Table of Contents
- Two Ways to Position Your Brand
- Why Picking on the Big Guy Works
- Notable Examples of Successful Positioning Against Market Leaders
- Conclusion: Embrace the David vs. Goliath Strategy
When breaking into a market as a small brand, resources are often limited, making it challenging to create a strong share of voice. Mark Ritson, a professor at the Mini MBA, suggests a strategic approach for small businesses to position themselves against well-established market leaders, leveraging their distinctiveness and taking advantage of the “shadow salience” that comes with challenging the top dogs.
Two Ways to Position Your Brand
- Position to the target customer: Clearly communicate what your brand offers and how it benefits your target audience.
- Position against an alternative, more famous brand: Showcase what your brand stands for by highlighting the differences between your offering and that of a well-known competitor.
Why Picking on the Big Guy Works
- Shadow Salience: By positioning your brand against a well-known competitor, you benefit from their existing market presence and recognition, increasing your brand’s visibility.
- Second-Mover Positioning Advantage: As a new entrant, you can identify gaps or weaknesses in the market leader’s positioning and exploit them to create a unique, compelling brand proposition.
- Exclusive Opportunity for Small Brands: Larger brands are unlikely to engage in this type of competitive positioning, as it doesn’t make strategic sense for them. This creates an opportunity for smaller brands to gain a competitive edge.
Notable Examples of Successful Positioning Against Market Leaders
- Avis successfully positioned itself as a brand that tries harder, as they were second to Hertz, the market leader.
- Virgin Airlines built a strong reputation by positioning itself against British Airways, focusing on its differences and shortcomings.
- Ben & Jerry’s strategically waged a “war” against Haagen-Dazs in the 1980s, helping them establish their brand identity and market presence.
Conclusion: Embrace the David vs. Goliath Strategy
Positioning your small brand against market leaders can be a powerful way to gain visibility, create a unique brand proposition, and carve out a niche in the market.
By leveraging the shadow salience and second-mover advantage that comes with challenging the big guys, small businesses can effectively compete and make a name for themselves in a crowded marketplace. Embrace the David vs. Goliath strategy and watch your brand grow.