Let’s consider two strong brands, Under Armour and Twitter. They both want business growth. One is going about it the right way, and one is heading for trouble. Do you know which is which? Here are a few clues:
- Business growth at Twitter is being measured by user growth and by sales at Under Armour.
- Under Armour just bought nutrition-tracking platform MyFitnessPal, believing that the more people work out the more fitness wear they need.
- To bolster confidence in its stock, Twitter is trying to shift the way Wall Street counts users to include those who see Twitter content without logging in or who view it elsewhere.
Bottom Line: Anytime a company is trying to explain its way into Wall Street’s good graces or justify its thinking, it is a good bet that the company is focused on the wrong things.
The real question for Twitter growth is how do the social network’s users want to communicate going forward. What short-term benefits or services would be enticing enough to increase frequency of use and appeal to non-users? And what long-term changes should they be anticipating so that Twitter stays relevant in the future? It is not easy, given how fast digital communications evolve—but that is Twitter’s business.
Trying to keep people where they are never works; trying to change the math doesn’t work. What works is meeting the needs of customers better or differently than the alternatives. That is what Under Armour is doing by expanding its reach and adding aligned services that in turn increase the company’s relevance and motivate users to higher frequency—something that registers on the bottom line.
Focusing on the needs of the market creates winners; focusing on the needs of the company (and the numbers) is a recipe for underwhelming market results.