Here are the 3 symptoms of a brand identity crisis.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms as a luxury real estate marketing professional it might be happening to you!

  1. You cannot define precisely how you are different and better than your competition.You cannot instantly communicate your extraordinary promise of value to your ideal clients.  Your market share is eroding.
  2. “Market Leader Envy”.  You feel jealous of the market leader.
  3. The "Copycat Syndrome". You feeling the only answer is to copy the market leader

These symptoms do not mean that there is anything wrong with you.  They just indicate that it may be time to re-examine, rethink and re-formulate the way you are doing business. It means that you need to tune into your authentic brand signal, re-align your entire business model to that signal and then stay on signal.  

To illustrate just how much is at stake in re-claiming your brand signal, here are some examples of major international companies that are currently experiencing a crisis in identity, companies who have previously dominated their marketplace as market leaders. 

When Apple came out with the game changing iPad they introduced an entirely new category of mobile computing that people love. The tablet was born and an epidemic of “market leader envy” ensued among Apple’s competitors.  

Rushing to market with copy-cat models has proven fruitless.  For example, Samsung has faced one injunction after another in world markets as Apple has successfully argued that its patents have been infringed upon by the Korean company’s Galaxy tablet.   

Research in Motion (manufacturers of Blackberry), the company that once enjoyed close to 50% of the smart phone market is also in identity crisis mode.  An internal tug-of-war among top management has been raging over whether RIM’s primary target market is governments and corporations or consumers.  Sales for their Playbook tablet have been extremely disappointing.  

Although, there are many excellent uses for tablets in business and in government it appears that this device is primarily consumer driven as most people are using it to consume media such as books, magazines, music, videos, and games. Studies by Forrester has indicated that the conversion rate for purchasing all retail items (vs. just window shopping) are higher on tablets than on PCs now.

Countless companies are trying to take on the iPad that now “owns” 80% market share of all tablets sold in the US. Changing the physical features of the device itself as a means of differentiating their product from the iPad has also proven to be a dead end. Competing on features alone is futile. It does not get to the core of the problem. 

HP’s failure with its Touchpad is another case in point. Tablets are not just another category of computers.  They are vending machines for media and apps! HP understood this principle when they realized that the real profit from printers was not in the physical apparatus but in the recurring income stream of selling ink.  This drove the price of printers down sharply creating very thin profit margins on the devices themselves. Apparently, HP did not take this into account when they embarked on manufacturing tablets devices.

The price of ignoring the symptoms of an identity crisis is considerable. Instead of reacting to the symptom of market leader envy by scrambling to manufacture copycat versions of tablets, a move that took these companies off their brand signal, they needed to heed the wakeup call in another way.  That is to take the time to re-assess their strengths, to re-think their business model and determine the best new direction for their company.

Recently, HP jettisoned the Touchpad all together once they realized it was not on their brand signal.  Today, they are going through a re-assessment, re-organization and re-branding process by heading more in the direction becoming a provider of services vs. a manufacturer of computers and printers. Xerox successfully went through a similar evolution.

Without the entire package of the physical device, the operating systems (e.g., Android) PLUS the app store and the media store the chances of competing with Apple's iPad are slim to none.  This complete set of elements is not in the nature, the DNA, the identity, the authentic brand signal of these other manufactures.  It is quite a stretch to morph into such a company in time to complete with the iPad effectively on all these fronts.  Is there any wonder why these iPad challengers are having an identity crisis?

Only one company so far has figured out how to take on Apple in the tablet category and is equipped with the full package of required elements, the DNA to do so successfully. That company is Amazon, who just launched their Kindle Fire tablet line.  Amazon clearly knows its authentic brand signal and it has not deviated from that signal with this new product launch. Amazon is a consumer driven business and they have leveraged their tremendous strengths in this arena to give Apple’s iPad a run for its money.

The story of Amazon's Fire is very exciting! We will be covering it soon! If you are thinking of challenging a dominent market leader in your luxury real estate marketing practice you first need to get over any and all symptoms of having an identity crisis.  Cast away all feelings of market leader envy and any impulse to become a copy cat. Take the time to define and artiulate your own unique promise of value. Tune into your authentic brand signal and stay on signal.


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