The title of this post is a bit misleading - because in order to be a brand, you need to be distinct.
The opposite of a brand, is commodity. You build a brand around a niche set of audience and market that absolutely is in love with your offering. If you generalize the offering for the mass market, it is a commodity by that point.
Be clear about What you are not.
When building a product / offering, be very clear as to what it is that you are not. In the early stages of the company, as you are achieving Product-Market fit, there is an alluring temptation to be everyone for everyone.
Seth Godin, in an interview says that "On the Internet, if you try to build a product that everyone wants, you run the risk of pivoting till you become an adult website".
In 2014, Kissflow did a rather bold experiment. They realized that as a SaaS company, they were doing what everyone was doing - sending a welcome email when users signed up for the product to try it out. The welcome email, they noticed, had an abysmal open rate - as is perhaps the case with any welcome email.
The company decided to something dramatic. They looked at folks who have been signing up for their product - but didn't fit into their ideal customer profile. And then they changed their welcome email to tell folks why kissflow would not be a fit for them - and even offered to help them find the right solution for their needs.
First off, open rates went through the roof. Secondly, more of those who signed up, wrote back and engaged with them - which if you understand, is the point of the welcome email, to start that first point of communication. Thirdly, the whole act build enormous trust with the user base. Guess whom they reached out to when they did want a workflow automation solution?
As a startup, there is a FOMO of turning away any of the leads. The Negative List, can be super powerful - and not only will those leads be thankful for you not wasting their time, you also have reduced overheads when it comes to customer service with a grumpy customer who will not be happy with a less than optimal solution.
You can always keep them in a separate list and if and ever you do build a product that addresses their needs (in the near future), you can reach out to them - and guess what, they'd have the trust to believe you and give it a try.
What You might have missed in BlackBook Ideas
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur looking for opportunity spaces - or you are an entrepreneur who has tried a few things, but want to perhaps step back and want to see the big picture and the opportunity spaces, check out BlackBook Ideas.
The Rise of the Passion Economy - We are moving from a trend of Gig Economy, to the rise of the Passion Economy. Be it Patreon (which has so far distributed over $2bn in revenues to creators and artists), Twitch, Tiktok, Only fans, Substack - there is v2 of the creator stack being built. What are the opportunities in that space?
The Business of Super-heroes - Asia, and more importantly India has a phenomenal opportunity to build its Super Heroes business. Most of the attempts so far have been disparate - it's either a one off movie, or a niche comic book effort, or some merchandise in the form of t-shirts and mugs here and there. Understand in this elaborate post, what goes into the business of Superheroes.
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