Why You Need Market Identity

“Could you please give me a bandaid?” asked a man to a kid. Out came a tape to cover the wound.

People used the term “Bandaid” to mean the same as “wound tape”. Johnson and Johnson had a strong market identity.

So strong it changed the English vocabulary. 3M is another brand that added “post it” in the dictionary.

A business I saw struggled with their identity. Let’s call it ABC here.

I asked the business unit leader what his business did. And he replied: “We solve technology problems in the electrical industry.”

He had a clear answer. It looked like it had a niche in the market.

But when I dug deeper, I found more about his customers. I asked one of them about ABC. He termed it a “Systems Integrator”.

A “Systems Integrator” is a commodity. That’s why that business struggled to grow. You have them a dime a dozen.

The business unit leader did not invest time to develop a market identity.

So how do you really develop your identity?

First, find out where you are in your business. Next, find out where you’d want to be in 2 years, 5 years and longer.

Ask yourself: “Is this a unique market space?” Then craft a unique message for the market. Support it with values, culture and group your business teams.

Follow up. Take actions.

Because if you don’t define who you are, someone else will. You will end up with a default identity.

Be clear. Are you going after value? Or is it cost?

Make it clear to your customers. Make it appeal to your employees.

Make it transparent to them so they decide how to spend their time in your business. And do it quickly–right now.

If you do, your customers will consider your business as responsive. They will see your ability to deliver exactly the services and goods they need. They will tell others about what you do. They will tell others how you do and what makes you different.

Align customers to your actions long-term. Preserve your profits.

Lead your business unit so the entire team moves it forward. You’ll gain from crafting your identity. It will be different and that will become the reason your customers buy from you.