Brands that succeeded with a simple idea
Let’s start by taking a look at some of these brands and breaking them down. Rather than focusing on the big players that have decades of experience, let’s look at some smaller businesses and their key elements.
Dollar Shave Club
Found early success story in the crowded world of subscription boxes through a clever combination of good marketing and an idea that appeals to the masses — the male masses that is. They offer a subscription service for good value quality shaving equipment — that’s it. Every man has a face and every face will need shaving at some point. The idea is so solid because its finer details are universal and instantly recognizable. Shopping for razors is expensive and annoying. Realizing in the morning before a meeting you forgot to buy one is worse. This delivery service solves both.
Born out of the frustrations that come with the popularity of swipe left/swipe right dating app culture. Using Bluetooth functionality, it makes dating hyper-local, connecting users with a match that fits your preference in the immediate area. Cheekd succeeds because it solves the simple issue that conversations on dating apps rarely lead to actual dates. Rather than sending messages back and forth for a week with someone who lives across town, you’re matched with someone in the same bar or train carriage as you, branding Cheekd as a tool that helps you overcome awkward in-person approaches by giving you a conversation starter.
Solves the problem of finding quality staff. It doesn’t blow up the foundations of the recruitment market, it simply injects some quality into it. It stands out by allowing employers to find vetted and high-quality workers at a price that suits their budget. Great ideas are often solutions to existing flawed ones. Before recruiters would have to work through piles of blanket applications from less appropriate staff. With Syft they are given a list of high-quality people that cater to their precise needs. A simple, but effective solution to an everyday issue for business owners.
Okay, Airbnb may be cheating slightly. This isn’t exactly a small business anymore, but it has its roots in being one. What made Airbnb so successful is what makes so many small businesses work, it simplified the ease of the process. Whether you’re renting or travelling it saves you time and money while making you feel as if you’re part of an experience. Again, not an idea that breaks the wheel, but one that improves it in a unique way.
On the surface, these brands have nothing in common. One sells you razors and one helps you find trained staff. But their branding is similar in its simplicity. As Sticky Branding explains, keeping things simple is the best method for success. There is no confusion as to their purpose and the focus of their target audience.
They also instantly conjure up one action or feeling. Whether it’s convenience or inspiration to travel, there are common emotions associated with these brands that have been specially cultivated. There’s more of a focus on the industry and everything that surrounds the brand, rather than the process they undertake itself.
Still struggling to visualise that step up? Think back to your English classes. How you build your idea into a brand can be thought of as a novel. Using this Jericho Writers plot structure guide, we can see how you first establish your main character (in this case your audience), then their motivation (which helps define why they need your idea) and finally the resolution (what serving their motivation and desire looks like).
How do these brands make you feel?
The key element to building a successful brand is offering a feeling of control. This isn’t quite the same as trust between you and your customers. Instead, true success is about getting your audience to buy into the brand as part of their lifestyle, rather than as just another product they consume. The most successful brands are ingrained into our lives and how we go about our day to day. Shave in the morning? I’m a Dollar Shave Club guy. Listen to music at work? I’m more Spotify than Apple Music.
Customers need to have a sense that they’re in control of how they’re perceived. A quality brand offers something they feel they’re in control of, but don’t mind projecting themselves onto as a personality trait. If your one great idea integrates seamlessly into your audience’s lifestyle while also adding an element of control such as a subscription model, then there’s an immediate pick-up nature and relatability about it.
Why control is the key
These brands didn’t pop-up overnight. There’s no turning a great idea into a successful business with just a couple of sales. That building up period is essential to establishing what audience your brand is aiming for. Buyer and audience personas can be used to establish what elements your base want to be in control of. This can be used to alter your brand into one that seamlessly works its way into people’s everyday lives and personalities.
There’s no step by step guide on how to take your idea from shower thought to lifestyle brand. However, once you’re able to think of your idea in terms of how it can be used to offer a sense of control, convenience and personality in your customer’s life, you’re closer to something that can become universally applicable.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.