Today, CNBC’s Facebook page is asking readers and viewers who the top 25 most influential people are in business. The first two innovators they had going head-to-head is Steve Jobs, former CEO and co-founder of Apple and Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. The results in the comment section weren’t surprising, but looking at this question at face value, this isn’t a fair comparison. Jobs has so far received most of the votes, while Bezos is getting recognition here and there. How can this duel between two revolutionaries who changed how we listen to music, talk on the phone, or shop online translate to the small businesses around the country?
Both Jobs and Bezos are faces of their respected companies. However, Steve Jobs will always be associated with the iPod and iPhone, while Amazon is looked at as an online distributor. It’s difficult to say who has influenced the world more, but why is Jobs more popular to the public than Bezos? It’s comes down to the product. When you hold your iPhone, listen to music on your iPod, or see the Apple logo, you think of Steve Jobs because of his association to the company. Bezos on the other hand is providing a service, and while some may think of him when they visit the Amazon website, he’s not the first thought that pops into the customers’ minds.
For small business owners, you need to be associated with your product or service, whether that be plumbing or auto repair, a clothing or hardware store owner. You need to be the person who everyone knows and not have your business referred to as the same as every other store in your industry. This can be related to image and perception; if the customer feels comfortable with who you are, the product is received in the same way. For the businesses in which customers return, such as restaurants and barbershops, you want to be referred to by your name. You don’t want to be the barbershop on Elm Street, you want to be referred to when people plan on coming to your store as, “I’m going to get my haircut at Joe’s barbershop”.
If your business can be distinguished so that you’re not the same as Anthony’s store across town or up the street, you’ve already succeeded in having a quality brand. Association with your product or service is the same as branding and marketing. You, the business owner is the best form of marketing and advertising, and you are the first impression and face of your company. Business is a popularity contest so get to know your customers, give them something to talk about when they’re with their friends and potential future clientele.
Some industries don’t require an actual face of a franchise such as Amazon, UPS, or FedEx. It’s a national service and the buyer of the products that are being shipped to their front door only care about what they bought, not who delivered it. I don’t know Jeff Bezos personally, but he probably doesn’t want the spotlight like Steve Jobs, or he doesn’t care. However on a local and regional level, showing your face and interacting with your clientele leaves an impression on your customers; this goes hand-in-hand with your business’ reputation as they look to you first.
Marketing, advertising, branding, and association with your business are all connected. Have your face on your business Twitter and Facebook accounts; show the potential clientele who you are. People are more reluctant to buy into a product or service if they can’t see who they’re calling. Visuals such as pictures and videos work best, and this article ties into my article I wrote yesterday.
When it comes to Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, they can’t be compared, as one is not more important than the other. But from the public’s point of view, the product they’re holding and using reminds them of who created it, to make what was once impossible, a reality.