If you can't beat them, you COULD join them. Or you could dig your heels in and double down on your difference.
And if you have a differentiated value offering, we probably recommend the latter.
We hear similar concepts in personal empowerment all the time. Be yourself. You do you. Lean in to your authentic self.
Brands are no different. If a competitor is undermining your value statement, don't shift your value statement, double down and OWN the difference.
Own who you are.
Let's get into examples.
Remember when Dollar Shave Club entered the razor market in the early 2000s? They deeply cut Gillette's market share by touting themselves as cheaper and easier-to-order than the price-gouging Gillette.
Gillette had two options. Compete in price with DTC or own its space. And it doubled down on its benefit. It ISN'T $1. What kind of RAZOR is a dollar!? A crappy razor, that's what kind! Gillette are a good razor!
Shifting to own the market of a man who actually cared about his razor being the "best a man could get" and owning that the best doesn't come at a $1 price point.
Own it, Gillette.
(Note: Gillette did later shift to a DSC-like membership pricing model, but the "Best A Man Can Get" identity still holds)
More recently, Tide has taken this stance to combat lower priced discount detergents. "Don't pay for water, switch to Tide" is the tagline in its last pre-quarantine commercial. Same owning it. I might not be a dollar, but that's the whole point.
The strategy isn't reserved for low price mass-market products either. When Christian Louboutin decided to launch a nail polish product, it didn't go to the marketplace to find a reasonable and comparable sale price. Instead, it OWNED its market. What would Louboutin nail polish look like? Well it would have the most exquisite bottle there is. It would paint onto fingers in a fashion of a renaissance painter creating a masterpiece. The bottle would be heavy, no, I mean really heavy. The actual polish would be thick and only need a single coat. No less would be worthy of the Louboutin name. And, so, the market's most-expensive nail polish was born, at $50 a bottle.
Own it, Louboutin.
Our favorite example of this strategy goes beyond the price sticker. As it should, brand value and differentiation is deeper than price-point. Do yourself a favor and check out @SubParParks. Designer Amber Share is deeply passionate about nature. She was reading up on yelp about best places to visit and noticed oddly specific and ironic gripes about national parks. And, in a way, Amber doubled down. Here's what that looks like visually.
Turning the lens on a gripe of "UGH THERE IS NO WIFI" and owning the difference gives the subtext. "YOU ARE RIGHT, there is no wifi. That's the point." We will own the market of people who WANT no wifi. You think it's negative. We reframe this negative into VALUE.
Where can your company double down on who you are? It might make all the difference.