To be entirely honest, I wrote this subject down a few weeks ago and don't remember what gimmicks I was talking about exactly. So Im going to say, for the moment, gimmicks are branding-related.
To the left, some of you may remember, was a line in the old theme for Metropolis. My gimmick was pulp-comic bodycare.
Was it cute? Definitely
Was it fun? Absolutely, many got a kick out of my attempt at being witty.
Was it financially viable? Eh.
It's hard to be schticky if you can't do it in the big time. Had I had a financial boost, in the beginning, to avoid starting from the ground up, things may have been different. But having a gimmick means you need to do two things
1. Accept all people are NOT going to get it.
2. Cater to those who do get it EXCLUSIVELY.
Quirky people get quirky gimmicks. Cutesy people get cutesy gimmicks. Don't try to be all things to all people. With the old aesthetic, I wanted to be high-end, but low brow, and that just doesn't work many times. I sat down and thought “where can I market this to and would it be economically viable?” Whole Foods wouldn't have gotten it, Hot Topic might have (but how many people there are buying soap regularly?). Natural-based stores wouldn't get it, quirky boutiques would. Again, what was my end goal and could these boutiques sustain the company for long periods of time over the bigger stores? I didn't wait to find out.
To come full circle, I am not knocking those who think of a business aesthetic and market the hell out of it. There are many that have done it, and done it well. But the ones that succeed are the ones who have a clear(er) plan on where their market is and who will get their gimmick.
If you've got an idea for a gimmick that will make you stand out, plan for how to make that affect your bank account in a positive way.
Remember earlier in the year I said this is the year to:
Listen. Learn. Plan.
Don't jump in because it's cool and different. Work out how different will…well…work!