The battle for your mind.

In today’s digital age, we're drowning in a sea of information. Think about it - from the moment we wake up, we're inundated with ads, from cereal boxes in our kitchen to endless commercials on our TV screens. The average American family, for instance, devotes about 7.5 hours a day to television, translating into a relentless stream of advertisements.

In today’s digital age, we’re drowning in a sea of information. Think about it – from the moment we wake up, we’re inundated with ads, from cereal boxes in our kitchen to endless commercials on our TV screens. The average American family, for instance, devotes about 7.5 hours a day to television, translating into a relentless stream of advertisements.

This bombardment has led our brains to develop a sort of filtration system. We’re constantly ranking brands and products, arranging them on an invisible hierarchy in our minds. The brands that nail their marketing strategy grab the top spot on this ladder, and those are the ones we’re more inclined to buy from. All others? They get relegated to the lower rungs, often forgotten or overlooked.

Take the mobile phone market as an example. Android and iOS have dominated this space not just through features, but by mastering the art of staying top-of-mind for consumers. They’ve effectively captured almost the entire market share, leaving little room for others.

The takeaway here is clear: to make a mark in this cluttered marketplace, your brand needs more than just a good product. It demands a marketing strategy that’s not just visible, but unforgettable. If you blend into the background, you risk being filtered out by the overloaded consumer brain. Make your brand the one they remember.

Be the first.

Being the first brand a customer thinks of in a category often means they’re likely to choose you over others. This phenomenon isn’t just about being first in time; it’s about being first in mind.

Think about it – when a brand enters the market as the first of its kind, it not only captures attention but also sets the standard. For example, Netflix revolutionized the way we consume TV shows and movies. They weren’t just the first major streaming service; they became synonymous with streaming itself. Years later, despite numerous competitors, Netflix remains the benchmark.

Similarly, consider the energy drink market. Red Bull wasn’t just the first to introduce this new category of beverages; they created and dominated the concept of ‘energy drinks.’ Even as countless competitors flood the market, the phrase “energy drink” still conjures images of Red Bull cans for many.

In the world of e-commerce, Amazon is another prime example. It wasn’t just about selling books online; it was about redefining how we shop for everything. Today, the name Amazon is synonymous with online shopping itself, maintaining a dominant presence in the consumer’s mind.

The advantage of being first is not just about sales figures; it’s about shaping the consumer’s perception. When you’re the first, you get to define what the product is and how it’s supposed to work. Later entrants often find themselves compared to the original, struggling to carve out a distinct identity.

Take the case of digital music players. Before iPods, there were other MP3 players, but iPod’s entry reshaped the entire market. It wasn’t just a music player; it became a cultural icon, setting a new standard for what digital music players should be.

The lesson here is clear. If you have a groundbreaking idea, a unique product, or a novel concept, push hard to be the first in the customer’s mind. 

It’s about creating a category where your brand isn’t just a player – it’s the leader, the reference point. 

Be the first, and you have the power to not only lead but also shape the market in your image.

You need to be memorable

To effectively position your product in the market, you need a marketing strategy that’s not just memorable, but also resonates with the current trends. Your approach should reflect the spirit of the times and cater to the evolving preferences of your target audience.

Let’s consider the rise of eco-friendly products. A decade ago, eco-conscious products were a niche market. However, with increasing awareness of environmental issues, brands that positioned themselves as ‘green’ and sustainable began to thrive. For instance, Tesla, with its electric cars, tapped into the growing concern for the environment. They weren’t just selling cars; they were selling a vision of a sustainable future. This resonated deeply with consumers and helped Tesla carve out a significant position in the automobile market.

On the flip side, consider brands that missed the mark by ignoring current trends. Take Kodak, for example. Once a household name in photography, Kodak failed to adapt to the digital revolution. They stuck to their traditional film products, ignoring the shift towards digital photography. As a result, they lost their market dominance to brands that were quick to embrace digital technology.

Another example is the rise of health-conscious eating. Brands like Beyond Meat recognized a growing trend towards plant-based diets and positioned their products as not just healthy alternatives to meat but also as part of a larger lifestyle choice. This clear, trend-focused positioning helped them stand out in a crowded market.

The lesson here is twofold: First, find a positioning angle that taps into current trends and resonates with your audience. Second, once you’ve established a successful position, be cautious about changing it too quickly. Rapid shifts can confuse customers and dilute your brand identity.

A successful marketing strategy isn’t just about being trendy; it’s about understanding and aligning with the evolving landscape of consumer preferences. By doing so, you can create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers and secure a strong market position.

If you aren’t first, position yourself to become second.

Entering a market where a competitor already holds a strong position can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. If you’re not the first to market, the key is to either find a unique niche or cleverly leverage the presence of your competitors.

