Your competition is all the other solutions that are vying to resolve your customer’s needs.
An important part of defending your brand’s ability to compete is to think about your competition and how they are vying to solve your customers’ needs. However, if both you and your established competition are being complacent about your customers’ needs, then you are all vulnerable to a new entrant breaking into your brand category. The new entrant will be in a position to quickly establish a strong brand position if they focus on solving a problem that you and your established competition are ignoring.
The Ikea Brand Enters the TV Brand Category
The recent Ikea entry into the TV brand category is a great example of solving a problem that the established TV and electronics manufacturers have long ignored. The problem as identified by Ikea in their clever viral ad spot (Ikea Uppleva) is: how to fit the TV, along with all the cables and cords that come with home entertainment electronics in the living room. The customer pain identified by Ikea is the tangle of cables and cords which are an unsightly mess in the living rooms of their customers.
Ikea has launched itself into the TV brand category with the Ikea Uppleva, which is positioned as an all-in-one “TV solution” comprised of a TV, Blueray player and speakers integrated into a piece of Ikea furniture. The ad spot was launched on April 16, 2012 on YouTube and by the end of April the ad had 1.5 million views. Ikea has done an excellent job with the Ikea Uppleva advertising spot of:
- outlining the problem of the complicated mess that the TV and electronics brand category has made of customers’ living-rooms, and
- setting out their simple, accessible solution.
The humorous and approachable personality of the Ikea advertising video is well differentiated against the high-tech sophistication of the big TV and electronics brands.
3 Tips to Help Focus on Your Customer
To defend your brand against customer need complacency, the following are tips to help you and your team focus on your customer. Keeping an eye on your competition, and also your customer, can help defend your brand’s position in your brand category.
1. Think about Usability
Think about your product or service from the point of view of your customer.
Are you customers experiencing unintended pains and problems when they use your product or service? Can you think of ways to design and improve the customer experience? Can you simplify the use or design of your product?
2. Visit your Customers
Be like Ikea. Visit your customers. Try to learn about their needs and problems. See if your organization can develop solutions to their problem. Try to focus on your customers’ needs and problems. Don’t fall into the innovator’s trap of focusing only on advancing your field of technology and not considering whether the innovations are ones that your customers value.
3. Branding is in the Details
Strong brands are built by keeping an eye on the big picture, but by also being in tune with the small things and details that make a very big difference to customers. In the TV brand category example, a customer may or may not be able to perceive small enhancements in picture quality of a television, but they certainly can see the rat’s nest of cables radiating from their TV.