Strategic Design | marketing & branding thoughts by Nick Rice

Dynamic marketing, branding & design strategies that span the gap between business & creative.

Leader... Challenger... Differentiator

Image from the hidden persuader...

This really hit home w/ me when I saw it. Simply for the honest truthfulness of it. Market challengers HAVE to be different. That's the only thing that separates them from the 800lb gorilla in the market. It's the only way to grow, to increase your marketshare, to elevate your brand.

What challengers may or may not know is how jealous market leaders are of their creativity & risk-taking culture. Market leaders cannot be too risky; otherwise they risk alienating their core customers that made them what they are today. Market leaders have to stick to their bread & butter. The really scary thought is not who will overthrown them but when. It's bound to happen; a challenger comes out of nowhere with a new way of doing business, a new idea, a new technology, or a new solution to a problem that people didn't know existed.

It's a funny equation. Market challengers want to be #1 - the leadership, the prestige, the profit, the view from the top is pretty good. But if they make it, they can no longer do the innovative things that previously generated explosive market growth. Now they have to play it safe (or at least safer) - and it's hard for the same management team to do that. But that's a topic for another post...

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