Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Avoid the Spiral of Doom

Once your company achieves market domination—or, at least, a relatively comfortable position—it's tempting to think about resting on your laurels for a while. But Olivier Blanchard of The Brand Builder blog warns against getting too conservative in your thinking: "Every company I've ever worked with (or for) that shifted its focus from innovation and market leadership to playing it safe and letting their competitors take chances with new technologies, designs or business endeavors, saw their brands erode faster than beachfront property in a hurricane."

Blanchard lays out the usual, and all-too-predictable, cycle, which he dubs the brand erosion spiral of doom:

  • Decide that innovation is too risky or time-consuming and let competitors test the market for you.
  • Lose relevance when the competition launches new products or services six to 18 months before you.
  • Sales drop off, contracts aren't renewed, margins erode. You’re competing at lower price points with second-tier players.
  • Quality slips when you swap vendors for cheaper suppliers and outsource customer service. Increased returns, inconsistent deliveries and back orders lead to lost customers and referrals.
  • You spend liberally on marketing to counteract a tarnished image, money better spent on improving products and services.
  • You write large checks to re-brand with a new logo and tagline.
The Po!nt: Writes Blanchard: "Don't assume that innovation and great ideas are too expensive to develop or too complicated to put into action. That kind of thinking is not an option. Don't settle for being reactive when you should be proactive."

Source: The Brand Builder Blog. To read the entire post, go here.

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