Brand Relevance vs. Brand Preference
In my current research on some marketing topics, I found a really interesting quotation, by David A. Aaker in his scientific article “Win the Brand Relevance Battle and then Build Competitor Barriers“, California Management Review, Vol.54, No.2 Winter 2012, pp. 43-57:
“The only way to achieve real growth is to develop offerings so innovative that they create new categories or subcategories making competitors irrelevant(…)!“
THE BLUE OCEAN
Referring to the Blue Ocean Theory what means offering a new product or service on a new market, as depicted in the following table:
INNOVATIONS – TRYING TO TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN?
A lot of people probably think that innovations have to change the world. But innovations refer to certain solutions, David A. Aaker talks about innovations with “must have features“ that are for example:
2) organizational values
3) social programs
4) self-expressive benefits
5) community benefits
But of course, no theory without assumptions.
Each of those benefits has to be appealing to a certain segment – offer unmet value propositions.
WHAT IS BRAND PREFERENCE?
The way he defines Brand Preference is very well illustrated in this picture
RIGHT, basically a waste of money!
Brand Preference appears in dimensions like: fast, cheap or well-done and you just can be two of them at one time.
So your brand is either more attractive, more reliable or less costy.
Thus marketing only happens as: MORE effective ads, MORE promotion, MORE sponsorships, MORE social media activity…and so forth.
This is very expensive, especially because investments in Brand Preference almost never move the marketplace in the long run.
WHAT ELSE IS LEFT TO DO?
So how to become relevant? First it is necessary that the right category has to be selected , so the brand gets visible & credible – creating value for the consumer.
As a conclusion, competitors are irrelevant.
Nevertheless, the Brand Relevance battle has 2 important tasks:
1) First task
The new category or subcategory needs to be…
a) managed b) understandable c) visible and d) appealing
2) Second task
The category or subcategory needs to win – otherwise the whole strategy fails!
ANYONE CAN DO THAT – RIGHT?
But thinking about reality, some doubts came to mind…
What kind of person could create a new successful category? What character traits are essential?
You need to have a sense for changes in the marketplace and customer, a certain creativity and ability to bring the new concept to the market, willingness to take risk – going out of the comfort zone!
This comfort zone means: existing target markets, existing value propositions and known business models.
HOW TO GET MONEY?
To tell the truth, getting monetary resources becomes increasingly difficult.
Not to forget, timing is a very big deal. Looking at the willingness to invest nowadays after Financial Crisis & EU Sovereign Debt Crisis starting from the US and resulted in whole economies going bankrupt and their citizens hiding money under their pillows – showing the tremendous interconnectiveness globally.
THE QUESTION IS…
Isn’t the Blue Ocean left untouched for a certain reason? And when the innovative idea is seen as a fancy one, doesn’t the market turn red instantly OR even worse not just the same idea but combined with a better concept?
WHAT IS NEXT?
In which direction do we move, when it comes to new, innovative things? Is there any chance to spur investment?