Plant your flag!

The flag flies proudly on Liberation Day. It's a beautiful day and the wind is blowing the flag full of life. A living flag shows itself as a symbol of freedom, a sign of togetherness and a sign of strength. Unfortunately, in earlier times the flag also had another meaning. For example, planting our national flag in overseas territories was usually a claim to territory. Entire areas fell prey to the expansionism of European countries. When the first man landed on the moon, the flag was also symbolically planted in the moon's surface. But the flag also provides connection. Such as after the attacks on the New York Twin Towers. An iconic black-and-white photo shows an American flag atop a mountain of rubble and twisted steel. The flag symbolically flies above the rescue workers. Planting a flag is still seen as an act of sovereignty, togetherness and tribute.

What is your flag?

A recognizable flag is also an important means of communication for professionals and organizations. Because great symbolism is still attributed to the flag. After all, you choose which flag you wave. What does your flag look like? This is determined by your subject, product, brand, expertise or point of view. Something you have appropriated for yourself. Your flag is a tribute to your knowledge and expertise!

Many successful people and organizations have their own flag. Such as Apple's “to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” Or that of health insurer VGZ with their “sensible care”. A flag is not exclusively reserved for organizations, professionals can also claim their own flag. Just think of Alexander Osterwalder with his “Business model”, Tony Robins’s as “Life & Buinsess Coach”, Adriaan van Dis “Writer” or Eric Ries with “Lean Start up”. These are their own created flags with which they show the world where their passion, experience and expertise lie.

‘Yes, but there are already so many coaches,‘, says the aspiring coach. ‘All health insurance policies are the same,‘, says a director of a health insurer. ‘There are so many clothing stores,‘, says a local entrepreneur. By claiming your flag in the field of coaching, insurance, marketing or other forms of service, fear also comes in. You know all too well that the offering from competitors is enormous. The numbers of competitors looming are downright intimidating. Your courage sinks and paralyzes you to even start or continue. But rest assured, be proud of your expertise, stay true to your flag. Because there is only one unique, who moves through the experiences and expertise that only you have had. And that's you!

Where do you plant your flag?

Now that you have your own recognizable flag, you can take the next step. Actually planting your flag. By planting a flag you emerge and make yourself visible. By doing so, you claim your territory and let others know that it is your territory and no one else's. With your flag you make it easier for your customers to find out who you are and what you stand for. But where is the best place to plant your flag? How can you distinguish yourself from all the others?

You will find the answer by segmenting. In this step you will divide your market into smaller market segments. This gives you the ultimate opportunity to take a certain position within your market. A common one is segmenting based on demographic criteria such as gender, age, family composition or place of residence. Unfortunately, segmentation based on these traditional criteria has a poor predictive value for success. A better approach is to select based on problems customers are struggling with. You look for problems that prevent your customers from making sufficient progress. Progress they long for. Because customers always strive for a solution to their problem. But how do you do that in a good way?

The first step is simple. Grab a stack of blank paper. Draw a simple coordinate system on a sheet of paper. A horizontal x-axis and a vertical y-axis. The axes intersect in the middle, creating a grid of four planes. You now have your first segmentation map ready! Repeat drawing these grids so that you have at least five sheets of paper with a grid. Now take the first paper and give it the number 1. Write the price as a unit on the first paper on the x-axis, where the left side represents a low price and the right side represents a high price. On the y-axis the unit is ‘convenience’. The bottom represents little convenience and the top represents a lot of convenience. You can place your competitors within the four areas. Will one or more areas be created with many competing flags? Then there is no good and winning segmentation.

Don't worry, it's just a matter of completing the next segmentation map. Persistence always wins! Take a second sheet of paper to create a new segmentation map. Write the number ‘2’ on this sheet. On this new sheet of paper, replace the ‘price’ and ‘convenience’ for other types of problems. Consider, for example: health, performance, expertise, popularity, efficiency, effective, speed, safety, taste, status, privacy, fear, smart, responsibility, friendship, etc. Anyway, you know your own market well enough to make the right choice for the axles. to make. Continue filling in the segmentation maps until you only see a limited number of competing flags within the areas. Now you have the segmentation maps that represent a market in which you can distinguish yourself. Here on this map you can plant your flag. You are ready to claim your territory.

There are many suppliers within the chocolate industry. They're all fighting for our attention. Here you can read three great examples of positioning. A positioning that is familiar and credible for the target group. All three have the flag “chocolate processor”. So far there is little difference between these three companies. But if these three brands design their segmentation map in their own unique way, interesting differences arise. Suddenly they are not competitors. In Merci, the first example, the axes of the segmentation map are filled in based on ‘friendship’ and ‘share’. Tony’s Chocolonely uses ‘slave-free’ and ‘insanely delicious’. Snickers, on the other hand, focuses on people who are on the go and faced with a heavy appetite. Snickers embraces the needs ‘easily’ and a ‘quickly full feeling’. The axes within the segmentation map are therefore really different for all three.

By looking at people's needs and their problems, you can position yourself in a highly distinctive position in a market segment specific to you, with the additional advantage of fewer competitors. This makes you better able to stand out. We all know that consumers do not like every ‘chocolate supplier’ compares with each other. It is about the person who can solve the problem most credibly. That is the power of planting your flag!

Ruud Olijve

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