Thursday, October 28, 2010

The "Role Model" Rule

Rule: If you want to make your product a success, use professionals or experts — rather than just customers — to role-model its use.

The application of this principle is well-illustrated through the story of how suitcases on wheels gained acceptance and even popularity in the U.S.

Wheeled suitcases were invented 40 years ago, but the two-wheeled version with the sliding handle did not appear until 1987, according to The New York Times. I would say that our culture is largely responsible for the slow traction. And I'd call it the "macho-factor" error.

Sales were slow because retailers felt men wouldn't use them. Not macho enough, the article said. But then somebody came up with the bright idea of having female flight attendants use these new “Rollaboards,” and they started catching on. Thus the "macho-factor" was not a factor at all. A revised marketing strategy turned it around. The gender miscalculation was at the core.

Technorati Tags: The New York Times, public relations, business, communications, Makovsky


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