In a crowded marketplace, with lots of competition, there are “follower” or “copycat” products all around. Realistically, not everyone can shift the paradigm with game-changing innovations for every category. But a seasoned product or marketing manager knows that despite seeming the same, no two products are exactly alike. Like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, carefully crafting distinct brand identities can make two products that serve the same basic needs seem like polar opposites.
Like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, carefully crafting distinct brand identities can make two products that serve the same basic needs seem like polar opposites.”
Perhaps the way to look at it is not so much as a “follower,” but a “follower with advantages.” If you can hit on those advantages, then you can justify moving forward. Taking these steps below will help you leverage your brand and meaningfully differentiate your product:
1. Know what you stand for and own it
Before you go to market, thoroughly explore perceptions of your brand. What are your brand strengths? Which of these can you capitalize on for this “follower” product? Where does your brand fall short and what proactive measures can you take to address these issues prior to or as you launch?
2. Don’t just follow, learn
Gauge the overall market before and after your “follower” launch. Where does the competition stand? What functional and/or emotional needs have they left unfulfilled? Which of these can your “follower” successfully address? Once launched, how has your product changed the landscape? Is your original positioning hitting its mark?
3. Adapt and evolve, or go extinct
Evaluate your product through the eyes of your customers to see how they respond. Where does your product deliver and where does it fail to meet expectations? What are the opportunities to tweak and improve? And, what potential competitive threats should you anticipate?
In staking out a clear place for your ‘follower’ to exist, identifying ways to make it better than what’s out there, and outlining a plan for evolving over time, you can discern whether there is room for you to succeed and grow.”
These guidelines can help you determine whether the market potential and opportunity to succeed outweighs the cost of launching. In staking out a clear place for your “follower” to exist, identifying ways to make it better than what’s out there, and outlining a plan for evolving over time, you can discern whether there is room for you to succeed and grow. It’s all about knowing your brand, knowing your competition and knowing your customer.
Ready to explore the possibilities for a “follower with advantages” offering?