Have you ever noticed how many different brands of tortilla chips are available in stores? Seriously, why do we need so many options? Tortilla chips are basically just corn tortillas cut into chip shape and fried in oil until just right. How many copies of the same thing could we possibly need?
Better yet, how can all these separate labels be successful?
Admittedly, some are more successful than others—and possibly more recognizable—while others may disappear before too much longer. I’m sure you’ve already thought of a brand name or two that you enjoy and purchase regularly. Or maybe you thought of that little family-owned restaurant down the street that has the best chips and salsa you’ve ever tasted. Either way, the fact remains that there are scores and scores of different tortilla chip brands available.
So what’s going on?
Now, I could have chosen lots of different kinds of products to make my point, but I chose tortilla chips because they are my biggest temptation on my gluten-free, low-carb diet. The point is that these bags of tortilla chips coexist on stores shelves year after year and people keep buying them despite the glut of options. But, oh, what options!
We humans have different tastes. You know that no two bags of tortilla chips are truly identical. They vary in an almost infinite variety. Consider the following list of differences I came up with off the top of my head:
- Taste: type of corn, amount of salt, additional seasonings or flavorings (Doritos!)
- Texture: thick or thin, crunch, amount of oil, granular feel, restaurant style
- Shape: traditional triangle, round, strips, scoops
- Package size: regular, economy, family size, mega-super-jumbo
- Price Range: clearance, value, generic store brand, brand name, premium
- Values & Needs: certified organic, free trade, local, anti-corporate
- Perception: brand recognition, brand loyalty, regional reputation, nostalgia
I’m sure you could come up with more. The reality is that all of these successful brands have discovered how to do what Seth Godin calls delighting your niche. If you can focus and create a consistently high-quality product, the next step is to discover your niche. Who is your target customer or audience and how can you delight them? That’s what you need to figure out in order to become successful in today’s market.
The truth is, your idea or product is probably not new, though you may have a unique or rare approach. So rather than trying to out do your competition and steal customers, you should focus on finding people who speak the same language you do and offer them a world-class product.
If you can do that, then you’ll find your brand of tortilla chips sitting on the shelves too.