Death is Mediocrity

Link: Creating Passionate Users: Be brave or go home.

Creating Passionate Users quotes the NYT and a study undertaken by a Professor who looked at Amazon’s ratings system and found that those with ‘mediocre’ reviews did not sell nearly as well as those with extereme reviews – good [5 stars] or bad [1 star] or good and bad:   

"But the most telling variable is the one star rating. Professor Gronas found that books high on what he called the "controversiality index" are given almost as many one-star as five-star ratings, creating a horseshoe-shaped curve. As it turns out, these books also tend to have high sales."

As they argue on Creating Passionate Users:

"Creating passionate users is NOT about finding ways to make everyone like you. It’s about finding ways to use your own passion to inspire passion in others, and anything with that much power is bound to piss off plenty of status-quo/who-moved-my-cheese people. Bring it on."

In the glut of visual spam in the form of advertising on different mediums you have to know your market even better and take risks.  Benetton come to mind as a company who take this riskier approach to marketing and it works to differentiate them despite their average products.  But to be really successful their products would have to reflect their approach to marketing.  Perhaps this can explain the demise of Marks and Spencer – they’ve tried to improve their products and take risks but ultimately the institutional pull is toward the middle ground – in to trying to please everyone.  Now what about the BBC….

The motto: be brave.

On the subject of taking risks Influx mention that Best Buy [the US chain] are taking some risks and opening a series of concept stores.  The one that I found particularly interesting is Studio D, a video lounge:

This store is aimed at males in their late 20s and early 30s. This is a "third place" concept that allows you to drop in to play video games on Plasma TVs. It also has rooms that can be rented out for parties.

I think this is a good idea.  Basically an up market ‘arcade’ – those scruffy holes I remember frequenting as a lad with space invaders and pac-man and a pool table on one side.  Though whether this "3rd Space" translates the social nature of gaming into a more public space remains to be seen. 

It’s also worth noting that Influx [which is such a good resource] believe traditional research is not helpful in testing concepts like this. 

These concepts that are incredibly difficult to test via traditional research, so the only way to understand the potential, is to build them.

That’s skunkworks on a BIG scale. 

[via the ever excellent Rootburn] 

NB: Apologies for the draft publication of early version of this.  I tend to write these things in short 30 second bursts when time allows and they often get published to live instead of draft by mistake.  This of course wouldn’t be an issue pre-RSS.  My child makes a fool of me!