I posted last week about how to start in constructing a Brand Message and what it means. This week I want to take a much deeper dive into what the meaning of the Brand Message is and the simple model of how you can start to think about it. This basically boils down into a typical Magic Quadrant. For those that are not familiar with this model, you can look it up on Wikipedia. In Brand Development, it is pretty simple. One one axis we have Perceived Value and on the Other is Volume.
People would love to have a High Priced, High Volume product. That is a premium product that lots of people want. I see the only group that seems to be able to get there are Automobile Manufacturers. They have done a great job of increasing what we think of as a baseline offering and making that a requirement for entry level vehicles (think about when power windows and power mirrors became “standard”). For most Small Businesses, they should be thinking about targeting a wide enough audience with an above average product to derive above average pricing. That would be a premium Brand for a Small Business.
However, you are not going to step directly to this position. The best way to think about this is do I start by making a reliable lower cost product (and drive volume – Commodity) or a highly sought after higher price product (and drive value – Boutique). This is the first choice you need to make as you think about your Brand. You can imagine that transition to where you want to be long term. For Commodity Brands, you need to move from being a cheap and cheerful supplier to one that also has higher end products and services. I have a friend working at Digikey (they are a catalog sales company for Electronic Components). She is working on a Service capability to allow Digikey to use its Supply Chain capability for some of its customers. For Boutique Brands, one needs to think about expanding its audience. That was the challenge for us at AFC. What could we do to make our product attractive to the Tier 1 carriers in the US. Could we find applications that our primary competitor could not do efficiently. If we could find them and turn them into volume applications, then we can take the product we developed for a high margin market and drive it in volume.
So, now we come back to a choice. From an advertising cost standpoint, it is generally simpler to go the Boutique route. Your will have a much more targeted Ideal Client base. This means that your Outreach can be smaller and more relevant to them. This approach leads to “lumpier” business as you will generally have fewer, but larger customers. So remember this is all a choice and it is yours!
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