How tow trucks and Disney can turn your business into the Nike or Apple of your industry.


Everything you need to know to achieve mega-brand, category dominance begins with conquering one single challenge. Successfully overcome this one hurdle and the path to super-success is open to you.

“We want to become the (Apple, Nike, etc.) of our industry.”

Sound familiar? We hear this sentiment in one form or another from nearly every brand we’ve worked with. Businesses spend hundreds of millions in time and talent chasing this goal. The truth is that every business has the potential to become a powerhouse brand. So what differentiates these mega-brands from the rest?


It’s Not A Question Of Resources

Study the history of any ultra-successful brand and you’ll find they started out the same way everyone else did – scraping together what money they could around an idea they believed in, collecting people who believed just as hard as they did who worked together tirelessly together towards a common goal.

As these businesses grow revenue stabilizes, credit becomes available, innovations are made, better talent is acquired, more money is earned and the cycle continues. In short, they are succeeding and should be well on their way to creating category dominance. But despite these achievements, most businesses lose cohesion as they gain momentum. This doesn’t mean they don’t continue to grow. Many businesses are successful at increasing or protecting revenue without achieving the brand loyalty and status they desire. The question is, why not?


It’s Not A Question Of Processes

Brand and management resources and implementers are readily available in person, book form or online including case studies, opinion pieces, etc. Most marketing development strategies include similar elements such as:

  • Defining your purpose
  • Uniting your team
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Defining a unique position within the market

It isn’t that businesses aren’t using these tools – at least to some degree. Nearly every brand we’ve worked with has been given one, some or all of these and is trying to use them effectively.

The problem is, most of them are failing because they miss one critical point that isn’t on any of these lists:


The Four-Word Gateway To Unprecedented Success

Write this down and sit with it a while – because when you first read it, you’ll think you get it – but chances are that you don’t:


It’s.    Not.    About.    You.


Right now, 70% of you are clicking away thinking this is something you already knew. And that’s good. The 30% who stay will be stealing away market share from those who left.

Simply put, no one cares about your business, why you do it, what you’re offering or how. They care about what will make their lives easier. Period.


Tow Trucks – An Example

By way of illustration:

Imagine you’re on a business trip and your car has a flat. You call for a tow truck and wait on the side of the road. An hour later, the truck arrives. You’re late and frustrated and just want to get to your meeting. You’re thrilled that the truck has arrived and are ready to get things moving.

But when the driver approaches, he begins telling you about how long he’s been a tow truck driver and all the merit awards he’s received over his career. He talks about how his truck is state of the art. He tells you about his amazing facility and how he only hires the best-trained people to drive on his behalf. He tells you about how he is going to change your tire and describes in detail how it will be done and how his practice is better than any of his competitors.

Do you care about anything he’s telling you? No. You don’t.

Now let’s imagine that several trucks show up at once and each of them says pretty much the exact same thing. They all say their staff cares more than the other guy. They say that their people are better. They say that they work harder than the other guys and that their equipment is better or more innovative.

How much of this is quantifiable by the audience? I’ll tell you. None.

Worse still, absent any real discernable difference between them, the customer is left to evaluate on one of a few variables:

  • Cheaper
  • Faster
  • Better looking

(None of which is a unique or sustainable position within the marketplace.)

This is exactly how most of the marketing world approaches their target audience.

And if you want to understand the experience in a B2B environment, take the illustration above and put the driver’s frustrated boss in the back seat of the car.


What We Can Learn From Visiting Disneyland

When you approach the entrance of Disneyland you see the following:


Disney. The Happiest Place On Earth.


That’s it. No discussion about how many more rides they have. No mention of how their staff is better trained, or friendlier, or how they have the biggest rollercoaster in the world – just a single promise that the brand will endeavor to deliver.

Some of you will argue that’s because they’re such a well-established brand and they don’t have to tell you anything about the product. But in truth, it’s this kind of thinking that made them a mega-brand in the first place.

But the biggest benefit is this. As a consumer, I’m interested to learn how many rides they have, and how they train their staff, and how high their rollercoaster is BECAUSE they promise me that this will be The Happiest Place On Earth. I’m emotionally engaged, so I’m willing to learn the justification.

That’s how it works.


Customers And Consumers Choose Emotionally And Justify Logically

People are hard-wired to choose emotionally and then justify their decision logically. The part of our brain that makes initial decisions (men tend call this their ‘gut’ and women refer to it as ‘intuition’) doesn’t have access to language, so it uses what it has access to – instinct which is emotional. When brand messaging begins by rattling off their features and benefits list (logic) they’ve jumped past the emotional (desire) connection each of us needs to feel an interest in the first place. If you’ve ever said, “I dunno, it just felt right” or, “I’ll know it when I see it” you know exactly what I’m talking about.

No emotional interest – no desire to know the details.


The Usual Argument And A New Way To Look At The Situation

Many businesses argue that if they don’t tout their features and benefits or commitment or dedication the consumer/customer/end-user won’t know them. To those using this argument I offer the following:

Imagine if when the tow truck driver walked up he started the conversation by saying, “Hi. We’ll have you back on the road in 10 minutes or less. We have the equipment, training and people to make it happen – it’s what our business is founded on.”

If they actually followed through on their promise, would you use them again next time? Would you tell a friend? Would you go online and find out how they were able to make and keep the claim in the first place?

I bet you would.