Defining the Customer – Brandwagon

9 11 2009

One of my favorite strategy quotes is Michael Porter’s – “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

It is easy to jump on what we perceive as good deals, or trends.  Take for example my old story about Patagonia after Sarah Palin stated Patagonia as one of her favorite brands.  Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of seemingly a guaranteed increase in sales, they choose to distance themselves from Sarah Palin with the following quote:

“Patagonia’s environmental mission greatly differs from Sarah Palin’s,” Patagonia rep Jen Rapp told the WSJ. “Just wearing the clothing of an environmental company does not necessarily make someone an environmentalist.”

Or when Pepsi comes knocking with a “great deal”…

  • How well do we know our customers?
  • Can we use this to our advantage and draw more people in by being selective in what we offer?
  • When Wal~Mart moves into town…do you change what you do, or let them eat up your profits?
  • How unique are you and what value does that create?



One response

10 11 2009
Paul B

Very interesting clip from a small businessman who knows his market and his passion. The story about how he refers customers who want Pepsi to the Ralph’s down the street is classic. How does this translate to what you do when Wal Mart comes into town? One of my favorite stores, just up the street, is Durfee Hardware ( Mr. Durfee, the son of the founder, is in his 90’s and still works pretty much every day. I asked him one day several years ago how business was going since the Home Depot opened a couple of miles away. “Business has never been better”, he said. It was because of the service they offered that was way above what you would find at Home Depot. You can’t be in there for one minute without someone asking to help you out. And after a couple of visits, they’ll start asking how your last project went. Do you pay more? Maybe 5%, but the service differentiates them.

So use service to differentiate your business and compete against the Goliath who moves into your market.

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