The Breakaway Personal Brand:
How to Become the Standout in Your Marketplace
By Ron & Alexandra Seigel, Partners - Napa Consultants, International
Whether you grew up with a Krispy Kreme Donut store in your neighborhood or you just tasted a delicious, original hot glazed Krispy Kreme donut for the first time you may be surprised to know that the company has been around for over 70 years! It all started in the late thirties. With steady growth it was sold to Beatrice Foods and later was bought back by a group of franchisees. Then, suddenly in 2000, Krispy Kreme went public, became a modern American icon and an international BREAKAWAY BRAND!
The Krispy Kreme story has important lessons for those home loan professionals who are determined to breakaway from their competition and pursue market leadership in their marketplace. Creating an indelible personal brand and sparking a chain reaction of buzz is challenging, but it can be extremely rewarding if it is executed effectively and sustained.
The word-of-mouth advertising about these premium, high quality donuts was like a shot heard around the world. Move over Winchell’s donuts, which opened their first donut shop on October 8, 1948. Winchell’s is the West Coast's largest donut chain with over 170 units, in 12 states, plus locations in Guam, Saipan, and Saudi Arabia. Move over Dunkin’ Donuts, the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain, with more than 7,000 Dunkin' Donuts shops worldwide.
What Made Krispy Kreme Donuts the Breakaway Brand?
Fast forward to Melbourne Australia, 2006 for the grand opening of the first Krispy Kreme Donut shop in town. Hundreds of Aussies camped out overnight in the race to be the first through the door as the fast-food phenomenon arrived Down Under. One man parked his car four days ahead of the opening to be the first in line for the drive through window. He won a year’s supply of these tasty donuts.
Krispy Kreme attracts almost a cult-like following and raving fans. The opening of a Winchell’s or Dunkin’ donut shop usually does not have this kind of a reaction. Most fans agree that the taste of Krispy Kreme donuts is superior to the other brands. But, how much of this is the affect of hype and how much is really the special flavor and texture unique to the Krispy Kreme brand? How much is it a factor of the expectation of a superior experience?
The name Krispy Kreme itself can make your mouth water. The right brand name can play a very important part in creating a Breakaway Brand.
We are not particularly fond of donuts. However, like many consumers, we absolutely had to discover what all the fuss was about when Krispy Kreme donuts finally arrived at our local supermarket. To us, the ultimate donut experience can be found in a small café in Florence, Italy called Giacosa on Via Tournabone. In Italian, donuts are called ciambelle.Fond memories and pleasant associations can play a very big part in creating a Breakaway Brand.
IPOD or ZUNE? That is the Question
Every year in the United States companies invest close to $300 billion in marketing products and services. A huge portion of this is spent on introducing new brands in the marketplace. The majority of these new product launches never get off the ground.
As home loan professionals, the size of your advertising budget does not guarantee your success if you fail to form a strongemotional connection with your target market, whether it be consumers or referring real estate agents.
Recently, Microsoft launched a new MP3 player brand called ZUNE to compete head-on with Apple’s IPod. Fortified with deep pockets Microsoft is gunning for Apple who has the Breakaway Brand in this space. IPod was actually a “Jonny come lately” itself as many other brands had tried to become the dominant MP3 player. IPod connected very deeply on an emotional level with its target market with its sleek design an ease of use for which Apple computers are famous. Zune was met with a lukewarm reception.
The IPod continues to gain market share as a mainstream consumer electronic product and as a music service with its ITunes website. Many IPod loyalists would rather fight than switch brands.
Microsoft may be making some strides at chipping away at Apple’s market share. But, so far it is does not have enough distinctive features to overtake Apple as the next MP3 Breakaway Brand.
In the lending industry loan brokers have access to virtually the same products. In that sense these products have become commoditized. That is the very reason why a personal brand is of paramount importance. Good service and integrity are the minimum requirements just to be in the running. You must present a superior and unique value proposition to become the Breakaway Personal Brand as a lender in your marketplace.
The Five Keys to Become the Standout in Your Marketplace
Perhaps organizing a community effort to deliver Krispy Kreme donuts to some schools in your neighborhood can help you stand out from the crowd. Or, you may consider a starting with a contest for agents in your area in which you give away a red IPod to “Do the Red Thing” (Apple will donate 10% to help prevent the spread of HIV).
There are endless ways of becoming well known, well thought of and also creating buzz for yourself while breaking away from your competition. The keys to becoming the Breakaway Personal Brand and standout are: 1) Create the expectation of superior service; 2) Develop a compelling personal brand name; 3) Come up with a way to create pleasant associations with your brand that trigger fond memories; 4) Form a strong emotional connection with your target market, and: 5) find ways to be distinctive in your business methods.