In marketing, diluting your brand is death.
That is why Coca Cola doesn’t co-brand potato chips, why Porsche doesn’t buy a sock factory, and why underwear companies don’t also create RAM chips. Dilution is confusion which erodes trust.
I wish Marvel Comics could learn something from this, but they are intent on destroying whatever cachet they have left after the wholesale politically correct takeover in the 2000s.
For years, DC comics was somewhat of a laughingstock among people who actually read comics (not just collected them), and rightly so. There were “shades” of Batman: Batman the 1960’s TV show, Batman the comic book, Batman in Superfriends, Batman the comic book, The Dark Knight, and then the Batman of movies, in various forms. You could have Batman any way you wanted him – over easy, poached, scrambled.
Some people do not care. Some people will lap up whatever a company gives them, servile and grateful for a moment’s distraction from death. However, if you value anything at all in this world, you long for consistency; you long for someone to trust. When an artist creates something, it is a social contract, unspoken, but one nevertheless. He or she says, “I have made this and define myself this way. You should expect things like this from me.” Thus, eager fans who are that way line up to buy the things that artist produces.
When an artist, or in this case, a comic book company, becomes something of a Tourette’s syndrome sufferer, you never quite know what to expect. Will they produce kiddy Batman or serious Batman? Cheesy Batman or gothic Batman? Who knows? It’s media Russian roulette.
Marvel comics has learned nothing from their – as they used to say – Distinguished Competition. Now they have silly kiddy cartoons, PC comic books, well-done movies, and rated-R movies (Deadpool).
All hail the brand, whatever it is.
All trust the brand, whatever it is.
Meanwhile, those who long for quality and trust live like the disappeared; profits come and go, but some who should be your audience never return. Could it be? Do you know why? You were false to yourself and now, you have no-one willing to follow you or care about what you do.
You would think people would learn the perils of diluting the brand, but failed companies every year demonstrate that human folly is eternal.