Creating a niche brand is easier than you think. A brand becomes stronger when it narrows its focus. But what happens when you narrow your focus to such a degree that there is no longer a market for your brand? You niche so deep that no one is doing what you are doing?
Congratulations. You just created a new brand category.
- What was the market for expensive vodka before Stolichnaya? Almost nothing.
- What was the market for luxury cars before Mercedes? Almost nothing.
- What was the market for home delivery pizza before Dominoes? Almost nothing.
This creates a paradox of sorts however. How do you grow market share while narrowing your brand?
The most efficient, most productive, most useful aspect of branding is creating a new category. You may have heard the term “A Category Of One.” Some call it being a big fish in a small pond. Whatever you call it, it’s good business.
By niching and narrowing your focus until you are the only person doing what you do is how you become the first brand in a new category and the leading brand in a rapidly growing market segment.
This isn’t as hard as you think. You don’t have to invent a new product or service in order to create a brand category. Dominoes didn’t invent the pizza, but they did create the home delivery category.
Mercedes didn’t invent the car, but they did define the standard for a luxury car.
The trick to effectively niching, and ultimately becoming a category of one is to get there first. Most people get freaked out if no-one is doing what they plan on doing. Self-doubt creeps in and we think things like, “How come no one else is doing this?” or “This must not work if no one else has succeeded at it.”
To be fair that may be true. Selling ice to eskimos may be a difficult business model, but a simple twist and you may be on to something. Chances are those Eskimos might enjoy flavored ice instead.
You get there first and you have the opportunity to promote the category, and in turn, promote the brand. By marketing the benefits of your category, while being the only brand in your category your brand becomes associated with the category itself. Your brand defines the category and you become a “Category Of One.”