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Some Tips For Killing Giants


Marketing and branding expert Stephen Denny says start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small business have more power than they realize when it comes to toppling the giants in their industry.

Denny, the author of the new book, “Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry” (Portfolio Penguin, April 2011), lays out powerful strategies for overtaking larger competitors and profiles more than 30 companies in his book.

Here are some of Denny’s top tips in “Killing Giants“:

They can’t crush what they can’t catch.

Use speed as a competitive weapon. Mike Cassidy was launching a new update to his gaming instant messenger service XFire on average once every 2 weeks – and by the time his competitors thought they had a grip on his latest incarnation, he had already moved on.

Create arguments your giant competitors can’t win.

Herman Mashaba grew his cosmetics company in the townships of South Africa – a black entrepreneur in apartheid era South Africa – under the brand Black Like Me, speaking directly to the under-served and often ignored black community. The brand was “their” brand, a brand “of the people” – a position his competitors couldn’t contest.

Being great at one thing is never enough, so put all the wood behind the arrows you choose to launch.

Detergent maker Method competes against some of the largest Goliaths in global business, but thrives with a complex, interesting brand based on design aesthetics, a personal care sensibility and sustainable “green” formulation. If they were a single attribute brand, the giants would have killed them long ago. But they’re not, so they can’t.

Polarize your customers on purpose, putting so much space between you and your giant’s offerings that the choice is black and white.

Germany’s Prizeotel is a seeming contradiction – a design/budget hotel – with the highly stylized and luxurious environment you’d expect from a high end boutique and without so many of the elements we are used to seeing but rarely use in our hotel, from landline phones and minibars to premium movie channels ¬†and check-outs. By re-imagining the overnight stay, Prizeotel has made itself unique in a sea of sameness.


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