The term "modern times" sounds old fashioned, doesn't it? You could say today's times can represent just about any time with our access to just about anything. Whatever our taste, we can get what we want with a simple Google search.
If your business can attract, engage and retain a shopper's attention, your business is relevant to that customer
But with so much information to consume and so many products to choose from, how do you stand out? By being relevant.
For business, that means establishing a presence and process to make yourself relevant to the sea of customers out there. And, to establish that sort of relevance, you need to work to the modern beat. There's nothing old fashioned in that.
What is "business relevance"?
Simply put, it's customer connection. If your business can attract, engage and retain a shopper's attention, your business is relevant to that customer.
Whatever you do or sell, that customer finds it useful and—more important—meaningful to his or her life. Your business is part of the shopper's lifestyle and a component of his or her cycle of living.
If your business hasn't been become part of that cycle, your business is irrelevant.
How do you achieve relevance?
To start, you have to understand and address the following:
Relevance in appeal: Yes, this is pretty much chasing the trends. Most businesspeople strive to set the trends, but only a few do (and, sometimes, accidentally).
The point here is you have to establish relevance in what you provide (product, service, information, etc.) as it relates to what people are interested in and pursuing. If you can make that connection with them, they'll consider you relevant to their lifestyle.
Once you can establish a relevance in what you offer, create an identity that customers will share with others
Relevance in identity: Once you can establish a relevance in what you offer, create an identity that customers will share with others. Think of the Nike swoosh and "Just Do It" tagline. It projects an identity of active lifestyle, fitness and good health. Shoppers adopt that swoosh and tagline because it represents what they find important—or relevant—in their daily lives.
Relevance in lifestyle: Not only do you need to establish that lifestyle relevance in what your customers do, you also need to be relevant in how they do it. You need to be where they are, in the real world and in the virtual one.
This way when shoppers see your message and your branding they'll further identify with it because they've already adopted it (or are considering so) into their lifestyles.
Relevance in reliability: And here's where the "modern times" appeal for relevance gets complex, beyond just adopting the latest tech fads and social trends. While reliability typically means "dependable," in terms of relevance, it can also mean "adaptable."
To really be relevant, you must keep pace with them to understand how their wants and needs are changing, and to adapt to those changes.
It takes a keen ear to really hear what customers want. While they may be scrambling to keep with the trends and fads themselves, they might also be crying out for an escape from all that.
Listen closely to what your shoppers say, vocally and through their purchase preferences
You could become most relevant, then, when you understand what it is that they really want and need, and cater to that. You become an oasis to them, and that will make you and your business eminently relevant.
Relevance is connection
In the end, relevance is all about customer connection. Your business becomes relevant to shoppers when you properly define who you are within your target audience, when you know what they want and need, and adapt to their changes.
Most important, achieving relevance is an ongoing exercise to continually pursue and poll your customer base. You should be sure you're addressing their criteria for relevance by continually honing your message, your method and what you offer.
Listen closely to what your shoppers say, vocally and through their purchase preferences; they won't be shy about letting you know whether you're relevant or not.