Focus IS Brand Strategy!
Hello, class! I’m Professor Dave. For anyone who wants to do any brown-nosing, I enjoy Hershey’s bars, Dragon’s Milk, and the occasional Granny Smith Apple – the non-poisonous variety, of course. And when you’re done giving me any of those, leave. I abhor ass-kissers.
Today, I’ll be teaching you all about focus, which is one of the key aspects of brand strategy. And at the end, I’ll even give you some homework! If this were real school, you’d be ticked – but, since this assignment will make you a whole lotta cash, you’ll dig it.
Now, on to Focus
I write a lot about focus. The reason being I believe it’s the billion-dollar idea that almost no corporation, let alone entrepreneur, wants to deal with.
Consider, however, the fact Apple – the second most valuable company in the world – nearly went bankrupt in the mid-’90s. So how did it survive? For one thing, Steve Jobs asked Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, for $150,000,000 to help keep Apple afloat. Gates obliged. The second thing Jobs did was eliminate a whole lotta product lines. In short, he focused.
Consider the fact Chipotle, a company that’s kept its product focused, started life on the stock market at $42.20 per share in 2006, and as of this writing, is at $621.69 per share.
And finally, consider the fact LEGO, a company that nearly went belly-up in 2004, is now the number one toy company in the world. And all they do is make building blocks.
So Who Doesn’t Focus?
For one, Google. Google puts its name on everything! In the old days, Google pretty much meant “search.” Now, it’s put its name on so many different products, people aren’t sure what it means. And, while I’m sure most still think of it as search, the fact is Google’s losing market share. A lot of people who are paid a lot of money are, I’m sure, running reports trying to figure out what’s up. Brand strategists, however, know the answer: its name’s on too much stuff! Google’s not focused.
Now, since they came up with a parent company called Alphabet, we’re actually excited about Google. They have the opportunity to right the ship, and go back to making Google mean search, while their other brand names can stand for everything else they’re doing. Now, let’s see if they do it.
Another one’s McDonald’s. Poor, poor McDonald’s. I actually feel bad for McDonald’s. I, however, wrote about McDonald’s in the same post I linked to in the Google paragraph, so you can read my thought’s there. That typed, Al Ries – who’s pretty much the father of brand strategy / positioning – agreed with me in a piece he wrote for Ad Age.
And Now for the Brand Focus Assignment
One of our rules is: One Brand. One Product. One Target Market.
I’m sure, even after all my explaining above, that still seems insane to you. Don’t worry, though – I’m going to set it up so you can see the results for yourself. And then, you too can join the gutsy ones.
Step One: Identify all the different products / services you offer.
Step Two: Identify the one that makes the most money.
Step Three: Create a new brand that only sells the product / service that makes the most money.
What you’ll end up with are two brands. The first brand is the one that sells everything – including the product / service identified in Step Two. That’s what you’ve been doing, so I know that’s the comfort zone. The second brand is focused solely on that one product / service that makes you the most money.
Once you’ve created both brands, advertise the hell out of them. Remember that branding takes a while, but what you’ll eventually see is that the second brand will make more money than the same product in the first brand.
Or, you could stop wasting your time, and create separate brands for all the products / services you offer. It’s unconventional. It’s a lot more front-end work. It even takes longer to see results. But if you want a better life that eventually leads to a lot less struggle, it’s the smart, and gutsy, thing to do.
If you’re not sure how to brand, and you’re in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, feel free to fire an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not in the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, then read past and future articles from this very blog. You should get a pretty good understanding of how branding and brand strategy works.
And with that, I’m out!
Now, where the crap did I put that Dragon’s Milk?
Stay gutsy, gang!