How Scarce is Your Brand?

How Scarce is Your Brand?


There are two core pillars that uphold the foundation of brand positioning: relevance and differentiation.

Relevance has everything to do with providing real value to your customers. Otherwise known as “what’s in it for them.” Differentiation has to do with how your offering to the world will be compared with others in your sector. The very definition of the wordeconomy is rooted in Latin and means the management of scarce resources.

The Paradox of Scarcity

cellar3-bottlesThe more you sell a product that’s rare, the more you are differentiated from the competition, and the smaller your target audience becomes. Paradoxically, the more you differentiate, the more you offer something to the world that’s rare, scarce and, therefore, highly valuable.

With our client-partners at Green Flash Brewing Co. we built a sub-brand called Cellar 3—a barrel aged program that releases limited batches of specialty beers. Not only are the beer releases excellent, but they’ve also carved out a unique way to drink beer. Most releases are sold through a specialty 750 ML bottle and designed to be shared with friends, like fine wine. They command a price point that’s much higher than standard craft beer. The recent Barrel Master Reserve released on their 1-year anniversary sold out in hours.

If what you offer the world is scarce enough, you have the opportunity to carve out your own marketplace, set your own prices and gain a level of customer affinity (deep, loyal, long-term audience relationship) that even Apple would envy.

Marketing guru Seth Godin notes that, “The only things that are scarce in today’s interconnected world are the things that are difficult, and the only things that are valuable are the things that are scarce.”

Large companies can offer scarcity as well, in the form of urgency. This urgency in time frame is a psychological tactic that refers to the perceived amount of time in which the consumers need to act. It works well when a product is offered to a large audience. A few examples of this tactic are time frame promotions and limited supply offers. This is also known as the fear of missing out (FOMO). The link between urgency and scarcity is that as urgency increases pressure on supply, it leads to scarcity and higher value. Combined they fuel demand.

Does your brand believe in differentiation?

It’s unmistakable that real differentiation (read Blue Ocean Strategy) takes courage in belief and in action.

Ask your brand, marketing and sales teams to rate the following statements from 1 to 10 (with 1 representing “strongly disagree” and 10 representing “strongly agree”) to determine your commitment to a differentiated brand:

  1. Our customers often compare us to a few key competitors and we sometimes get confused with our competition in the marketplace.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. One of our biggest barriers to product launches are timeframe and speed to market. If we were organized differently, we would be more innovative and resourceful.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. Most of our customers are more interested (and request) discounts and price promotions; they just want our product at a lower price.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. Our brand can’t devote the time to innovating our product and/or business model because we’re too busy with daily demands of our culture and customers.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. When we look at our competitive field we see more and more competition that we have to react to.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. Because the market primarily predetermines price, the main way our brand can make more money is to improve our internal processes or sourcing efficiency.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

  1. Our social media strategy requires us to constantly tend to and nurture what the audience is saying about our competition and us.

Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Strongly Agree

The lower your average score the better your brand offering is differentiated. Thinking and being different is not just for boutique and craft brands, companies of all sizes can leverage it.

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