In his first book, Cyburbia, James Harkin explored how computers have changed our minds. His latest work, Niche: Why the market no longer favors the mainstream is another fun and informative read, this time about the collapse of the mainstream market in newspapers, movies, clothing – you name it – in favour of niche brands with a defined audience and a strong personality. Trying to be all things to all people (think General Motors, Woolworths, Borders, perhaps even David Jones) no longer works.
Harkin is particularly good when he explains the evolution of micro-targeting, moving from broad (read dumb) age classifications to the sub groups of individuals with shared passions rather than similar age or geographical location. In their desire to grab the exciting youth market, he shows how marketers have largely missed the rapidly increasing number of older people hanging out for a brand to take them seriously. Harkins writes well with an engaging sense of humour and a deep knowledge of brand creation and promotion. I have recommended this book to everyone I know who takes their brand seriously.
Niche: Why the market no longer favors the mainstream