'Are you worthy to wear our brand?'

That's one of the messages top entrepreneurs subtly build into their marketing, and it's extremely clever. It flips the power dynamic from 'we're trying to sell to you,' to 'you might be cool enough to be associated with us.' 

International fashion designer Tom Ford was interviewed by CNBC. The YouTube video has the title 'Who is the Tom Ford customer?' 

Think about that. It hints at the idea that it takes 'a certain kind of man' to qualify as one of his customers. 

If you're paying attention, many other brands do it too. Harley Davidson must be the world leader when it comes to the 'do you qualify for membership?’ dynamic. But think also, for instance, of the insurance company that caters to qualified professionals only. Or the car brands that tell you what sort of person you have to be to drive their vehicles. Or wear their watch...

Now let's assume you're starting to build your brand. Could you make customer-aspiration your end-state goal? Could you look at the techniques used by these big brands and reverse engineer how they go there? Could you begin to build brand-messaging with that destination in mind? 

Do it right, and one day they will brag about being your customer. Then you will truly own your industry. 


Douglas Kruger is the author of two books on expert positioning, two on innovation, and several more. He is an international keynote speaker on the business circuit. To book him as the motivational speaker for your next leadership conference or event, visit www.douglaskruger.com