I spent the last week listening to CMO’s and brand managers from the suppliers side speak of brand extension, growth, millennial marketing, and off premise activation. I spent the last week shaking my head – the same way I shake my head when I miss a lay-up in basketball.
Let’s talk about Chipotle Mexican Grill. Revenue of $4.6B and was profitable from the first week of being open in Denver. Chipotle grew to 16 stores and McDonald’s invested, then they grew to 500 and McDonald’s divested, now they are 3000 units strong.
My point is that whether you are a new vodka, gin, beer, or wine, there is room in the market. But, you need to have a point of differentiation, and you have to add value. Chipotle did not try to create a better burger, as that category is totally saturated, they created a new way to eat.
We do not need another cabernet or vodka. What the market needs is a different cabernet and an improved vodka.
I meet start up brand owners all the time, and I currently have two in my client portfolio that want to slay goliath.
It can be done, if you can follow some simple steps:
- What is your brand proposition and is that proposition scalable.
- How are you different? Being the next Paul Hobbs is not as good as being an improved Paul Hobbs. The consumer base wants different not a better, same.
- Is there an audience out there for your brand? Having the best anything that no one wants is the same as having nothing.
Our business expands by change, and suppliers are buying start up brands instead of investing in brand extensions. Your audience needs to be there, and sales and investment will follow.
Chipotle did not reinvent fast food, they improved it, and then the audience came in droves.