“I have tried to enchant people with great stuff and I have tried to enchant people with crap…let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to enchant people with great stuff than crap…it’s the skin of it” (Silicon Valley Bank, 2011, YouTube, 12 Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Guy Kawasaki).
Mr. Kawasaki further describes "jumping curves" and avoiding "better sameness" which I take to mean, a brand should deliver a product to the market that is exponentially 10X superior to anything the competition can create. For all the malls and shopping districts I've experienced I have NO recall of any computer manufacturer upstaging or usurping Apple's retail branded outlets. Why?
- Complete dominance over the marketplace including % of market share.
- Impede, inhibit and psychological stave off any competitors considering entering the market.
1. But That's Not How It's Done
What gym developer would open a luxury gym brand in the same area as an Equinox? Plenty. What gym developer would open a low price point gym near a Planet Fitness? Plenty. What developer would open a comparable chain gym model in the same area of a Crunch franchise? Plenty. What CrossFit Box developer would open a CrossFit Box in the same city as another CrossFit owner? Plenty.
Why do developers continue to invest in blurred brands? This is standard protocol in the fitness industry, and most other, and frankly, if you're not scratching your head by now after reading this in print, you should be.
Those who benefit in this practice are the consumers. You've given the consumer leverage and control over YOUR market. They can pick and choose, kick tires, and compare features of your facility over your competition. They have leverage and options. Why would you invest in, create a business model, and deliver it to your market if it wasn't 10X better than anything out there? Answer: better sameness. And the outcome will be a slugfest between you and your competition fighting for market share.
Better sameness is the result of the developer/builder who doesn't have expertise in design and/or the limited skill set of the design firm and their inability to deliver branded 10X caliber design to the owner.
2. For New Brands
I put forward this theory. You're either magnifciently superior to your competition, e.g., Apple, or only incrementally so, i.e., better sameness.
It becomes critically important for new brands to be aware of this phenomena as the preexisting competition already has the consumers attention, and their dollars. Better sameness is an insidious detractor of a branding strategy usurping innovative and original design. Better sameness strips a business of unique marketing opportunities by creating design that's commonplace and pedestrian. This creates a window of opportunity enabling the competition to enter into your market. Why on earth would you give your competition any advantage? Will this impact your revenue? You bet it will.
3. Don't Leave Branding Opportunities On The Table
The title of this post "Don't Leave Branding Opportunities On The Table" set the stage for illustrating the advantages of powerbranding. Inversely, leaving branding opportunities on the table is exactly the outcome of design infected by better sameness, meaning, design which undermines exclusivity and misuses the developers cash investment. Design firms that deliver better sameness miss BOTH the big picture, and the small, and set their clients up for mediocre branding.
- Better sameness design results in space planning and layout that is unimaginative and banal. In contrast, good space planning carves and sculpts the rooms of your facility into an enriching, exciting and engaging member experience that can celebrate your design and reinforce the uniqueness of your brand.
- Better sameness lighting design is lifeless and utilitarian merely illuminating rooms and corridors. In contrast, good lighting design can generate drama and theater and create spectacular environments which effort is to seduce prospects to buy into your brand. Lighting fixtures that reinforce your theme and the caliber of your brand are instrumental in lighting design efforts as well. (I mention lighting design as it's one of the most misunderstood and misused tools in a design firm's palette which can make or break your design effort).
- Better sameness materials, finishes, furniture and design elements are typically selected by better sameness design firms on the merits of how pretty and nice they look. There's NO relationship to the brand, and if any, only marginally so. The hallmark and benchmark of powerbranding is the ability to back-link and reinforce the theme and brand identity in the selection of every design element in your facility.
4. Brand Like Apple
In order to stave off its competition and dominate its market, Apple's designers employ PowerBranding. Every material, surface element, mechanical system, graphic, furniture display, and color, back-link and reinforce the brand concept and facilitate the sale. Greater than that, it's a marketing message that resonates with the public. It telegraphs that this is a company that has its act together and its products and services are seamlessly integrated insuring consumer confidence and brand quality.
Mr. Kawasaki says, "it's the skin of it" - so what's the complexion of your brand's skin?