To build a great brand like Facebook is the dream of entrepreneurs. The stuff of legends, dreams, visions.
Yet building a great brand is not what wins the giant startup race.
Instead, it is owing the new category that produces the winning giants, the next gorillas. And believe it or not that is how you build a great brand.
The brand is the tip of the iceberg. Marketing wants to own the iceberg. For instance, look at social networking. Facebook owns social networking. That's what won the race for that startup. Now social networking means Facebooking.
That's not easy for management to comprehend. They focus first, instead, on what to do to build the brand, typically grow more sales.
But marketing minds of serial entrepreneurs are consumed by efforts to own the new market category. That in turn produces a brand that stands for the category. Google means search. Ergo the verbial phrase "google it. That's what produces gorillas.
The resulting brand can be almost invincible if it is narrow and deep. Broad and shallow offers greater sales potential. Narrow and deep offers greater profit potential and greater brand stability. Here are a few brands that fit this description.
- Rolex in expensive watches
- Intel in microprocessors
- Twitter in micro news
- Band-Aid in adhesive bandages
BOTTOM LINE: Serial entrepreneurs understand the prime objective of a new enterprise is to dominate, to own, a new category. Once accomplished, the startup's brand will take on the meaning of that new market category. That distinguishing focus leads to clarity and points the way to the top of the new mountain. Once there your competitors will complain about your unfair advantage. Your startup will be branded forever.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!
"Marketing is too complicated to be left to management people who have little experience in marketing and who don't understand its principles." wrote Al Ries.
Rated by Advertising Age as one of the Top Ten living legends of marketing, Ries's findings and related implications in the book "War in the Boardroom" are spot on with the markeing challenges that confront first-time entrepreneurs.
This series on startup marketing follows the principles laid down in that book. I highly recommend the book to startup leaders.