Change Your Paradigm

post from Luis Pedroza:
Don’t be complacent. Always challenge your assumptions,
especially when entering a new market or consumer segment. History is filled
with examples of successful brands that became too complacent and then
obsolete. Underwood, Kodak, Walkman, Blackberry, Vertu, and Blockbuster are
just some of the brands that now cease to be relevant.
It’s well accepted that you can extend the product lifecycle of
a brand and return to growth through innovation. Innovation expands usage
occasions and helps reach new users, but remember, humans like to take
shortcuts. We all create heuristics for solving problems and systems for
managing existing businesses. We love to drive on autopilot, but all these
shortcuts form a lens through which we view our worlds.  
Constant Change
The problem is, our world is continually evolving and changing,
and when the environment changes, we need to take the time to reframe our
perspectives to correctly identify new opportunities. We need to do this,
especially when entering a new market.
Reframe your Perspective
I once worked for an American brand that believed it had a
leading market share in Asia. Viewing the business through that lens, led to a
specific strategy. When I helped the company realize that they were competing
in a much broader category that included many other brands, their approach and
plans changed accordingly. By merely viewing the business from a new
perspective, the company was able to unlock double-digit growth for many years
to follow.
Validate your Assumptions
Unfortunately, changing your paradigm can be difficult for some
people. In general, people don’t like to change. So, I developed a list of
questions I try to answer whenever I enter a new market. My goal is to gain a
fresh perspective on the environment. First, I list out all the significant
assumptions I am making that underpin how businesses operate. Then, I try to
validate those assumptions to judge their accuracy.   
1) The
– Who are your target users, and what needs does
your product solve for them? Do consumers in the new market have the same
2) Market
 – How many target users are there in your new market,
and what percentage of them will buy your brand? What is the potential size of
the prize?
3) Competitive
 – Who are your direct and indirect
competitors? Are there barriers to entry? What attributes and benefits do they
compete on?
4) Consumer
Purchasing Power
 – Do your target consumers have enough
money to purchase your product the way it is currently designed? Realistically,
how often can they afford repeat purchases?
5) Pricing –
Should you position your brand as a premium or everyday product? Is the price
per use aligned to the average income level?
6) Demographics –
Is the target population growing or in decline? Do factors like age or
ethnicity play a role in shaping consumer needs?
7) Category
 — Is the category lifecycle at a different
stage of development? If so, how will this affect communication and the appeal
of your product’s benefits? 8) Value Chain – How will your product get
distributed to the end-user? Who are the key stakeholders involved, and what
are their expectations?
It’s all in your Mind
What I love about reframing your perspective is how inexpensive
it is to implement. At least initially, you won’t have to invest in new assets
or technology. You just have to force your mind to start thinking in a new way.
Albert Einstein said it best, “The world as we have created it is a process of
our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Luis Pedroza is a global brand builder and author of LEAN BRANDS: Catch Customers, Drive
Growth & Stand Out In All Markets
. He has held leadership positions with iconic
global brands and has worked in many international markets. For more
information visit