One of the challenges mortgage industry related businesses face as they extend their brands into new products is establishing the new product’s credibility. This can be especially difficult when one or several competing brands dominate the category the company is going into. Just think of how steep of a hill it would be to climb for a new brand to compete against Philips, GE and Sylvania in the LED light bulb category.
The obvious solution to this challenge would be to invade the market with a heavy dose of marketing to make sure everyone knows the brand’s new product is a valuable and worthy contender. However, if the company fails to invade the market with a compelling, properly differentiated, brand-driven marketing campaign to support its sales efforts, it is lighting a match to its marketing budget. Even worse, the act of marketing a soft or inadequately differentiated brand will promote the fact that there isn’t anything unique about the company, and fail to answer the most important question prospective customers ponder when considering purchasing a new or unknown brand:
“Why should I take a risk and buy a product with no history or evidence
of performance in the field, and no reviews from other users, instead of
buying from a brand I already know and trust?”
Sometimes, the best way to answer a question is with a question – or, in this particular case, eleven questions. On the surface, the obvious answers would be tied to facts such as how the product performed against others in a simulated environment, estimated cost of ownership, efficiency, innovation, ease of service, and other areas that will pique potential buyers’ curiosity. However, people buy brands – not products and features.
Assuming you are reading this because you are close to launching a new product into a new market,
- Why are we offering this new product?
- What was the origin of thought to create this new product, and what sparked the idea?
- What apprehensions did we have about offering this product, and how did we address them?
- What other products did we consider, and why was this one selected over the others?
- How does this product fit and align with our parent brand of (fill in this blank)? If you don’t have a clear and distinctive brand, your new product’s chances of success will be commensurately
- How and where does this new product fit within our current portfolio of brands? How will we brand and position it?
- How will offering this new product strengthen and benefit our parent brand?
- Is this a logical extension of our brand? Or, are we entering an entirely different market that is not familiar with us? If it’s the latter, what is your success strategy? Are you confident that your parent brand is strong enough to go into an unfamiliar market?
- How and why, specifically, will we succeed in offering this new product?
- What were the risks associated with introducing this product and how did we minimize or eliminate them?
- What will be the tiebreaker of our new product? (The one thing that puts every other brand in second place and makes the decision an obvious choice.)
Now that you’ve read over these questions, you’ll be able to understand how the answers will provide clarity and meaning to that burning question your prospective customers are asking.