We're approaching the end of Q3, and 2019 is looming on the horizon. As you execute the rest of your plan for this year, there's no doubt you're already building initiatives for after the flip of the calendar. But what good is a plan if you don’t stick to it? If you ask Trent Moffat, owner of Gotham Brands, he’d probably tell you what he told us: “If you’ve got a plan and you don’t do anything with it, it’s a waste of time.”
As a brand management company, Gotham is responsible for representing different businesses through merchandising, selling, and street team services. “Gotham does it all!” says one of their customers. “Merchandising placement and professional demo teams.” Their attention to detail, market knowledge, and strong customer relationships show that as far as execution goes, Gotham has some serious skills. So how do they do it, and how can you make sure your brand is executing with the same precision this year? Read on for some tips.
Set SMART Goals
Part of Gotham’s success has come from their attention to detail, something many companies lose sight of while staring at the big picture. Avoid this mistake in 2018 by using the SMART framework, which you are probably already familiar with. As a refresher, SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Instead of making just one plan for the entire year, consider focusing on shorter periods of time and plug those SMART plans into your overarching strategy for the year. Doing so empowers you to keep your eye on the prize while staying on top of the day-to-day functions that are necessary to get you there. Using this strategy, here are some questions to ask yourself while planning:
- Specific - Have I clearly defined what I want to achieve during this period of time?
- Measurable - Is there a way for me to measure and understand my progress towards this goal? (ex. Increasing sales by X percent by Y date.)
- Attainable - Is this goal too ambitious? Is it achievable only if I exhaust all of my resources?
- Relevant - How is this goal relating back to the big picture and my brand’s long-term goals?
- Timely - Is the time frame I’ve allotted to this plan realistic?
Make Consistency a Priority
Having standardized processes for data management, retailer visits, and customer relations will help your operation run smoothly. Without standards of operation in place, you’ll find yourself constantly addressing misunderstandings with both your team and your customers, taking your attention away from what really matters.
Find ways to make sure your team is well connected and well organized by creating a playbook, hosting company meetings or check ins regularly, and setting clear expectations for your team members. An example straight from the Gotham playbook is a simple yet effective merchandising tactic used for their customer, LaCroix. Gotham merchandisers use the same simple display technique across retailers, but find fun new ways to organize the LaCroix cases to catch people’s attention. This consistent approach sets a clear expectation for Gotham’s work no matter who the specific rep or retailer is. Check out a couple of their festive displays below:
Emphasize Relationship Building
Gotham takes pride in the brands they represent, and it shows on their social media (see above). But while Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have awesome influence over consumers, brand love shouldn’t be confined to the online world. In 2018, get social offline as well. Hit the streets and engage with customers firsthand via tastings, demos, or guerilla marketing tactics (Red Bull’s street team is a fantastic example).
Additionally, put heavy emphasis on creating more meaningful relationships with not just your customers, but with the partners, investors, and retailers you work with. Try hosting regional events, planning meetups whenever opportunities arise, and staying in constant, casual contact via messaging apps and video chats. Below is a photo from the Repsly Power Hour event that we hosted at Expo East back in September, where we invited our friends, customers, and investors to join us for a private event and swap industry insight. This event allowed Repsly to engage with the people and brands we work with one-on-one in a fun, personal atmosphere.
Creating a solid business plan for 2018 isn’t as hard as it sounds, as long as you focus on the detailed steps you will take stick to it. It’s all about “making sure the execution is there,” as Trent told us. “It’s a great thing to put something in a plan, but it’s another thing to execute it.” So be SMART, have a strategy, get social, and make this year the best one yet for your brand.
Melissa is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and a content marketing specialist at Repsly, Inc. She is committed to applying her skills in order to bring value to Repsly readers and customers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related.