I've come to admit something as an entrepreneur: I love the challenge of converting people to controversial ideas. My first major book, Porn & Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider and Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture, is now included in major university curriculums. More recently, I co-founded an app to connect people for platonic hugs and ushered Cuddlr to the top of the Apple App store twice (it was acquired less than a year after it launched).
But even I was taken aback by the newest Indiegogo campaign: The first vaginal beer. It is from brewers The Order of Yoni:
We have discovered a process of transmission of her essence of her femininity, her instincts by isolation of lactic acid bacteria from her vagina. Our laboratory isolates and multiplies the bacteria in a safe way. Additionally, we examine the final bacteria in terms of its purity and safety. We use the bacteria in the production of sour ales, lambics, flanders ales and sour stouts.
The concept is pretty hard to swallow, but they already grabbed the toughest thing: Your attention. Here are three smart guidelines that could help The Order of Yoni, or any company, turn their odd product into a hit:
1) Take it seriously. Whether it be a funky libation or a strange app, it is tempting to be cheeky or silly with the delivery. The problem is that when you make fun of the product, by extension you are making fun of any potential customers. Even customers that connect with a self-effacing brand may outgrow it as they become more mature. The bathroom aide Squatty Potty has gotten lots of attention, but its tongue-in-cheek approach may make more reserved customers shy away.
2) Address potential concerns upfront. Be direct in acknowledging the unusualness of your product and any related issues. The first things The Order of Yoni says on its website is who will be providing the "essence" for the beer and the safety of the beer process itself. Likewise, Squatty Potty makes room in its humorous front page to educate customers on the colon.
3) Accept some people will never be your customers. The more controversial the product, the more likely people will either hate it or love it. Your best bet is to focus on the love and cultivate the audience that already has a vested interest in your intention. You're not making toothpaste or another disposable commodity, but something original enough to merit a cult following. To wit, the polarizing Squatty Potty promo video has been viewed more than 20 million times.