Whether you’re a babysitter, a bakery, or Berkshire-Hathaway, prospects will mentally sort you into one of five buckets. Your brand will be pigeonholed (instantly!) as:
“Doomed” may seem a bit harsh, but “forgettable”, “ordinary”, “exaggerated” and “bullcrap” all lead to doom eventually.
“New” is good but temporary. A “blue-ocean” position, which combines “new” with zero perceived competitors is gloriously better, but rare – and also temporary.
So different/better/cheaper are three meaningful positions to choose, but you can only be one of them. If you try to occupy two, such as Better plus Cheaper (as so many brands try) you lose credibility, lose focus, lose attention, and sink into #5, Doomed. Stand up, stand out, stand for something.
Can a brand be successful as “different”? Try Apple, Uggs, Dr Pepper.
Can a brand be successful as “better”? Try L’Oreal, Weber Grills, Sterno.
Can a brand be successful as “cheaper”? Try Walmart, Golden Corral, Legal Zoom.
Yes, this five-bucket sort applies to you. But – good news – to all your competitors, too. You are locked in combat to steal customers away from those competitors, and your best move is to be in a uniquely different bucket. If you’re seen as top quality, and top quality matters to prospects, you win. If you cost pennies less, and pennies matter, you win. Are you fighting the low-cost-provider? Be the high-value. Competing against Tiffany? Be Zale’s. They zig, you zag.
First, position your brand into one clear differentiating category – and then the real work can begin. Build your brand story so you can credibly ace two tests: your value prop must be loyalty-changing-urgent to your best audiences. And true.
Want to see how it works for our clients? Call Bob’s cell: 312.399.2894.
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