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One-Hit Wonders Hit it Really Big. Then What Happened?

CareerZOT Talk by Kathy Seaton

Spring 2018

One-hit wonders. They are, in some ways, part of the human experience. We love them right? I mean come on, who didn't sing along to “Play that Funky Music,” by Wild Cherry?

Like entertainers, there are brands that literally come out of nowhere and introduce a product that captivates our minds and taps our wallets. Like Pet Rocks, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Rubik's Cube. These companies reaped the rewards of short term gains but fell short when it came to introducing another innovative best seller into the market.

Further, there are many staple brands that decided to introduce entirely new product lines outside of their realm of expertise. Bic, worldly known for its pens, came out with a line of underwear. And then there's Colgate, a market leader in toothbrushes and toothpaste, who introduced a line of kitchen entrees. These feeble attempts to break out into new markets undoubtedly didn't work. Bad decisions like these could have sent these brands into a spiraling descent.

So What Sets Brands and Businesses Apart from One-Hit Wonders?

Kathy SeatonIt comes down to leadership— leaders who are transformative visionaries, that drive their companies to be better, have the ingenuity to tie product or service innovation to the demands of the market, and serve as great brand stewards.

Leaders like these don't try to impress people, they set out to impact people. They are deeply devoted to the business of problem solving. They build trust and authenticity. And they rise above their competitors to influence buying behaviors and provide solutions. Companies that are able to exploit their brand power markedly build communities of good customers—those that become brand ambassadors over time.

Constant and Relevant Innovation is the Solution.

A great example is Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter. He has systematically created, monetized, and reinvented a social media platform based on “status” that still generates a huge following. He purposely engages users—and Twitter has reached over 300 million active monthly users.

Dorsey said, “Success is never accidental.”

Innovation is built on perseverance and the thoughtful leadership that fosters long-term and compelling connections with consumers.

Read more at ce.uci.edu/careerzot