Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. – Steve Jobs
MARKETING LIFE CYCLES – PART 2
By Randy Lane
STAGE 3: Maturity/Success
Success can be dangerous. When brands become leaders in their field, the mindset is often to relax and keep doing what you’ve been doing. That stance can work for a while, but eventually the brand will start to slide.
It’s harder to maintain success than it is to attain it. The smart money is on brands that retain the essence of what made them successful AND continue to innovate. Flashback to the Beatles. They maintained a familiar sound, and their music progressed creatively with each new album they released. The Beatles left on top.
Flash forward to Starbucks. The company became an enormous success by the year 2000 with over 3,500 stores. Starbucks brand then spread around the world, added breakfast and lunch items, championed marriage equality, and reached the 99% ethically sourced coffee milestone in 2015. The company now has over 22,000 stores worldwide and continues to be a revered brand.
Brand priorities for Stage 3 are:
1. Attack yourself before a competitor does. Review your brand as if you are a new competitor coming into the marketplace. How would you beat you?
- Identify your strengths.
- What are your weaknesses/vulnerabilities/
- What are your brand opportunities?
2. Brand message: Demonstrate that your brand is now better than ever (without using that phrase).
3. What’s new and original? It could be a new service, product, book, or an online course.
4.Community involvement is more important at this stage. Local interactions and connections are a way of expanding your brand.
5. Conduct a Content Mapping exercise. Rate your content as A (a strength), B (it’s good, but it needs a new twist or an overhaul), or C (it has run its course and needs to be replaced).
STAGE 4: Decline
Brands will need a major overhaul or re-invention in Stage 4.
Apple Computers was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1996. When Steve Jobs was rehired he said in an interview with PBS, “The problem was that Apple stood still. I think the way out is not to slash and burn, it’s to innovate. That’s how Apple got to its glory, and that’s how Apple could return to it.” Jobs became the king of innovation and built Apple into the most valuable company in the world.
Here are priorities for Stage 4:
- Evolve from change to transformation. Change is improving what you’re already doing, transformation is re-invention.
- Review your staff. You may need to replace or hire people.
- Conduct a Competitive Review based on current market conditions. Review the brand as if you are a new competitor coming into the marketplace. Then do a competitive review on the competition..
- Redefine your brand based on the current market. In last week’s Content Ideas we outlined how to define your brand.
- Execute a Content Mapping exercise. As in Stage 3, rate your content, services and products A, B, or C.
- Create and launch new content features, services, and products: start a podcast, a new newsletter/blog, release a book or an online course, etc.
- Re-launch your brand.
The Randy Lane Company emphasizes brand definition. We encourage clients to assess their marketing life stages annually.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/33328541@N05/