We talk a lot about innovation because, it's so important, and that momentum really is acutally what keeps your business alive. A relatable theme to innovation is trendsetting, and to take that one step further: trend starting. A trend starter is at the front of the line, stepping over it, before others recognize that there's a line at all. This unknown territory is risky because not only are these trend starters tasked with all of the startup elements necessary for success, they've now got to create pathways and educate the market; both incredibly expensive. Early entrance is difficult, expensive, time-consuming, and when the inevitable competition comes along, you're going broke, and they've only just begun.
That Doesn't Mean You Should Give Up
There are ways trend starters can make the market work for them, so if this is your fate, we'll talk about how you can become the big DILL in your market. David Millar, the founder of Bob Pickle Backs and Bob's Pickle Pops is a shining example of a trend starter who is making the market work for his business, which happens to be pickle juice. David's businesses sell premium pickleback juice in a myriad of flavors, along with pickle pops. David is an ArtCenter College graduate and has hyper focus on the packaging, presentation, and marketing of his brands. This marketing and business savvy, along with proof of sales, execution, and (very importantly) a sales team has helped David to avoid the dreaded "Inventor's Syndrome". He figured out early on, as he puts it, "buyers "don't care about your what - they care about what it can do for them" and he is so right. This mindset has, without a doubt, saved him from catastrophe because rather than being obsessed with his creation, he puts his focus on getting it out there in the ways that mean something to his customers.
Have You Tasted The Elixir?
Justin Timberlake loves the briny juice, and even tipped a waitress in NYC $100 for sourcing some pickle juice and making him a drink. When David heard this, he knew he would use this viral story to promote his brand. Something a trend starter has to learn to do, if they want to truly capitalize on the market without draining their resources is exactly this; look for connections that already exist and spend time researching new potential connections that can be used to promote, promote, promote.
According to David, it seemed the more he did right, in terms of promoting, the more serendipitous events kept happening around his brand. If it wasn't JT sipping and tipping in NYC, it was the pickle pop being featured as an ingredient on Chopped, or chef Amanda Frietag enjoying one on national television. Get it right, good will follow. For trend starters, get it right, get it out there in organic ways, and good will follow.
Avoiding the Plague
Inventors Syndrome, Trendsetter Fail - whatever you want to call it, it's real. David has such passion about his brand, but that isn't why he's successful. Passion and focus are not enough. You need the team, proof, and skills that will make the brand successful - that and a couple of serendipitous encounters with Justin Timberlake, Chopped and, Amanda Frietag.