Harley Davidson didn’t invent the motorcycle

Harley Davidson didn’t invent the motorcycle. Neither did Ironman invent the triathlon nor Docker the container. These companies didn’t invent anything fundamentally new, they merely provided a place for people to gather and validate their identity.

The days of mass marketing are over. Nobody wants average products designed for average people. Instead of having a small selection of mass-produced products, companies focus on a large number of highly specialized niche markets. As the costs for (digital) production and distribution is nearing zero, new business cases arise for Netflix, Apple Music or Amazon Prime to distribute the non-hits. Chris Anderson came up with the term Long Tail and refers to the huge number of niches down the tail. Anderson argues that the sum of all niches in the tail are more profitable than the few mainstream hits at the head of the curve.

During this day, about 2000 new communities are founded on Reddit, on top of the 2.8 million subreddits which already exist. Due to the Internet, everyone is just one click away and it’s never been easier to connect with like-minded in your specialized niche.

Harley Davidson brings thousands of people together, facilitating tours for people to ride together. Apart from organizing triathlons, Ironman supports triathletes connecting with one another, training together and giving them an identity of being an Ironman once you finish (Mike Reilly built his career on screaming “You are an Ironman” to everyone crossing the finish line). Docker support millions of developers to develop, deploy and run software applications using containers. These companies found a way to connect with a specific group of people and started a movement.

How to become the Harley Davidson of your niche? Here’s how:

  1. Define your niche containing a group of people who are disconnected
  2. Connect with the people who identify themselves with this niche
  3. Create a way for the people to gather and build relationships
  4. Claim your role as a thought leader and start a movement

Stop spending resources on one-way traffic. Define your niche, bring people together and build community.

Want to learn more about how community can help your business? Reach out, I’m happy to share my experiences.

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