ver the years I’ve witnessed this dilemma more than once. What is the right business strategy? Build on your strengths and accept your weaknesses? Or just the opposite, focus on compensating your weaknesses and just enjoy your strengths?
Not longer than a few weeks ago the same plight was a matter of discussion during an Yconik business presentation my assistant Thomas and myself were doing for a prospect. For obvious reasons of confidentiality I’m not allowed to reveal the name of this company. The only details I can share are that it’s a (mainly brick & mortar) retailer. The challenge they face is that they’re losing market share and thus business to pure online players and to a more contemporary competitor at an increasing rate. Sounds familiar for many retailers I guess, doesn’t it? This business is aware of the fact that their strength lies in their long time presence and reliable, but maybe somewhat dated, reputation and brand name.
The question on the table was: do they allocate almost all of their (online) marketing budget in an effort to gain market share in the 18 – 34 demographic, where the ‘bleeding’ is strongest? Or do they work towards increasing their market share and share of wallet in the demographic over 55?
Being senior consultant at Yconik, a marketing consultancy that focuses solely on the 55+ demographic, I may be biased of course, as it is my task to convince businesses to work with Yconik. Read on.
Can an old brand become much more attractive to millennials without alienating their older core clientele?
That is basically the bet their marketing team is placing. As we learned during the meeting they had decided a few months earlier to put the entire (digital) focus on the 18 -34 demographic, in order to (try to) fight off competitors with a stronger standing with millennials.
I for one do not believe that’s the right choice. Forget about my position at Yconik and think it through.
- Strengths rule. Over the past decade, we have seen the stream of studies about the benefits of focusing on our strengths rather than obsessing over our weaknesses. While you may be capable of doing many, many things, you have a comparative advantage, an edge, in very few. Always remember who you are and recognize when you are straying from your best self.
- We believe that a clear and strong brand identity is essential for brand building. Our unique approach is based on this belief. It is a way of thinking and will guide you through strategy, communication and implementation of the entire brand building process.
A thought process precedes each of our creative processes. We put ourselves in the position of the brand and ask ourselves: Who am I? What do I stand for? What am I trying to communicate? Where do I want to go? How can I achieve this? What will I say? We determine the identity of the brand. We visualize the outcome in an identity prism. The prism then constitutes the compass for everything we do. This very strong proprietary methodology form our mother ship Brandhome has been proven to help brands grow faster than the markets they operate in. This is part of the Brandhome method®.
- I believe marketers need to strive to make their brands both different and distinctive: different in order to justify a price premium over close alternatives, distinctive in order to trigger pre-existing, positive feelings during search or shopping. The two qualities are both highly desirable but, sadly, most brands are lacking in both. There are other consumer-driven reasons why you might seek to make your brand as meaningfully different as possible but there is perhaps a more important corporate benefit. Knowing what makes a brand meaningfully different provides a reference point for all the people working on that brand: inside and outside the company. It helps them know what to do and say and what not. Further, I would suggest that knowing what makes your brand meaningfully distinctive gives you a big head start in ensuring that it is distinctive.
- I’ve seen the online and offline campaigns resulting for the strategic choice this retailer made. Nicely produced, but typically ‘very vanilla’ style expressions of it’s propositions. A kind of one-size-fits-all (demographics), which I believe is not the optimal choice for any brand nowadays.
“Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot.” said Thomas Moore back in the early 19th century. Therefore I remind you that these posts are personal views. The result of about 35 years of involvement in business, marketing and sales. But nevertheless it is important to always remember that only time will tell.