8 Ways to Grow Market ShareBy Tom Dougherty
Growing market share. Eight Steps to your success.
The best way to ensure consistent power when growing market share is to have a powerful brand. And to deploy it just as powerfully.
Anyone who has a product (the term is used here to include services as well) can develop a reasonably sound brand-building program. Do this by making sure you take the following eight steps. Five of these steps are strategic, and three involve how you might execute them.
Eight specific steps on growing market share
This first step involves identifying the people who are most likely to be your core target group.
These are the people whose pressing need for your product can turn them into core prospects for your product. Why the term “core”?
These people can be expected to use the product more often and in greater quantities. Their need for your product compels heavier usage.
2. When growing market share, identify the deepest and most lasting motivation of these people. This motivation can be addressed by your product.
This is perhaps the most important step you will take when growing market share. Because it involves seeking out the most powerful dynamics that are already operating in the market. Then you can harness their power, and thus multiply the impact of your marketing investment.
Thus isolating the most powerful emotional drivers among these people that are addressed by your product. It is important to note that this step is not primarily about your product. It is primarily about the people who are going to be your most valuable customers. Because they bring in the most revenues for you.
In this step, you should regard your product only in the context of ensuring that the motivation can somehow be fulfilled. Or at least assisted with the use of your product. Here are just a few examples. Career advancement. Family security. Health, and well-being etc.
As you can see, these motivations are not based on your product. But your choice would be based on your product being able to contribute toward fulfilling this motivation.
Therefore, the motivation you choose might not be the most powerful motivation among your core target group. But it will be the most powerful one that can be supported by your product benefit.
This is important because, with this step, you are literally identifying the main thrust of your brand positioning. The one that will provide the greatest propulsion for your business.
3. Identify an attribute or capability in your product. One that makes your product either superior or unique to the competing products.
This step involves sharpening the competitiveness of your product in the market. Your product probably has several competitors. Any of which might also be in a position to select the same or similar brand positioning. So, with this step, you will be able to pre-empt your competitors. Do it with a positioning that truly sets your product apart from theirs.
This step will allow you to sharpen your brand positioning with the comparative “Your product can ‘__’ better than other products can”. Or, the differentiating “only your product can ‘__’”. It is very useful when growing market share to be able to claim outright superiority over competitors. At least in product attributes or capabilities, if not directly on your strategic positioning.
In the absence of any such outright superiority in your product, seek some product attribute or capability that is unique to your product.
However, this superiority or uniqueness must contribute toward the product’s ability to fulfill your brand positioning. That is the key to stealing market share because the product benefit then becomes emotional.
4. Identify the most credible facts about your product. Its formula. Its capability, or its benefits. Something that can support its fulfillment of your sharpened brand positioning.
Not all products require believability. Nevertheless, most do. So, it is useful to strengthen your sharpened brand positioning with a rationale that is believable. Or, at least rationally, if not experientially. In addition, this believability must be based on an actual ingredient, design, or capability of your product.
5. Identify the kind of personality that best suits the kind of person who is believable. One at providing your core target group with your specific brand positioning.
After strengthening your sharpened brand positioning with a believable rationale, you need to establish the right brand personality for your product. The brand personality will bind all of your prospects’ and customers’ brand experiences in tone and character. And do so in a way that is consistent with the kind of motivation you are addressing.
This is not an easy step. Many personalities might work. Some possible personality types are friend, teacher, lover, boss, advisor, etc.
You can be sure that one of these personalities might be better suited for your specific sharpened brand positioning than the others.
We have now covered the five strategic steps toward ensuring that your brand is capable of building your market share. We now move toward the three executional steps that are also necessary to this end.
Executional steps for growing market share
6. Identify the brand name, its logo, colors, sounds, and the basic brand graphic formats that convey the sharpened brand positioning. Making sure these are consistent with the brand rationale and the brand personality in a way that is both attractive and memorable.
This step involves considerable creativity. It also involves familiarity with the corresponding brand signals of your competitors’ brands. So that your brand signals are more attractive and memorable than theirs are. Beauty and simplicity go a long way in carrying out this step. But so does differentiation.
7. Isolate a common experience in the lives of your core target group. Use a metaphor or an image that can immediately telegraph the essentials of your sharpened brand positioning or rationale.
This second executional step involves the identification of a BIG PICTURE or SELLING IDEA. The idea that conveys your specific sharpened brand positioning or its product-based rationale. It must do this in a way that is consistent with your brand personality.
This step involves the crystallization of your brand message in a specific visual and conceptual way.
You deploy all of the experiences or communications that your prospects can have of your product in all your communications with them. This step can multiply the power of your communications investment. Because it makes sure that your brand message is delivered effectively, every time.
8. Ensure that all the channels communicating to target audiences are consistent with your brand promise.
This step is perhaps the most important one at the execution level of work. Its thrust is to overcome the tendency of many departments in your company to engage in communications and activities that work AGAINST your business-building efforts.
Many departments in your company might have the mistaken impression that your brand is a function of the marketing or advertising departments. Contrary to conventional wisdom, these departments are often not the most important means for building your brand. At least not in your target groups’ minds.
Why this works when growing market share?
Target groups are made up of people. And people are always interpreting their experiences and forming opinions and judgments based on them. So, EVERY experience that a member of your target group might have is a means of either strengthening or weakening your brand.
For example, interactions with your salespeople count as channels. Drivers. Billing statements. Customer care people, and collections people. And, most importantly, the functionality of your product’s packaging, product performance. All are based on specific functions that may not be regarded as brand-building functions in your company.
This is critical
So it is critical that you, and especially they, realize that the functionalities through which they interact with your core target group are powerful brand-influencing media. And that you make sure they are able to fulfill both their functionality and their brand-influencing prospect experiences carefully.
It is essential that you do not miss a single such channel of experience or communication. Any that can affect the brand that forms in your target group’s mind is important. Otherwise, the one you missed might deliver an experience or communication that leaves behind an impression that can weaken or dilute your brand in your target group’s minds.
When growing market share, you must make sure that each kind of experience or communication is optimally designed. So, this step might involve the institution of intra-company communications material, training programs, and motivational programs.
These are the primary steps for growing market share.
You now know the five strategic and three executional steps necessary to build your brand in a way that builds your market share.
If you make a sustained effort to carry out all these steps for your product, you will have a sound chance to increase your market share.
When a brand positioning and its execution are pursued responsibly and single-mindedly in this way, you are more likely to convert your competitors’ customers, than you are likely to lose your customers to your competitors.