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Brands Should Stop Trying To Do It All

The strongest brands in the world all have one thing in common: a crystal clear focus on the one thing they want to be famous for. They relentlessly align all of their activities to help them own a specific piece of real estate in the hearts and minds of their customers.

So why do so many brands get this wrong?

Because it’s hard to make choices, and it’s especially hard to resist the temptation to promise multiple benefits. After all, who doesn’t want to eat their cake AND have it too? But doing so is a recipe for a mediocrity at best and disaster at worst.

Take a recent example I had with a Dutch electronics retailer called BCC. BCC’s slogan is “HighService, Low Pricing” which should have been my first reason for concern. (While they avoid explicitly using the word “and” in their slogan, it is obviously implied.) Its website details the six promises it makes to its consumers and “always the best price” AND “always the best service” are two of them.

I was looking to buy a new television, and after doing some research, I decided on the specific make and model that I wanted. I compared prices online and had a dilemma. Should I purchase the television from BCC or from an unknown online discounter who was offering the exact same television for 10% less?

BCC was already not living up to its promise to always offering the best price, but I was reassured by its service promise – especially since I had some concerns about buying a big ticket item from a company that I had never heard of.

To make a long story short, I chose unwisely. The television did not arrive when it was supposed to and the customer care team was not only incredibly difficult to reach but also utterly unhelpful when I finally did get through to them.

BCC had a competitive price, but did not deliver on its promise of having the best price. It also did not deliver on having the best service. So, I am left wondering what the BCC brand actually does stand for, and doubting whether I will ever buy anything from them again.

Making choices is hard, but it is the essence of Marketing. It’s difficult enough for a brand to deliver on one promise, let alone six. Which is why brands should focus on the one thing for which they want to be famous.

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