One of our favourite movies is Moneyball. It’s as much a movie about innovation as it is about baseball. If you haven’t seen it already, do yourself a favour and book a time to enjoy it now.
What’s great about it is that much like baseball, the world of branding is becoming a two horse race and the Moneyball approach is a brilliant blueprint of what you can do about it.
You have rich, SUPER brands [most of them will be listed on the main board of one of the world’s larger stock exchanges] that are able to out-scale, out-capitalise and out-play anyone. And then you have poor, maker-movement, heart brands that sell way less product, but hand-craft each and every thing they produce and stay in business because people buy into their story. Their heart credentials allow them to charge a premium for their fan-base approach.
These two extreme sides of a scale have been created in the last 30 years by global economics and trade policies. Sadly if your brand doesn’t occupy either one of these two extremes, you’re pretty much a commodity and the amount you can afford to discount your product by will determine how long you can stay in the game. If you occupy this sad space in-between you are a price taker, scrambling to make a margin and constantly on the edge of going out of business. It’s just a matter of time.
There’s literally fifty feet of crap…and then you. If you’re still in business tomorrow or not, nobody will care.
So what do you do? What you don’t do is play by the same rules as the SUPER guys. If you play like the best, you’ll get crushed like the rest.
Your challenge is to calm your inherit, lizard-brain desire to not stand out. Fear of judgement and ridicule will plague your mind to follow the rules of engagement, rather than going in search of guerrilla tactics to level the playing field. You do not have the money to waste on building a brand the way you were taught in your MBA. You need to take risks, listen to completely crazy people, try something radically stupid. Take the emotion out of the problem, look at the challenge from a different, perhaps obscure, point of view.
You’re goal is to move your entity from the ‘care-less’ doldrums to either the SUPER or the heart podium. Getting there is going to take either a full dose of cunning or a lot of honest soul-searching, but staying where you are is not an option.
Think differently, you are the last dog at the bowl. You either innovate your way out of that situation or suffer the fate of the runt of the litter. Sadly you’ll probably not even realise that you are eating last until it’s just too late.
Moneyball is based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis and is the true story of Oakland Athletics manager Billy Beane and his unconventional, disruptive approach to the game of baseball. Much of what Billy Beane did with the Oakland A’s back then has now been adopted by other teams with spectacular results.