If I asked you to name three cutting edge companies, you probably wouldn’t think of brand stalwarts Gatorade, USA Today, and Amazon.com. But when Gatorade first came out in 1967, USA Today in 1982, and Amazon.com in 1995, each was about as edgy as a new company could be. Most people had doubts that such new concept brands could survive, but one thing—and one thing only—has made each of them a market leader and a safe, top-of-mind choice for today’s customer. That one thing is value.
The only way you go from being the new brand on the block to being an established market leader is by providing consistent value. That means you stay relevant through continuous market changes in customer demands, technology, the economy, and society in general.
You can’t “market” your way to market leadership without value. No company can gimmick or advertise its way to anything more than temporary success without value. Planet Hollywood was red hot through marketing, until it went under because quality and value weren’t there. Circuit City was a “Good To Great” company in Jim Collins’ classic book, until it went bankrupt because it couldn’t stay relevant.
Start edgy, like Gatorade in 1967, USA Today in 1982, and Amazon.com in 1995. Create value like all three of those brands created value. Then stay cutting edge at what matters most to customers.
That’s how a new brand becomes an established brand.
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Joe Calloway is a performance coach and advisor who helps great companies get even better. Joe is the author of the new book, Be the Best at What Matters Most, and four other ground-breaking business books including Becoming A Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity And Defy Comparison, which received rave reviews from The New York Times, Retailing Today, Publishers Weekly and many others. He regularly covers a variety of topics on his website.