Winners vs. Losers: Finding a competitive niche

One night a buddy of mine and I were out in Nashville, TN. While walking down the street we noticed an interesting pair of bars that were located directly next to each other. The first bar was named “Losers”, the second bar was called “Winners”. Both bars had live music, a deck with lights strung around them, and outdoor and indoor bars. The bars were practically the same. However, on this particular night “Losers” was packed and Winners looked like an abandoned city. Immediately we assumed that Losers had drawn the bigger crowd because they had better special or even a more popular band that night. Assuming this was the case my buddy and I chose to join the rest of the crowd at Losers. Upon entering the bar we found out that there were no specials that evening and the band was far from impressive. This sparked some curiosity in us. We wanted to know why Losers had drawn such a big crowd in comparison to Winners.

We slid over to the edge of the deck and listened to the band at Winners and quickly discovered that Winners had a much better band playing that evening. At this point we were confused, so we approached some locals and asked why Losers was so much more popular than Winners? The locals informed us that Losers had been around for years and Winners had just opened. There was no difference in drink prices or cover charges. The locals also said that they had no attachment to the band playing at Losers that night.

What had drawn them to Losers was loyalty. Losers had been a bar that their sorority sisters had been attending for years. They explained that Winners had simply copied Losers, not changing a thing, and had hoped to steal some of the market.

Winners failed to find a niche. Instead of looking at what Losers had to offer and offering something unique, Winners offered the same exact thing. When I am on the road I see Alphas try to copy other fraternities on campus all the time. Brothers feel like they have to copy other fraternities in order to be successful. “Other fraternities dirty rush and we can’t compete because we do not provide alcohol. Other fraternities throw big blow out parties so we have to throw big parties in order to compete. ” Wrong. The party and dirty rush market is over saturated and to be honest with you Chi Psi does not want to offer that kind of experience. Our most successful Alphas do not have to compete with the “party market” because they have found a niche and are offering a unique experience.

Had Winners found the niche in the market they would have had a lot better product to offer. So make sure you evaluate your competition to see what they offer, learn from what they do, but do not copy them. Try and offer something that they do not offer. The Program For Excellence is a great place to start. I hear a lot of Alphas say “Chi Psi is different”, but a lot of times these Alphas are not doing anything to set themselves a part from other fraternities on campus. Chi Psi is different when we offer a values-based Program for Excellence experience. Find your Alpha’s niche on your campus and offer an experience that is different from the rest.


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