Earlier this year I wrote a brief review on Amazon’s new e-reader, the Kindle. Now it appears that just in time for the Holidays the Kindle has received the ultimate gift by being declared one of media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s favorite products. It is truly remarkable the impact that this declaration can have on a product’s success and acceptance in the market place. I saw a story on CNBC’s new show ‘The Entrepreneurs’ which showed how a similar Oprah endorsement of a new undergarment (Spanx) sent the product to the next level in sales. The Kindle was already picking up some traction, but this won’t hurt a bit.
In Malcom Gladwell’s now ubiquitous book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, he speaks to what he calls “The Law of the Few“. This theory discusses how certain types of people can have a unique impact on when a product really has a breakthrough in to mass market success. Oprah would qualify as both a Maven and a Salesperson in Gladwells theory and perhaps one of the greatest of all time in the latter category when it comes to broad appeal. Ms. Winfrey’s career and influence are the result of a carefully crafted (designed) public image and brand. Can you think of any other Mavens or Salespeople that appeal to such a broad audience? What about influencers appealing to more niche audiences? How does one build the clout to command such a position?