Sunday, June 25, 2017
Mass Appeal vs. Niche Brands
It is important for every enterprise to identify and even anticipate consumer needs and then satisfy them. The more solid the product or service, the larger market share one is likely to achieve.
Today, I want to talk about the difference between mass appeal brands and niche brands. I will use hotels as the example product category. Large hotel chains have figured out exactly what the consumer wants and have provided it at a very reasonable price point. Consider hotel brands such as Hilton Garden Inn or Courtyard by Marriott. Business travelers desire free, easy to use WiFi, free off-street parking, clean rooms and basic amenities, a small gym in which to work out and a free breakfast among other amenities. Many different hotel brands offer their version of this amenity package today. Some throw in free water or cookies in the lobby or a free newspaper to continuity program members. Sometimes there is a swimming pool (but usually not large enough in which to swim lengths) and sometimes there is a gift shop or concession area for snacks, drinks and personal items. Most of these hotel chains offer exactly what the traveler desires and with great consistency. This leads to a strong brand position for maintaining a national (or international) presence and a significant market share. However, this is often accomplished at the sacrifice of real differentiation.
Contrast this to niche hotel brands. Recently, I wrote about La Posada Hotel. That is truly a niche brand. It is independently owned and there is only one location. Here is another example of a niche hotel, nhow hotel in Berlin. It is a hotel designed for musicians and music fans. It features two recording studios, guitar rental and much more. Or, how about some of these unique lodging ideas in Canada? Or, how about this list of the world's 50 most unusual hotels?
My point is that there is room for both consistent, strong value brands with mass appeal and niche brands that are unique and highly compelling to the right audiences.