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.
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 keep distance 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