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The Courage to be Exclusive: Why Your Brand SHOULDN’T be for Everyone.

If you want to market a party or event, the first word you’re likely to use is “exclusive”. 

Human beings are instinctively attracted to the things that they can’t have, and we love to take advantage of this impulse. This is undeniable, whether it is because of some ancient prehistoric reflex that triggers our survival instincts, or because, as Groucho Marx would say, we “don’t want to belong to any club that would accept (us) as one of its members”. 

Put as a simple rule of thumb, we humans love to know we can access something that others have no way to get. 

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

Often, when we start a business or another creative endeavour, we are sure that our great idea will please everyone. 

“How wouldn’t it?” we think, “this is a game-changer, there’s no way people won’t line up for this”. And so, we aim to be the one and only solution for everyone. There are often two paths, once we try this. 

Our product or service is either:

  1. Accepted, by mere chance, by a distinct group of people or demographic (most likely self-defined), that we end up catering to; or:
  2. Find mediocre (at best) success, in the hands of a general public that over-compares our product to other alternatives, having no particular incentive to decant for us. 

The Solution is to Exclude

Thanks to Reddit we know that there are (at least) 120,000 people that want to receive every single possible picture of chairs underwater. 

Ironically, your ‘exclusive’ party might very well fail because you used the correct terminology without applying the full concept. 

And, perhaps even more ironically, excluding is just as important as including. In a world of super-connected masses, every 0.01% of the globe’s population represents 70 million people. And, therefore, there are niches for everything. You can find a niche for men that are obsessed with going to My Little Pony (the animated series) conventions. Or one for people that like to listen to music made in kitchens exclusively. And there are, of course, a large collection of dark, illegal Deep-Web niches that we shouldn’t talk about. 

Even more happily for you (and the people on this niches!) they aren’t, ever, represented in mass-culture. 

Become Someone’s Dream

When taking on a creative pursuit, you have a chance to create a perfect world. You can make your own, and other people’s dreams, come true. You can, effectively, create a new world, where the rules are precisely those that you always thought they should be. 

So, if people feel more special when in a unique club, there are enough people in the world to make a living catering to any particular niche you choose, and you can reach them literally with a swipe of your fingers… Why would you even want to include everyone?

By catering proudly to a certain audience, you become a proud leader, and an ambassador. You become an agent of change. And, deep down, you build the following you deserve if, and only if you do things well. You make use of the most valuable currency there is: Skin in the game. 

So now you know it. Next time you set out to please everyone… you might as well take a step back, and make a couple of people angry on purpose!

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