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Secret of the Niche

By: Kevin F. Gallagher
Posted: June 7, 2011, from the June 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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If this “wow” factor represents what we need to achieve in consumer response, how do we get there and how is that path changing in today’s world? We know that the world of information is changing around us everyday. Today’s marketplace landscape is user-defined and far more diverse than we could have imagined in the past. Consumers now look for ideas on their own terms. Examples include: the Internet, blogs and an extensive list of media channels. And there are countless product choices being nearly drowned by too much similarity and noise.

My favorite example is television. Can you remember the days when you all watched the same TV shows and then talked about them the next day at school or at work? Like many Americans, my cable television choices include more than 1,000 channels. Remember the “early days” of cable TV, when you could surf with the remote control through your options, one channel at a time? Well, with the number of channels available today, those early days of cable seem like a wistful memory. Now, I need to surf the channels one page at a time to find the small handful of channels that I’m likely to watch. This is an example of how diversity leads to a user-defined approach.

Amid this media diversity and the countless product choices, how does the consumer seek a path forward? It’s believed that the consumer comes back to a defining question, “Is this product designed with me in mind?” This is the ultimate WIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) question. If we get this answer right, then we’re back to the answer we seek, “Wow, this product sounds like it was made just for me!” I don’t know about you, but when this happens to me, this is when I take out my wallet.

So, how do we get this answer right? How do we “win” in this game? Experience has taught us to believe that the secret to winning is in finding the right product for the consumers’ views of themselves. That may sound deceptively easy, but the reality is that your new successful product needs to be: unique and interesting, exciting and emotionally gratifying, and it also needs to perform. In short, your new successful product needs to create a new niche!

The experience at Croda has led us to evolve our business model in order to adapt to the changing world around us. We’ve synthesized an approach based on our understanding of the dynamics of the marketplace and our knowledge of ingredient performance. This includes an understanding of the structure function relationships among a variety of chemical and biochemical entities. Our business model is dedicated to providing unique, exciting and specialized solutions, based on proven technology and backed by tested performance claims that lead to market success.

Catalysts: Quest for Technology and Serving Consumer Needs