Be the best

I’m often amazed when very established businesses cannot say what they are good at. It’s symptomatic of worrying indecision.

Any business that survives the test of time will develop a range of capabilities. With luck it might even develop a culture – a way of doing things that recognisable both to employees and customers .

But from that list of achievements it pays to select one that your business must be well-known for. Why one, you may ask? Well, communicating more simply costs more money makes it harder for your audience to remember.

Commercial law Firm Skinem and Skapah might  decide to build their reputation on Mergers and Acquisitions experts. This in no way  limits them to clients who want M&A advice. As we all know, if you are good at something in particular, people tend to  impute that you are good at other things too.

Now, coincidentally, the way brands are built is by being very good at something that makes them different from their competitors. Marketers call this Differentiation.  Being highly differentiated means that you are on your way to becoming a niche brand. Being really good at something that a defined group of people would very much like to have.Does this mean that the Bodacious Butchery Company, having made an name for themselves in the sausage space, are forever linked to … links? No, because if they apply the expertise that delivered tasty sausages to producing tasty pies they will be able to broaden their appeal from a narrow base. That is why so many rather ordinary people now use Apple, when once it was the signature technology of the creative few.

So I would suggest that paying money for a billboard or website that lists your business’ many (and in some cases spurious) achievements is just a waste of money. Focus on the one that you can own, and that forms a solid basis for customers believing you can do much more.

Regular readers will know that I regard the expression ‘one-stop’ shop as an abdication of responsibility. In essence you are saying, “our business offers lots and lots of stuff in the hope that one of our products catches your eye’.

Fair enough, if you are a retailer who simply provides the display space for a wide range of stock. But not so hot for a company that needs to compete on its own merits. I’ll leave you with the best (true) ad I have seen that demonstrates this point with unintended irony.

‘Come to us for all your glazing requirements, because we don’t know any better.”

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