With all the talk about finding your business brand and pushing that out to the consumer, it’s easy to forget that businesses exist to serve the customer and not the other way around.

In fact, many businesses say that they are customer-focused, but in fact, they still concentrate on their own internal processes and on their products rather than their customers.

For customers, this is not a problem; choices are abound, and it is increasingly easy for them to research and find what they believe to be the best products and buy elsewhere.

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It is essential for businesses to turn their focus to the customer or face a dwindling audience as their customers move to businesses that are more customer-oriented.

An example of a customer-focused success story might be Apple. Technology enthusiasts can argue endlessly about whether Apple or Microsoft products are superior, but Apple’s success is one example of what happens when a brand makes its customers one of its main focuses.

It sometimes seems as though Apple is not just a brand – it’s a lifestyle. Its most loyal adherents own multiple products by the company, and Apple customers often identify themselves with the company to a far greater degree than customers who purchase products from other companies.

The company’s marketing has successfully linked itself with young, urban, affluent, technology-savvy consumers. Of course, Apple backs up that customer focus with good products and innovation, but even the best and most innovative product will fail if it does not reach customers who can purchase it.

A Great Opportunity For Brands

While the Internet means that it is easier than ever for customers to compare products and services across companies and jump ship, it also provides some excellent opportunities for brands.

Companies have never had a tool like the Internet for building a sense of community among customers, and this is a key way to keep a brand customer-focused. Whether it’s done through forums, social media or some other means, marketing that makes customers feel a part of a company will build a more loyal customer audience.

Building a community means offering something of value to the customer. Useful information and quality customer service matter more than viral videos or the number of likes or retweets a product may get.

In order to remain competitive, businesses must position themselves alongside and not above the customer. Every aspect of a company from product development to processes to marketing, customer service and more, must work in harmony to ensure that it places real focus on the customer and that this is communicated effectively to employees.

Steve Minks has over 25 years of IT & Digital expertise with a background in Property Development, Telecoms and as an accredited Health & Fitness professional. As a Digital consultant with test.icesugarmedia.com, Steve also enjoys writing on a range of subjects, functional exercise, visiting historical places and spending time with his family.

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