Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I guarantee that for the next 300 years...

I read this post the other day. Brikolor, a new Swedish company, is making furniture"with a guaranteed emotional and technical durability of 300 years".

Timid trapeze artists are dead trapeze artists.
To misuse a quote from Seth Godin, if you're going to do something, doing it with confidence is usually the best chance of survival (Seth was actually talking about transitions in his blog post). We often talk about how we need to be more confident in our marketing efforts. Too often we settle for just-good-enough when it comes to how we position our products (although we see many companies settling for just-good-enough products...but that's another post). I'm sure that there have been thousands of furniture companies who could have claimed a 300 year guarantee - I mean I have at least one elderly relative who has a chair that is still rocking after a few generations. But Brikolor said it first - and many times in marketing that's enough to own the positioning. In this case it is a litteral description of the product, sometimes it is less to the point but equally appealing - like T-Mobile's "Life's for sharing" (which is awesome for so many reasons).

Don't forget emotion.
Notice as well that Brikolor even provide their own 'emotional' guarantee. An ambiguous statement intended to play to your own personal ego and taste. This overrides the common sense that most of the furniture I owned in college is not still in style today, or that the ottomen that sat in my childhood living room, with it's rust plaid patch work and gold wheels, is hardly going to fit todays style - but that's the beauty of emotion...it doesn't need to make sense.

Your positioning is not for your benefit.
Not only has this company gone out and made a bold statement, it has decided to make one that evokes loyalty to the customer. It is positioned to matter to the customer, rather than the industry. I'm pretty sure I will not live to be 300 (you never know) - but Brikolor's has told me that if I give them my attention and money, they will return the favor by giving me the last chair I will ever need to buy. Of course, if it's the last chair I'm ever going to buy it will take me a while to figure what style I will enjoy for the next 300 years. Basically Brikolor has tapped into the fact that people are skeptical. The guarantee attempts to bypass the history requirement that most of the competitors use to prop up reliabitly (we've been around since 1759). It also speaks to a few niche audiences, while not alienating too many people in the mass audience. Think eco-friendly, people friendly, family friendly...

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. The company is still young, but has already provided some great examples of one part of the marketing puzzle. How they service their customers and how the purchase process goes is another piece of that puzzle that will ultimately determine weather Brikolor sinks or swims for another 300 years.