What do GM, Ford, Listerine, & Scope Tell Us About Marketing?


What’s positioning? It’s the difference between standing out & blending in…between leading the market or bringing up the rear. If your brand doesn’t differentiate itself from the competition, don’t be surprised if sales start to slip & customer loyalty erodes. But you can change that.

Driven to Failure

What did the Great Recession do to the “Big Three” automakers? Prior to 2008, GM (the leader) was chock full of brands. You can name them…Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Saturn, GMC, Oldsmobile, etc.

But Oldsmobile & Buick were first cousins. Cadillac & Buick shared the same underpinnings in certain models. Pontiac was reminiscent of Chevy. And they all had their own brands and dealers.

The result? With too many similar choices, consumers went someplace else. Ford became the market leader. Why? They had a much more defined product line. Bye-bye Pontiac, Oldsmobile, & Saturn…hello Ford!

Scoping Out the Competition

Remember Listerine? The ultra-strong mouthwash has been around since 1905, dominating the mouthwash market for decades. Then along came Scope.

How could Scope compete with the Goliath? Not by claiming their superiority. It was with a little tagline that separated them from the competition: “Scope fights bad breath without giving you medicine breath.” That’s why they’re different…and that’s why Scope is the #1 brand today.

Three Simple Steps to Market Domination

You can follow three simple steps to position yourself against your competition to drive sales:

  1. Understand what truly makes you different.  Study your product features, pricing, & customer experience and figure out where you rise above the fold.
  2. Figure out which characteristics are important to your customers. Zero-in on precisely what will move consumers to pick your brand over others.
  3. Develop your messaging to position your brand in the mind of consumers. Put yourself at that happy sweet spot where your strengths & their demands intersect.

What’s Next

The battle is on for you to find a feature you can dominate with. You can’t be “all things to all men,” so pick your top strength & run with it. And stay inspired to win the war with more tips from Blue Ocean Strategy. We’ll be filling you in on that over the upcoming weeks.

If you’re hungry to put these ideas into practice, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at [email protected] or call us at 518-465-0659.

You’re in a good position to learn more!