Who Wins? Big or Small Brands?

handshakeNo company sets out to fail, but few really plan on being number one in their field either. The reasons for this vary from brand to brand, but it almost always boils down to a lack of innovation.

In the past, well-known companies could rely upon a brand’s major awareness image in the market. They could count on having a large presence at various trade shows to present a dominant position in the market. Their ad campaigns and direct marketing programs could make leadership claims. And using these marketing tools used to be nearly enough to push a product into a crowded market space—such as proofing, scanning or software—and make it a success.

Today is different though. With the Internet came a level playing field. That means that whoever has the best, most innovative idea usually wins. This is great for smaller and/or newer brands that sell into niche markets. But it’s not so great for better-known companies with products that are not innovative because, again, the best idea wins today, not the best known. Actually, becoming known for not having innovative products is a very dangerous place to be. Consider the U.S. auto industry.

The challenge for both groups is to have an action plan that starts with the key customer’s needs and builds every single brand message, image, campaign, interaction and services to drive that benefit to the ultimate customer. Anything less is mediocre and usually ends up in what sales managers call their “underperforming” product category.

So the top three ways to build a successful brand strategy are to research, innovate and implement based on your best customer’s needs. Ignore them at your peril.

Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company, or product/services company serving the industry, and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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