I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately, so here’s my rant (and feel free to chime in).
Snoloha, of course, is a new brand that just launched “officially” last month, just as the holiday shopping season was getting under way. Perfect time to launch a new brand, right? Just in time for Christmas! I’m not sure if there is a “perfect” time to launch, maybe an “ideal” time, but not a perfect time. That being said, in my opinion launching a new brand just as the holiday season begins is not the ideal time. (And I’m not going to even get into the Search Engine side of things when it comes to timing and launching a brand for Christmas, that is an entirley different post. Thank you very much Google).
Why is it not the ideal time?
Let’s think about it. When you buy a gift, what is your process? How do you know what to buy? Maybe you just ask the person what they want. Maybe the person gave you a list, or perhaps you know all they want is Seinfeld Season 7 on DVD (hint, hint). Maybe you did your shopping already. Maybe your clueless and go the giftcard route. Or perhaps you have a favorite “brand”, be it Rachel Ray or Puma, so you buy that brand as a gift.
Enter Snoloha. Friends and family hadn’t had their Snoloha gear for very long before the brand launched last month. And those that have known about it since very early on and have been wearing it since before the site launched have indeed already purchased Christmas gifts for friends, family, and co-workers. They have already had the opportunity to become a customer and a fan. Since they had that opportunity, they had no problems thinking about a gift; they shared their favorite new brand.
Most people are just starting to learn about and be introduced to Snoloha, thus they have not yet had the chance to wear the gear and become fans before buying for someone else. Now, maybe this is just my “shopping process”, but I rarely buy something as a gift that I have never before seen or heard of, unless of course it was on “the list” or was specifically pointed out. And that’s the point. When anyone is out doing their shopping and needs to find something not on a list, a new brand at Christmas may not be ideal because the buyer hasn’t experineced it and given it their approval yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I think new brands are great gifts – they are unique and create buzz, and people do indeed buy new brands because it is a new brand. It does happen. You get the early adopters and sneezers (Seth Godin refers to those who spread ideas as “Sneezers”) on board and they eventually spread the word. So on a larger scale, the majority of consumers probably avoid the new brands until they first become customers themselves after the early adopters and sneezers spread the brand to them.
So there’s my rant on new brands for Christmas. They make great gifts, but are most likely purchased by friends, family, early adopters, and sneezers.
Next Christmas will be the true test.