In times of increasing competition, Brand Alchemy is required.
Through Brand Alchemy you can create a brand that effectively had no competitors. This is because you create a unique experience that gives you a monopoly in the market place.
You can achieve this through one or a many of the 8x P factors on the map below.
• An unique product
• An unique price structure
• An unique place in the customer’s mind
• An unique promotional strategy
• An unique process that redefines the industry and thus is truly “cutting edge” innovation
• Location, location, location – a unique physical environment that becomes inextricably associated with your product or service
• Totally uncopyable people – something the franchise models have yet to understand
• And the driving force – an unique passion.
P1 = Product
Iconic companies like Apple have built their legend around bringing unique products to market. Of course, as soon as they are created, competitors try to emulate the products… and lawyers get rich.
If you choose the fast-track of creating an Intellectual Property Company, you’ll always be reinventing yourself, and you’ll be able to bring new innovative offerings to market far fastest than a commodity-based company. You’ll also accelerate to be leading so in front of the competition that they will never catch up.
P2 = Price
Pricing is the most dangerous branch of our P8 Brand Alchemic Strategy. So many people are tempted to compete on price.
But “Price” doesn’t necessitate you being the cheapest. In fact, being the most expensive (reassuringly so) can be a powerful strategy. Who really wants something cheap?
Don’t we say, “cheap and nasty”?
Of course, if you want to make a high price a key part of your strategy, you’ll need to add high perceived value, won’t you?
P3 = Place
“Place” here is psychological space. Where are you placed in the minds of your target customer groups? Up-market? Bargain Basement? Posh? Pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap?
Whilst I abhor the whole concept of Class or Caste, these dreadful concepts exist because of a flaw in human psychology. People want to feel like they belong. If they can feel like they belong to something amazing, even better.
Strive for associations that set you high in the minds of customers. “Exclusive” and “Elite” or “Professional” and “Deluxe” are all ‘place’ holders. There are three twigs on this branch because you may want to layer your place levels – Affiliate, Associate, Approved for example.
P4 = Promotion
Here’s where the 21st Century offers brilliant new paths to promote to and reach your audience. There is a new democratisation of access to a World-wide audience.
What really excites me is the fact that creativity is the key factor now, not cost. Of course TV advertising is still expensive but anyone can access the World through YouTube or Vimeo or SlideShare.
Only your imagination can limit you.
Your unique offering can go viral at virtually no cost to you.
That’s truly revolutionary.
P5 = Process
Product, Price, Place and Promotion were the classical “Marketing Mix” of the 20th Century. As “Service” became more important and products less tangible, marketeers added three new Ps to the Marketing Mix:
• Process – how easy are you to do business with?
• Physical Environment – what does this say about you and your company?
• People – what’s the chemistry like.
Dan Sullivan and other Entrepreneurial Gurus have now taken this further. They emphasise the importance of creating an unique process that no one else has. This moves you beyond competition (until your process is duplicated!)
So, what could your unique processes be.
This also includes the process of what you are like to do business with. How seamless are your front-stage and back-stage offferings? (Check out Dan Sullivan’s “How the Best Get Better” and the classic, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
More than this, I’ve only met one proactive organisation in my experience – Dan Sullivan’s.
So how could you proactively woo, pursue and win the hearts and minds of your customers with a consistent process? (And by “procactive” I don’t mean “pushy sales” – Dan’s organisation have continued to bless me with inputs that I value at little or no cost to me. That’s truly tuning into Wii.fm isn’t it?
P6 = Physical Environment
The Real Estate (USA) and Estate Agents (UK) and Marketeers have been chanting the same mantra for years: “Location, Location, Location.”
The Physical (and Virtual) Environment in which you conduct business really counts.
People are multi-sensory beings. What they see, hear, feel, touch, smell and taste really makes a difference.
What quality of coffee do you serve?
What does you Website ‘say’ about you?
Where do you meet clients when you are out of the office?
Your location should reflect your vocation.
Are you an inspirational speaker? If so, the locations where you meet clients and prospective clients should be inspirational.
P7 = People
All the Ps are important but this one is an easy winner. If you choose the right people, they CANNOT be in two places at once. As far as I know, we still cannot clone them, so you will have a monopoly on the exprience your customers have with your organisation by attracting and retaining the right power team.
Of course, it only take one idiot to spoil it for the brand, so don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to hiring the finest people who reflect the ‘place’ you want to stake your claim to in the client’s perception.
How many restaurants do you go to where unmotivated casual staff are Frontstage? Folks, this is unforgiveable madness. Put your most experienced, motivated, talented ‘troops’ on the frontline.
P8 = Passion – beyond a ‘Job’ or ‘role’
I’ve added ‘Passion’ here because it is missing from both the first and second generation Marketing Mixes (P4 and P7 respectively).
Anthony Robbins has really branded into the World’s consciousness the importance of living with passion, which is why I find it fascinating that so few organisations achieve this.
Wherever I go in the World, I proactively seek out service givers who live with passion. One would think this would be the dominant model in the USA but I have not found it to be so.
I find passion in the most remarkable of places. (For example, Poets Corner Cafe in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, UK.) Passion is no respecter of persons – ANYONE can be passionate about ANY role.
Any job can move into the sacred realm of becoming a Vocation.
Don’t expect everyone to like it though! If you manifest your passion, you will frighten those who have settled for mediocrity – for lives of quiet desperation.
Good news though: there are 7 Billion people on the Planet which means that there are enough good ones to go around!
And for those who would say, “Lex, ‘Passion’ is a sub-set of ‘People’,” I’d agree provided it is given equal attention as the other Ps. Since this is rarely the case, I think it is worth it’s own branch.
There’s another reason too: the power of stories. Passionate brands (‘Love Brands’ as I have posted previously) have a story that their ideal clients can associate with. Whether you’re an Olives et Al or a Chococo, an Innocent or an Apple, having brand values and a story, a mission and a vision drives the passion… just Google it!
Afterthought: the Power of Compounding
Whilst excellence in any single P-strand can keep you beyond competition, we can only begin to imagine the cumulative impact of weaving multiple strands together. My favourite Proverb says,
9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. [Ecclesiastes Chapter 4, verses 9-12.]
Clearly the reference here is to people, but I believe it is equally true for the Ps. Two strategies will be better than one, where one can lift up the other if it falls. Two produce more ‘heat’ in the Market… but three can withstand more threats than even two – forming a cord that is not easily broken.
In my workshops I demonstrate this with strands of sewing cotton. Two people in the workshop will be asked to pull on the three strands, which, not surprisingly, snap under the (market) pressure. Then they try the same exercise with three strands platted together. It is not quickly broken. This is an important additional point – the strands must be woven together as part of a coherent strategy.