Alice in Extreme Consumerland

The old order has changed and how. Consumers are now marketing to marketers through the 3 Ps- Price, Pressure & Politics. They are demanding bold innovation with every new product. Apple recently lost 25% of its value as investors punished its lack of new ideas. If it can happen to Apple, it can happen to you. The problem with big companies is not having ideas – it’s bringing them to market.

Coming to the heart of the matter: research kills brave ideas.

Average consumers can tell you how your current products and services are doing.  But they are often resistant to change, as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his Aeron chair story in Blink. The chair sat down (read died) in research because average consumers couldn’t get over its lack of leather. But it got made nonetheless because some more creative consumers loved it.


So what’s the remedy? How can research help sell bold ideas within your company -and to the consumer? How do we get meaningful tectonic shifts created? By looking beyond the usual suspects (your regular customers) to the fringes. Out there are the hackers, the early adopters, the extreme users who will co-create your products, inspiring you instead of shooting you down.

So what’s the take away when you look and go beyond? The results are stunningly significant. Mega corporate brands like Nike, Samsung, Google, PepsiCo, Zappos, Amazon, Starbucks, Vodafone and such ilk are able to make big leaps in product development, repositioning and even restructuring their organizations. Average consumers tell you what you already know. They bring in validation. Thank you. Extreme consumers can give you a whole new way of thinking about your category. They bring inspiration. They induce innovation. They embrace disruption. They coerce relevant change. And if you’re looking for that big, transformative idea, inspiration may be the most valuable thing your company can buy.

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