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Reach For The Sky?

By Dr. Burt Smith September 27th, 2008

SCessna_Citation.<span class=everal years ago, Cessna decided they wanted to enter the lear jet market. They had a good solid brand in the single-engine, light aircraft category, and just knew they could leverage their core competencies into success in this premium market segment. But they had concerns that the market might not agree. They feared that even though customers had confidence in their single-engine products, they might have a tough time justifying a higher price for this kind of product and might see it as just a small propeller-driven plane inside a lear jet shell.

So what they did was develop a new product with a new story. The Citation was born! They came up with a campaign that addressed every benefit sought by their target market. They answered the possible objection of the unknown, new brand name by having the fact that the Citation was a division of the established Cessna corporation as part of the signature of the messages about the product. The Cessna logo was at first presented only discreetly but has become much more prominent in recent years as the Citation brand has established itself. In fact, the Citation has become a real flagship brand for Cessna.

Sometimes when we want to enter a new market, we will find ourselves answering way too many “yeah, but’s” if we’re trying to convince or change the attitude of the market. This can lengthen an already very long and expensive process. Often, we’re better off developing a new story to tell the market in the form of a new brand.

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postum.jpgThis is worth a look! MSN ran an article recently of products readers said they’d like to see resurrected. See for yourself!

Just fun and games, mostly, but there may also be a couple of marketing/business/strategy-type lessons here that may ignite a creativity fire for you. Or at least be some good water-cooler trivia.

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WD_40.gifA colleague of mine relayed a story of a luncheon she was attending a while back. She and her group wound up seated at a table near the kitchen door, which usually wouldn’t have been significant, except that the door had a horrible squeak to it. Actually, she said it squeaked when it was opened, and squealed when it was closed. Someone at the table commented how distracting that was going to be once the meeting started!

To the great credit of the hosting facility, without having to be asked by an audience member, they immediately dispatched a staff member with a can of WD-40 to lubricate the hinges. No more squeak, no more squeal. Problem solved, and a table full of customers wound up being more than a little impressed with the prompt handling of the whole episode.

No wonder there’s a WD-40 fan club!

Things can, and do, go wrong in the process of serving our customers. Whether the problem is large or small, exactly how, and how promptly, we solve the problem, can make all the difference in customer satisfaction. In fact, what looks like a problem may be a great brand-building opportunity!

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