I have been reading and re-reading Seth Godin’s new book Tribes, and am inspired by so many ideas he discusses. One of them is that:
There is little difference between being average and being mediocre.
He talks about how many companies create products that are created for the "average" customer because this is the safest bet to make.
As the world heads into an enormous financial downturn, it is interesting to look at this concept – is the safest route the one that offends the fewest people and targets the largest crowd? Seth argues that this only works in stable environments; that people see "standard" products as boring, and can easily take them for granted.
Only things that are truly remarkable will get the attention of people, and create customers who are passionate about particular products and brands. He further clarifies that these products must make people feel a part of something that is meaningful.
This does not translate to taking unnecessary risks, but rather, to not underestimate a particular customer base. They want to feel passionate about their industry – they want to find products that feel authentic – they want to be a part of something and empowers them to make a difference.
These are inherent themes in Seth’s book, and instructructive to any business looking at 2009 wondering how they can stand out from the pack as the world faces an uncertain economic future. The goal is not to just batten down the hatches to weather the storm, but to get closer to customers and understand their desires and needs better with the goal of creating new offerings that evoke their passions and make them smile.
The audiobook version of Tribes is available here for free. Well worth the download and listen.