Have you reviewed your products and services lately? Adding new services and products can be seen as growth within a company, but in reality it can be very damaging to a brand. When Nabisco launched SnackWell’s and became the 7th largest selling grocery item, they decided to put their name on everything. Can you guess what happened next? SnackWell’s sales plummeted. There is a difference between building brands and milking brands.
The most valuable and most useful aspect of branding is creating a new category. It’s critical to narrow the focus of a brand to the point of nothing and start completely new. When a company narrows down their focus, they become the first brand in a new category and ultimately the leading brand in a new segment of the market. To build a brand in a category that does not exist, you will have to do two things:
- Launch the brand so it is perceived as the first of its kind, as a leader or the original. Use these terms to describe your brand.
- Promote the new category, not the brand.
Consumers don’t care about new brands, they care about new categories. They don’t care that about the local pizza restaurant, they care that their pizza will be delivered within 30 minutes. Being the first in a category, then aggressively promoting creates a powerful brand and an instant escalating market. For example, a popular pizza chain narrowed their focus to take-out only. They did not need to pay for servers, consequently they were able to sell their pizza cheaper than their competition.
When competition shows up, and they will, business owners shouldn’t shift into brand-building mode. Leaders should proceed with promoting their category.
How have you narrowed the focus of your brand? If you need help, please leave a comment below or find me online at LinkedIn or Twitter. A great brand resource (and inspiration for this post) can be found at Barnes and Noble.