Brand myopia – a radical in your own backyard
March 29, 2005
Sometimes it’s possible to define your competitive set so narrowly, that you operate in a zone, where as long as you are ahead of your direct competitor, your fine. However, because the real world and importantly, the consumer, does not have the same definition of you, it can easily get you into trouble. You can see it with teen and young adult fashion brands, who define their competition as other young adult fashion brands, instead of extending the competitive set to include mobile phones and video games, since both are after the same disposable income.
It recently came to our attention when reading a recent press release from Blimpie.
“One pillar of the reinvigorated BLIMPIE brand is the company’s ability to consistently stay on the cutting-edge of menu innovation. Its new Ciabatta bread promotion launches April 1 throughout the country, featuring three Italian-themed sandwiches built on delicious Ciabatta bread and served hot from the BLIMPIE category-exclusive panini grill.
BLIMPIE is the only quick-service sandwich chain with a panini grill and the company is aggressively developing new panini-grilled sandwich options, although any of its traditional sandwiches can be grilled by request.”
The problem for Blimpie is that they are defining their competitive set through the very narrow lens of quick-service sandwich chains, which was probably defined by a market research company 10 years ago and includes a couple of players. The reality is that the consumer doesn’t shop these narrow definitions and although Blimpie believe they are radical revolutionaries in the sandwich world, the consumer’s been eating paninis for 4 years. Blimpie isn’t cutting edge, it’s merely playing catch-up.
For brands it’s important to understand that your consumer is a lot more complicated that you want them to be; they don’t see categories the way you do and that they often purchase based on mood, meaning that they don’t stick to a predictable repertoire, they can be eating paninis and subs in the same week, for completely different motivational reasons.
Narrowly defining your competition can be a pretty dangerous thing to do, look at what people are really doing, rather than trying to slot them into convenient “buckets”.Next post Previous post