Why brands should narrow their focus?


For ages, one question that has haunted entrepreneurs is ‘Should I improve my offerings (and not expand)?’ You must be thinking this is crazy or an invalid question. But it's not. It is quite an smart practice that most established brands have adopted. Yet it goes unnoticed. Let's take an example. We have at least one coffee shop in every neighborhood and it serves everything from coffees to buns to finger food to tempting desserts. But when we talk about great coffee experience why does a green circular logo pop into our head most often.

Merely following what successful brands are doing is not a good idea for an upcoming one. They have done something in the past to reach where they are now. So, we’ll have to look back in time - to their roots & their foundation. And when we do that, we’ll always find that all successful brands at have mastered their core offering.

Domino’s used to sell pizzas, sub sandwiches and everything possible. But then Tom Monaghan dropped the subs, narrowed the focus of brand and concentrated on pizzas. Domino’s innovated the insulated pizza delivery boxes, that can be easily stacked up without crushing the pizza inside, to target campuses. Same focus-narrowing strategy has been followed by Absolut, Hermes, Colgate, and Coca Cola to name a few. Had these brands rapidly expanded to other categories, they wouldn’t be the benchmark of their own category today.

So how does this happen? Why do some brands narrow the focus to strengthen itself? We live in an over-communicated world. We are exposed to thousands of marketing messages each day. In such circumstances, having an astute marketing strategy is hardly going to fetch any Brand Loyalty. Although the following factors, achieved by narrowing the focus, will:


1.           Innovation and creativity

Only when you are focused, will you be able to put in maximum effort in understanding and serving your benefit groups. This will help you build innovative and creative solutions in form of your product or service and change lives. Best example would be Adidas. Even though today you enjoy a myriad of merchandise by Adidas it all started from only sport shoes meant for athletes.


2.           Association

A brand, most importantly, has to create an association in the consumer's mind. Associating one brand to multiple aspects create a lot of confusion. Dolce and Gabbana, the high fashion brand, shut the cheaper D&G fashion label in order to disassociate Dolce and Gabbana with cheap apparels and to concentrate on their main collection. Because of D&G label the brand faced a slowdown as their benefit groups lost perception of exclusive products. Narrowing the focus aids association.


3.           Experience

Any successful brand creates a pleasant experience for its benefit groups at every interaction - before, after or during the purchase. If the brand's focus is not narrowed down and is trying to be jack of all trades, it will hardly be able to create an experience and evoke any aspiration. The best representation of this is Apple. Apple takes immense care that their benefit group must love the brand for every experience it creates.


These factors directly affect the brand awareness and loyalty. The narrower the focus of a brand's offering, the stronger it will be.

For the world’s best coffee, that Green Circular logo of ‘Starbucks Coffee’ pops because the brand once narrowed its focus to master in Coffee – of course it also sells great savories and desserts but it has become synonymous to coffee. Their commitment and focus on coffee is evident from their name, even till today.


- Article contributed by Himali Jangam, Marketing Team, Yellow Fishes