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jeudi 7 avril 2011

Make Your Competition Irrelevant ( David Aaker and His daughter are really among the best in understanding markets and brands managing)

Make Your Competition Irrelevant

The same can be said of Apple's iPod, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Seibel Systems,, Dreyer's Slow Churned Ice Cream, Whole Foods Market,, Schwab's OneSource, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Westin's Heavenly Bed, and hundreds of other brands. Every category has its own stories of innovators who created a league of their own, and bought themselves years and sometimes decades with no real competitor.

What does a band relevance strategy demand of a company? First, the ability to engage in substantial or transformational innovation, which starts with sensing changes in the marketing place and customers' lives, and then requires the fortitude to commit to a new concept and bring it to market. Second, a shift in focus from building a brand to building the new category or subcategory. And, third, creating barriers to entry against copycats. Certainly not every company is willing to take the risks of going outside the comfort zone of the existing target market, value proposition, and business model.
Those who do, however, stand a chance of creating a category or subcategory in which some or all competitor brands are not visible or credible. The result can be a market in which there is no competition at all for an extended time or one in which the competition is reduced or weakened. The payoff of operating with no or little competition is, of course, huge. It is Econ 101. For 16 years Chrysler had no viable competitor, in part because it continuously innovated behind the product but also because competitors had other priorities. Chrysler's first year minivan sales topped 200,000 vehicles. To date, the total is some 12.5 million.

Stepping away from fighting brand preference battles and instead winning on brand relevance requires more imagination. But it usually doable, especially at the level of subcategories. It's always more profitable. And absolutely it is more fun.

David Aaker is the Vice-Chairman of Prophet and the author of Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant and the blog on branding

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