We all know and love (or hate) the Number 1 brands, in every sector we participate in both as consumers and as business owners, but how can we ensure that as brands in secondary or tertiary positions we can still achieve greatness?
Every brand has a mission is to win, but what happens when you are in a market where there’s already a front runner? A market where you are, and can never be more than, #2? If you’re Pepsi, for example, or Bing, how do you find the focus and energy to continue to grow and further your business knowing that you’ll only ever be behind a massive incumbent? How do you do that without becoming uninspired, distracted, stuck and unmotivated?
Those with the budgets simply to pursue the brand they see as the market leader, and their greatest rival, at all costs. To go all in. The burger wars, the cola wars, the smartphone wars and at the end of their campaigns we often see little or not shift to sway the masses.
So thinking local now, back in your world, in your business, what should you do? What is the best strategy if you’re number 2 in your sector? Or even further back than that? I believe it is to find and value what separates you and nurture and grow on those differentiating factors. Nurture your USP!
Where your brand can stand apart is in what you are seen to stand for. This is your opportunity to articulate a credible alternative targeted specifically at those consumers who, for any number of reasons, would rather not go with the #1. Remember that your presence is valuable and important because you offer something different, not more than ‘more of the same’.
There’s also a significant difference in mind-set and ultimately approach between ‘being’ #2 and ‘feeling like’ #2. A brand that is #2 understands the position it has and seeks to capitalize on it. A brand that feels like #2 spends much of its existence lamenting that it is not #1. Too many #2’s seek to copy what their nemesis is doing in a bid to out-do them at their game, hoping somehow to take over the leading role. Except of course this is not a leadership strategy. It’s a following strategy and it’s a bad one because it means the brand is not only trying to play by someone else’s rules, it’s also reinforcing that the market leader’s philosophy and way of doing business is correct. So find and love what makes you different, and have your own statergy that sets you further apart – for the right reasons. For your own reasons.
By employing different patterns, strategies and behaviours and building offers and products that enable that to happen, the #2 brand can make its presence felt in ways that keep the market leader in check and prevent the #3 brand (which, under rule of three dynamics, is often the most innovative) from usurping its position.
If you’re #2, this simple reminder question will serve you well: “Why are we proud to be here, and what does being in this position possible for us to strive for that the market leader wouldn’t dare to pursue?” Chase that.
Every smart marketer knows the importance of branding. A strong brand differentiates your company from competitors, conveys the highest value you deliver, and serves as an implicit promise to your customers of what your organization stands for.
But what’s the difference between a good brand and a truly great one? How do you create a brand identity that’s so powerful, it becomes one of your most valuable assets.
Download these six factors that separate the best brands from the rest.