Just imagine. You’re Huguenin, the most prestigious, artistic minting (metal crafts) company in Switzerland with a broad international reach.You have refined your production process of minting and etching.
You offer a wide-ranging, hand-crafted assortment of products to meet customers specifications in worldwide markets. Your high-quality minted products have been created for almost a century-and-a-half in Le Locle, the Swiss watch-making region. You’ve realized hard-earned, well-deserved success and respect for excellence since 1868.
THEN… along come some cheaper competitors from east and west. At first you ignored them, counting on customers and prospects simply remembering your unmatched hand-crafted quality. After all, you have created timeless medals and metals for the world renowned customers like:
and countless others. Unfortunately, the new kids on the block are eating away at your market share, while dragging down the quality level of the products you’ve worked to define.
Lesson #1: Fighting a pricing war is a losing battle
You’ve come to an unexpected fork in the road and you‘ve decided which way to go. So you try to beat the competition by slashing your prices and running ads in industry media proclaiming you not only have the best products, you also offer the best prices for the quality.
What happens? The competition reads your ads or learns of your price cuts and lowers their prices just enough to make their products more “attractive.” You’ve spent money on a strategy that hurts rather than helps. And you may very well have damaged your image as the “Rolls Royce” of your industry, too.
It’s not rocket science: Stay out of price wars and go with your strengths. Quality. Dependability. Experience. Premium. Excellence. Prestige. You’ve built those attributes and you can’t put a “cheap” price tag on them.
The decision? Transform to thrive.™ (Our tagline – what a coincidence) Game on! In my previous post: Think You Should Rebrand? 7 Reasons to Think Again, I cautioned against frivolous rebranding. Huguenin’s reasons to embark upon a successful rebranding strategy, design, and implementation effort was not.
This is when the real champs step up and take charge. There’s nothing more satisfying than vaulting past those competitors who thought they’d beat you. It’s a feeling I know all too well as a sprinter in college. So how do you take back your lead?
Lesson #2: Refocus and expand on your core strengths
You refocus on your position as “market leader” and what got you there. Start by re-defining and setting a specific, well-crafted, brand-positioning goal with your employees. It’s important that they help develop, understand it, and buy into it. And that they make your customers’ needs their primary concern.
Your existing market leader positioning is decidedly in the high-end segment, where you can rise above the losing, cheap pricing battles. It’s time to build on your strengths.
Lesson #3: It’s easier to win at a game of goals and rules you establish
Lesson #4: Continually evolve to build and maintain relevance
Don’t lose track of your customers’ changing needs. When you can, use your experience to anticipate those needs and remain both relevant and the clear choice for what you provide.
Lesson #5: Reflect your brand purpose and essence at every opportunity.
Keep your customers aware of changes and improvements you may make. Find different ways to reach them with news and updates with a constant eye to solving an existing or anticipated problem.
The result for Huguenin was a highly successful transformation that was very well received by customers as well as employees. Our global panel of jurors certainly agreed. Do you? See the Huguenin video above (shorter one below with before + after examples) and the full case study in our showcase and let us know what you think below.