Develop a Fighting Brand. Wikipedia Definition: In marketing, a fighter brand (sometimes called a fighting brand) is a lower priced offering launched by a company to take on, and ideally take out, specific competitors that are attempting to under-price them. Unlike traditional brands that are designed with target consumers in mind, fighter brands are created specifically to combat a competitor that is threatening to take market share away from a company's main brand.
- Many software companies have a “Lite” version of products with basic functions while allowing compatibility and upgrades to premium versions.
- Intel created the Celeron chip to fight AMD pricing, so that its Pentium line can remain a premium brand.
- Proctor & Gamble created Luvs diapers for the lower end (pun intended) while positioning Pampers as the premium offering.
- Delta created Song Airlines to compete against JetBlue (and failed).
The challenge is to make the fighting brand just “good enough” to beat the low-priced rivals but not so good to cannibalize your premium brand’s market share or profit margins.
Improve Your Product (Better Customer Value Proposition)
This may be by product enhancements, services, knowledge, or bundling. Have a better understanding of the customer so that you can understand the “pain points” and better sell your differentiation. Work with 3rd parties to complement your product and grow your ecosystem.
- Auto manufacturers frequently add more options as standard over time instead of dropping prices. Software manufacturers can easily do this since repeat costs are minimal.
- IBM and Xerox leverage their consulting and application knowledge when they promote their product hardware.
- Airlines, hotels, etc. now have customer loyalty programs which reward repeat purchases.
Promotion can move the focus from price to brand, image, and competitive differentiation.
- Apple has consistently focused on brand and design image in its advertisements to counter lower priced alternatives.
- Intel had a brilliant “Intel Inside” campaign that convinced many consumers to look for an Intel chip inside their computers through media.
- Advertisements for Bounty paper towels promoted the durability of their product versus cheaper brands (the ROI).
Expand and go for niches. Work with key buying influencers. For example, certain committees or associations may decide on industry standards - you want to ensure that your products meet those requirements and possibly get mentioned as a source. Try to form partnerships with distributors or supplies. A large global organization may find it more efficient to deal exclusively with one supplier. Go for niches where you can leverage your market and application knowledge. Work with 3rd parties to complement your product and grow your ecosystem.
- IBM has global alliances with key players such as SAP, CISCO, Dassault Systèmes.
- Dell has dedicated buying channels for government, large corporations, mid-tier, and small businesses.
- Major hotels, rental car agencies, and airlines are single or the preferred providers for large companies by leveraging their size and resources.
- UPS and FedEx have integrated themselves into many corporate logistic systems so that they have become an integral part of the company operations, making it very difficult to switch suppliers.
- Barco pulled out of the consumer projection market when it was turning into a commodity business and leveraged it's expertise and engineering to go "high end" in control rooms, defense & aerospace, digital cinema, healthcare, media & entertainment and simulation & virtual reality.
In Marketing and Product Management, you always build on the four P's and can sometimes compensate for a weaker P with the other 3 P's. In other words, watch where and how much you are "P'ing".