What Makes a Bestseller?
I t's a question that many ask to identify the components that come together to make a winning proposition, be it the Harry Potter series that has made J K Rowling the richest author or a brand such as Coco Chanel who became independently wealthy as a woman at a time when women in Europe weren't allowed the vote.

Breaking the mould after the one off has been cast is part of it for sure but it's certainly not all. Time, place, socio-cultural factors and individuality have their part to play also. It may also be worthy of note to assume that when they set out they were not intent on achieving the highs that they achieved. They exceed their own expectations along with producing an outstanding product that outshines its competitors. 

There isn't a set recipe, there isn't a magic formula, they are of their time, they're a reflection of the society it captivates, be it a wish to escape the restrictions of society into a world of fantasy or wanton exuberance both applicable to Chanel and Harry Potter or to create a product that wow’s delights and democratises through the innovative use of technology. 

The product is multi layered, multifaceted and ticks boxes on multiple levels, it has a hint of rebellion, it has an artistic flair, it has passion and compassion, sophistication and charm, and is desirable.  It offers an escape from the norm, adds value, boosts self esteem and endures over time. It enchants, it inspires, sets itself out, therefore sets out its purchaser and offers the purchaser access to its world. 

A product that has these components places itself in the stratosphere of the unattainable for all, only available to a select few; it will increase in value (if it’s a signed first edition) in the case of the books, but vintage Chanel has antique value. On some items, it surpasses all that came before it and there will not be anything exactly like it thereafter, what comes after has to be an improvement upon its predecessor but pays homage to its forbear.

A bestseller taps into its target consumer and consumes, its almost as if it takes on a life of its own and satisfies a gap in the consumer’s life. It's difficult to contrive, it is because it is; a large corporation cannot create it from scratch; corporations develop from scratch with a game changing product or concept and continue to innovate and are emulated. Of the two smartphones that lead the market today which will hold value over time Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy? Both are exceptional yet there would seem to be a strange symbiotic relationship between the two because they are vying to be the best and the competition between them drives innovation, research and development thus giving the consumer choice and a better product to compare.  

Sometimes complacency can set in when there is nought to compare.  Having the ability to compare like to like helps the consumer but in art just as in literature one cannot compare one great piece to another.  They are unique and stand alone however, when its part of a series from the same artist or author there is a possibility of a direct comparison.  

Finally, a game changing best selling product that changes the world can almost always trace its roots back to an inspirational innovator; the man or woman that began it all and our relationship and affinity is what taps into our subconscious.

Every product has a story and it’s the story that we buy into, however there is always an exception to a rule.


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