Are you a market leading premium brand?

You’ve heard the terms “premium brand” and “market leader” used liberally in today’s business landscape, but what do they really mean? How is it that the big (and some not-so-big) names are establishing themselves as leaders?

Being a premium brand and a market leader are not the same thing, but often go hand in hand. So how can you become one, or both? Let’s break it down.

Becoming a premium brand

There are a few ways that companies have historically become “premium.”

· High price. This one seems obvious, but is important. When a business can’t independently judge the difference between products and brands, they turn to price. High price equates to better product in the mind of most businesses.

· “Premium” marketing. Luxury brands and higher end products tend to have marketing that echoes this positioning. If you are going to be perceived as premium, you need to share the sentiment of product superiority across all of your messaging. Think of a few premium brands that you know, and their marketing efforts; it’s usually decidedly different than a bargain brand.

· Minimal options. Offering too many “premium” products waters down what you are offering in the first place. Premium equals exceptional and unique, so trying to make all of your offerings fit this bill undoes the cache.

It’s critical to back up your premium positioning with a quality product. If you are charging more than your competitors and marketing your brand as top tier, you better back it up with something that works well and meets your clients’ needs. Word to the contrary can spread fast.

Becoming a market leader

Often times, premium brands own their corner of the market (think Salesforce). However, you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best. Being a market leader is about doing something better than anyone else. There are tons of articles, books, and motivational lectures out there providing advice on things you “must do to become a market leader.” While the strategies are seemingly endless, we can boil them down to a few major concepts.

· Find, and listen to, the right customers. You don’t need to cater to everyone to get market share. If you do something that’s the best for a smaller group, you will be the market leader. Once you have established your customer base (whatever size), listen to them. The ease of two-way conversation between brand and customer means businesses are no longer able to ignore feedback; market leaders listen to and oblige their customers.

· Solve actual problems. Sometimes ideas are great, but don’t necessarily fit in the marketplace. Figure out the actual problem you are solving and do a great job solving it. Then, evolve your product as the problem evolves (read: don’t get complacent!).

· Make sure to have (smart) marketing. Market leaders have clear, effective messaging. You know what they are doing, and what problem of yours they are solving. There are so many ways to market in the modern era (blogs, social media, newsletters to name a few), that there is something out there to reach your audience.

There are many variations on what makes a brand premium or how to be the best in your industry. Whether you’re part of a large brand or a small startup, employing these tactics will help cement your place in the market.

Rachel Krug is a proven product and marketing leader who enjoys tackling any problem, large or small. Want to chat more about becoming a premium brand or a market leader? Message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.