An article in the November issue of Entrepreneur raises an interesting perspective on the proliferation of big brands and whether having a big brand can, in some cases, be a negative.
Apparently, Starbucks – arguably a big, big, brand – is going incognito in some markets. It’s opening up neighborhood coffee shops with a private cafe feel, appealing to coffee drinkers who have eschewed brand bigness in favor of small-company comfort. Fascinating stuff really and relevant, I think, to numerous other big brands. In fact, a few others are mentioned in the article.
Take Wal*Mart for example. While many small communities have railed against Wal*Mart coming to their communities for fear of the impact on smaller businesses, others have recognized that there is often room for both. And, like Starbucks, many small businesses do find that they can effectively compete against the big guys – if not on price, certainly on quality, service and relationships, all key factors in any consumer experience.
Local, independent and unique are core values that Americans embrace according to this article. Starbucks isn’t the only big brand to recognize this and attempt to appeal to the masses in more personal, small-brand ways.
This goes to another point that I’ve often stressed with clients. Success is not all about market share. While the big guys tend to focus on commanding a majority share of the markets they serve, smaller niche business owners recognize (or should recognize) that they can achieve success through a more focused effort based not on capturing the masses, but on effectively serving the loyal few.