Over the past several months, I’ve argued that Crunchyroll, FUNimation’s combo packs, and NIS America’s deluxe editions are remarkable products. They’re the type of items and services that get customers to stand out and take notice in a crowded market. They’re the products that get people to talk, and share their experiences with other customers.
These aren’t necessarily expensive products. Crunchyroll offers their product for $7 a month, and FUNimation’s packs seldom cost more than a standard DVD set. However, they’re remarkable becuase they’re both easy and worth talking about. These products stand out: they offer features that stand out in the greater market, and they create a situation in which the customer wants to talk about the product.
In Crunchyroll’s case, viewers get HD access to new and niche anime titles within a week of airing. This can be viewed on a myriad of devices, from a web browser, to mobile phones, to Roku and Boxee. FUNimation offers a package that allows viewers to share the show among friends and family in a legal way with no real jump in cost. NIS America offers customers a giant, fancy box with lovingly crafted extra items, like hard-cover episode guides.
These remarkable products aren’t mere accidents. They’re created by answering the needs, both vocal and unheard, of the market at large. They’re built on risks both large and small, and there’s the absolute chance that the risk won’t pay off, or that the market will reject the product. However without risks, there can be no real reward. Not everyone enjoys a remarkable product. Often, there’s a mix of extreme love and extreme hatred, but these poles ensure that people will talk, and that people will share their experiences with other people.
In the market today, playing it safe will only serve to blend into the retail shelves, and allow a product to get lost in the droning march of release dates. These “safe” products become relatively invisible in the eyes of the customer. In a market where we have industry employees have gone on record to state that certain properties moved under 200 copies, invisibility is a bad thing.