October 2015
It's Your Choice

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

Unless you're conducting business on a very small and remote island, it's fair to say that your brand faces fierce competition. In most situations, regardless of product category, there will be at least 3 or 4 mainstream, national brands as well as numerous regional or specialty brands that are all competing for the same attention and share of market as your own.


In addition, each of these companies could be advertising in the same publications, exhibiting at the same trade shows and relying on mailing lists that mirror yours. With so many apparent similarities and obvious threats, your brand (if it is to assume a leading role) needs to be more visible, credible and acknowledged as the best possible choice above and beyond them all. Creating this impression is not easy and, while certainly achievable, will require a committed financial investment.

As I've mentioned, getting noticed, proving credibility and demonstrating value is essential for your brand to survive. Let's consider these points one at a time:

1. Get noticed. We advise our clients to do whatever it takes to position their brand apart from, and ahead of, its nearest competitor. This can be achieved through innovative packaging (unique shape, material, ergonomics, etc.), impactful graphics (arresting colors, strong typography, distinctive illustration and/or photography, etc.), compelling sales messages (memorable, cleverly crafted, targeted, etc) and a carefully integrated marketing plan - all implemented with a high degree of finish and attention to detail.

2. Be credible. Sure, you could put on a chicken suit, run around and wave your arms wildly and make barnyard noises. If your company sells chicken, perhaps this approach makes sense. Otherwise, a communication strategy and promotional tactics that position your brand in a believable and appropriate manner would be preferred. At the very least, check out the tactics that your competitors use and go one step further. To do any less, in a competitive world, would confirm second tier status for your brand.

3. Make a better offer. Buyers need to know that your product represents the best choice possible. You'll need to convince them, without a doubt, that your brand outperforms its rivals. Issues such as value for money, retailer margins, turnover and shelf life could all be important - along with brand credibility and appeal (see items 1 and 2).

At the start of this article, I stated that these competitive issues could be overcome but not without a serious financial commitment. If you've read any of my earlier writings, you already know that one of my core values is quality. You also know that hamburger will always be cheaper than filet mignon. Since none of our clients want their brands to be perceived as "hamburger," we know their marketing tactics may incur "filet mignon" costs. While we recognize that it may be difficult, or even impossible, to sustain this level of spending on a regular basis, we always prioritize our efforts. Setting priorities and allocating precious resources can be based on immediate need or, better still, those marketing tactics that represent the greatest potential for return on investment.

Let's keep in mind that your marketing program exists to help you obtain exceptional levels of sales. This requires a willingness to do whatever it takes to get your brand noticed, understood and, most importantly, accepted. The bottom line is that you have a choice to make. I prefer and support brand leadership. In other words, I prefer filet mignon over hamburger.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email: jeff@studiospear.com.

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