Brands Came; Saw and Conquered, the legacies of great brands go this way, even in a challenging market with entrenched incumbents. We know many examples where new entrants have toppled the industry behemoths, but many have to succumb. It takes a great deal of work to understand the market, competition and customers, even brands with superior products face a taxing experience without a competitive marketing strategy in place. This blog looks at some key aspects of marketing strategy for new entrants.
Innovation is the key for future market disruption, it provides a competitive advantage to the brand over the early entrants. Innovation requires a great deal of understanding of your entrenched competitors, their ability to respond to your product/service and focus on R&D. Reliance Jio with their 4G spectrum, innovated a cost effective solution for Voice using VOLTE has created an innovation of Free Voice calling which disrupted the industry. The erstwhile Reliance Infocomm/Reliance communication too disrupted the then 2G GSM market with WLL (Wireless In Local Loop) technology with CDMA, grabbing market share from the existing customers.
What is in it for me? New entrant brands should have done thorough research on the existing available offerings. Your brand should offer compelling value to the customer, to enable the switch. This value should be of distinct advantage, from the existing brands. The advent of Renault Kiwid to the entry level car segment with a mini SUV look alike has answered to this value seeking segment, who was left with limited options of a Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eon, etc. Kiwid helped Renault gain volume market share from the market leader.
Differentiation & Positioning
A brand which is well differentiated from the existing players has a clear advantage of increasing the segment share and attracting existing customers from competitors, who resonates with your brand. This also helps in creating a niche for your product/brand with a loyal base. Patanjali would be a fine example, which launched the product in almost all FMCG categories entrenched by MNCs like Colagate, Unilever, P&G and other Indian brands. The differentiated marketing strategy which communicated about health and safety using natural or Ayurvedic products (though face controversies) along with their well known yoga ambassador have made their work easier.
The brand communications should be uniquely positioned, which will create a niche customers. Chinese handset maker BKK with its Oppo and Vivo smartphone clearly created a niche among the highly competitive Indian smartphone market, positioning their smartphone for the best Selfie Snaps among the social media savvy Millennials.
Though this is the easiest and most common strategy across mass segment categories, it’s often met with price wars to dislodge the new entrant. The new entrant’s pricing strategy should be well thought on its sustainability with adequate financial or else this become highly fatal to the new entrants. Brands have been able to grab market share with this strategy but it becomes highly difficult to maintain the same, as the loyalty of the customers are not certain.Tata Docomo entered the Indian telecom space with per second billing when the industry was running on per minute billing, it creates huge ripples in the market, shaking market leaders like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea who were on wait and watch mode. Facing intense pressure, the biggies also responded with per second billing, to which the new entrant succumbed.
This is one key area, where new entrants face intense pressure both from competitors and partners. New brands which have less traction from the customer/market, the initial phase will be more of a push strategy of the distribution partners like dealers/franchises, etc. The easiest one will be piggybacking existing channel and it become all the more necessary to evolve a distribution strategy to keep the distribution partners excited, motivated and sustained to support the new brand. Few other brands have found success in developing their own distribution channel to share the brand experience, but this involves huge time and investment to attain the reach. Patanjali’s strategy of Swadeshi stores has been a successful formula to move out of the clutter from a normal FMCG, retail store and showcasing its products and brand experience.
Creating Brand aficionados
Whatever be the strategy the new Brand adopt it should clearly focus on creating devotees to its brand and create a niche for its product/service to sustain the onslaught of the incumbents. The brand communication strategy should be vital in holding the TG (early adopters) together, engage with them and keep the momentum and excitement around the brand. With the advent of digital marketing and Social media this is now an easy task.
Please do share your valued inputs/insights and feedback or other key points which are missed in my above blog, in the comment section below,