It was a sunny and mild afternoon on the day after Thanksgiving, I was twelve years old at the time, and being that my family’s house was located in one of the more exciting neighborhoods in Oakland, California at the time, as they so often did—four of my childhood friends had come over to my house to hang out.
As we posted up on my parents front porch watching all of the action take place that ensued on my block, the topic of what we wanted for Christmas—well, let me rephrase that—what we expected to receive for Christmas from our parents became the topic of discussion.
Unanimously, one by one, all four of my friends agreed that the number one thing on all of our Christmas lists that year was a bicycle. But not just any bicycle, the particular bike that we all wanted was the newest chrome BMX GT Dyno.
Once Christmas morning of that year finally rolled around, I was beyond ecstatic to wake up and see that my parents had placed the shiny new GT Dyno that I coveted all year beside our family Christmas tree.
Excited about my gift, I called my best friend at the time (who was one of the four guys on my porch that day) to tell him the good news. However, as soon as his mom put him on the phone, the tone of his disheartened voice told me something must have gone terribly wrong.
As he explained that his parents weren’t able to get him the GT Dyno that we all wanted, and that I had received, he told me that instead, they had gifted him a bicycle that looked identical to the Dyno—but was made by a brand that none of us had ever heard of.
Now, to this day, I’m not quite sure if my friend has ever gotten over the disappointment he experienced that Christmas day knowing that all of his friends on my porch that day after Thanksgiving received the Dyno that he also wanted for Christmas. Or the fact that he had to ride around the streets of East Oakland with us on a bike that no one was familiar with.
But as the saying goes, “Every pain gives a lesson and every lesson changes a person.” And although me and my other three friends who received our dream bike for Christmas that year had a fun time joking with my best friend for receiving what we called a "bootleg bike" for Christmas (kids could be so cruel), for my friend who received the bike—it was a painful childhood experience.
However, the pain that he experienced on that pivotal Christmas morning could be a very profitable lesson for your brand—if you do this.
Supplant all substitutes by becoming the standard
Throughout every industry, there are four types of brands. And those brands will fall into one of these four categories: The standard, the mean, the disruptors, and the rest. Take the soft drink industry for example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are considered standard brands. That’s because they set the standards for what consumers will come to expect from all other soft drink brands that come behind them.
Brands that fall into the mean category are brands that are average. In other words, they fit perfectly in the middle of the pack. The disruptor brands are brands that aim to interrupt the status quo. And brands that fall into the rest category are generic brands that set out to always compete on having the lowest prices—instead of on prestige.
Sadly, for my childhood friend who didn’t receive the bike that he wanted for Christmas, the bicycle brand that he received fell into the rest category—which is why he never took pride in owning the bike—despite the fact that it looked nearly identical to the standard brand, which was the GT Dyno.
That’s the power of having a brand that is the standard in its area of focus. No matter how close your competitors may come to replicating your products or services with a lower price—consumers will never view them as an adequate substitute to your offerings; therefore—your products or services will always have an unfair advantage.
How being a standard brand affects pricing
The privilege of pricing your products or services as a standard brand is a lot like having the privilege of pricing your products as a vendor inside a stadium at a Taylor Swift concert—you’ll basically have free reign to price at a premium.
Having a standard brand allows your business to provide products or services at a higher price point because you’ll always have the advantage of being significantly superior to the alternative in the minds of consumers.
How to position your brand to be the standard
Building a brand that is perceived as the standard in its industry by consumers is a laborious process that obviously doesn’t happen overnight. But one of the faster ways to do so is by creating a niche brand that specializes in one particular thing.
“You can charge far more (serving a niche market) than being a generalist.” Says Allan Dib, author of the book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan. “A specialist is sought after, rather than shopped on price. A specialist is much more respected than a jack of all trades. A specialist is paid handsomely to solve a specific problem for their target market.”
By being the first brand to specialize in addressing a particular pain point for consumers in a way that that no other brand does—not only will your brand position itself to supplant any and all substitutes that will try to replicate your offerings for a lower price—consumers will happily pay you at a premium for it.
Because to them, having to settle for any alternative would be far more painful (as was the case with my friend with the bootleg GT Dyno).
Let us help you position your brand
Positioning a niche or standard brand in any industry is quite the arduous task. At Decryption, we especially understand just how difficult that task is for startup brands to successfully execute. The great news is that you do not have to take on this mission alone.
As the first and leading marketing firm created specifically to help startups like yours advance through contemporary culture-focused branding strategies and content marketing services—we’ll help position your brand to reach top of mind status for consumers within its target audience.
Our branding strategies will not only help your target audience view your brand as their only option to purchase—our marketing tactics will also help evoke their purchasing intent. Contact us to schedule a client meeting, so we could help make your brand the standard in its respective industry.