These Are Your Most Important Decisions: Better Safe Than Sorry
The German tech giant Bosch recently launched a new start-up, S&ST, just in time for the emerging needs of the "new normal".
“What is S&ST?” you are going to ask, and you are right.
According to an article on FastCompany.com:
Let's say you want to monitor social distancing at your shop, office or factory and intervene when necessary.
An abbreviation of Security and Safety Things, S&ST is an operating system that makes it possible for security and surveillance systems to be customized according to user needs vs. off-the-shelf camera systems. That allows for more flexibility, enabling companies—from retailers to manufacturers—to nimbly respond to emerging challenges such as COVID-19 and beyond.
The GOOD NEWS is they didn't name it Bosch Security & Safety.
The BAD NEWS is what they did name it:
First, it's tooooo long: people even call Coca Cola Coke. What will they call this? S&ST as it is referred to even in the article? And try typing securityandsafetythings.com…
Second, either way, it doesn't capitalize on the opportunity to own "flexible safety systems" as a new, narrower category (as a brand name like FLEXAFE - which I just made up - could).
Third, it inconveniences the opportunity to go global as doing so is much easier with a focused and memorable name and domain name that work in English.
That's a huge opportunity cost for not thinking long and seriously enough on the most important marketing decision you can make when launching a new business, the brand name.
“Nothing is more powerful in marketing than (1) creating a new category, (2) creating a new category name (3) creating a new brand name”.
Al & Laura Ries
And it doesn’t stop at that.
Let’s assume that the positioning idea is “flexible safety systems”.
(I’m not putting “security” here again, a word that many people would have to google understand its difference from safety)
Searching to see if there is a Verbal Nail to drive this positioning into the mind and a Visual Hammer to hammer it in, this is what I see:
A slogan that will hopefully be remembered for many years to come? I could not find one.
When that doesn’t exist you naturally don’t have a striking visual to make the words, that should make up the slogan, come alive.
A great business idea yet lacking the weapons to magnetize the brand and make it fly high.
The very high probability that they did not start out with the Strategic Positioning to guide the brand name, slogan and visuals.
The ideal sequence is to first determine the Strategic Positioning followed by the creation of the Positioning Triangle namely the Brand Name, Verbal Nail and Visual Hammer.
When you follow this sequence:
You have the chance to create a new category, with a brand name that is the positioning itself and that suggests the new category:
Tesla, Eataly, ÇiçekSepeti.com [FlowerBasket.com] (before their brand extension catastrophe which they had to announce with the slogan “var var [exists exists ie. we have that too]”).
The Verbal Nail is your battlecry that shouts out this positioning:
Amazon (Earth’s Biggest River), Earth’s Biggest Bookstore (before they started selling everything under the sun under the same brand name).
The Visual Hammer hammers your battlecry into the mind:
Nike, Just Do It, “Swoosh”.
When all three are in line with a clear Strategic Positioning and among themselves and are invested in consistently instead of being changed by each new brand manager, no one can stand in the way of the brand.
Even Coca Cola has not been consistent in implementing such a brilliant triangle and has gone down totally abstract routes that are impossible to own like “Open Happiness”.
There are very few brands that manage to get all of these right, 99% don’t!
The key reason is not having a focused enough positioning or having diluted the initial focus that made them famous.
A narrow enough focus can come to life simply and clearly as words and visuals.
This is also critical for painless translation into other languages and therefore globalization.
It is worth repeating:
A brand name, slogan and visuals created without the guidance of a clear Strategic Positioning are not brand assets but brand liabilities and therefore a huge opportunity cost.
Just imagine the millions wasted on the words “Vodafone is Different”…
Sorry, what was the difference?
When Strategic Positioning is given priority followed by the creation of a synergistic Positioning Triangle, the brand will become magnetic and dominate its category.
What are you waiting for to join the priveleged 1%?