I've had this conversation about 6 times this past week, so it seems timely to write about it as well.
For some reason — many companies and brands are not content to be who they are. They feel the need to create some artificial hybrid of themselves…. no doubt because they're afraid they're leaving money on the table, they are missing out on some customers or their revenue is down, so they're going to fish outside of their own pond.
Here's the truth about your brand. If you are a lion — then be a lion. Be the boldest, loudest, most confident lion you can be.
The minute you decide to become half lion and half tiger… you compromise your own brand. You become less of who you truly are.
I've seen this too many times to think it is a coincidence or fluke. While you are out prowling as a liger…here are the results:
- You chase after business that is outside of your sweet spot — so it takes up more resources (time, talent, money) for you to deliver what you sold. In other words — lower (if any) profit.
- You end up working with customers who value something other than what you are best at selling, so in many cases, you are satisfying them but not delighting them.
- Because you are a little (or a lot) outside of your usual scope — you price your offerings badly — either giving it away (what did we say about net profits?) or trying to charge a ridiculous amount, just proving that you aren't really an expert in that particular arena.
- While you are working extra hard (see #1 above) to deliver on business you really aren't superior in, you're so busy that you can't chase or win sweet spot business.
In short….you are working harder, delivering less spectacular results and making less money.
I get the short term temptation of trying to be that hybrid — it's money in the pocket.
But, in the long run, you simply diminish your own ability to be remarkable. To be the brand that goes way beyond delivering satisfaction — but instead, your customers LOVE you. Those are the companies that are surviving this recession. Those are the companies who enjoy incredible word of mouth business.
If you are a lion — be the biggest, baddest, boldest lion you can be. You don't (and shouldn't) be anything else.
Dynamite post Drew. Napoleon Dynamite would be proud.
Sage advice as usual. Stay true to your core.
‘The average distance between your brain and your heart is 9 inches’
Not to take away from all the great advice you have shared, but this absolutely the best advice you have given. And you’ve pointed out so well the ramifications of forgetting who you are. Even Wal-Mart learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago when they tried to go after chic cheap fashions. It wasn’t them and they did it horribly, spending lots of resources unwisely. The following year they went back to their core – really cheap stuff, and it’s been mostly roses since.
Great advice. If you can nail what you know, then you can branch out. Don’t try and be all things to all people straight away.
Loved this post Drew! As a Landlord of a shopping center we’ve had to find our niche and come to terms that we cant compete with the huge power centers. We are a neighborhood shopping center that caters to families. We are focusing our time and energy on giving our customer base what they want in terms of new tenants and events/activities. Its so important for businesses to be realistic about who they are, what they offer and who their customers are!
I’ve been pondering over this for awhile. While I completely agree, I’m confused about what is straying too far away from your brand. For example, I do freelance marketing for a company that sells prairie flowers, installs them, and then they do some landscaping. I’ve tried to get them to shy away from the landscaping because it doesn’t sell flowers. I actually made them read this post to explain myself better. They argued that landscaping (ponds, retaining walls, sod, trees) wasn’t branching out from what they did. I guess I can’t tell their being a Liger or not!?
Definitely – focus on your core competencies!