Becoming a victim of your originality
Every brand longs to lock into pole position. To create a new category where they define the rules and they set the standards and they become the default against which everybody else in the industry measures themselves.
But the danger is when brands become a victim of their own originality. Terminally unique. So weird that nobody knows what to do with them. So impossible to classify that customers drop the mental ball. So far out of the box that there’s nothing left for people to lean against. So different from ever other brand in the category that it’s intellectually overwhelming for customers.
Godin’s work on virality and how stories spread reminds us that in order to earn word of mouth, we need to make it safe, fun and worthwhile to overcome the social hurdles to spread the word about our brand. Otherwise we’ll end up winking in the dark.
My first movie failed in this respect. It was equal parts documentary, concert, corporate training video and love story. A hybrid art form that had never quite been done before. Which was thrilling to make on my end, but because it was a new medium unto itself, it was challenging to share on the viewer’s end.
Because the world didn’t know what to call it. I became a victim of my own originality.
And so, before we drive our freak flag into the ground to claim our land first, we have to make sure we’re unconventional in the right direction. To bake into our messaging some kind of advanced warning system. A memory aid. A helpful tool for making sense of an ambiguous world. A handle by which our brand can be lifted.
Because a confused mind never buys. There’s a fine line between a brand’s purpose driven human uniqueness and just another patchwork of weirdness.
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Are you a victim of your own originality?
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