As I have watched brands grow and die I have come to the conclusion that the concept of value is an important ingredient in a successful site, but as an editorial content provider, value alone is not enough to grow much past sustainability.
People want to have something they can talk about and share, something they can relate to, and something that inspires them and brings them hope. Emotional appeal is typically far more important than logical appeal. In some cases the hope is for change of things they do not like, but that has three potential outcomes
- the fight is one that will not be won (and the ideas you are fighting against may be gaining ground in other markets)
- change is brought about and the people creating change eventually forget where they came from, walk on other people without care, and become the people they once despised (relevancy comes and goes like the seasons)
- change is brought about and the cause no longer exists
After a battle is over you still have to have something worth talking about and create something inspiring if you are to keep attention and mindshare.
How much money is spent marketing fear to people? Do you need health insurance? Would you still need it if you ate healthy? People gravitate toward their interests for an escape from fear-mongering and other injustices that are baked into society.
Fear is easy to forget, and is a message that needs to be marketed over and over again to cause response. In most cases, spreading fear also has limited upside social potential...it is more commonly used to exploit people, so we learn to tune it out. We take off our shoes before going through the metal detectors, but how many people still sleep on the airplane? I know I do. And people live on the sides of mountains, in fire zones, and where earthquakes are common. I know I do.
Why do award programs work so well? They are easy to relate too and make people feel good. Nearly daily I get emails about how a person quit their job or sold their business because I inspired them and helped them want to go out on their own.
When I think of the most explosive growth periods in brands I have helped build they are typically associated with periods of time when the owner was passionate about what they were doing. That passion attracts people who share it and want to spread it. When I think of the periods that they lost marketshare they are more in-line with the times they lack creativity and passion.
In a saturated market packaging and formatting are often more important than the message. Sustainable value systems change with the times.
As an entrepreneur most of us have many failures before we have any successes. I recently made the Technorati top 100 blogs, but have already dropped to 102, and that position will likely fade unless I can be a bit more inspiring than I have been recently.
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