I am a batsman - Great. As good Virat Kohli? No!! Can you bowl? Keep? Field?
I am a soap, I clean really well - Ok? So? Do you smell good? Do you feel good on my skin?
I am a mobile, You can use me to talk. I also have apps, and a camera - So?
I am an ecommerce company, Order online and I will deliver products home - Really, so?
I am a watch, I keep time, really well - So, what else can you do?
The point of this exercise is that many startups create a product that solves a basic need. But when there are enough companies solving the same problem, the problem ceases to be a problem anymore, and becomes hygiene
A watch that doesn't keep time is plain ol stupid.
When positioning your startup often everyone wants to be the category. "I am the watch that keeps time". And then someone comes along and says "all watches do that", mine controls a Giant Robot.
Which watch will you buy
I am a batsman - Great. As good Virat Kohli? No!! Can you bowl? Keep? Field?
There are so many buzzwords of our time, content marketing, inbound, outbound, social media, CAC and more. In all of this new age performance marketing and measurable noise - I haven't heard one startup, media house or VC talk about positioning, brand building., brand personality, tone of voice, define the ideal customer, Brand Identity and more...
Purists of the branding game, understand that a commodity like soap can be sold using "it cleans", it makes you beautiful, kill germs, smells great, how it makes you feel, form factor, celebrities and more.
Only the first player in the category, sorry "in the consumer's mind", can stand for the category. Like Big Basket can stand for groceries delivered home. Anyone else has to position themselves away from the dominant player in the category to win. You could be organic produce or only alcohol being home delivered. But raise money and fight against a player who has more money, head on in the same markets, now that is just being foolish.
That's akin to heading into a war in an open field being outnumbered 2 to 1. You know how that war ends don't you. The one with more resources wins the war without even losing 20% of his force, while the opposing army is wiped out.
What is instead needed is find out where the weakest point of the enemy army, and concentrate your entire force on that spot. That in a nutshell is positioning.
Who are we, What do we stand for, Who is our ideal consumer, How do we want the customer to view us as a brand, What problem do we solve, How are we different
These are questions more startups need to ask of themselves. And more VC's need brand architects in house or in every startup if possible. Simply throwing money at marketing, rarely works especially if competition has more money. Would you send 100 men to fight 500 and pray that it works out.
But imagine if the 100 men had a fort, a moat, trebuchets and archers and had to just defend a territory they know really well. They might actually beat that army of 500 approaching the wall.
You can think of the startup battleground as an open field or a land filled with hills, caves, and alleyways.
If you are taking on a better funded opponent in an open field, I would like to hand you the Param Veer Chakra for bravery, but I know you aren't going to win.
But if you have alleyways, hills and caves to hide, spring surprises, attack in the dark and hit them where they least expect it or even if they do,don't know how to counter, Aha you would have won and weakened the resolve of the enemy.
Positioning is a little intangible. It's almost like art meets psychology meets marketing meets science.
In the search for tangibility, to assign measurable outcomes, startups might have lost out on positioning. And purists will tell you that positioning is the battle for supremacy that happens in the consumer's mind.
Oh no, not another post on how apps are the next big thing. Phew thank god both of us didn't wake up late for that party. This is a little different. Let me explain
Do you know how every restaurant & pub has a website that no consumer visits. It's only frequented by vendors, partners, franchise seekers etc, which by itself is a good enough reason to have a website today.
But, when websites were still new, every F&B venue thought they needed to do something with their website to get consumers on it. They spent tons of time and money on website developers to get work done. Some even went to the extent of developing virtual games like "Who can drink the maximum beers".
All that changed eventually, everyone realised that thing called "location, location, location" is actually applicable everywhere.
You go where consumers are - and consumers are on platforms that they use frequently like facebook for example and facebook pages became clearly a better way out. Well that was a lesson well learnt then.
But as they say history repeats itself, today when we meet F&B owners to jump on our mobile app clubd, many talk about developing their own apps, which includes their own loyalty platforms, seamlessly integrated with their Point of Sale Software and sometimes done by a vendor for FREE.
I am not sure how any of these seem like trivial problems to them. Developing an app, developing a loyalty solution, integrating with POS software are all stand alone difficult problems to solve. And once you do that, you have to get consumers to download your app, and keep them engaged for long periods of time so your app stays on their phone.
Seems like a lot of difficult problems for a business whose core is to serve great food and drinks - which I am sure, is difficult enough to achieve consistently.
So my guess is this is yet another exercise in futility, consumers will still use the apps that they regularly use, and you have to catch them while on it. For the F&B industry that includes Facebook, Foursquare, Zomato, Trip Advisor and hopefully many startups like us who are gaining traction.
The answer definitely isn't in developing your own app. People who do nothing but build and market apps get it wrong, what chance does the poor neighbourhood pub have.
If you notice, there is a rush by local businesses to setup facebook pages & create online communities. But some local businesses who have been there and done that have a genuine problem.
1. Content creation is a constant problem.
What poll, vote or witty joke do I share with my community today?
And will this really lead to meaningful engagement?
2. Inability to engage at the retail store
Online engagement is great, but in the absence of real engagement while the consumer is at the point of sale is absolutely meaningless.
From Facebook Communities to Mobile Communities
Imagine if you could develop a mobile community, one that is loyal & engaged.
The mobile is an awesome invention for more than one reason, it acts as the unique number which can identify an individual, and also act as a communication channel between the consumer and the brand.
Thus the mobile number if used as a loyalty & CRM tool, can identify purchase patterns, visit frequency and also be a source of genuine consumer insight. Qualitative and quantitative market research can come free. In fact it can be designed in the purchase process, and any post purchase dissonance can be captured and rectified.
