Thursday, 11 November 2010

Community or Individuality??

It's one of the greatest paradoxes in the human psyche, but what your customers want is what I will call "Community Niches." A niche, as I'm sure most of you is aware, is a specialised area in which few, if any, companies provide the specific service or product and so the customer is receiving pretty much benefits customised to their exact desires.

A niche is the epitome of the modern individualistic, isolationistic society. It provides each individual the chance to be different, specify what they want and not follow, or interact, with others who's desires do not match their own.

However, this is in direct contrast to human nature. Our brains are hard wired to instinctively seek community, based upon thousands of years of knowing that the only way to survive was to create communities which provided security and who's experience could be fed off.

The answer is "Community Niches." Whilst your customer wants to show how individualistic they are, they are also drawn to sharing these personalised traits to a community. If you have managed to create a product/service which allows individuals to display their individualism, make sure you provide them with a community to share this with, be it on-line or real world.

As an example, look at Harley Davidson. There core audience consists of middle aged males, who are seeking to express their individuality and personality, yet Harley Davidson clubs where vast groups of the brands customers meet and ride are extremely popular. This is an example of Harley Davidson creating a "Community Niche," where they allow their customers the feeling of being individuals whilst also allowing them a like minded community to enjoy this individuality with.

Whatever your product is, remember that whilst it's important in this day and age to allow the consumer to be as individualistic as possible, we still follow our basic instincts, and they still seek community.

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