While the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses, it has also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how we connect with our customers through our product offerings. For some brave souls, experimenting with new tactics has led to great success. This is one of those stories:
Two years ago, Elon Musk’s SpaceX received a $2.6 billion contract from NASA to develop commercial spaceflight and manned launch capabilities. After the 2011 conclusion of its Shuttle program, NASA looked to SpaceX and Boeing, two private companies, to return manned launches to American soil. This public-private partnership signaled the beginning of an exciting new time in space innovation and exploration.
After several years of decline, it seems that private companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origins are now successfully reinvigorating the American space industry. As an aerospace enthusiast and industry consultant, these developments are tremendously exciting. As an entrepreneur and startup coach, they prompt me to consider the lessons that innovators can learn and apply from an examination of SpaceX’s success.
Few current social and economic trends are more divisive than the “Sharing Economy.” A quick online search will bring up legions of articles alternately praising the freedom it has created for a new class of workers and decrying it as the death knell of traditional business. Regardless of which perspective you take, the massive potential that innovators unleashed with the dawning of this new, rapidly growing, peer-to-peer-driven subset of our economy is astounding. By examining the history and development of this particular innovation, what can today’s entrepreneurs learn and put into practice to augment their own success?
There are many schools of thought about what creates and sustains brand loyalty (that is, a consumer’s preference for one particular brand over another in the same market space). These range from practical matters of convenience to complex and interwoven psychological factors. In the age of social media, we often hear that “engagement” in an ongoing dialogue with a brand is what creates loyalty. Other marketers swear by the psychology of color in creating consumer preferences.
The reality is much more nuanced than either of these approaches indicate, of course. The deeper drivers of connection with a brand are more subtle than memorable packaging, a brilliant logo, or a witty Twitter mascot. New and growing brands that leverage these underlying factors to connect with customers can elevate their position in consumer consciousness and reap the rewards of brand loyalty and evangelism.