In business.

These days.

If you’re in the middle.

You’re in trouble.

The Middle. 

‘The middle’ means trying to appeal to everyone.

It means riding on coat tails.

Playing safe.


Being boring.

Not innovating.

Not evolving.

Not being creative.

Not thinking differently.

Not standing for anything.

Having no strong, clear, consistent opinion.

Not leading in – well – anything.

Or over-leveraging a brand ‘here’ just because it worked ‘there’ so it becomes so diluted that it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Jamie Oliver, for example.

The middle is rubbish.


Waitrose I get.

They say:

Hi. We’re expensive. So we’re not in the middle. We’re at the top. We believe in paying a bit more for a bit more. We’ve been at the top since day one. We know what we stand for. We’re authentic. So if you want a treat, come to us. We’re good quality. We’ll continue to innovate and be ready for you when you do come. And if you’re worried about spend, pay for us from your ‘going-out-leisure-pot’. Stay in a bit more. Leave the expensive restaurants alone for a while.

Aldi and Lidl I get.

They say:

Hi. We try hard to be cheap. We believe in cheap. We’ve been trying since day one. We’re authentic. It’s cool over here at the bottom. We’re so bloody good at being cheap these days though that you find some really great quality and interesting things at our place, too. We can sacrifice margin even further in some key areas now you see, because we’re increasing volume so effectively. You’ll find some real diamonds that you can’t get anywhere else. We’re funky and interesting. You might come for your weekly shop and walk out with a bloody tent or a multi-story carpark for matchbox cars at some strangely low price. It’s fun at our place! A bit crazy and unpredictable in every way but one – we’re still cheap!

ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco are in the middle.

They say pretty much the same as each other.

They copy each other.

They try to launch their ‘back to the eighties’ pricing images before one of the others does.

They’re tactical.

Because they have no discernible strategy.

They react to what they think we want.

So they don’t come across as authentic.

I don’t know what they believe in.

Because they’re in the middle.

So they flick-flack from one boring, expensive, blend-in campaign to the next.

(Unless they’re trying to buy each other of course.

Thinking that scale will help).

The Middle.

Don’t sit in the middle.

It’s lazy.

It’s ordinary.

And it’s average.

And when markets get bored.

(As they will).

Because you have nothing new or interesting to say.

It’s a really bad place to be.

Just ask Jamie Oliver.

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