360 Degrees Group Inc.

Narrow Your Focus – The Law Of Contraction

A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus.

Every small town in America has a deli. In larger cities and towns, you can often find delis in every neighborhood.

So what can you find to eat in a deli? Everything. Soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, three types of roast beef, four types of ham, five types of cheese. Hard rolls, soft rolls, hero rolls, three types of pickles, four types of bread, five types of bagels. Potato chips, pretzels, corn chips. Muffins, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, candy bars, ice cream, frozen yogurt. Beer, soda, water, coffee, tea, soft drinks of all varieties. Newspapers, cigarettes, lottery tickets. Every decent delicatessen prides itself on carrying everything.

What did Fred DeLuca do? He narrowed the focus to one type of sandwich, the submarine sandwich.

Good things happen when you contract your brand rather than expand it. The first stroke of genius in DeLuca’s case was in coming up with the name. Fred DeLuca called his chain Subway, a great name for a store that sold just submarine sandwiches. It was a name that no consumer could forget. The second smart move concerned operations. When you make only submarine sandwiches, you get pretty good at making submarine sandwiches. The average McDonald’s has sixty or seventy individual items on the menu.

When you dominate a category, you become extremely powerful. Microsoft has 95 percent of the worldwide market for desktop computer operating systems. Intel has 80 percent of the worldwide market for microprocessors. Coca-Cola has 70 percent of the worldwide market for cola. And in order to dominate a category, you must narrow your brand’s focus.

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