When you start a business, no one cares (well, maybe your family and the bank). No one knows what you stand for, who you are or what you sell. Steve Jones elaborates on this post from Brand Like a Rock Star.
When you’re mounting a charge against the big guys, you need to differentiate yourself and prove why you’re different. Let’s take a look at Best Sleep Centre.
When Best Sleep Centre started, nobody cared. It was a small mattress store in Winnipeg, Manitoba and it was going head-to-head with the biggest names of The Brick and Sleep Country. The Brick and Sleep Country were established brands in the market and both were heavily pushing their mattress selection and mattress deals in their marketing. Not an easy market to break into by any means for Best Sleep Centre.
Best Sleep Centre owner David Keam decided to use his weaknesses as strengths and The Brick’s and Sleep Country’s strengths as weaknesses. Best Sleep Centre had one store in a not-so-good location. Instead of masking the fact Best Sleep Centre was hard to find, David went right after it. He didn’t even mention where he was located, he simply used the tag line, “You’ll find us.” He also voiced his own radio commercials and his one-of-a-kind voice was able to cut through the clutter. I’m not a huge advocate of business owners voicing their own commercials or using their face as a part of the brand, but in this case it worked. David also was quick to mention that the big guys had bigger locations and selection, thus meaning more overhead, so he was able to save the consumer more money as a result.
Turns out, many people were able to find David Keam and Best Sleep Centre, so he started to expand and really hammer The Brick and Sleep Country. In his advertising he labeled The Brick as “The Wall” and Sleep Country as “Sleeping Beauty”. He took on his competitors directly and the big thing during this period was free delivery. Both The Brick and Sleep Country were toting free delivery, so as a way to differentiate himself, David came right out and said he would charge for delivery. However, even with a delivery charge, he was still more affordable than The Brick or Sleep Country and he made sure to hammer home this point.
Best Sleep Centre has now expanded to be one of the largest mattress, bedroom set and futon shops in all of Manitoba. Check out Best Sleep Centre’s website and you’ll see he continues to launch attacks against his biggest competitors. You’ll also hear his one-of-a-kind voice.
At the moment, he’s trying to expand into the chair, sofa, dining room set and kitchen set category, which may hurt him in the long run. This could leave an opening in the market for someone to come in and solely focus on mattresses and make the point that they only do mattresses unlike other businesses who are expanding into different markets. More markets = more overhead = higher prices for the consumer.