Want to differentiate your product from a mass of firmly entrenched competitors and make it more than just a “grudge purchase”?
Consistently reinforce the fact that yours is the most technologically advanced product available but at the same time be faithful to your heritage.
What exactly is a “grudge purchase”?
Imagine a product that you don’t like and do not want but that you are forced to buy at the most inconvenient time for you.
And this is the perfect example: Two weeks before Christmas you take your car for a Warrant of Fitness and you’re told your car failed and you need to replace all four tyres and they’ll cost $229 each. So much for the X-Box and the new barbecue you were planning to buy.
Tyres are without doubt the biggest “grudge purchase” known to mankind. If you’re like the majority of car owners all you want from those black rubber circles at the edges of your car is that they last forever. And when it comes to replacing them they’re all pretty much the same aren’t they?
Unfortunately not all tyres are the same.
The Bridgestone Tyre Corporation faced many challenges including strong brand awareness and consumer preference for established competitors such as Goodyear, Continental and Michelin, all of whom had larger marketing budgets at their disposal.
Bridgestone needed to make an impact on many fronts. It had acquired a large retail dealer network from its takeover of Firestone and had to sell a huge number of tyres through this network to ensure continued growth and sustainability for the company.
But most importantly, Bridgestone needed to break through the indifference consumers had towards tyres and lock its brand in a unique position when compared to its competitors.
How do you change what is set in stone?
The most important factor is to understand that it is the consumers who will make the decision to change. You cannot control that. You can only give the best supporting evidence contrary to what they believe and hope that it will convince them of your product’s unique features and abilities.
So what did we do?
Bridgestone had a strong focus on perfection in manufacture that stemmed from their Japanese heritage. Together with their technological superiority we were capable of consistently demonstrating to consumers exactly how much better their tyres were.
Items worth focusing on were:
Bridgestone’s proven Formula 1 pedigree gave them an unrivaled position. Bridgestone entered Formula 1 specifically to use it as a testing ground for technological improvements and knew that there was no tougher environment to prove their worth than on the racetracks of the world.
Every time Bridgestone raced their technology was being systemically filtered down to their passenger tyres. In fact, a number of Bridgestone’s passenger tyres have as much as 60% of the grip of their Formula 1 brethren. Now that’s a strong point of difference.
What were the results?
Bridgestone’s spontaneous brand awareness climbed to 49% over a five-year period. This represents the highest growth amongst the major players in the tyre market. Bridgestone’s nearest competitor in this regard is Michelin, whose awareness was 36% at the end of the same year.
Consumer likelihood to purchase Bridgestone climbed to 11% over a five-year period.
Bridgestone’s retail dealer network grew by 28 stores over a three-year period and achieved a 168% year on year sales growth over a five-year period.