If growing your brand is among your priorities, at some point you’ll face a choice:
Would you rather grow rapidly, even if it means sacrificing the quality of your experience?
Or would you rather grow more slowly, while maintaining or improving the quality of your experience?
In other words: If you had to choose, would you rather be bigger or better?
Because strategy is ultimately about sacrifice. Choosing one path means not choosing another.
By all appearances, Apple has chosen bigness. It wants you in its ecosystem, whether that’s a pleasant place for you to be or not. Meanwhile, Apple has lost sight of what once made it better. The idea of “It Just Works” seems a long way off in the rear-view mirror.
This “bigger or better” trade-off can appear in very tangible ways. For example, one company may choose not to add new accounts until they can properly staff them. Another might take the cash flow that comes from the accounts, and then scramble to hire people to fill the spots.
I like to put this question to my clients at the beginning of an engagement. Their answers tell me a lot about what they value.
There’s no right or wrong answer. Each path has its positives and negatives. But I believe that if you err on the side of a better consumer experience, you’ll never go too far wrong.
Either way, when you find yourself at such a crossroads, you must make a clear choice. And like all aspects of strategy, not making a clear choice is a choice in itself.
(And, yes, there’s a third option: Growing rapidly and getting better. But few companies, historically, have threaded that needle.)
About Matthew Fenton: Matthew helps challenger brands to outpace the market and win. Since founding his consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, in 1997, he’s helped hundreds of brands, including Wrigley, Valvoline and Fidelity Investments, to achieve “brand clarity.” His consulting services and speaking engagements help brands to focus on what matters through positioning, strategy and ideation. Contact Matthew here. He calls Chicago home.
Copyright 2017 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.