Genius brands are exceptional. They are creative and original. But unlike Lady Gaga, they were not born this way. According to Homa Zaryouni, L2 conducted an extensive research study ranking 1,481 brands across 25 Digital IQ Index® studies and came up with distinct traits that make brands stand apart from the rest. We added to their list to develop 10 highly effective habits that can turn an ordinary brand into an extraordinary one:

  1. Recognize growth and invest: Genius brands stay up-to-date on growth areas and invest in new revenue streams. In 2015, the global e-commerce market grew 24.5% and smart brands are adjusting to integrate their online and offline channels.
  1. Establish partnerships: Brands that understand not all destinations are equal take advantage of being in the right place at the right time. Besides the brand’s website, establishing diverse partnerships that lead to a more integrated media presence (at potentially a reduced cost) is a way to gain more exposure and incremental consumer gains.
  1. Take an omnichannel approach: One size does not fit all and neither should your media strategy. Genius brands take an omnichannel approach utilizing the channels that will lead to the most growth and moving away from outdated channels that are wasting both time and money.
  1. Embrace digital influence: Genius organizations know that digital influences 70% of sales across all channels and are allocating increased budget to search, CRM, social media, native and video advertising. You don’t really have to be a genius to understand this approach.
  1. Be mobile-first: With 50% of search volume and site traffic now on smaller screens, there is a primary focus on mobile-optimized content, advanced apps & technology and strategic mobile ads so design campaigns to work specifically in this space. Geolocation capabilities have never been better so be where your customers are.
  1. Let consumers be your advocates: Thirty-three percent of Genius brands feature user-generated content across their social and product pages. Since your customers are your greatest assets, engage with them and transform them into brand ambassadors. It’s free, authentic and extends the reach of your brand message. And if they have something negative to say about your product, service or experience, embrace their feedback and address it.
  1. Feel no fears: Look for opportunities to be pioneers or early adopters with new platforms, products and technology. Top brands always invest in innovation not just in their marketing strategy, but also in their products and processes. Investing early demonstrates willingness to take risks and can have a great return and competitive advantage. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  1. Segment and personalize: Every consumer touchpoint is an opportunity to impress so it’s important to serve up content that is customized. Hyper-targeting with superior content could make or break whether you not only capture attention, but potentially a new customer.
  1. Develop smart content. It seems like a simple habit, but there seems to be less of it amidst the marketing noise as brands aim for quantity over quality. In order to break through the clutter, Genius brands develop content that is different and inspires conversation. Being in the right media isn’t enough ­­– you need ideas.
  1. Build brand loyalty. Once the deal is closed or sale is made, the relationship with the customer is not over – it’s just beginning. Ensure your delivering superior custom service both on and offline. Community management has been more important than ever with the explosion of social media, so reach out, add value, and keep them engaged and coming back for more.

These tactics aren’t rocket science but they need to be incorporated on a consistent basis. That’s the hard part. Start a routine that integrates all these habits and you’ll be a Genius brand in no time.