to example for companies looking to interact with their customers. They are one of the most prolific company’s on social media, answering customer queries and recently embarking on a campaign where their baristas would get to know their customers to such a degree that they would be on first name terms with them.
They have also had an excellent mobile marketing strategy, which saw 26 million mobile transactions go through their app, a figure that cements their position as one of the pioneering mobile marketers.
(4) General Electric
The American multinational conglomerate, GE, embarked on a really interesting strategy in 2011, which saw them use their ‘experts’ to reinforce the quality of their products.
Through their company website you can find links to ‘the people that make GE work’, where you’ll be able to sift through their experts’ Twitter channels and hopefully profit from their expertise.
As an extension of this, they have also sponsored the magazine ‘Txchnologist’, a publication that looks to tackle the challenges of today’s climate through ‘industry, technology and ingenuity’. The magazine features stories from a wide range of topics, from life and nature to construction and is an excellent example of a content strategy being done properly.
You can’t mention Amazon and strategy together and not think about personalization. Their ‘recommendations’ tool must have seemed like there was a lot of hot air about it at the start, but in many ways it has revolutionized the way retailers think about their customers, and importantly, the data they create.
It kicked off a trend which has seen retailers in particular, use the streams at their disposal to give their customers what they want, when they want it. We’ve all heard the anecdote where Target finds out a girl is pregnant before she does – that is reality now for retailers and Amazon arguably started this off.