How Long Does It Take To Create A Brand?

Apr 21 2014, 8:34pm CDT | by

It depends on whether you are a pioneer or a colonizer, in our opinion.

If you are a pioneer, it may take a great deal of time, as branding is about innovation—the development of unique product offerings that deliver better value to consumers than traditional products.

That’s certainly a lengthy process, as it is about starting a new trend. It requires a great deal of vision and foresight to identify genuine consumer needs; a lengthy period of experimentation to get the value proposition that addresses those needs effectively; and a great deal of imagination and resources to fuel WOM and buzz for the product proposition.

By contrast, if you are a colonizer, branding may take a short time — as it is about merchandising, advertising and scaling up on a value proposition that marginally modifies a pioneering product proposition. Ie, capitalizing and riding someone’s trend.

It took Apple a great deal of deal of time to develop the iPhone and the iPad because they are innovative products. They offer unique value to consumers, as they incorporate a number of distinct advantages over competitive products at the time they were launched.

That’s why they started a new industry trend.

But it took Samsung Electronics less than two years to ride this trend, according to a company executive testifying in an on-going legal dispute with Apple, and as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The Korean smartphone-maker’s market share increased from 10% in 2010 to 30% by 2010, thanks to“a strategic shift” in early 2011, according to the same executive–scaling-up, merchandising and advertising products similar to Apple’s.

“So Samsung worked with retailers to create spaces allocated specifically for Samsung products and placed advertisements year round, instead of only around product launches,” writes Daisuke Wakabayashi. “By the end of 2012, Samsung was the best recognized and most preferred brand in the US.”

Microsoft had to spend a little more time to capitalize on Apple’s products by developing the Surface 2 and marketing it in its Windows Stores at Best Buy stores, as discussed in a previous piece.

It took Fage and Titan Foods more than ten years to introduce Greek yogurt, an innovative product, to the US market  – a strain-type of yogurt that didn’t have that watery taste of traditional yogurt sold in American supermarkets.

But it took less than five years for Chobani to conquer the US market by scaling up and merchandising, as we discussed in another piece.

The Bottom Line: In the short-term, it is better to be a colonizer rather than a pioneer. But what happens in the long term, when the colony becomes too crowded?

By that time, pioneers will have already started a new trend-setting brand, while colonizers will be left to fight with each other for a saturated market.


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