From Marginal to Mainstream
Legacy brands are struggling. The hand-to-hand combat for advantage has become a zero-sum game – producing small share gains and losses but nothing to bring about sensational new growth.
This book shows why businesses, marketers and entrepreneurs need to break free from their ‘mainstream inhibition’ and turn their attention to the margins – to confront, evaluate and embrace the ‘strangeness’ of behaviours, ideas and ways of life at the fringes.
Why? Because marginal behaviours can break through and take off. They can go mainstream. They can unleash ‘consumer-driven disruption’, promoting new innovation, new routes to market, new winners and losers – and new growth.
Using original research and analysis of the brands that have successfully backed marginal behaviours, From Marginal to Mainstream provides a framework for understanding and evaluating this non-obvious, untapped potential.
Marginal behaviours may be unpromising, untested, weird, even sometimes repulsive – yet they can point the way to the future.
Today’s margins are tomorrow’s pot of gold – if you know where and how to look.
"Essential reading for any organization seeking growth in today's difficult economic environment. Full of practical tools and examples." * Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Holder of the Robert Bauman Chair in Strategic Leadership, London Business School * "Every business is desperate for growth but few know where to find it. In this exhaustively researched book, Helen Edwards encourages us all to look to the margins, to the marginal behaviours that will become mainstream in time. But this is no theoretical perspective, it's a practical playbook, offering a clear approach to finding the future of our businesses. As Edwards says, 'The margins matter and they can be read'." * Richard Huntington, Chief strategy officer, Saatchi & Saatchi * "Any book that teaches you how to market insects for food, understand the rise of witchcraft, and the techniques for recovering an additional 21 years of life is well worth reading. This is an eye-opening analysis of an increasingly powerful aspect of successful brand and marketing strategy - one that will become ever more key to the evolution and growth of the great businesses of the future. For marketers, the tools, techniques and frameworks present an excellent guide to navigating the otherwise high-risk challenges of identifying future markets, trends and categories for investment." * Cheryl Calverley CEO eve sleep, consultant, advisor, coach * "I almost want to keep this book under wraps: it feels like the best-kept secret for growth is now well and truly out! Explained, codified and laid out - taking the best thinking to the mainstream... please DO NOT read... a few of us want this all to ourselves!" * Jon Wilkins, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Accenture Song * "Marketers talk a lot about wanting to break out from being a fringe discipline and be right at the heart of the business. Well here is a way to get there: ironically, by understanding the margins of human behaviour. Helen Edwards gives us the behaviours to explore, a way to understand them better, and practical ideas to apply." * Sara Bennison, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, CEO of The Mortgage Works * "Where there is asymmetry there is opportunity! One of the greatest pieces of marketing advice I have ever seen by one of the most thoughtful writers on branding going. Helen Edwards rightly identifies the limits to growth faced by brands and identifies a solution. Extracting value from fringe culture is not new, but Edwards goes further in identifying the ways in which brands can mainstream the causes of marginal groups of consumers in a way that creates value for all. Recommended for brand marketers looking for new ways to address the imperatives of growth." * Professor Michael Beverland, Head of Strategy and Marketing, University of Sussex Business School, author of Building Brand Authenticity: 7 Habits of Iconic Brands. * "Marketers talk a lot about growth and about change. But they are remarkably silent on where these two crucial concepts actually originate. From Marginal to Mainstream provides wonderful insights on these issues and suggests that by looking to the wings of the market, in the correct ways, marketers can predict and prepare for both. Strongly recommended." * Mark Ritson * "This is a game-changing read for anyone wanting to win in business today. As marketers, we need to be on the front foot, finding new opportunities to connect with our customers in highly competitive markets, and this book gives you all you need to further turbo your performance." * Peter Markey, CMO, Boots UK * "One perhaps overlooked problem with 'evidence-based, accountable marketing' is that money tends to be spent too late on things which are already successful - casting a spotlight on things which are already centre-stage. How much more powerful would marketers be - and how much richer would society be - if we instead learned to identify and illuminate the best among those many great ideas which have been unfairly left too long lurking in the wings or in the shadows backstage? Well, thankfully, in this book you will learn how to do exactly that." * Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy * "How can we find dynamic growth if we're all scrabbling in the same pit for the same customers and using the same methods and insights? In From Marginal to Mainstream, Helen Edwards shows us a path out of that pit with surprising and compelling arguments for looking broad and deep for new customer growth where we might least expect it. It's time for some bold moves with insightful foundations and the margins may be where we find that." * Sonia Sudhakar, Managing Director Marketing and Digital, Royal Mail * "Growth can come to organisations that correctly identify behaviours and ways of life at the fringes of society that succeed in breaking through into the mainstream. This well-researched and clearly-written book is full of practical tools and excellent examples that will help you identify and exploit these marginal-to-mainstream opportunities. This is essential reading for any organisation seeking growth in today's difficult economic environment!" * Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Holder of the Robert Bauman Chair in Strategic Leadership, London Business School * "A fresh and insightful perspective on how to understand the marginal behaviours of today, to identify the mainstream behaviours of tomorrow." * Nils Goller, Senior Vice President, Orkla Marketing & Innovation, Orkla. * "A rigorous and compelling argument for why marketing needs to radicalise its thinking, and turn common practice upside down, if it is to find the growth it promises." * Kate Waters, Director of client strategy and planning, ITV * "From Marginal to Mainstream is a fascinating book which leans into one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today - how to continue driving growth when it seems to be eluding many of even the most successful companies. Helen flips the narrative on diversity and the margins from 'nice to have' side-projects and shows how the brands of the future are grown by better understanding and building on exactly these unique experiences." * Jerry Daykin, VP Head of Media at Beam Suntory, WFA Diversity Ambassador * "This book is for the growth-hungry, curious marketer - a reminder to hunt for tension and to overlook 'niche' at your peril. With Helen's unique blend of wit and intellectual horsepower she makes the complex simple and provides us all with a 'how to'. Thank you Helen for this reminder that in such competitive, often homogenous, categories that the marginal can seed the mainstream." * Holly Turner, VP EMEA, Johnson and Johnson *
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