In a market rife with competition and incessant chatter, creating new revenue streams and discovering category niches must become a conscious strategy.
I believe that a niche brand’s success is a tale of two halves. When it is planned with strategic precision, it becomes exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. The opportunity lies in the marketplace and the consumer’s mind. But it also lies within the brand or organisation in equal measure. It requires an inside-out and outside-in approach, working in tandem. Where are these niches? How do we spot them?
New consumer segments, new consumer behaviour
If a brand has a steady customer base of a certain demographic and psychographic profile and growth seems to be reaching saturation point, then interesting options could lie in a whole new consumer set. Again, if a category has an established pattern of consumption and usage, maybe it is time to shake things up? When you change behaviour it comes with the bonus of a shift in attitude as well.
New geographies, new partnerships
Sometimes it could be as simple as extrapolating success in one market to another, halfway across the world. The caveat here is understanding the local nuances, cultural differences, ethnic sensitivities, before embarking on a one-campaign-fits-all approach. Great partnerships are another route to growth. Whether it is like-minded brands coming together, disparate products forging daringly different tie-ups or powerful alliances for saving the planet, it’s a win-win for both brands and an amazing experience for consumers.
New product differentials, new pricing strategies
If your product or delivery mechanism is only as good as your nearest competitors’, you lose the chance to create a desirable brand of choice. Every brand must be able to have a unique story –one that no other can narrate. Also, if the market is used to a certain price band, disruption could come in the form of a new pricing strategy. This does not mean discounting – it means changing the playing field and altering the parameters of comparison.
New trends, new communication platforms
Nifty brands ride the crest of a new trend – turning the opportunity into a great test market. Dipping your toes into a new area works in two ways. You get to become the first mover. You also get to analyse if the trend can be leveraged for your brand and its values. Communication platforms come with their own franchise and the audience is more likely to engage when the brand meets them there. It is emblematic of an understanding of where the consumers are and what their behaviour on that platform is likely to be.
Finding the gap requires minding the gap too. Niche positioning demands a great deal of strategic thought – mining market possibilities, probing mindset shifts and introspecting on product strengths. One thing is for certain – nothing ordinary will ever do, half-measures will not suffice. It takes courage to own a niche, it takes confidence to build a new revenue stream and it takes conviction to disrupt a category. It is for those who don’t want to drift along when they can dominate.