High Fidelity


I was cleaning out my Google Reader tonight when I ran into this gem by Seth Godin. It’s a compelling idea that’s takes brand differentiation to another level.

Kevin Maney has a book out in September about the trade off between delivering extraordinary experiences (which he calls fidelity) and doing it in a way that’s cheap and easy (convenience). The book takes this simple idea and supports it with dozens of examples.

The simplest example is movies. You pay to go to a theatre when you want the fidelity of the big screen and the crowd and the speakers. You stay home when you want the convenience of Netflix and the pause button. Vinyl records and live concerts offer fidelity, MP3 on your iPod is convenient.

The mistake that’s so easy to make is to be a little bit higher fidelity and a little bit more convenient. Incumbents fall into this trap all the time, assuming that you’ll stick with what you’ve got because they’re sorta both. And insurgents almost always fail because as geeky insiders they think that twice the convenience is enough to persuade anyone who cares. Not going to work.


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