When size doen’t matter.

July 23, 2004

What’s the size of the market?

That’s the first question normally asked before the start of any branding program. It’s also the wrong question to ask.

Branding opportunities do not lie in the pursuit of existing markets. Branding opportunities lie in the creation of new markets.

A new brand is like a new species. A new species does not evolve from an existing species. If the “lion” is a brand, you can’t create a new brand by improving the lion. No matter how much you improve the breed, a lion is still a lion.

New species are created by divergence of an existing species. Somewhere in the distant past, the ancestor of the lion (panthera) diverged and a new species was created called a “jaguar.” In the same way, the panthera diverged a number of times creating the leopard, the tiger and other species. That’s the way nature works.

That’s also the way branding works.

If you want to create a powerful new brand, you should look for ways that your product or service can diverge from an existing category. In other words, the best way to build a brand is not by going after an existing category, but by creating a new category you can be first in.

Divide and conquer is the way you build a powerful new brand.

What’s the size of the market? The best answer to this question, from a branding point of view, is “zero.”
To build a new brand, you must overcome the logical notion of serving a market. Instead you must focus on creating a market.