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Mind Share

August 20, 2013

Big companies often talk about Market Share – what percentage of a particular market segment or demographic they ‘own’ (typically measured by purchases made), or at least what percent of the market is purchasing their products. I suppose this approach works for commodities.

market share

But what if you have virtually zero market share, or do not operate in a commodity market? What can be used as an indication of fan support, acceptance, desire, and interaction?

As a teenager, I loved music; particularly Rock-n-Roll, Blues, and Heavy Metal. I wanted to see every concert that came within 300 miles of my house, but I had a couple serious challenges – limited income, limited transportation, and an early curfew. I showed up as a mere blip on record label’s market share studies each time I bought a cassette (before and during the early years of CD development), t-shirt, or poster. Though it represented a significant investment of funds and time to me; my purchase was only reflected as a single product sold.

But there was much more going on behind the scenes. Before I even purchased a single poster, I had likely spent dozens of hours listening to the cassette as I mowed lawns; I had memorized every word, scream, grunt, and utterance of “Uh”, “Yeah”, and “Baby”. On many songs, I spent hours playing to them on my drum set, and had worked up incredible air-guitar performances. Each new car I (or close friends) purchased had to have a carefully chosen 1st song to be played at full volume in order to help break it in to its new owner. Even when hiking without any form of electricity; I could play the memorized songs over and over in my mind without anyone asking me to turn it down.

I call this phenomenon Mind-Share. It reflects the amount of conscious thought that is given to a product, product category, brand, industry, etc. It is VERY POWERFUL. Only now, modern technology is allowing us to connect, download, stream, share, and display many of our musical habits and preferences. Rather than measuring how ‘loyally’ we buy a particular brand of soft drink or smartphone; Mind-Share is about how we integrate products into our daily lifestyle. I’m not afraid to admit that I feel naked without my iPhone within arm’s reach, and that I seek jackets that have an inside chest pocket perfectly shaped for its quick retrieval.

Chasing market share can lead to innovative companies dumbing down their products for the sake of incremental sales while alienating those who were passionate about it in the first place; like my hair band heroes of Rock-n-Roll writing and producing ballads that are now playing in elevators, and featured on EZ listening radio stations my mother listens to. (This caused me to drop out of all those fan clubs.)

Making an incredible product that is easily integrated into people’s lifestyle is the epitome of Mind-Share. I like to think it is easier than most people believe to make something of such significance to people. Not easy on an absolute scale, proper design never is. But when you consider that most products we buy are so easily discarded and replaced, the field of long-lasting mind-share is virtually untapped.

How can you increase the mind-share of your product or experience?

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