Tamara Waldmann
SME digital transformation

How Digital Transformation Can Help SMEs Become an Everyday Brand

The story of AliBaba never gets old.

Nah, not the Arabian Nights one.

The Jack Ma one. The fastest-growing e-commerce store one.

What started as an experiment in a room of friends has become the world’s largest online store.

While AliBaba is not exactly the story of ‘digital transformation,’ it is the story of a small business that became a global leader through the implementation of technology. Jack Ma, the founder of AliBaba had not touched the computer until 1995. He had not known the potential of the internet until he had a friend set up a webpage for him. Jack Ma, a teacher at a university became the world’s richest man, the owner of the largest eCommerce group simply because he had realized the potential of the internet and digital technology.

The moral behind this story? Yes, hardwork and visionary and all the good things aside, the real moral is a man’s realization of the power of technology and how he harnessed that power to create an empire so vast that it is now an everyday brand name.

There are literally thousands of Jack Mas out there, thousands of small businesses and thousands of traditional businesses that want to become everyday brands.

I personally believe digital transformation is the key to becoming an everyday brand in today’s highly digitized world.

How do you do that?

Here are a few key things.

1. Accept Digital Transformation as the Future

It doesn’t matter what your business model is - whether you’re a salon or a gym, a restaurant or a cafe, a school or training institute, digitizing your services means you care for your customers.

So let’s say you’re a salon. Maybe you can develop a mobile app that lets your target audience set for appointments easily without having to go through a web form or making a call. The mere fact that your audience can use a mobile app to book for an appointment already sets you apart from your competitors.

Digital transformation is no longer an option. It is the future. It is the future of businesses. It is the future that is coming on to us real fast and if we don’t adopt it today, we’ll be at the losing end soon.

So the first step for an SME to wish to become an everyday brand with the help of digital is to evaluate their business model and find out how they can undergo the digital transformation process.

Most businesses believe in this false notion that their business model doesn’t need digital transformation (hence the salon example), but, digital transformation is not about you - it’s about your customers and their expectations.

….. Which leads to my second point.

2. Give Your Customers a Personalized Customer Experience

According to a report by Accenture, 75% of customers want brands to be able to create a personalized experience.

Whereas, the same report states that, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

These statistics clearly show that customers want brands to give them a personalized experience which can only be achieved through the integration of digital technologies.

The use of chatbots, AI predictions, data analysis, targeted social media ads are all examples of digital technologies that work to give customers a personalized experience.

Digital transformation, therefore, isn’t just about new IT networks or high-tech advancements - at its very core, it’s a business moving from traditional modes to digital modes in order to provide customers with a modern experience.

3. Leveraging on Digital Branding

Digital branding is an important part of digital transformation. As a small business, you have to rely heavily on digital branding in order to be recognized and recommended by your audience.

Customers today want their favorite businesses to be available online so that they can easily recommend them to their network. They also willingly follow the business to receive updates and advertisements because they want to be associated to a, ‘brand,’ rather than just a business.

Unlike decades when only big businesses could afford to become an everyday brand only through massive advertising and marketing spend; today small businesses can become everyday brands through digital advertising.

Platforms like Google and Facebook, with their data capturing capabilities, have made it easy for any business to run targeted advertisements to reach their target audience. This is why data is the new oil, the new gold of the modern age!

4. Realizing that Data is Gold

Yep, today, data can make you a billionaire. Data can make you a brand. Data can make you a success. The only catch? You have to know how to catch and use data!

You see, your business captures data at every point. When a customer makes an inquiry, when a customer books an appointment, when a customer makes a purchase, when a customer subscribes to a service….. Whenever a customer is in contact with your business, data is shared (voluntarily or involuntarily). Now, prior to the digital era, this information would not even be considered valuable.

In today’s digital world though, this very same data can be used to create audience-specific advertising, to sell strategically, to analyze audience behaviors for future innovations and a lot more.

Let me say it again - In 2019 and the many years to come, data will be the most precious commodity you’ll own as a business. More precious than gold.

5. Work with Digital Transformation Experts

If you’ve finally realized that you need to adopt digital technologies to grow your business, talk to an expert. Find out what solutions are best for your business and who can work with you within your defined budget.

Don’t hesitate to hire an expert. And certainly, don’t hesitate to ask questions about digital transformation for your business. The job of a digital transformation expert is to help your business transition gradually from the traditional model to the digital model and a knowledgeable expert will be working closely with you to make that possible.

In conclusion, your small business can become an everyday brand if you allow it to undergo a digital transformation program. Don’t wait any longer. Each passing day is a day you lose to competitors and technological advancement if you don’t take action today!

If you’d like to talk to me about digital transformation and get answers to difficult questions, feel free to contact me by hitting the button below. I’d love to hear from you!

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