This is an update of an old post, updated for iPad queues.
Once I overheard two parents talking about Obama’s election. It was clear that both were Obama supporters and happily donated money to his campaign. One asked the other, “But did you support him from the beginning”. Then it dawned on me the existence of an implicit pecking order in the minds of consumers of certain brands, Obama, Apple, In N Out, Star Wars.
Does it matter that the other parent supported Hillary before the primary and then decided to throw her support behind her party’s nomination?
Does it matter I did not stand in line to get iPad?
Why does it matter to one segment of customers when the other became the fan of the brand?
I think that the mystique surrounding certain brand makes the early adopters feel that they somehow own it. The low uptake during this phase gave them the aura of exclusivity. As in the early days of Obama or in the case of Apple. But as the brand becomes more popular and reaches the exponential growth phase the early adopters find it hard that they don’t anymore enjoy the exclusivity.
The brands needed these passionate early adopters early on, but they nee the revenue from the large middle even more. Different needs at different stage of product lifecycle. In the end they end up treating all of them as the same.
Hence the early adopters tell themselves stories about being the first to support Obama before he was popular or stand in line for
four seven hours to get the magical new device.
All in an attempt to find the lost mystique, to tell ourselves that we are somehow different and unique from the rest, even though we buy and use the most popular product which is now available to all.