Ries and Trout tell us that the consumer's mind only accepts what is consistent with their prior knowledge or experience. That's because our brains are wired to sort through information very quickly, and makes split second decisions on what to pay attention to and what to discard. Because of that, the only way to get into your prospect's mind is with a very simple message, consistent with what they already believe to be true.
Positioning in the market
Ries and Trout remind us that even if the second entrant in a market offers a better product, the first mover has the upper hand which more than makes up for any product deficiencies. They also point out that the top three brands in a product category have market share with a ratio of 4:2:1, where the number one brand has twice as much market share as number two, who has twice as much market share as number three. So, it pays to be first in a market. The idea here is to embrace the change and trends rather than resist it. Unfortunately, history tells us that this is difficult medicine to swallow.
You could also be the first to claim a unique sub position in the mind of the consumer, or you can find a unique positioning playing off other brands. The main thing that successful challenger brands have figured out is that they can't appeal to everybody. They need to appeal to a subset of the market that isn't being served already.
If there are no new positions, then convince the marketplace to view your competition in a different way, not to compare to competitors but to cleverly change the market’s view of competitors’ product, that acts in your favour.
Products: name and line extension
One of the most important marketing elements is the naming the product. Descriptive names are better than made up names. Don’t choose a name similar to a competitor, it will end up confusing all the customers. Not only can your new brand fail if you mistakenly attach it to an existing brand, you can also dilute the original brand in the process.
Procter & Gamble have selected different names for each product, carefully positioning them in the minds of their customers and prospects, targeting at different market segments.
Below are a few examples where Line Extensions can work:
• Salespeople distribute your product - when relationships make the sale, the brand is less important;
• If you have a low volume product;
• If you are in a crowded market where there is no unique position;
• Small ad budget;
It is essential to consider the position your brand and products should hold in the minds of the consumers in order to build a strategy around it.