Last February 22, I was at the World Marketing Summit that was held at The Tent at Solaire. Ticket cost ₱6,000 and despite the 8am start of call time, event proper started promptly at 9am.
Laura Ries: Positioning in the 21st Century
The first speaker is Ms. Laura Ries whose father, Al Ries, wrote Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.
It was a popular bookz 3 million copies of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind were sold. The book was translated to 22 languages. However, what was written before may not necessarily work in the 21st century.
A lot of the successful 20th century companies —- Sony, GE and IBM — are in trouble today. Take IBM, sales are down 23%. Sony lost millions over the last 10 years.
1. Global not National.
Why is China the world’s fastest growing economy? It’s because of Exports.
A country does not get rich by selling to each other. They get rich by selling things to other people.
The Philippines have to build and grow global brands. We can look at the Electronic industry. Especially with technology, it’s easier for companies to grow. Four of the top cellphone brands are from China.
The Law of Globalism says the bigger the market, the more specialized you need to be.
If you live in a small town of 100 people, you will be selling general merchandise.
But in a global market, you have to be more focused and specialized.
When you go global, narrow your product line so you can build a brand.
US Global brands made America wealthy. America has 52 global brands vs. only one China global brand, which is Hwawei.
The Philippines do not have a global brand yet, which is an opportunity.
2. Competitor not Customer Oriented
Many customers are customer oriented. The problem is not making your customers happy. The real challenge is the competitors.
Reality is, if you have no competitors, you will have 100% of the market.
Marketing is a battle of companies over markets. Warfare is a battle over territory. Marketing is a mental battle, so that customers will think of you.
Let’s take a look at the airline industry which are customer oriented. The four leading airlines in America are bankrupt. Compare to Southwest who did not offer everything — only coach class.
Southwest has never had an unprofitable year in over 30 years of business.
You don’t win by being better. Customers expect all brands to be better. It’s easier to win if your brand is different. This gives customers a reason to choose you instead of your competitor.
Take the energy drink market. Red Bull had a 8.3-oz can. So how do you compete with Red Bull? Hundreds of competitors followed the can of Red Bull. The only thing that won was Monster Energy with its 16-oz can. Red Bull was 43% market share. Monster was #2 at 39%, not bad!
3. Narrow, not broad.
You win in the mind. How do you get people to pay attention to you? A narrow focus will get your attention. Sharpen that knife!
Take for example if you want to sell a car. You usually ask customers what they want. The customers will say they want everything!
However, offering everything what customers want will not work anymore. BMW for example offered every feature but did not succeed.
Narrow your focus to stand for something — BMW boasted of drivability. This is what made the brand a success.
BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine
BMW became the largest selling luxury vehicle ahead of Mercedes Benz. They highlighted Driveability as their competitive advantage and won the luxury car market.
However, they changed from Drivability to Joy, losing their competitive advantage back to Mercedes.
One of our clients was Great Wall Motors. They started with pickup trucks. And by the year 2009, they offered sedans, pickup trucks, minivans and SUV. There were 9 model names, and it was confusing.
9 models and 4 cateogies was changed to one model — Haval — the SUV vehicle which cost less than RMB 100,000.
This was their sales growth due to such focus.
People think you need to have more to sell more. That’s not true!
4. Multiple not Single Brand.
How does your brand grow?
Answer: Keep the brand narrowly focused.
One company can grow multiple brand names. Single brand names dominated in the 20th century. Multiple brand names will dominate in the 21st.
Multiple brand names — Apple, Coca-Cola and Procter and Gamble — are more successful. Apple has four brands — Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad. It costs 73 trillion pesos today. P&G has 25 brands and operate them separately.
Kodak in the year 2002, it was the 30th most valuable brands in the world. Their net profit went from 6% to bankruptcy 10 years later.
Kodak had a category problem. Film photography as a category died. It was changed to Digital Photography.
Kodak built the first digital camera. They tried to move Kodak from film to digital. They used the wrong name on its digital product. One brand name cannot be used for two different categories.
Buyers buy Lexus not because it’s by Toyota. They buy it because it is different, despite
Customers file brands in their mind, the same way you file things in your office.
Positions in the mind are filed separately. So it’s better to have a different brand name.
That’s why Tesla has 82% of the electrical market. They have dominated this space and equates their brand as the electric car market.
5. Visual and not just verbal.
The best way in the mind is not with words, but with visuals. It’s faster to get into the mind if you have visuals. Visuals are emotional.
A printed word takes a third of a second to be converted to a visual. That’s why you need visuals in your marketing. People assume that the picture is more important.
The best way to put a brand in mind is with a visual. Positioning drives it with a visual.
The contour bottle made Coca-Cola the world’s most valuable brand from 1995 to 2012. The contour bottle is a visual hammer that says it’s the real thing. Coke uses this hammer on everything.
The Marlboro’s cowboy made it the world’s best selling cigarette.
You can also repeat the visuals all the time than you can do words. The Golden Arches make a big difference for McDonalds.
This is their advantage than Burger King, which is easier to miss.
One color is also more memorable.
Corona is the only brand in Mexico that made it as a global brand. The lime makes Corona a global success and is reflected in every marketing ad.
In summary, the Ries Branding highlights the following. If you want to learn more, their website is at http://www.ries.com.
Panel Discussion Takeaway
1. Ikea became successful by doing the opposite — unassembled affordable furniture. What marriage does not start with an Ikea fight?
Now, Ikea must defend their positioning. How you build the brand is being narrowly focused, despite being in a small country.
Have a good idea, be first and be different.
2. Marketing did not get much respect in the boardroom. Marketing is not logical.
3. Visuals are not enough anymore. Video is the mantra of the day. And it has to be shot portraying the activities.
A visual hammer is important in destination marketing:
- Status of Liberty: USA
- Eiffel Tower: Paris
- Taj Mahal: India
- Great Wall of China: China
Every popular destination has a visual that makes it different.