16 Mar

Find a way to be ‘top 3’

There’s a gap between this and my last post. Man flu cut me to ribbons.
Stuffy nose = stuffy head = inability to think of anything worthwhile to stick on here.
That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it …. sort of.

Okay, back in the game, with a simple-ish post.

Think of a product or ‘brand sector’.
Now think of the top three brands in that sector.
Now try to think of brands, in the same sector, beyond those three.

I’ll make it easy, with an initial example: toothpaste.

Top three brands; Colgate, Aquafresh, Macleans.
(beyond those three;  Arm & Hammer, Sensodyne … can’t think of any more)

… and another example: mobile phones.

Top three brands; Apple, Samsung, HTC.
(beyond those three;  LG, Nokia, Sony)

Okay, one more: sports clothing/equipment

Top three brands; Nike, Reebok, Adidas
(beyond those three;  Puma and …erm…. I’m struggling)

Now – if you can be arsed – have a go at this for yourself: choose a brand sector and name a top three.

This isn’t just big brand thinking though. If you have a smaller or medium-size company, you still want to stand out as one of the top three in your area or your chosen specialism i.e one of the top three in Manchester, or one of the top three firms specifically for employment law (and not just law in general).
You certainly don’t want be thought of as just one of a big pile of solicitors/accountants/marketing firms/fitness studios.

To be considered in a top three, it’s no good to say the exact same thing as your competitors, or not bother to check that they’re not saying the same thing as you.

I always get people to imagine themselves as a potential customer/client, standing over the road from their own business, with two businesses from the same sector either side of theirs e.g three suit tailors in a row.
If all three suit tailors sell themselves on ‘great service’, how does the customer/client know which one to go into first? They might as well just pick one at random.

However, if one of them sold themselves on the basis of one strength in particular (best fitting suits, or finest silk used, or quickest turnaround from measurement to finished suit), then they’d be saying something beyond the generic, something different to their competitors, and I’d know the exact reason to go to them … and they’d be in my ‘top three‘: I’d have a reason to remember them.

So, you can be in that top three just by at least saying something different from your competitors – sticking your neck out and standing for one thing – or you can just say something generic in a far more exciting way than any of your rivals.

Remember the Heineken adverts: ‘refreshes the parts no other beer can reach’?
What beer brand couldn’t simply say that their beer is refreshing? All Heineken did was say something generic in a more interesting way, and – for a bit – it pushed them into people’s minds as one of the top three beer brands.

I’m trying to do it with a friend’s business at the moment. There are loads of rivals in his sector, but absolutely none of them are saying anything interesting, or anything which stands out.
There’s a ‘top three’ in this sector, but only by default. The first business to do or say something slightly different (or just state a generic benefit in an interesting way), will clean up!

It might take a little bit of thinking, but see how you can get people to consider your company as one of the ‘top three’ (if not the very top) for what you do.

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