Tag: Be Different

Don’t Strive for Better, Strive for Different

Most companies focus too much on better products, when perception is far more important… the first product in someone’s mind is usually superior.  In fact, it’s even better to be first than it is to be better. Be realistic about your place on the ladder (If You Ain’t First You’re Last) and then work to position yourself against the next guy in line. Everyone by now has heard of the Avis example of their “we try harder” slogan…whether or not they actually did try harder is besides the point, they were just trying to position themselves against number one (Hertz).

Don’t try to be better (it never works), try to be different. Think of these examples:

  • 7Up moved from the tiny lemon lime soda market into the number three spot in the much larger cola market by calling themselves the Un-Cola.
  • Apple focuses only on the high $$$ market…10% of the customers, but 75% of the profits

So, not only should you pick a niche, you must! But, make sure that it has enough profitable potential customers. All you need is 1,000 True Fans and you are off to the races.

What is your differentiator: Service, Distribution, etc. Look for the hole to fill. Everyone is interested in what is new, not what is better. Better is nowhere, different is where it’s at! I got a kick out of this video by Derek Sivers…one man dancing can start a whole crowd, but you must be bold enough to put yourself out there.

Now, go be different!

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last!

Ricky Bobby famously said this in the movie Talladega Nights, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”. Now, that might be a bit extreme, but being first can make a big difference.

ricky bobby

Consider this…all brands in a category have rungs on a ladder. #1 tends to have 1.5 – 2X the share of #2, #2 is 1.5 – 2X  that of #3, etc. Of course this varies, but pretty amazing how much it plays out. Think about examples like:

  • Fast Food Burgers: McDonalds vs. BK vs. everybody else
  • Internet Seach: Google vs. Bing, Yahoo, etc
  • Smartphones: Samsung vs. Apples vs. everybody else
  • Coffee Houses: Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts vs. everybody else, etc.

Ricky Bobby was right that being first is a big deal, but if you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category…Bert Hinkler was the second person to fly across the Atlantic… Amelia Earhart was third, but she was the first woman.

If somehow you find room for yourself to be first in a new category, pick a name that can work generically: Advil (ibuprofen), Tylenol (acetaminophen), Q-tip, Band-Aid, Kleenex, Jell-O, Saran Wrap, Crazy Glue, etc…that will give you a much longer life and create that separation between you and the competition.

When considering when to try and insert yourself in the mix, consider that it is even better to be too early than to be too late. It is better though to be first in the mind than first in the marketplace… even if you are late to the market you can still be first in the mind.

So, get out there and be more like Ricky Bobby…”Shake & Bake”!

Again, if you haven’t read either of these, do it (I’ve borrowed liberally from both…these guys are brilliant!)…

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout