We see it all the time… Companies develop the perfect core values, values that completely align with who they are, their promise and their customer. They’re pumped, excited and ready to take on the world. But then something happens. They start executing, things go great and suddenly it’s time to grow; that’s when things go awry. Why? Because they lose FOCUS on their core. They get wrapped in the glitz and glamour of more money, bigger markets, more products, stronger sales, more publicity and they forget who they are and why they’re in it to begin with (which yes partially it is to win it - but it’s more than that!)
If there is one thing we want you to take away from this read, it is that as you grow and you diversify into different markets, product selections and target groups - make sure that you always stay true to your brand and keep focus on what you’re the best at. Diversifying can be great, but it is also a reason that giants crumble. It’s not that businesses get too big, it’s that they do it too fast, and without a solid strategy and focus they end up with their hand in every cookie jar on the shelf and their brand becomes so diluted that no one knows who they are or what they stand for anymore. In essence, a major disconnect between customer, brand and experience happens.
A perfect example of this phenomena was when Ferrari opened Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates, and in doing so ventured into amusement parks. The issue wasn’t so much transitioning from automotive to amusement parks, it was that they lost sight of who they were, their core values and who their customer was.
You might say “wait a minute! A Ferrari theme park? What could go wrong?” Well first off, when you buy Ferrari, Ferrari the car we mean, you’re buying a dream. Ferrari actually limits their production in order to preserve the exclusivity of their product for their customers, now that’s someone who understands brand!
Where they went wrong was not understanding that their core target, the car buyers, were not in the theme park market. So the theme park was for, we’ll call them the dreamers, the ones who could not purchase a Ferrari (often due to financial restrictions) but wanted to. The problem? In order to protect the exclusivity of Ferrari, which in theory is a good move, they priced the park so high it was out of the dreamer’s (remember: the people who actually wanted to go to the theme park) price range. So one of the biggest brands in the world who arguably should be able to slap their logo on anything initially failed because they lost sight of the essence of their brand which caused a disconnect between the Ferrari brand, their automotive customer and their theme park customer.
As we know you are probably on the edge of your seat wondering what happened we can assure you that luckily this story has a happy ending as Ferrari corrected the problem quickly, but the point remains… Know your target, know your brand, stick to what you know - especially when you diversify.