Homer Simpson received a special opportunity in 1991. Through a reunion with his brother, Homer was commissioned to develop a car for the “All-American, Average Joe” demographic. Unfortunately, Homer’s conception of average was an $82,000 vehicle with multiple domes,a musical horn, and tail fins. His dream of a one-size-fits-all vehicle to please the average American quickly transformed into an overpriced failure with a narrow market.
Although this experiment in product design is nearly 20 years old, Homer’s creation provides some interesting parallels for companies creating a new media presence.
1. Online one-size fits all campaigns are dangerous. The result is usually an over-priced, confusing message that does not fully connect with members of any community. Homer tried to please musical horn lovers and tail fin aficionados with the same product, ignoring the specific desires of either group. To avoid dismissal of your message/product/brand, try building a troop before you build an army.
2. Added features are for building relationships. If Homer’s car were a Facebook group, joining would require installation of 100 obscure apps of little relevance to the average user. The initial online connection should be simple, allowing customers to add functionality as their comfort level grows.