ARE YOU DILUTING YOUR PROFITABILITY?
If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that the Fabulous Honey Parker and I are big fans of the F-word.
Focus, focus, focus.
A relentless consistency and focus is the profit goblin of sharp minds.
Knowing that your brand is the one way your core customer should feel about your business can help drive a focused entrepreneur to big profitability.
But what happens when you split your brand focus?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF DOING TWO THINGS REALLY WELL?
When you have two ways and two core customers?
Well, ain’t that a conundrum.
Ultimately, it depends upon how you handle it.
Here in town, there’s a photo gallery that specializes in big, dramatic landscapes.
Their work is stunning.
But mixed in with their landscape photography are some other stunning photos. These photos are of horses.
You could argue that they’re also landscape photos, as the horses are usually shot in the context of the landscape.
BUT YOU’D BE WRONG
Moreover, the photographers won’t argue that.
They know that the horse photography is off-brand.
Fortunately, it’s on-fleek.
OK, yes, I said that. And I’m sorry. So poke me with eyebrow tweezers.
Anyway, the horse photos are off-brand and still stunning. So, it works.
While talking to one of the gallery owners, he said that in a perfect world, he’d have a second gallery up the street that specialized exclusively in the horse photography.
HE GETS HIS BRAND
He understands the one way the core customer should feel about his work.
And he knows that the horse images are speaking to a different core customer and engendering a different feeling.
Maybe someday, he’ll have that second gallery.
In the meantime, it doesn’t appear to be hurting his business.
He is focused and consistent enough.
He’s not the Grace L. Ferguson Airline & Storm Door Company. (Thank you, Bob Newhart.)
The brand survives the digression.
MANY BRANDS WOULD NOT SURVIVE
We recently did some work for a solopreneur who was rebranding her physical therapy business.
We’ll call her Margie Smith. That’s nothing like her real name.
Margie’s business was slow. To make ends meet while she built that business, she was doing some social media work on the side.
Ironically, the name of the physical therapy business was capable of being applied to the social media business.
So she did the smart thing.
She turned her business into the Margie Smith Physical Therapy Clinic & Social Media Agency.
No. No it’s not. And it’s not what she did.
She started a separate business using the same name, focusing on social media. The physical therapy business remains separate and distinct.
No brand would survive such a split focus.
Recently, while visiting a winery in (of all places) Iowa, we were talking with the winemaker and tasting his wines--which were quite good.
But in the tasting room, he two different wine lists.
One was for his estate label. These were his tried and true wines. This brand was established and very formal. This was the wine upon which he had built his name.
The other label was for his experimental wines. These were the wines that he wasn’t sure he was going to keep around. But he found them good enough and interesting enough to put on the market.
SOME OF THEM WERE ARGUABLY STUNT WINES
Really, what else would you call a red-hot, spice-infused wine that can remain tasty while stripping the varnish off your throat?
It was impressive.
I salute anyone for trying something so ballsy.
And the wine sells--especially in bars favored by motorcycle riders, apparently. That’s one of the places where these wines are favored--because the brand name evokes power and energy and romance.
It seems unlikely that the hot pepper wine would ever be moved over to the estate brand.
If it did end up there, what would it do to the otherwise respectable, heritage brand he’s been building?
It would help undermine that brand.
THE ESTATE BRAND WOULD LOSE CREDIBILITY
And he knows that.
So instead of splitting the focus of his product line, he merely has two different brands, each a two different focus.
Over here is the stately brand.
And over there is the wild child brand.
And not to pat ourselves on the back here at Slow Burn, but one of the million-dollar brands we helped build came as the result of relentless focus.
The business came to us wanting to advertise a particular service as part of their existing brand.
We said, “You could do that. But it’s a distinct specialty. And you’re going up against a national specialist brand in the category. So why not split it off and build a brand for that specialty?”
THEY DID. IT WORKED.
So, what about your business?
Do you do many things in your category?
Are you crushing it in those many things?
Or would it be smarter to take one of those things, split it off into a new category, and become the category’s 600-pound gorilla?
Understand, we’re not saying you should do it.
But it’s worth some introspection.
Because it could be that you’re doing seven things adequately, and one thing really well--and that one thing could be the ticket to building a monster brand.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Blaine Parker helps people sell their stuff. An advertising Creative Director and Copywriter at Slow Burn Marketing, he specializes in big-brand thinking for small-business marketing. He has the voice of a much taller man.