Their Brand is Too Bland

“Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.” – Linda Ellerbee

People are bored with same old, same old. If you pleasantly surprise them with something they haven’t seen or heard before, they’ll reward you with their business. How can you turn a “yawner” into somethng eye-opening?

By doing the opposite, not the obvious. Here are several ways to introduce something that is unique instead of duplicating what’s already available.

* Go where your competitors aren’t. Enterprise wanted to enter the car rental business but Hertz and Avis dominated the market. So, Enterprise asked themselves, “What do our competitors all have in common?” Well, they’re all situated by airports. Instead of competing with established locations, Enterprise put their rental centers in neighborhoods where they had the territory all to themselves.

* Offer a service your competitors don’t. What didn’t the other rental car agencies provide? No pick up or drop off service – so Enterprise was the first to offer to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel or workplace. This above-and-beyound service has resulted in Enterprise becoming one of the top three agencies in that multi-billion dollar industry because they successfully identified two specific P.O.D.’s – Points of Distinction.

* Turn your industry on its head. After 40 years of pounding our palms against the bottom of catsup bottles in a futile effort to get the slow-moving condiment out, Heinz had a “Duh” moment and turned its bottles upside down so they now rest on the cap (and let gravity work its magic.) Target did something similar with an upside-down Christmas tree with the pointy part on the bottom. Their reasoning? More room for presents! This novel product generated tons of press and be-the-first-on-your-block-to-have-one sales.

* Be an UN. Ask yourself, “How are all my competitors alike? How can I be UN-like them?” This is what 7-Up did. Instead of going head to head with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, it offered an alternative to all the dark soda pops and became the UN-Cola.

* Reverse an industry norm. In the 60’s, Detroit auto-makers were turning out large, luxury automobiles. So, Volkswagon went small. They figured there were consumers who didn’t want or need a station-wagon or a four door, so they introduced the “Bug,” a two-door for budget-minded people (e.g., college students and young adults).

Volkswagon didn’t stop there. They capitalized on their P.O.D. in self-deprecating ads that turned their small size into a proud, viable option to gas-guzzlers. One full –page ad featured 75% blank space with a tiny Volkswagon Beetle in the center with a one-sentence caption that said, “It makes your house look bigger.” Kudos.

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