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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Be Different, Be Better, Create New Markets

By Terry L. Brock

Karan Bilimoria, is the Founder of legendary Cobra Beer. Also known as Baron Bilimoria he is a person who saw a need and filled it. Many people in the UK liked their Indian food with curry. They also liked to have their ale or lager. However, the fizz associated with ale didn’t go well for many people who also enjoyed Indian food.

Bilimoria saw an opportunity. He created Cobra Beer in 1990 the UK was going into a recession. He went 20 million pounds into debt (serious money!). However, today Bilimoria is doing very well as the company has a brand share of $300 million pounds. (even more serious money!). Relationship Marketing is about expanding your mind and your business offerings to help buyers. Bilimoria did that and is regularly doing that to better serve customers.

Recently, my friend Frank Furness, from London, was able to interview Karan Bilimoria and asked him what entrepreneurs can do to succeed. His three points are valuable for you and me in our businesses.

Be Different

Innovation is critical but don’t go “over the top.” Apple’s slogan from a few years ago to “Think Different” was actually not adverbially challenged as many, including me, claimed. Instead of saying “Think Differently” (correct English) they wanted us to think about a different approach to doing things on the computer---hence, “Think Different.” Don’t think you can do the same things in the same way and expect to get the same results today. In a marketplace that is changing rapidly, you can get different results from doing exactly what you did before. You have to adapt. You have to change. Innovation is the key.

Be innovative and stand out favorably in the crowd. I do a lot of professional speaking in my work. One of the worst traits that a speaker can have is to be boring. I remember hearing this from the Dean of Personal Development, Earl Nightingale, years ago. What Mr. Nightingale said then is still true today. I believe that being boring is a deadly marketing sin. As I said a few issues ago, “Boring Marketers Have Skinny Kids.” You want to be creative without being crass. Be funny without being silly. The best way to do this is by being pleasant, jovial and sincerely helping other people. Make it your goal to help someone else have a better day because they encountered you.

Be Better

Be better than the competition. Find out what they are doing and “hit ‘em where they ain’t.” Don’t try to just have lower prices as the only way to compete. You lose and the entire industry loses. Instead, find a way that you can have a better quality product or experience for customers. Gauge what you do by what customers consider valuable, not what you think is nice. Remember, YOU are not the one buying your product---buyers are. Focus on their needs and what they want.

What’s more important than being better than the competition? Being better than you were. Always be in competition with yourself to make yourself better. I love my wind sprints that I do in my regular exercises. I try to beat my previous times for various legs of that course I’ve laid out. Don’t worry about someone who is a little better than you. Focus first and foremost on becoming the best you can be at what you do.

Create New Markets

The amazing book, Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, says this very well. Don’t compete in the ocean where everyone else resides. Everyone gets bloody there and the ocean is “red.” Get away from the crowd and innovate. Come up with new, innovative approaches in the “blue” ocean where no one else exists.

Don’t just try to build better candles---electrify. Come up with a better way to address the overall need of the marketplace. If the marketplace needs more light and everyone else is trying to build better candles, longer wicks, nicer wax---don’t go there! Come up with light bulbs that illuminate better and which offer innovative advantages.

When times are tough, it is an excellent time to be creative. That is what Karan Bilimoria did when he invented the delicious Cobra beer. He saw the need that people had and offered a better product. The marketplace has thanked him and his bottom line is looking mighty nice!

To see a video interview of this concept go to and click on the “Terry’s Blog…Latest Update” button and you’ll be directed to the video. Use these ideas for your business and let tough times be the catalyst to propel you forward to greater innovation and sales. These three approaches can help you and your business succeed no matter what the economy is doing. Your Relationship Marketing will soar and so will your bottom line!

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

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