I have three questions for you if you plan on killing the giant in your industry.
- How are you going to become a bigger idea than the category you play in?
- How do you plan to change how the world thinks about what you do?
- What is the missing 3rd piece of the puzzle that could unravel your biggest problems – or unlock your biggest opportunities?
I’d love to tell you that the obstacles will magically fall by the wayside and all will be well, but let’s just agree that if you can handle these, you’ll at least be well on your way. You’re no longer buried in minutiae and thinking small. You’re re-imagining your business. And if you see these three ideas through to their logical completion, it’s fair to say your competition has good reason to worry.
There are other questions to ask, but I like these three a lot. They’re good starting points and frankly few companies take the time to begin this process, let alone see it through. So do the hard thing and get to work.
How are you going to become a bigger idea than the category you play in?
Bob Parsons and Go Daddy are bigger than domain name registrations. His brand is about something fundamentally bigger and more inclusive than what the IT guy buys.
Go Daddy tells us that being your own boss and having your own voice is fun. You can create your own soapbox, your own company’s website, your own storefront or whatever you want, and it’s fast and easy. You can do this. We can help. You’ll see how exhilarating it can be to have this kind of freedom. Just look at how much fun we’re having. Join us.
What do Go Daddy’s competitors do? They bitch and snipe about how much they aren’t like Go Daddy. Which means they’re small, shrinking and worthy of our pity.
Be like Go Daddy, whatever that means to you and your brand.
How do you plan to change how the world thinks about what you do?
Jim Koch never set out to “brew the best lager in America,” or “win the Great American Beer Festival,” or anything so pedestrian as that. His goal wasn’t internally focused at all, actually.
His goal was simple: “I set out,” he told me, “to change how Americans thought about beer.”
His focus was external. He knew how fascinating this complex, nuanced 10,000 year old human tradition was. How it had largely shaped civilization and socialization. Beer has interestingness.
And he’s not going to stop evangelizing, preaching, teaching, educating and grinding down the ignorance instilled by a millennia of bad beer in America until you, too, burn with the same passion that he does.
Changing how the world thinks is fundamentally different than making a great product. The business landscape is littered with well-intentioned companies that strived to do the latter only to fail to accomplish the former.
Be like Jim and change how the world thinks.
What is the missing 3rd piece of the puzzle that could unravel your biggest problems – or unlock your biggest opportunities?
The GAP is part of the American landscape, providing affordable fashion, smart and understated. The brand was also deeply involved in corporate philanthropy, beyond the scope of its in-store merchandise, with non-profit partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa. But it took the partnership with Product (RED) to catalyze the brand and the relationship into prominence.
When I spoke to former Product (RED) president Tamsin Smith, she drove home the point that RED gave GAP a point of view, a focal point for its existing work in Africa, giving the brand the impetus to produce some of the most creative work it had done in years.
For GAP, RED was the missing piece.
RED’s inclusion in the puzzle provided the missing link, the mysterious third piece of the puzzle, that allowed the rest to fall into place. It’s an interesting exercise to swap in and out different 3rd parties to see how you can overcome obstacles.
As Steve Feinberg, my partner at Decision Triggers, would say, this is another route to tactically shift – to shift structures and perceptions so that you can view your battlefield from a different angle and see what was previously hidden from view.
What is your (RED)?
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I have the opportunity to work with a number of brands, each doing important work, each striving to break out of established structures.
I just finished the first phase of an engagement with a smart, successful brand in a mature industry is looking for ways to take that next big leap and the ideas largely found in Seize the Microphone – Chapter 8 of Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath In Your Industry – plus a brief appearance of Thin Ice (Chapter 1) served as the right guide.
I hope you’re finding all 10 of the chapters helpful and I look forward to hearing how you’re using them!