Often times people and organizations attempt to emulate or copy what other people and brands do that make them successful. Just because something works for someone else does not mean that it will work the same for other people or organizations.
If you think of the most successful brands in history, they all stand for something that is original and authentic to their being. These brands become iconic and are idolized for this reason. People buy into their core beliefs and their brand’s story because it is undeniably authentic and true to them. Great brands understand that to be great and to stay great, they must “stay in their own lane.”
What does it mean to “stay in your lane?”
To me, staying in your lane means learning how to be extremely self-aware. Brands who are self-aware completely understand themselves and what they stand for. Being self-aware of your brand, customers, competitor products and the marketplace makes it much easier to stay in your lane and to be authentic when it comes time to tell your story.
Too often you see companies, both large and small, struggling with marketing and product launches because they don’t stay true to themselves and their customers.
One example of a notable brand who I believe is having a difficult time with this is Burger King.
Burger King is one of the most well-known brands in America and they have been for many years. Their entire brand was built off of and sustained by the Whopper. America fell in love with their campaigns and their flame-grilled burgers. So what justifies a company like Burger King to create menu items like the “Big King” (a poor recreation of the McDonalds inspired Big Mac) and Grilled Hot Dogs?
Burger King and the Whopper spent over 20 years competing directly against McDonald’s and the Big Mac, until recently when they decided to add the Big King to their menu as if it could compete with the most famous sandwich in history. To me this is when Burger King started to stray away from its roots and attempted to reinvent themselves through an array of off-the-wall menu items.
If Burger Kings’ recent marketing and product decisions are based on losing market share, I feel this would have constituted a different approach. Why not put a campaign together that stays true to the core beliefs of the brand and start to reinvent the power and following of the Whopper? I think that this is a perfect example of a brand that went completely outside their lane and really should become more self-aware, focusing on the strengths and beliefs that made them extremely successful.
The simple truth is this; just because something works for my company and my market, does not mean that it will work well for you and your organization. Companies must become self-aware to the surroundings, customers, market conditions and competitors. Be authentic, stay in your lane, and stick to the things that make you great, because this is what makes people fall in love with brands!
Nick Brucker is the President & CEO at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the Sparq team today.