Response to “Stick To Your Strengths” on Creo Quality’s blog. Creo Quality assists life sciences organizations in, among other areas, product development.
Have you bought a candy bar recently? Letâ€™s just look at Reeseâ€™s as an example. It used to be you had one choice: Reeseâ€™s peanut butter cups. Now they have several variations of peanut butter cups. They also have several other choices.
And what about soft drinks? How many varieties of Mountain Dew are there?
Why have these brands done this? They offer so many choices and seem to be straying from their strengths. It confuses me.
…Companies should stick to their strengths. Companies should have focus. Companies should try to deliver their products / services better than anyone else. Quit diluting your brand.
I think the answer is quite simple:Â Companies want to grow. Make more money. So one route is to make new products, and then see if it works. A “strength” wasn’t known as such until it was designed, introduced, marketed, and evaluated.
The McDonald’s Big Mac wasn’t always the most popular burgerÂ (or “strongest” sales leader)Â - it didn’t come out out 1967 and the first McDonald’s opened in 1940 (the corporation started 1955). Would you consider adding coffee or McCafÃ© diluting the brand? McDonald’s is trying out new products. For all we know, Starbucks’ popularity could decline and coffee will be recognized as the fast food company’s second strength, behind cheap hamburgers.
I think brand dilution arises when companies don’t fully test their products before their release, or they don’t follow good marketing strategies. The brand isn’t diluted because they introduced new products. The failure of New Coke could have been averted if Coca Cola either A) paid closer attention to the results of the focus groups, or B) released New Coke as an additional product in the lineup. But Coca Cola has so many other “strengths” because it decided to stray from its main product line.
A different Coca Cola product tells an extremely different story: Fanta, the fruit-flavored soft drink. It was invented to deal with sales complications because of World War II and Nazi Germany. You can buy Fanta now in tens of flavors in almost 200 countries.
My advice: Companies should innovate and evaluate. The act of selling curly fries won’t weaken your good name.
There’s a connection to cities in all of this. Cities can’t always “stick to their strengths.” This year, Chicago lost two major conventions to Las Vegas and Orlando. Hosting conventions is still a strength of Chicago, Illinois, but it’s even more so true of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Orlando, Florida. If the Chicago tourism, special events, and marketing arms decided to stick with conventions, it may have never attempted a bid for the summer Olympics. Smaller cities who decide to increase incoming, regional tourism might create a restaurant district centered around their passenger train station. Detroit stuck with the automobile and look at it now.