How to compete with dominant brands
The launch of the new Windows 7 phone into a smartphone market
dominated by the iPhone puts two of the world's biggest brands,
Microsoft and Apple, in direct competition. In this situation,
Microsoft is the proverbial David to Apple's Goliath and represents
a struggle that small businesses face every day when they attempt
to launch a new product into an already competitive market. Martin
Turner, MD of business information website FreeIndex, has these
tips for entrepreneurs looking to compete with a dominant
There is no simple answer to this conundrum, particularly for
small businesses which do not have Microsoft's resources at their
Challenging the leading brand in a market is a difficult task,
but not an impossible one. Facebook was a young pretender to the
might of Myspace, Bebo and Friends Reunited just five years ago,
but has successfully put the others in the shade through its
accessibility, engaging features and a deep understanding of its
Businesses launching a new product should be aware that there
isn't a silver bullet that can help them compete, but below I
provide tips that can help a business begin to work towards
challenging the dominant brand in its marketplace:
1. Don't be scared.
Everybody starts somewhere. Every big brand you see today was once
a start-up. Have confidence that the product or service you are
bringing to market, while not well known (right now), offers an
alternative solution to the dominant brand.
2. Differentiate your product or
service. Businesses need to give customers a reason
why they should choose their product or service over an established
brand. The strongest ways to differentiate are through product
innovation, price and service.
3. Leverage social
media. Big brands have large advertising budgets, and
traditionally have held advantage over small businesses by being
able to 'shout the loudest'. But this world order has changed
dramatically with the advent of social networks such as Twitter and
These sites provide small businesses with a cost effective means
of communicating with their target audience to quickly build
brand awareness, loyalty and advocates. Also consider utilising
blogs, forums and business information sites to raise a business'
profile and engage and interact directly with customers.
4. Be flexible. Much
like a lightweight boxer facing up to a heavyweight, a small
business' greatest asset is speed. A smaller business has the
ability to react quickly to changing environments and adapt its
business model to meet customer needs on a day-to-day basis.
Bigger brands are similar to slow-turning oil tankers, with many
layers of decision makers, before a position can be alerted. Small
businesses should make the most of this advantage, and like their
lightweight counterpart, keep themselves one step ahead of the
5. Provide great customer
service. Many large brands have poor reputations with
their customers because they are slow to react to their concerns.
Smaller businesses can take advantage of this by making sure
service levels are second to none. Have a complaint system in
place, respond quickly and turn issues into a positive legacy for
the business. Some businesses now employ social networks to
address customer concerns, and this can be another great tool to
help compete with big brands.
Small businesses can compete with the leader in a marketplace,
but to do this they must seek advantages and exploit them where
they can. If customers perceive that a business offers added value
over a big brand, it can breed lasting loyalty.
Smarta Business Builder
To help you on your business journey, we've created Smarta Business Builder, the complete online
tools package for growing your business. Website
Documents and Email - all in one place
- from just £20 per month with no contract! Try it out today.
Picture source: Vectorportal