2/3/09

do brands, like water, find their own level?


not to get all jack handey on you, but i was thinking about this deep thought the other night when i, and seemingly half the city of chicago, went to see the windy city rollers, the women's roller derby league.

they just moved to the uic pavilion from their former home at "cicero stadium" which is a lot like a stadium if, by "stadium," you mean "a sporting venue that can fit inside somebody's garage."

now, they're in a much larger arena, and the ticket line before the match was a block long. but guess what? the fans who've supported them for years are miserable. they say the venue's too big (true), the beer's too expensive (very true), and you have to pay for parking (think side streets, people).

as it turns out, large-hipped women in crash helmets face the same question as brand managers at conservative packaged goods companies: do you try to expand your audience while not losing your loyal customers? or do you recognize that what you built is destined to be a niche, and the challenge is to retain it while maximizing profitability?

it's hard to imagine there's not an unlimited audience to cheer on athletes named Juanna Rumbel, Ruth Enasia, and After Bertha, but that just might be the case.

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