THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The importance of scarcity

There were three places in New York City where I saw a queue of people waiting.

  1. To rise to the top of the Empire State Building

  2. To descend into the Apple Store on 5th Avenue and see an iPad

  3. To get into Abercrombie & Fitch on 5th and buy clothes.

The first is about the perception of uniqueness. In actual fact, the view from the Top of the Rock (The Rockefeller Centre) is better (because you can photograph the Empire State) and the line was much smaller.

But The Empire State has “the reputation” because once upon a time it was the biggest and through clever PR and movies it has acquired an iconic reputation.

The second is about “early adopters”, scarcity and branding.

Apple have one of the world’s coolest brands and as Seth Godin has blogged today, their launch of the iPad has been a masterpiece.

The fear of “not owning one” has driven sales of $150m in less than a week.

Abercrombie & Fitch have copied Apple – to a different demographic.

We had to queue with hordes of teenage girls and long-suffering parents so that they could buy average clothing in a unique environment.

Yes – the hunk with the bare chest was at the door.

Yes – at the top of every flight of stairs was a lollipop-head that could just about manage to dance, say “hi” and then occasionally break off to stretch their intellect buy folding t-shirts for a while.

Yes – the lighting, the music and the smell are just as much an icon as the Empire State and the Apple logo.

The customers at all three locations want to be associated with a Tribe.

The question is – how do you create the same demand for your own products and services?

Scarce.

Cool.

Iconic.

Tribal.

Think about it.

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