Posts Tagged ‘market leadership’

“It’s Miller Time, Let’s Have a Bud”—It’s Not Enough to be First.

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

As our Canadian colleague and friend told me, the Miller brewery created “Miller time” in an ad campaign much noticed at the time—a Miller beer as reward after a stressful day. “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer.” A grandiose concept for the industry. “Miller time” was born. Unfortunately, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) wasn’t exactly asleep, because then came: “For all you do, this Bud’s for You.” A-B’s strength in the beer market gained its slogan gained even wider prominence at the time. Analysts quipped that it actually had to mean: “It’s Miller Time, let’s have a Bud.” A branding disaster.

It’s just not enough to be first. It is more important—and more difficult—to remain first. People sometimes ask market leaders how they have succeeded in remaining the market leader over the years. We get no answers such as these:

  • “We did the same thing, only more often and more quickly.”
  • “We started a large-scale sales offensive.”
  • “We simply always copied others.”

Market leaders with a long-term view of themselves reinvent themselves, dismantle things that aren’t working before others do so, and they are definitely not the cuddly sort. They never rest. Never. The not only dominate the market, they define it. Someone to whom that doesn’t appeal would be better off not trying to be a market leader at all.

Postcript: There is an outstanding article about Miller and A-B (“Busch Family Builds a Name”) in the Milwaukee Journal of 10/30/1988. You can find it on the Web.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.