On a recent visit to a local downtown shopping area, some small, family-owned stores clearly drew in a steady stream of customers. After further assessment, it wasn’t difficult to see why some stores were more appealing than others, and even why some stores have stayed in business when others haven’t been so successful.
Some stores just stood out.
That was it.
More specifically, the successful stores knew their target customer were able to appeal to those customers through unique signage and warm and welcoming entries. Once customers were drawn in, they lingered and made purchases because of a cozy and friendly environment. Products were well-made and attractive to the same people who were drawn into the shop in the first place.
However, this rings true of all businesses, whether their main draw is a storefront, their social media feeds, or their website. What makes a business enticing to customers is the simple fact that they stand out.
If a business knows their target audience and if they appeal to those customers aesthetically and personally, then the success rate of that business is likely to be much higher. In fact, once a customer is attained, companies are even more likely to sell to those customers again and again.
A phrase that’s become popular lately in the social media world is: “There’s always room at the table.”
This welcoming (albeit sometimes overused) saying simply means that whoever you are, whatever your business angle is, whatever kind of audience you’re trying to reach, there is a need for your skill, your expertise, your experience, your product, and your voice.
Knowing your target audience is crucial, but knowing your voice and what you bring to the table is just as important to effectively stand out from other businesses. The way to connect to your audience and potential customers is through your business’s unique viewpoint and voice.
Let’s take a look at Chubbies — one of the fastest growing Instagram accounts and a company worth around $200 billion that was started by Stanford graduate students in 2011.
Chubbies is most known for their shorts that are, well, short. Their target audience is men between the ages of 18-40. Like the founders’ alma mater might suggest, they typically draw in men with a prep-boy and frat-boy style and can afford higher-quality and therefore, more expensive clothing.
Chubbies grew their Instagram by knowing their target audience, yes, but even further by standing out with their unique voice. In 2011 and the subsequent years, there have been hundreds of men’s clothing companies, almost all of which also sell shorts and swimming trunks. However, Chubbies’ founders were confident that they had something valuable to bring to the table and used their voice to captivate their audience, sell them on their product, and retain customers. Their “voice” is easy to hear (or, read) through a simple scroll on their Instagram page, where they post quippy and funny captions with their pictures of physically fit men in their shorts. They draw in the dads in their audience by posting adorable photos of fathers and their young sons in matching trunks. Their feed is also filled with memes and videos that are humorous to their average customer, keeping followers entertained.
Chubbies has mastered standing out from the crowd, and just like some small businesses found on a small town’s main street, it’s easy to see why Chubbies has so much draw to their customers: they have perfected their “signage”, their entry, their environment, and their product.
They just… stand out.
Another clothing company that stands out from the crowd is Carly Jean Los Angeles, a women’s clothing business that launched in 2015 by Carly Jean, a mom of four who just wanted to make clothing herself a little easier while also being sure that she’d feel good in the clothes she wore. CJLA has mastered the art of Instagram lives to demonstrate new products and how styles fit certain body types. They relate specifically to 20-40 year old women wanting to dress in a more simplified way, by offering “Basic” and classic styles that are deluxe but affordable, contemporary but that will last for years to come. Shopping is less stressful with realistic models who wear little-to-no makeup, and their average sizes, heights, and the size of clothes they’re modeling displayed on the website with the products. Their social media feeds are refreshing and airy, with photos demonstrating how to style featured products.
CJLA knows their audience and has drawn women in through refreshing and inviting images and body positive messaging — making their logo, their voice, and their marketing stand out from the crowd.
With new companies emerging all the time, like Chubbies and CJLA, the statement “There’s always room at the table” rings true; yet businesses quickly learn that in order to stay at the table, they have to stand out from the crowd. They have to appeal to a specific audience and let their unique voice be heard, over all the other voices in the same space.
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