Organizing Your Enterprise Identity: Originator or Emulator?


Brand Building:       Part One of Two Establishing Identity

Building identity is the process by which you let people know what your organization does. Identity building is an elementary process: you develop the tools and means to convey a simple message to your market that says This is who we are and what we offer.  Before you can construct this message, though, there are a few questions that you need to ask and answer.

Are you engaged in a new market, or an established one?

Originator or Emulator?
All enterprises can be boiled down to two simple core business ideas: is yours an original or innovative enterprise, or is it an emulating enterprise, using the platform of an established market?
An originator creates a completely new product or service line. For example, the development of the first personal computer or the first service company to market retail products online. The originator enterprise takes on a lot of risk but has the chance to make sizable earnings.
An emulator is a business that uses an established business model. The foundation for this type of business has already been established, and the entrepreneur’s major goal is to find his or her own niche. These types of businesses may not be exciting, but they incur less risk to start up.

The purpose here is to determine the strategy and resources needed for your identity-building. Identity-building for a new product is very different from marketing an established line.
If your organization markets a product or service that is generally recognized and understood, then identity-building is a matter of clearly illustrating the value of what you offer.  If you are selling in an established market, you need to:
• create a marketable identity via advertising, promotion, or word-of-mouth; and,
• demonstrate value.

If your product or service is a new offering, or represents a new category of product or service not previously available, then building identity for your business is a more complicated matter. A situation like this calls for a marketing program that educates the market to the usefulness of the product or service, and demonstrates its value. Being the first in a developing market is a more time-consuming and costly enterprise, but it can yield big dividends. Consider those brands that were among the first in their markets and have now become synonymous with their product area, such as Kleenex™ tissues, Scotch™ tape, and Xerox™ copiers, to name a few.