Giving your audience a reason
It doesn’t matter if you are excellent on a whole range of attributes, if those attributes are just the basics of the sector you are in.
Contributed by Ray Algar, July 2011.
People need to have a reason to engage with your organisation; and as these lessons from the leisure industry show, the reason has to be more than just being good at the business of your sector.
Health and fitness clubs are a good example – when money was abundantly available, clubs were built and people came. When money tightens, people question why they need a health club membership when there are many other ways to be healthy. But the health club sector generally hasn’t woken up to the fact that they need a distinctive proposition in order to retain membership even when people’s finances change. Most clubs have ended up trying to secure members on the basis of pricing deals, but this doesn’t bind their members to them, as they constantly have to find new promotional offers – a short term approach to a long term issue. What they need is a core purpose and proposition that provides a motivation beyond the basic facilities and activities that they offer.
Cafes also provide striking examples which we see quite often. In one situation I was aware of, a couple wanted to run a cafe, so they obtained premises and opened up. They offered excellent coffee and snacks and they were welcoming and friendly. Six months later their cafe closed, because really, the world does not need just another cafe. But it might well need a cafe that offers a distinctive experience or ethos, for example, if there are people in its catchment area who would identify with that proposition.
Being good at something isn't enough to ensure a sustainable business. It doesn't matter if you are excellent on a whole range of attributes, if those attributes are just the basics of the sector you are in.
Ray Algar is the Managing Director of Oxygen Consulting, a strategic consultancy specialising in organisations connected to the global health and fitness industry.
Topics: The case for change.