This post is based on a podcast with Soon Yu. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!
“It’s isn’t always the biggest, baddest, or fastest mouse trap that gets the mice.
It’s the one with the stinkiest cheese.”
And this translates directly to marketing.
So says Soon Yu, author of the new book, Iconic Advantage: Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old.
Soon helps companies realize that they don’t have to be the fastest, biggest or have the best technology in order to be successful. But they do have to connect with their audience, and the best way to do that is through meaningful marketing.
If there is no emotional connection created with customers, they’re just competing on price. There aren’t many winners in that game.
In this episode of the #FlipMyFunnel Podcast, we chat with Soon about B2B storytelling, chasing the new versus innovating the old, and three qualities behind the most successfully innovative and iconic companies.
What is your company known for? When people see the swoosh, they think Nike. What is your swoosh?
There’s a reason people pay a premium to wear a brand like Nike. It’s the stories behind the product. It’s the idea of attaching powerful meaning to products and services. This type of marketing gets people to engage with brand through storytelling.
Not everyone is Nike. But if you only have 20 customers, many of the same principles ring true.
One way to gauge if you are resonating with your existing customers is to ask them the following question: When you think of our company, what would you say is our signature? What are we known for?
Then make three observations:
1) Could they easily answer the question?
2) Was the answer consistent across your different customers?
3) Was the answer something that makes you stand out from competition?
If you can answer “yes” to your three follow up observations, you are standing for something. You are creating distinction and you are achieving iconic status, regardless of the size of your business!
If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, what is one step you can take to create meaningful marketing and stories that communicate your value to customers? The rich storytelling of brands like Nike doesn’t need to stay in the B2C world, it belongs in B2B too!
Chasing the New Vs. Innovating the Old
Soon has had his share of failures throughout his career, but he has allowed them to ignite his curiosity. His own shortcomings led him to ask the question, “Why are certain groups better at commercializing new concepts than others?”
Soon researched 50 iconic companies before he finally had his “Aha!” moment. He discovered that for the most successful companies it mattered not how, but where they applied innovation. They took their best and brightest shiny new ideas and applied them to old franchises.
These companies innovated where they already had strength and momentum. As a result, their innovative efforts were more effective and saw a much quicker return on investment.
If you’re innovating in an area people are already familiar with where you have internal processes in place, it’s that much easier to take something old to the next level.
Noticing, Staying, and Scaling Power
Soon also observed that these iconic brands had a deliberate strategy behind innovating, and they all possessed three types of power that allowed them to supercharge their success.
These brands had enough distinction that people took notice. These were brands and products that demanded attention. They had key signature elements that were shortcuts to remind people they existed.
For example, when you see high heel shoes with red bottoms, you think Christian Louboutin. When you see a beer with a lime in the neck, you think Corona. When you have an amazing experience unboxing a product, you think Apple.
Iconic brands have a relevant past, present and future. In other words, they posses timeless relevance. They also protect their signature elements.
They balance what is great about their old products with infusions of innovation and creativity in new products. These brands aren’t going anywhere!
Scaling power results in products being universally recognized. This doesn’t mean universally recognized in the entire world, but universally recognized among their main target audience.
They want as many of the right people to see their product as possible through marketing and distribution. Then they build an entire family of products based around their key signature elements that set them apart in people’s minds!