Magic words are one thing, but brand focus is one of the most important concepts in business marketing. However, it’s one that brands are often leery of. This is because brand owners think “focus”, they worry that they’re giving up potential sales and profits by narrowing their offering. Focus goes against our natural inclination to cast a wide net and capture as wide an audience as possible.
But successful brands know that the danger isn’t in being too focused, but rather in being not focused enough.
Focused Brands Are Specialized Brands
Focus forces specialization. When you decide to go after one thing, in particular, everything rides on doing that thing well. Specialization comes with expertise, perceptions of quality, consumer trust, and name recognition in your specific niche. When you specialize, you can drum up greater loyalty – and increase your prices as well.
Jiro from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an example of a hyper-specialized brand. Unlike restaurants that offer five-page menus featuring hundreds of different items (and cuisines!), Jiro does one thing spectacularly well: nigiri sushi. This result has earned him world renown, multiple Michelin stars, and a reservation calendar that books out a year in advance. Sure, Jiro isn’t capturing the hamburger or pasta markets, but that doesn’t matter. His customers come to him for world-class sushi – and there are plenty of them.
Strive For the Or, Not the And
When you try to satisfy everyone you satisfy no one. The key to effective branding is knowing who you are, what you stand for, and precisely targeting the person looking for that specific thing. However, if you’re all over the map product-wise, stand for whatever seems popular, and are trying to reach an audience that spans every demographic, it’s impossible to put together messaging that will resonate with anyone, let alone everyone.
Going wide may net you additional sales and profits in the short-term. Lots of people like sushi, pasta, and burgers, after all. But every “and” you add to your product line stretches your branding even thinner. There’s a reason Google spun off into Alphabet, and why each of its associated companies has its own name, identity, and branding. When everything is Google, nothing is Google.
Similarly, think about Ford’s recent decision to slash its Sedan line to focus on trucks and SUVs instead (and, of course, the beloved Mustang). Why try to make a car for every possible car buyer when you’re successfully catering to a niche that loves your work? Ford’s decision to focus on “or” instead of “and” will pay off in terms of product specialization, consumer trust, improved brand identity and simplified marketing efforts.
It’s Time to Focus Your Offering
It’s natural for companies to expand their offerings as they grow. But with this expansion comes the bloat that almost inevitably has a negative impact on your bottom line. As your company grows, keep an eye on each “and” appearing in your product and service offerings, and try to turn it into an “or” instead. The long-term success of your business hinges on it.
If your business is outgrowing your initial vision and you’re having difficulty streamlining your products, services or branding, get in touch. StellaPop can help you pinpoint the essence of your brand and ensure that you’re focused for maximum success.