Your Brand is NOT for Everyone!

Time to face the harsh reality: Not everyone wants what you have to sell. Get over it and move on! For some customers, your product is too expensive; for others it is too cheap. Some people think your product is too hard to use, while others believe your product will not benefit them enough to part with their money.

Good news: It is OK to not be universally loved and accepted! Besides, it is very difficult for a single brand to appeal to diverse segments within a market. The solution many companies have used is to create different brands that target different market segments. For example, Marriott created Fairfield Inn as a brand for serving leisure and business travelers looking for modest accomodations. Fairfield Inn allowed Marriott to serve a segment that would not likely consider staying at its flagship brand, and it protected the equity of Marriott among its loyal customers.

Starbucks finds itself in a brand quandry. The company is looking to stimulate sales, and it is experimenting with going down-market and serving $1 drip coffee. It is possible that coffee drinkers would flock to Starbucks stores to pick up $1 Joe, but what does that do for the Starbucks brand long-term? It does nothing to nurture relationships with existing customers who do not come to Starbucks for low-priced coffee. While stockholders may want to see sales and profits boosted, this move would potentially do much more damage long-term than any benefits realized from selling $1 cups of coffee.