On targeting and authenticity

“Compare Nike’s success selling to runners to Toyota’s efforts to capture the attention of America’s youth and sell its entry-level Scion by identifying itself with hip-hop. … Scion’s sales started dropping drastically in 2009. Nike didn’t try to target the running culture; it was the running culture. It didn’t have to concoct stories about its role in running; they were everywhere you looked. Scion, by contrast, took the conventional aim strategy: Let’s target a segment and ingratiate ourselves with the people in it, even to the point of making it appear that Scion is not really a Toyota. … The Scion lacks a story; no story links it to hip-hop. And today, it’s stories — authentic stories, told well — that win, just as stories have captured us from those nights with Mom and Dad reading at our bedsides.” — Harry Beckwith, Unthinking (Business Plus, 2011)

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