Leading the way
One of the fundamental rules of marketing is that if you want to be a leader in the market, you have to act as a leader. By leading the way you keep the initiative, you stay ahead of competitors and you avoid falling into the copycat position which is, in most cases, a less good and less profitable position. This chapter explores some key concepts to help brands stay ahead of competition.
To be able to lead the market and act as a leader it is necessary to lead the customers. If the company, as per the old-fashioned part of marketing theory, only listens to the customers and then delivers what the customer is asking for, the brand will inevitably, sooner or later, be overtaken in the market. The reason is that unless there is a turnaround time of zero (i.e. it is possible to deliver what is asked for immediately), the company will fall behind. By the time the company has developed, produced and delivered what the customers said they wanted, they may well have changed their minds and/or a competitor may have already launched something into the marketplace fulfilling the need. In addition it is impossible for a customer to know what a supplier can deliver. Simply to follow the customers is to abdicate the management of the company and the brand to the customers – and abdicating responsibility is rarely a way to build a strong brand and business.