05 January 2011

The Popularity Paradox

I'm going to call it the popularity paradox, where something becomes too popular and peeps turn away from the lack of individualism. It's in every aspect of our lives from avoiding mass fashion and art to paying out on mainstream music to not buying an iPhone even though you secretly want one but everyone else has one therefore you can't.

Here's some interesting examples from Facebook...
1) As parents jump on Facebook, their children turn away.
2) Bigger fan pages tend to have lower levels of engagement because when something already has 3,000 comments I'm less likely to add my own.
3) Exclusive access for college students was arguably the key to Facebook's initial success.
So how do you stop something becoming too popular? By the time it happens, does it even matter? And how can brands use social media to minimalise mainstreamism?

I really don't know, but I haven't posted in a while and that's what was on my mind today.

3 comments:

  1. “So how do you stop something becoming too popular? By the time it happens, does it even matter?”

    The answer is you don’t need to stop it becoming popular nor does it necessarily matter. Depends on what the business goal is. Who cares a few people don’t like it if you’ve reached your business goals? And are in a position to reach the next ones?

    A potential problem could arise when it becomes too popular too quickly and you don’t have the management, leadership, infrastructure, staff, processes etc to be able to keep the brand/product/service at the level that made it popular.

    In saying that, I do understand what you mean. I am like that. If I am not an early adopter or even in the early part of the majority then the popularity of some things just alienates me. Not sure why. I tend to get alienated the more people rave about it.

    Maybe our friend Adam Ferrier could shed some light on it?

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  2. So how do you stop something becoming too popular? By the time it happens, does it even matter?

    The answer is it doesn’t matter and the popularity is somewhat irrelevant. Unless your business goal is to be popular with everyone then why does it matter that a minority get alienated? If the popularity helped you reach your goal, and positioned you for reaching the next goals, then that is what matters.

    You know you can’t keep everyone happy and be all things to everyone … that’s why we have target markets.

    Sure things change and the phenomenon you mentioned is real and could snowball to brands losing their original following i.e. Facebook attracting parents and losing youngsters. But the business has to think about how they handle that and the new opportunities that presents.

    A more real threat is a better product or service that becomes more popular and takes your customers e.g. Facebook vs MySpace.

    In saying all that, I definitely know what you are talking about. I definitely act that way. If I am not an innovator, early adopter or in the front of the majority then I can be alienated and then dig my heels in more. By way of example … I refuse to watch Titanic the movie because at the time everyone raved about it and it won awards and the more that happened the less I was interested.

    It’s strange, but wonder if our friend Adam Ferrier could shed some light on it?

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  3. I've seen the Facebook paradox firsthand. Very strange when parents get involved with Facebook, almost creepy.

    ReplyDelete

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