HBS-Insights Worth Sharing

When It’s Smart to Copy Your Competitor’s Brand Promise.
Case Study:
Abstract: Marketers know they should keep their messages simple if they want to cut through the noise and reach customers. The key question is then: Of your product’s attributes, which one should you focus on? New research of ours suggests that companies may want to emphasize the same attribute that their rivals do.
Evian, one of the most durable brands in bottled water, has cultivated a strong association with purity. Danone, the company who owns Evian, has established this association by emphasizing the purity of its water source: the ageless, untouched glaciers covering the Alps. Not according to Nestle, arguably one of the world’s most successful marketers of consumer package goods. Nestle chose to ignore this basic principle and launch its brand of bottled water on – you guessed it – purity. And what name did it choose for its new water? Pure Life. Pure Life now has a handsome 30% share of this fiercely competitive market.
Imagine two brands of beer, Craft Beer A and Craft Beer B. Beer A emphasizes its brewing location while the other emphasizes its lifestyle associations. Now imagine a potential customer, Sally, who first notices that Craft Beer A is brewed in her home town. This excites her so much that she is ready to choose it. But Sally is also aware that lifestyle is an attribute of emphasized in craft beer category. And she notices that Craft Beer A is associated with a funky, party-going lifestyle, which is not her cup of tea. Being aware of two attributes means that her attention is diluted and it makes Craft Beer A’s advantage of brewing location weaker.

Banyan Versus Dandelion
The banyan might seem mighty on the outside, but an old banyan has a hollow core. In a fast-changing world, leaders must preserve the personal authenticity, moral compass, and clarity that defines them, especially as their companies grow. Just as the dandelion helps other plants to flourish, leaders must focus not on expanding their own empires (in banyan-like fashion) but on allowing others to thrive. Resilient leaders choose their metaphors carefully, keep their egos in check, and leave their environments richer than they found them, clearing the way for new leaders to take root.
Today’s most resilient digital companies are lean and dandelion-tough.

Incentives Don’t Help People Change, but Peer Pressure Does


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