Brands saturate our world. They are all looking to innovate faster, compete harder, and disrupt bigger. Why? Competition is tough — from both emerging and established brands. This forces companies to always be on their toes.
But competition isn’t always a bad thing.
Competition is what gives brands the motivation to do better and be better. If your market is crowded, it doesn’t mean your employees must work 18-hour days or that you have to outspend on advertising. Instead, what you really need to do is work smarter.
Here are some ways you can grow your brand even when you’re not the only player on the field.
Growing Awareness in a New Category: Make Competitors Your Allies
It might sound destructive, but partnering with competitors can actually benefit your brand — if you do it right. This is an especially good tactic when you compete in a new category. And you’ll likely find willing partners. In fact, 74% of companies are open to supporting opponents as a means for building brand or category awareness. Take kombucha, the drink of choice for Silicon Valley and hipsters everywhere. During the category’s early stages, the awareness rate was only 20%. Companies such as Health-Ade and KeVita went to tea festivals together and handed out samples of their products to spark buzz around the fermented drink. They came together with a shared mission of raising awareness and realized they could make a bigger impact together than separately. In turn, each brand was able to grow over time as the category grew into one of high demand.
Growing into New Segments and Channels: Take a Leap into Something New
If you aren’t ready to join forces with the competition, a co-branding partnership may be the perfect way to step out of your category’s predefined box. American Express and Foursquare, both players in the payments industry, leveraged each other’s reach to solve a unique motivation. American Express used Foursquare’s platform to offer discounts to their cardholders, reach a younger, tech-centric audience, and expand their merchant network. Foursquare leveraged the Amex partnership to push more users to shop via their phones, increasing user traffic. This cooperation gave each brand the data to reach new market segments, expand into new channels and, ultimately, elevated each brand’s position.
Growing Brand Loyalty: More Rewards, More Brand Love
Financial success does not equate to long-term loyalty. The modern-day consumer demands that brands deliver personalized experiences. Loyalty programs, in particular, connect brands with consumers and gives them a reason to stay. When AAA entered the market, for example, their primary value was emergency assistance. While this offering has been well received in the market, AAA established an even greater reason for their users to continue using the platform by offering third-party discounts and rewards. That value goes well-beyond a jump start.
Think Creatively to Grow
If you feel the only way you can compete is with expensive ads and promotions, think again. It takes a little creativity and effort to try unconventional tactics but, we promise, it will be worth it. And we’re happy to help.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.
Originally published at www.emotivebrand.com on May 31, 2018.