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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

11 ways to elevate a ho-hum product or service

Here’s how to attract and retain loyal customers—no matter what you’re trying to sell.

11 ways to elevate a ho-hum product or service
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

How do you get your current clients to stay on board with your business and attract a few more good ones in the process? This is never an easy task—whether you’re trying to push an older item, that is dull and irrelevant or promoting something you recently launched.

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But, before you entertain any thoughts of removing a low-performing product or service from your company’s portfolio altogether, experts from Fast Company Executive Board agree that there are plenty of best practices to put a fresh spin on your offerings and stay in the business. These tried and true strategies are sure to re-engage and excite a growing customer base. The goal is to promote brand loyalty and recognition that is centered around your company’s mission statement and purpose.

1. SHARE YOUR STORY.

Connect your message to your corporate purpose so it’s not about what you offer but why you offer it. Make it emotional and memorable and highlight, in a creative way, the positive impact your company is making on this world. Share stories and encourage your clients to do the same, so they become your ambassadors. This will elevate your brand positioning, client, and employee engagement. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5

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2. UTILIZE MORE THAN ONE INSPIRATIONAL SOURCE.

If you want to truly innovate, then utilize a variety of sources for input and inspiration. Gather the information from new, trendy, or emerging places. Talk with customers who you have not connected with before. Working with a different demographic to understand how they experience your products, services, or brand may just give you the spark you need to elevate or recreate something new and inspiring. – Steve Dion, Dion Leadership

3. HIGHLIGHT THE ADDED VALUE.

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Ho-hum is only “boring” if it doesn’t add enterprise value to the company. If a new product or service will help our clients’ stock price, net asset value, or increase their net operating income, then we highlight that first and always. There are always obvious benefits: better tenant experience, higher employee retention, and more, but adding a rocket booster to the bottom line needs to be the result. – Kevin Shtofman, NavigatorCRE

4. DO A PRODUCT REBRAND.

Consider undergoing a quick rebrand to align with what your target audience’s current tastes are like. Speak their language and leverage influencers and community leaders to speak for you. Reposition your product across newer niches as you are re-approaching your audiences as well. Illustrate how your product or service is as relevant as ever through your communication. – Candice  Georgiadis, Digital Agency, Inc

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5. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRICING AND MESSAGING.

Never underestimate the power of two things: adjusting your pricing and messaging. Most people ignore the obvious: great messaging or position could lead to a higher price point for your product or service. – Kyle Lacy, Seismic

6. ADDRESS THE CUSTOMERS’ UNMET NEEDS.

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Refresh your old or boring product by addressing the unmet needs and challenging the status quo. Don’t just talk to your users; observe them as they interact with your product, service, brand, and more. You’ll likely identify opportunities and pain points. Consider how the Nest Thermostat meets the challenge. They expanded a market previously filled with unexciting products through thoughtful design, usability, and enhanced control. – John  Bernero, M3 Design

7. DISCOVER THE BRAND’S FUTURE MARKET POTENTIAL.

This is one of the most exciting opportunities for a company or brand. Transforming “unloved” brands into something relevant and transformative forces a team to look deep inside to articulate a vision only they can tell. This process includes identifying where the brand currently lives, discovering the future place it can own (when its authentic potential is realized), and then charting the path. – Beau Oyler, Enlisted Design

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8. PROMOTE DIVERSE PROJECT ENGAGEMENTS.

Every time we work on a brand-refresh project for the client, we engage stakeholders, teams, and leaders from different departments. This approach enhances co-authorship and co-creation of the new brand style, voice, and tonality. By doing so, corporate cultures are much easier for adapting and reinforcing new creations. We also found that it inspires teams and encourages innovation by providing a new perspective. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

9. EXPERIMENT WITH VIDEO STORYTELLING.

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Find a new way to tell the story using short-form or live video. Many companies have been reluctant to truly dive headfirst into utilizing Facebook or LinkedIn Lives, as well as Instagram reels or TikTok. Throw your hat into the ring, be confident, and find a new nuance to your narrative. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10. REVERT TO TRIED AND TRUE OLDER MARKETING METHODS.

Age-old marketing methods, while potentially seen as out-of-date, can still be effective in driving attention, building a brand, and boosting sales. Tools like direct mail, infomercials, and out-of-home signage can still help to elevate brand awareness and drive sales. In fact, because many of these methods are considered boring, the cost per thousand impressions rate is often more affordable than their digital equivalents. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

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11. UPDATE THE BRAND’S POINT OF DIFFERENCE.

A refresh can often be a great opportunity to command re-engagement of a brand, product, or service. But first, understand that not all existing features like colors and product benefits should be given the high honor of being considered enduring equity. Most brands stand to gain ground by updating against their current point of difference in the market vs. who they thought they once were and staying true. – Michelle Hayward, Bluedog

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