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How to define the Opportunity (Article 1 in the series)
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How to define the opportunity for your new brand / product / service? What questions to ask? What information to gather? What do you need to consider? (Marketing Mix October 2009)

It happens all the time, someone suggests a new business idea or you chance upon one but how do you know whether it will work in practice, if putting all you have behind this big idea would be a wise move or a foolish one? That's when most of us brush off what seems like a crazy idea as just pie in the sky and go back to our day jobs. But for those who take their idea a step further and start to ask the really difficult questions, there are gaps to be found and opportunities to seize.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" - Peter Drucker

At Yellowwood, we work through a rigorous "discovery process" to identify and understand: the conventions (and how to challenge them) of the industry you are considering entering into or within which you already operate; your potential competitors and what they are offering; the needs and expectations of your customers and other stakeholder. This process helps to uncover what it is customers want, that the competitors are not delivering and that your product or service could - that's the sweet spot.

In finding the sweet spot and defining the opportunity for your brand within it, we look to answer the following questions:

Macro Environment

1) What are the key trends and consumer behaviors shaping the future context of our world? What are the implications for your offer (for example: environmental concerns; increasingly connected consumers; the global village; and recessionary pressures)?

Category Overview:

  1. How would you define the industry you are in or planning to enter into?
  2. Where is this industry going? What is changing?
  3. What are the golden rules to win now and in the future?

Competitor Review:

  1. Who are the competitors in this market?
  2. What have your competitors got on you?
  3. Will your competitors change given the changes taking place within the category?
  4. Which companies in your industry do you admire and why (both locally and internationally)?

Consumers and / or clients:

  1. Who are the consumers and / or clients in this industry?
  2. What are they looking for from a product or service? What drives their decision making?

Your brand:

  1. What are you famous for? (if already in market and looking to extend)
  2. What is your dream or vision for the future?

The big question to answer next is: So What? What are the implications of these answers for your offer and what are the critical factors for success? It is uncovering these insights that will help you decide what things you need to do differently and/or better in order to succeed. Knowing what you know now, whatshould you offer, to whom, how, why and when in order to find the sweet spot and maximise the opportunity?

At this point, the "crazy ideas" can be revisited and either abandoned, re-crafted or embraced. Stack them up against your critical success factors to determine whether they are relevant and differentiated and if they fill an unmet market need.

Once you have clearly defined the opportunity that exists, the next stage is to clarify the new offer that will be taken to market and to define what it is that your brand stands for?Look out for this column next month for tips on how to manage this next stage.


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