As productive, motivated brand builders, we all want to compete. However, minute-by-minute, day-to-day competition can be exhausting to the point of wanting to give up.
One way to combat this exhaustion is to exist and operate alongside the competition—relying on your unique selling point to differentiate your brand and to build a niche, along with an audience that patronises, supports and recommends it. This is a viable course of action, and one that many brand builders choose.
The other option is to establish a monopoly—a plan in which the majority of customers in your market turn to you for the product or service you provide. There’s still competition; however, it’s not breathing down your neck. It’s not on your heels. The distance between it and your brand is comfortable enough that you can keep it in the rear view mirror (or in your peripheral vision) rather than in your direct line of sight.
When you own a market monopoly, you not only capture the majority of mind share in your target audience, you create an atmosphere of community for those looking for a place to belong. You hold an innovative advantage because suppliers want to be a part of what you’ve created. This keeps your brand ahead, establishing a standard, raising the bar and setting the pace.
Creating a monopoly sounds difficult, right? And it sounds a bit aggressive—even cut-throat—doesn’t it? We hear about big corporations creating a monopoly and putting the ‘little guys’ out of business…and that doesn’t seem like it would be healthy for any type of industry.
That’s one viewpoint. The other is that if any company is capable of creating a monopoly, there must be some pretty big gaps in the market—gaps so large that a powerful, competent brand was needed to plug that huge hole.
Market monopoly is not so much about taking away choice: it’s about giving consumers the choices they want, in a more accessible way. It’s about gaining the visibility and resources necessary to bring people what they want and need in a more affordable, convenient or available package…in a manner more consistent than any competitor.
And with that, I’d like to offer some advice for putting your brand on the fast track toward establishing a monopoly:
- Create a New Market. This probably isn’t the way you expected me to start; in fact, this option may have never occurred to you. Well, here’s the thing: there’s one sure-fire way to dominate any market, and that’s to create it from scratch. Maybe you’ve witnessed gaps in service that are so large that a current industry simply can’t fill it. Or, maybe you’ve seen that brands currently serving a market aren’t open to new ideas or to trying new things to solve problems. Cases such as these call for some serious market intervention, and in many instances, this all equates to a new marketplace—with fresh ideas, open-minded consumers, attention to a new (or un-solved) problem, and a solution that has yet to be tried, tested or accomplished.
- Concentrate on a Niche. Monopolising your broad market may be improbable; however, if you narrow your target audience, you’ll be better-equipped to not only compete, but to dominate. Take a look at your current services/products, and look for those things that are in highest demand. Look for the areas in which you’re able to serve the best, with the highest levels of satisfaction. Plus, figure out what it is that you love to do the most. Settle on one thing that all of these reflections point to, and serve the audience that needs that product the most. Do this right, and your success rate will multiply your chances of monopoly.
- Build a Kick-Ass Team. It’s always better to splurge on one specialist than to fill multiple positions with half-hearted or under-qualified personnel. Your team members will prove to be your most valuable investments, with the highest ROIs when choices are made wisely. Delegate in the best way you know how for now, understanding that as you grow, the building of your team will prove to be a worthwhile investment. Choose people who share your values, and who are experts in (and lovers of) the tasks that you do not enjoy. This will ensure that your brand is running at top fuel, and will reduce the chances of any other brand catching up (because few will be willing to admit the importance of a kick-ass team).
- Determine Ways to make your USP more Appealing. Other branding consultants may be quick to advise you to dispose of your USP (unique selling proposition) and instead shoot for mass appeal. They’ll tell you that this will bring more people, with more wide-ranging problems to solve, to your brand. I agree that the numbers may be impressive at first; and then, your brand’s appeal will tank. The only monopoly you’ll be experiencing is the board game, alone in your silent office. Ask your colleagues what they like most about your unique way of doing business; ask your customers the same question. Use what you learn to put what is unique about you to work for building a distinctive brand with majority—rather than mass—appeal.
Are you starting to think of ways in which you can create a monopoly for your product? Based on ingenuity and smart business practices? Well, then you’re on your way to creating something legendary.
Share what you’re hoping to achieve, ask questions of those who have been in your shoes, get expert advice for moving forward, and participate in weekly live B.R.A.N.D. Breakthroughs sessions in the How to Build a Brand group. It’s free to join, and I hope to see you in the group in the very near future.