When it comes to gaining attention, there are several ways cut through the steady background noise of established brands yammering. Counterculture, flywheel, platform staging, and paradigm shifting are my favorites.
An interesting example of going counterculture is currently taking place in a rather mundane marketplace, household cleaners.
Traditionally household cleaners are sold in plastic containers in a ready to use state. Premixed and portioned with a dispenser attached so all the customers need do it open the product and apply. At its surface this seems to be an excellently placed customer faced market position, and yet this is exactly where the counterculture brand challengers are focusing.
Currently there are dozens of companies taking their shot at the big players in the household cleaner market. These challengers have focused on a small yet currently culturally significant areas of improvement that the stalwarts seem to have overlooked.
These segment disruptors have identified a couple primary areas of waste the established players are ignoring, shipping costs and plastics.
How many different plastic bottles filled with mostly water that were shipped in boxes that weighed a lot and wasted a bunch of space do you have under your kitchen sink, hanging about in your bathroom, or stored in your garage?
These counterculture brands have addressed these issues with one simple shift. They are all offering in one form or another a dry product that dissolves simply in tap water. They also offer a set of containers for each product, but those are not required. Everything from laundry detergent to glass cleaner are now available in a format that weights one one-hundredth of the traditional product and requires zero plastics in packaging. These two slight changes have a significant impact on the cost of goods sold and can translate to a 40% price decrease in the marketplace.
The Flywheel requires laser focus on a message and significant discipline yet will yield remarkable results as each repeated message will increase the impact of not only the subsequent messages but the preceding messages as well. I call this the Attention Flywheel. This methodology breaks through the surrounding noise to such an extent that when the Flywheel is running full steam, it can be difficult to find any messaging besides the flywheel while performing an internet search.
The downside to this methodology is it requires a very narrow clearly defined message. Which does not lend itself to widely diverse brands, as each new focus is included the messaging slowly becomes more like a light bulb than a laser beam. The same amount of energy is expended but since it is spread across a wide spectrum it has little power in any specific direction.
Often brands construct challenges or problems to demonstrate their specific product or service will be the best solution to address. This is highly effective for innovative technologies or unique spins on old technology. This is most effective when deployed against more established brands to differentiate and create perceived value for the new coming brand or when a compare and contrast evaluation is needed to increase the perceived value of a brand. Many product companies use this method in heavily competitive market segments.