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When Success Hurts Your Brand

April 6th, 2010 | Small Business | No Comments »

When you launch your business or new product, all you can think about is it being successful and embraced by everyone.  I mean what could be better than that?  Maybe the better outcome would be a less popular product.  Hear me out on this.

My wife and I were sitting outside at the Cherry Cricket this weekend (a great place to grab a burger in Denver).  About every 5 minutes, we saw a different Range Rover.  They drove by in different colors and different levels of cleanliness.  But they all seemed to be driven by the same person.  He had spiky hair, big aviator glasses and a preppy shirt.  At that moment I declared that no matter how much I liked the car, I would never own one — as I didn’t fit the prototype.

The same thing has happened with Burberry.  It used to be rare to see the Burberry pattern on an item of clothing.  Now you have Burberry wallets, baby clothes and hairbands.  And these are being worn by near-homeless people. 

At what point does success hurt you?  While Apple makes excellent products, there are certainly more people that are using a Mac because they don’t want to follow the crowd and use a PC.  This will continue to be the case until, of course, Apple becomes too popular and then something else will take the place of those rooting for a niche player.

Does this matter for a small business owner?  Probably not right away.  As when the your product or business takes off (and becomes the newest thing for the aviator glasses, prepster set) you’ll likely sell your business.  But if you hold on, take some time, watch the crowds, and decide if your brand is being hurt by its own success.

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