According to marketing branding guru, David Aaker the branding relevance explains why someone is rising and someone is declining.
In brand preference competition you win because your brand is preferred over the other brands.
In brand relevance you win because the other brands are not even considered.
Major changes occur when somebody creates a new category or subcategory. New entrances are more likely to evolve theses new categories or subcategories and taking into account that new products success is correlated with differentiation and if we believe that differentiation is correlated with the existence of new categories or subcategories, is further evidenceâ€¦so, how do the companies do it?
5 quick observations to achieve the brand preference.
Ideas come from everywhere.
A) You can ask customers to improve or observe customers how they behave.
As Marrriot did some years ago when they were observing for 6 months how business people behaved in their lobbies, after that they completely redesigned their lobbies.
You can be a customer:
Zappos started because his founder had problems finding shoes of his size.
You can partner with a customer:
As P&G did with Wal-Mart, they have been 20 years working together studying logistics, accounting, warehouses and they created a whole new subcategory in the packing goods category.
DreyerÂ´s created a creamy low fat ice cream thanks to technology.
For some people become a must have.
Like Henry Ford (Ford Co.) or Ted Turner (CNN).
B) Timing is everything.
You got to have the market, the technology and the firm all ready at the same time. Steve Jobs created 6 subcategories in 10 years. People think it was his vision, and it was, but more important was timing.
Ipod was introduced by Sony 2 years before Apple did. Sony had the vision but not the timing because at that time, those players could only hold 16 songs, it was too expensive by that time and it had a complicated download system.
C) Become category or subcategory exemplar.
The exemplar brand represents category or subcategory and because it represents the category or subcategory you can define this category not only initially but overtime. Also connects the brand with the subcategory. If you are the exemplar, automatically connects. Like Kleenex, people ask for a Kleenex instead of a tissue.
D) Create barriers to competitors
There are 3 kinds of barriers:
1. Execute over the top.
Zappos do not spend any money on Marketing, they devote all to the 24/7 call center and the service is supported by certain values.
2. Continuously innovate.
Apple is a moving target and it is really hard to compete against this kind of company.
3. Go beyond functional benefits.
Panasonic is always on the top 10 or top 5 in Japan, the reason is their program â€œthe most sustainable companyâ€. They are attached to sustainability and people like if you are linked to this kind of social concerns.
E) Look at underserved segments.
Nintendo allowed Sony and Microsoft go after the heavy user, the young male that like graphics, violence and high speedâ€¦
And Nintendo decided to target moms, children and family to get involve at the same time and do something completely different. Educational stuff.
In conclusion, brand relevance is also a threat as well as an opportunity because if you no longer make what customers are buying, you are going to fail.
Brands need energy to keep going and keep reinventing them. You need to energize your business either attaching your brand to something like social concerns companies or by creating new categories or subcategories.
– Alex Maluquer
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