Consider two great bands.
Both rose to fame in the 1970′s and their songs dominated rock radio stations of the era. Both replaced their lead singers (as well as other less prominent members) over the years. Both continue to tour from city to city with only one original founding member. Both are legendary.
Foreigner had over a dozen hit songs during their prime years. They rocked out with songs like “Urgent” and “Dirty White Boy” and “Cold As Ice”. They had massive ballads like “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”. There are few bands that had as many hits as Foreigner did between 1977 and 1987, and nearly all of their hits are must-play songs on classic rock and oldies radio stations across North America.
Lynyrd Skynyrd brought their brand of southern rock to the world a few years earlier, from about 1973 to 1977. In ’77 a plane crash took the lives of three of the band members, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt, as well as their assistant road manager and two pilots. They didn’t have nearly as many hits as Foreigner did. Today only “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” are among the most played songs on those same classic rock radio stations. Some of their other songs are heard now-and-then, but certainly not very often.
Foreigner is a lake. Lynyrd Skynyrd is a well.
Foreigner has a wide catalog of memorable music, although passion for any one song isn’t all that great.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has a small catalog of memorable music, but passion for their two main hits is extremely high.
What is the better scenario for a brand today?
The lake is wide, but not that deep. Chrysler is a lake. They make all kinds of cars from all price ranges and passion for the Chrysler brand isn’t particularly deep. Sure people love Dodge trucks and Jeep Wranglers, but few people crave a Chrysler.
The well is small, but extremely deep. Porsche is a well. They only make a few cars, all expensive and high-performance, and passion for the brand runs very deep. People save money all their lives to own a Porsche.
I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer. Both “lake” brands and “well” brands can be successful.
Which would you rather be?
I look forward to your thoughts.