Success as a Circle

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On Monday I wrote about innovating in place. That’s what happens when we circle our status quo focus areas in search of innovation, instead of shifting our perspectives and examining areas we never thought we’d explore.

Today I’m going to contradict that article with a real world example of circling for success. As we all know, there are no set rules for success in this new economy.

Bayer’s Circle of Success

We all grew up with Bayer Aspirin, right? We started out with the children’s version. I loved the orange ones so much I ate a whole bottle one day – that was not a good thing and I still remember the flavor of soap in my mouth. Sooner or later, we advanced to adult aspirin. But Bayer was the brand of choice in my house.

Bayer was synonymous with pain relief for many of us. But then came Tylenol and Motrin and Alleve and more came along. Suddenly Bayer had all kind of competition – alternatives that further segmented the market for pain relief, and played against Bayer’s potential to upset stomachs. Suddenly, Bayer had to think differently about its target market and value.

So, Bayer created a new niche for its aspirin – preventing heart attacks. It didn’t take long for everyone to know that an aspirin a day can keep the heart attack away. And so Bayer continued to sell aspirin – even in the face of competitive attacks. Bayer initiated a classic Zero Gravity strategy by shifting their focus onto a new and growing market opportunity with a new value applied to the same product.

But every market segment reaches its saturation point sooner or later. Only so many people are concerned about heart attacks, and businesses have to grow.

Bayer made another shift for the new economy.

But they didn’t go out and create yet another new segment in the market. After all, creating new segments is expensive. Instead, they came full circle. Today their ads, still focused on heart attacks and the Bayer brand, are reminding us that they are aspirin is also great for pain relief.

At first I thought they might be desperate. But then I thought about the size of the pain killer market opportunity – and its growth as the Baby Boomers age and our next generation gets creaky. That’s a nice sized market that’s growing and will always be an available market. It’s also a market where Bayer is known.

Bayer made a smart, conscious decision to circle back. By recapturing a small percentage of the pain relief market with that little reminder thrown into all of their advertising – Bayer can increase their revenues without increasing their costs.

Now that’s a conscious decision to circle – for all the right reasons.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.

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