More on this coming up later, let me leave you businesses with a thought. What if you had just 10000 mobile numbers, and you knew the exact purchase patterns, their affinity towards your brand, their critique and more. What if you could influence the way they talked about you in the online sphere.
How would that affect your marketing and market research strategy?
This is certainly a must read for anyone doing anything in the social media / networking space
The race to a million likes on facebook or a 100K followers on twitter. Is that what leveraging social media is about? Companies seem to have taken their first steps in going social, by setting up a facebook page or a twitter account.
You know how they talk about Dell having garnered millions of dollars of business by giving away exclusive offers on twitter. If you consider giving away freebees in return for business as a success parameter, its been done ever since business existed. Replicating that success on a different platform by following this age old strategy can hardly be deemed as a successful use of the platform.
Social Media was intended to connect consumers with consumers. With the intrusion of brands, in an otherwise human world, the best case situation is that consumers now treat the brand as one of them.
Lets not assume that I think being human is not a great move by a brand. It is, but it still doesn't leverage the true power of social media.
If you as a brand want to do that, you need to architect a conversation around your brand, so the consumers are still talking to other consumers, but now they are talking about your brand. More difficult of course, but if done right, you unlock some serious potential.
What are your thoughts on architecting a conversation around a brand. Do you know of anyone successful in achieving that?
Undoubtedly social media has been one of the biggest changes that the marketer has had to grapple with. A more powerful consumer - I mean which marketer or business wants that. The power to influence no longer rests solely with the big media spenders.
With the onset of mobile payments and m-commerce, I believe that the world of marketing will once again change forever. Make no mistake mobile payments are not remotely the force they can be.
But imagine if the consumer now has the ability to buy any product right on his mobile. It converts every ad into a potential point if sale.
If you see a hoarding for a Deep Purple concert, with a call for action "SMS Deep Purple to 52121" to buy tickets on your mobile, wouldn't that be convenient. You don't have to go online, you don't have to visit the nearest Cafe Coffee Day. Just send the SMS, and use your card to pay. I am sure security concerns exist for payments on a new medium, which will pass with time and with more businesses promoting mobile payments.
Now the marketer doesn't just get the payment but also has the mobile number of the consumer to communicate future events (I know the spam haters are already thinking this is a bad idea). But as long as there is an opt out or opt in option for the consumer, he should be ok with it.
Recently Vodafone has promoted purchase of IPL tickets on the mobile, you can bet that you will see many similar efforts in the not so distant future.
To take your first steps in the Social Media Marketing World there is just one question you need to ask yourself
Twitter, Tweepeople, Twitback, ReTweet, RepeatTweet, Facebook Killer, Follow, UnFollow, @me, @you, #FollowFriday, search.twitter.com are probably just a few of the terms you have had randomly thrown at you.
We welcome this guest post from Ben Johnson of Logoinn, a custom logo design service provider based in UK.
You should ask yourself few questions to find out whether your logo needs a redesign. If your answer is no to all or most of the questions below, then an effective logo redesign is the solution.
1. See your logo closely not being as a business owner rather being as a customer. What do you feel? Does the design appeal to you?
2. Are the color, font, style and other elements recognized easily?
3. Does it look fresh and modern?
4. Is it successful in portraying the business image to your target audience?
5. Is it compatible with all the advertising and marketing mediums?
6. Is it unique and doesn’t match with any other logo?
Reasons for face lift
Improving small bits of elements in your logo sometimes become crucial. There are several reasons that can justify the above mentioned comments:
1. Giving a new look to your logo can be eye-catching to viewers. The graphics, images, colors, fonts used in the logo must all reveal the aesthetic element of the design. If the logo you have does not meet the above standards, a logo redesign is highly recommended to earn benefits from it.
2. Fonts, colors, and all other elements in your logo should be located in such a way that they are easily visible to the viewers. If the fonts are hard to read, or the logo is over-crowded with too many colors, it tends to irritate the viewer, who is more likely not to recognize your logo next time he sees it. Whereas, simple and easy to recognize logo will allow the viewer to memorize it at a glance. If your current logo has necessary message buried that irritates the viewer in finding the purpose of your business, then a logo redesign is a turnkey solution to draw attention of the viewers.
3. The style of your logo is another very important factor. There may be several things that you look for and want to put in your logo. But at the same time you should keep in mind that the style should be similar to the aspects like the type of your business or the kind of your target audience. If the logo you own does not suitably portray your business purpose to the old customers, logo redesign is necessary in order to carry targeted message accurately and efficiently.
4. Logo design trends have been constantly changing. New trends like Web 2.0, Waves, and Organic 3D make logos look fresh and eye-catching. In addition, contemporary logos reflect the company’s image as an innovative and modern. Thus, if your logo is not according to contemporary logo design trends, you will be seen as old world compared to competition. Would you want that to happen or would you prefer redesigning your logo...
5. Take into account, how you are going to use your logo on different marketing and advertising mediums like billboards, brochures, letterheads, pens, buttons etc., your logo is meant to be versatile, and its design should bestowed to any use imaginable. But, if your logo is not compatible with all the available mediums, it’s better to consider a redesign.
In short, your company’s logo is one of the key elements to its potential success. Therefore, redesigning your logo with slight changes, not only looks appealing to customers, but also helps you in increasing the sales.
*Marketing Amnesia thanks Ben Johnson for contributing to it. Neither does Marketing Amnesia nor the regular author of this blog endorse Logoinn in anyway.
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.