Battle of the Brands

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As published in its entirety in Engineering, Inc. by the American Council of Engineering Companies.(pg. 24)

So how would you approach trying to sell into a market where there already exist dominant players providing similar services as you? Mike McDermott, president of Bash Foo, an inbound marketing agency, says marketing teams are often faced with this branding challenge.

“When Lyft entered the scene, their competitor Uber already had a dominant market position,” McDermott says. “However, while Uber spent their time and coin battling in the headlines with taxi drivers, Lyft quietly grew as the reliable alternative to the embattled ‘black car’ service.
“With bright pink logos, themed rides, and Lyft riders being encouraged to sit in the front seat, Lyft provides the same exact service of getting their customer to where they want to go. They simply chose to not be so stuffy and uptight about the ride experience,” he said.
Lyft still has to be careful with their branding decision. Things like low cost, an easy to use mobile app, a stable of good drivers and reliability of service are marks that Lyft must continue to hit.

McDermott recalled how similarly, Southwest Airlines knew that to compete in the cut-throat airline markets they’d have to do some pretty drastic things to get recognized and still stay profitable.
“You’ve probably heard of, or experienced, the in-flight shenanigans of the Southwest flight crew. This choice to be the ‘entertaining’ one of the bunch, along with its desire to operate out of smaller airports within hub cities across the U.S. proved to be the winning cocktail for them over the past 35 years,” he said. McDermott summarized, “in both of these examples, the companies chose to dive into these competitive markets with an understanding that at the core, they had to differentiate between an established product or service and make that differentiation inextricably bound to their brand.”

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