Let’s take the example of streaming services. Netflix dominated this space initially, but soon, other services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video found their niches. Hulu focused on offering current TV shows, filling a gap Netflix left open, while Amazon Prime Video leveraged its existing Prime membership base to offer an added value service. Both these brands successfully carved out their distinct spaces in a Netflix-dominated market.

Similarly, if you can’t be the first, another strategy is to position yourself against the market leader. This is what Bing did in the search engine market. While they couldn’t dethrone Google, they positioned themselves as a more visually rich and user-friendly search engine, appealing to a segment of users looking for a different kind of search experience.

Another approach is repositioning your competitor. This strategy was effectively used by Adidas when they re-entered the basketball shoe market. Nike had a strong hold with performance-focused marketing. Adidas shifted the narrative by focusing on style and lifestyle association, positioning Nike as the ‘serious’ sports brand, and carving out a niche for Adidas as a more lifestyle-oriented choice.

The key takeaway here is that if you’re not first, you need to be strategic. Finding a niche that hasn’t been filled or using your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to your advantage can help you establish a strong position in the market. By doing so, you can turn what initially seems like a disadvantage into a unique selling point that resonates with a specific customer base.

Don’t ride the wake of other brands. 

When launching a new product, it’s crucial to avoid the temptation of simply piggybacking on the success of well-known brands, even if they’re your own. While leveraging a successful brand seems like an easy path to recognition, it doesn’t automatically translate into customer trust or market success.

For instance, imagine a popular sports drink brand trying to enter the energy bar market under the same name. Despite the sports drink’s market dominance, the energy bar fails to resonate with consumers. The reason? People associate the brand with a specific product, and extending that association to a different product creates confusion and skepticism. This is a classic example of the “line-extension trap,” where a brand’s extension into a new category dilutes its core identity.

Similarly, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where a leading luxury car brand decides to introduce a line of budget-friendly family cars. Despite the brand’s reputation for luxury and performance, the new line struggles because it contradicts the brand’s established image. Consumers find it hard to associate the luxury brand with budget-friendly options, leading to a lack of trust and interest.

In both these cases, the brands failed to recognize that their strength lies in the specific associations and perceptions customers have developed over time. Shifting or overextending these perceptions can lead to market resistance and even damage the original brand’s image.

Therefore, the key is to understand that a brand’s identity is tied to what it represents in the customers’ minds. Any effort to stretch this identity into unrelated or conflicting product categories can backfire. Instead, brands should focus on strengthening and innovating within their established domain or carefully building a new identity for different ventures. This approach ensures brand integrity and maintains customer trust.

Your Name is Important

Crafting the perfect brand name is crucial for making a lasting impression on consumers. It’s not just about being unique; it’s about being clear, memorable, and relatable. Let’s break down the elements that constitute an effective brand name, steering clear of old strategies that no longer serve today’s market dynamics.

Firstly, simplicity is key. A brand name should be easy to pronounce, remember, and understand. Consider the name ‘Streamline Tech’ for a tech company. It’s straightforward, tells you about the nature of the business (technology), and suggests efficiency and modernity—all aspects that are instantly graspable and memorable.

Avoid fancy or complex terms that might confuse or alienate your audience. A name like ‘Esquire’ might sound sophisticated, but it could also be perplexing for those unfamiliar with the term. Instead, opt for clarity and directness.

If you’re entering a market as a pioneer, a coined, non-descriptive name can work wonders. Think of a brand like ‘Zentara’ for a wellness and meditation app. It’s unique, easy to remember, and has a soothing sound, aligning well with the product’s purpose, even though it doesn’t directly describe the product.

However, if you’re not the first in your market, a name that’s simple and descriptive can be more effective. For example, ‘QuickClean’ for a cleaning service is direct, easy to remember, and instantly communicates the service’s benefit.

Be cautious with acronyms, especially for newer businesses. They can be challenging to remember and might not convey what your business is about. A name like ‘ATR Solutions’ is less impactful than ‘Advanced Tech Repair,’ which is more descriptive and user-friendly.

In summary, your brand name should be an ambassador of your product’s essence, easily resonating with your target audience. It should be straightforward yet distinctive, avoiding jargon or acronyms that could create barriers to understanding. By focusing on these principles, you’ll create a name that not only sticks in the minds of consumers but also accurately reflects the value and uniqueness of your brand.

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We are boutique marketing team based in Santa Barbara, CA offering all-inclusive, strategic marketing solutions with an emphasis on branding and design. Delivering results you’d expect from a large corporate agency with the playfulness and personal touch of a tight knit team.

Rose & Crown is a boutique marketing team based in Santa Barbara, CA offering all-inclusive, strategic marketing solutions with an emphasis on branding and design. Delivering results you’d expect from a large corporate agency with the playfulness and persona touch of a tight knit team.

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