WOM Tip #45: Don’t make something for everyone, make something for someone

It’s really, really hard to design a product for the masses that’s worth talking about.

You’re better off making something for a specific group of people — something they’ll absolutely love. Even if the rest of the world hates it, that’s OK. It’s not for them.

The result is a polarizing product that has raving fans and critics. You’ll create something worth arguing over, and this can drive word of mouth conversations for a long, long time.

A great example is Jeppson’s Malort, made by the Carl Jeppson Company in Chicago. This liquor is one of the most intense flavors ever bottled — and most people only need one sip to judge it.

But it’s a staple in Chicago bars because it’s something you challenge a friend to when they come for a visit. From the bottle’s label:

Most first-time drinkers of Jeppson Malort reject our liquor. Its strong, sharp taste is not for everyone. Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate. During almost 60 years of American distribution, we found only 1 out of 49 men will drink Jeppson Malort. During the lifetime of our founder, Carl Jeppson was apt to say, ‘My Malort is produced for that unique group of drinkers who disdain light flavor or neutral spirits.

A whole lot of people try it, but only a tiny percentage like it. And that’s OK — because everyone talks about it.

For more: Check out this video of Chicago Redeye staffers sampling the drink for the first time.

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