Fight the Label: Sleeping Giants
We often encounter brands that have labeled themselves a Sleeping Giant. Leaders must resist diminishing their brand like this or that identity could permeate the walls of their company, ultimately limiting and constricting it.
It’s time to poke the bear
There are many formerly dominant brands that have lost their momentum over the years. The primary cause of the malaise is actually their success. Success can de-motivate entire enterprises, resulting in less aggressiveness, investment and risk-taking. Slowly, that turns a powerhouse into a cream puff, a very large, slow-moving cream puff.
Sleeping Giants were often the leader and possibly the originator of their industry at one time. While they may have a legacy of greatness, their product, plants and facilities have grown tired and stale. Leaders of Sleeping Giants have told me they feel like they are “hanging on the ledge by their fingernails.”
These brands usually have a wealth of differentiation they can recultivate and revitalize. The founding principles may have become clouded and dusty, but they most likely still guide the company today. There may be amazing products that were produced in the past and are still talked about glowingly, but the company has watered them down, or worse, discontinued them.
The competition is aware of the Sleeping Giant’s potential and is careful not to awaken it. Beyond their legacy and size, these brands have often maintained some of the strongest dealers and customers. All this upside, yet the brand is floundering. Time to wake it up.
Listening to and learning from loyal dealers, customers and employees will unlock the passion they have for the brand and the ideas they wish the company was pursuing. Dealers may share a sense of family when speaking of the brand.
Dig into the technical capabilities and processes, and you will undoubtedly find valuable nuggets that have been in front of the team for years. It’s time to leverage all that intellectual property, value and differentiation to make the brand formidable again (and to reclaim lost market share from the competition).
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Doing this will inspire your leaders, dealers and employees. They’ve dreamed of this and hoped there would be an exciting future. Now the future can become a reality.
Your customers will quickly see the reawakening, and their passion will be rekindled as well. Take charge, and poke the bear.
Please Answer One Short Question
Can you think of a company that is a sleeping Giant or was at one time?
Barry LaBov is founder and CEO of LABOV Marketing Communications and Training. He is a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year recipient and author of numerous business books, including the upcoming book The Power of Differentiation. Since 1981, LABOV has differentiated and launched products and brands around the world.