Conventional business wisdom touts that you have to be the biggest, the strongest, the richest and the best. All worthy goals that build a dynamic economy. Capturing the mind of your customers is the basis for brand building. Once they have taken you to their bosom, your brand blossoms and grows. To capture that embrace your brand has to first possess the values that resonate with your customer.

Sometimes the reality is that you’re not the leader in your category. Another brand owns that. And if there’s lots of competition vying for that top spot, you’ll find that as a group you’re all touting the same things. Things like the best service, the cheapest prices, the most innovative, the longest in business, the best guarantee, etc. All low-hanging fruit as far as I’m concerned. Stay on this road and you’ll fast become merely a commodity and be forced to sell solely on lowest price.

Take a look at the first sentence of this post: “Conventional business wisdom touts that you have to be the biggest, the strongest, the richest and the best.” The flip side of that would be the smallest, the weaker, the poorer and second best. Drawing attention to a lesser reality CAN be nurtured into a very powerful differentiator that will resonate with your customer. Consider historic examples such as: Avis- as #2—we try harder! Making the leader the negative was simply brilliant. Small can be great (Volkswagon Beetle), negatives can flourish as positives (Avis) and so on.

Sometimes shooting for the top is too much wasted energy and it doesn’t change the conversation resulting in your brand blending in with the competition. Of course your brand values have to support this David and Goliath strategy. Once you embrace this topic you’ll immediately see that perceptions of your brand have changed. Everyone encourages the underdog.

Ed Roach
For more than 25 years, Ed Roach has worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiate them from their competition. Ed appreciates working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions, and consults predominantly with businesses facilitating his proprietary process, "Brand Navigator." This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand, delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace. He is the author of "101 Branding Tips," a book of practical advice for your brand that you can use today.