Be First, Best or Different

By Ken Gasque

Loretta Lynn said, “You either have to be first, best or different.”

Being first with a good idea is really difficult and may not happen to you but once in your lifetime, if it happens then. Apple’s iPhone, Coca-Cola, WD-40, Dixie Cups, Post-it Notes, Duct Tape, and Google are just a few great ideas that were first to the market.

Being best is almost impossible when the measure is taste because of the endless possibilities. Claiming ‘best’ is one thing, providing is another. Wine and beer tasting narrow it down, but no one can seriously claim to be the best in a beverage category. So, that leaves different.

But being different, repositioning or rebranding can be just as effective as being the first one to bring a great idea to market. Think differentiation. Thin about Starbucks. Coffee has been served in this country since the late seventeenth century. But it was the Boston Tea Party that repositioned it as the ‘patriotic’ caffeine drink to drink. However, it took another 200 years before Starbucks rebranded generic coffee and the coffee house. Starbucks was different in taste, in the environment where it was served and its price. Starbucks was perceived as the best by the way it was presented and the price it asked. Starbucks used imagination in selecting a name. Most committees would have tossed out the possibility of a name like Starbucks because it didn’t ‘say’ coffee and it presented an image of something or someone flamboyant. They would have insisted on something like Maxwell House Coffee or Taster’s Choice Coffee. Being different involves risks and panache and takes courage.

With all of the ‘unusual’ beer names out there it may be time to look for something that is the opposite of what is being done. When everyone is going the same way and doing the same thing. That maybe the time to go a different way and ‘march to a different drummer.’ Maybe it is time to create a product with a more common name. Maybe it is time to use good design. It takes courage but maybe it is time to do the opposite.

We buy with our eyes
For more information on developing a brand visit /blog/the-brand-development-process-think-like-a-7-year-old

About Ken Gasque
Ken Gasque is a brand image-maker, marketing planner and designer. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing—his work reflects his belief that “We buy with our eyes.” Ken writes and lectures on brands, design, images and brand development. We build brands using knowledge, experience and magic!