Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Problem with Competition that you can never rest.

My Sunday Seth:

Brand exceptionalism

Your brand is your favorite. After all, it's yours. You understand it, you helped build it, you're obsessed with the nuance behind it. Your organization's actions make sense to you, you sat in the room as they were being argued about... you might even have helped make some of the decisions.

So, your brand doesn't do anything wrong. What it does is the best it could do under the circumstances. Someone who knew what you know would make the very same decision, because under the circumstances it was the only/best option.

Of course we should buy from you. You're better!

When your brand starts falling behind a competitor (Dell vs. Apple, Microsoft vs. Google, Washington Mutual vs. Everyone and then Apple vs. Android, Google vs. Facebook)... you say it's not fair, nor expected.

The problem with brand exceptionalism is that once you believe it, it's almost impossible to innovate. Innovation involves failure, which an exceptional brand shouldn't do, and the only reason to endure failure is to get ahead, which you don't need to do. Because you're exceptional.

In the battle for attention or market share, the market makes new decisions every day. And the market tends to be selfish. Often, it will pick the arrogant market leader (because the market also tends to be lazy), but upstarts and new competitors always have an incentive to change the game or the story.

Brand humility is the only response to a fast-changing and competitive marketplace. The humble brand understands that it needs to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty and reconnect with its audience as if every day is the first day.

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