You wonder why every car dealer TV ad is followed by an ambulance-chasing lawyer ad … is followed by a car dealer ad … is followed by an ambulance-chasing lawyer ad … is followed by . . . you get the point.
Business categories become commodities when consumers no longer identify a meaningful difference between brands. When that happens, the only difference a brand can create is in advertising. Better advertising than others, or, as in most cases, more advertising.
If you had the numbers, you would probably find that the three car dealers with the biggest market shares are the ones that buy the most advertising. They have the biggest shares of the car-category voice.
The same goes for ambulance-chasing lawyers. There always was a number of personal-injury lawyers in town, but when a handful turned personal-injury law into a business category, it became a commodity. If you own a television set, you probably know which have the biggest market share.
“How can the car business be a commodity?” you ask. “It’s full of well-known brands.”
Because, to most buyers, there’s not much difference. A Chevy’s a Ford. A Nissan’s a Toyota’s a Mazda. A BMW’s a Lexus is a Mercedes. An Infinity’s an Acura.
The more advertising, the more a category’s a commodity. And market-share is determined by a brand’s voice level.
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