I want to share with you, I’ve found there are only three types of companies. Once you understand the three variations, you’ll be a better consumer, marketer, or leader.
I take a lot of briefings from companies, in fact, hundreds every year. I also meet with many different corporations who are our clients for longer term engagements and have found a clear pattern in just about every industry. In fact this doesn’t just apply to the brand, but also the specific products within a market. And deep down, when you look carefully, you’ll find this applies to siblings too.
The Three Types of Companies:
This company or product, will always make the claim they are the biggest, largest, have the most customers. You’ve heard of how McDonalds’ has served billions of Hamburgers, or how Microsoft has sold the most software licenses, or how Ford was the first auto manufacture, or Coke is the top beverage brand on the planet.. You’ll also know these companies as they’ll tout their rankings on Fortune 100, or financial growth. Often, these companies are the standard, and all others measure up to them, “We are the largest, the first, the wealthiest”. We often find these products fit the masses, but may lack in other areas such as specialization or variety.
This company or product, is locked in a second place position against Biggest. For example, you’ve heard of how Burger King offers variety of their menu, or how Dell offered the customized on the web products over 10 years ago, or how Toyota challenge big cards during the gas crises decades ago, or how Pepsi wants you to take their taste challenge. They will differentiate by making their products better than the competitors, by changing variety, pricing, or customization, “We’re better than the other guys, who can’t serve everyone’s needs”. We often find these companies to offer premium alternatives, suiting for more than mainstream appetite.
This company or product will distinctly position themselves as an alternative to the the first two by offering a complete different option. Perhaps you’ve tried In-N-Out Burger, or seen how Apple wants you to think different with their products, or how Mini wants you to drive their unique cars, or how 7up positioned themselves as the UnCola. They will attack the primary model of the first two, and suggest they are only for a certain type of buyer. “be different, stand out, and we’re only for distinguished tastes”. These companies have specific offerings, that buck the trend, and will go out of their way to stand apart.
A few rules of the road: It goes without saving that multiple companies and products can all fit in one category, we often see multiple companies claiming to be the top dog. And also we should expect to see companies traverse these three different categories, and all of that is normal.
Now that you know the three types of companies, you can start to be a better buyer, marketer, and leader. Know where they fit in the your selection process, and know where you fit between Biggest, Better, and Different.