Everybody wants to create a demand for their products or services, earn money on it and be respected for that. Everybody look up to people who already achieved amazing success and created an extraordinary brand which is very known in our world. Some experts repeat like crazy – copy what successful person did and you will have the same results. Somehow most of us, at least those who have a courage to start own business – we copy what those millionaires did and we find out that it’s a total disaster.
Media, internet, friends at a party, colleagues at work talks about brands all the time, but if you look at it from different angle, they really talk just about categories. Most of brands average man knows stands for categories. There is a huge number of brands and sub-brands around the world, but there are of them so many, that people only memorize only few. Society thinks that they remember the brands which have the biggest marketing budget and that is not necessarily the true.
1. Create a new category.
Of course everybody knows Coca-Cola brand and their product, but it was not their advertising budget which helped world population to get to know the brand. It was creating a new category plus making it visible to consumers. Visible through advertising some might say – again wrong. Coca-Cola was a new category, new drink and people got to know it through newspapers. It was shocking at those time, cause it didn’t fit into any of the old categories which society knew for many generations. They created a new category and won the market through organic publicity. Nothing helps so much to build a demand for your product like building a new interesting category, which solves people’s problems (or needs/wants). It works especially if you are first and the only brand in this category.
2. What if my category is already taken?
What to do when you already created a product and it fits into old category, which is already conquered by old brands? Create a new category. Look at the Red Bull. Basically it’s similar to Coca-Cola – carbonated drink with sugar and caffeine, which raises blood pressure and make us all feel more alive. They both have similar product, yet they positioned it in consumers minds as completely different categories, and those two categories solves completely other problems and are targeted also to the other audiences.
3. Focus on your category not on actual market share?
When you brands stands for one category, it’s much easier for human to memorize the brand name. When this category is new, it’s much easier to get publicity in media, which is today a free advertisement.
For example how many car brands do you remember? You can count them on your fingers. If you are really good, you will count maybe 15, but in real world there is more than 50 car brands and somehow only those who sticked to the category and positioned themselves in consumers minds are the most visible and have the biggest authority. Your company can produce much better car for better price than Mercedes-Benz, you might even win some compare value/price tests like KIA did, but if you want to buy a prestige, luxurious car, so people would respect you and your success more, you buy Mercedes-Benz. You never buy a KIA to impress other people and show them how successful you are.
Own a category in a consumer mind and stick to it, position your brand. When you become authority in your category, it automatically leads to easier sales and more opportunities. Create ad slogans which reminds who you are and what your brand stands for. Stop focusing so much on your competitors. Focus on yourself and your category, conquer it and show people that they want products from your class/group very very badly.
It’s much easier to create a new category, than a new brand. That is why first brand in the new category always wins and it’s later practically impossible to take this brand off the category throne. Think about Tesla and later over electric cars.
4. Hedgehog rule helps in later business.
Jim Collins writes about this rule in his great book from Good to Great. Let’s use this rule with some example. If you start selling donuts on a street, all you need is to start a company, buy a bake oven and few ingredients. Even if you become very successful, your hedgehog is very small and anyone from the neighborhood can copy your idea and start taking away your customers with your margin, especially if he somehow finds a way to cut down the costs of producing a single donut.
However if you create a new category of sweet rolls with some unusual things like easy to handle shape and great taste, which can be made only in special constructed bake oven. You add to it also special flour and those things makes your hedgehog bigger and bigger. It will be no so easy for competitors to copy you and even if they do after few months or year, everybody in your town already knows that you are the expert of this category. With new category you get publicity in local TV and newspapers. People starts to talk about you cause it’s something new, it’s different from what they seen and people loves sharing news and showing off. Nobody likes to hear boring same story on and on again. New interesting categories build emotions among people and people want to exchange money to fulfill their emotional needs. They only later rationalize it with logic arguments.
5. Narrow your audience and prepare message only for them.
Many marketers are trying to send their messages to everyone. In the result we see from 2000 to 3000 ad messages every day. More than 90% of those messages are completely ignored by us, cause we are not interested in such product or service. When you categorize your brand and your products, you can automatically see who might want it and what message do you want to tell them about your brand. You need a clear category to access target audience and later they start to build trend for demand on your products by using it and recommending it their friends. Focus on the category audience and ignore the rest of people. It’s much easier to get attention if you target specific audience, cause they realize this message is directly to them, can solve their problems and what is important you speak in their specific language style. Define what is your category and what would perfect client look like. Your brand can’t mean everything to everyone on the Earth. It only needs to mean something to the right people, who will become your customers. On those people you should focus your attention since the beginning.
Some say – best products with big marketing budget always wins. Let’s take a look at old known war – Pepsi vs Coca-Cola. In blind tests people prefer taste of Pepsi, but in shops most of them buy Coca-Cola. World isn’t fair, but can be still awesome if you understand some the rules.