How Rene Girard’s Memetic Theory Affects New Product Development
New product development is an essential process for any business. A company’s success largely depends on its ability to innovate and bring new products to the market. In recent years, a new perspective has emerged in product development, based on the theories of French philosopher Rene Girard. Girard’s memetic theory has been applied to various fields, including marketing and advertising. Still, its impact on new product development is significant and can provide a fresh perspective on how businesses can create successful products.
Rene Girard’s Memetic Theory
Before diving into how memetic theory affects new product development, it’s essential to understand the theory. Rene Girard was a French philosopher and literary critic who developed a theory of mimetic desire, which explains how humans develop desires by imitating each other. According to Girard, humans are not born with desires; instead, we learn them by observing others and imitating them. This process creates a never-ending cycle of desire, which is the driving force behind human behavior.
Girard argued that the memetic process could lead to conflict and violence when two or more individuals desire the same object or goal. This conflict arises because humans tend to copy not just the desires of others, but also their rivals’ hatred and hostility toward those who stand in their way. As a result, the memetic process can escalate into a violent rivalry, which Girard called the “mimetic crisis.”
Girard’s theory has been applied to various fields, including anthropology, psychology, and sociology. However, it has significant implications for marketing and product development. Understanding how memetic desire works can help businesses create successful products that resonate with their customers.
How Memetic Theory Affects New Product Development
The memetic process plays a critical role in new product development. When businesses develop new products, they are essentially creating a desire in the minds of their customers. Girard’s theory explains how this desire is created and how it can lead to the success or failure of a product.
One of the essential aspects of memetic desire is that it is not created in isolation. The desires of others shape customers’ desires. Therefore, when a business develops a new product, it must consider the desires of its target market and how others influence those desires. This means a business must thoroughly research its target market and understand its desires and motivations.
Another aspect of memetic desire is that it is not static. Customers’ desires can change over time, and businesses must be aware of these changes. This means that new product development is an ongoing process that requires constant research and adaptation.
The memetic process can also create a sense of urgency among customers. When two or more individuals desire the same object, the desire becomes more intense, creating a sense of urgency to acquire the object before someone else does. Businesses can use this sense of urgency to create demand for their products.
The memetic process can also lead to the creation of trends and fads. When a desire becomes widespread among a group of people, it can create a trend or fad. This can be beneficial for businesses that can capitalize on these trends and fads by creating products that satisfy the desires of their customers.
However, businesses must be careful not to rely too heavily on trends and fads. Trends and fads are temporary, and businesses that rely on them exclusively may find themselves out of business when the trend or fad fades away. Instead, businesses must create products that satisfy their customers’ long-term desires.
Applying Memetic Theory to New Product Development
Businesses must follow a few key steps to apply memetic theory to new product development. The first step is thoroughly researching the target market and understanding its desires and motivations. This research should include understanding the desires of influencers and early adopters, as they can significantly impact the memetic process and the product’s success.
The next step is to create a product that satisfies the target market’s desires. This product must be innovative, unique, and offer something competitors do not. It must also be marketed effectively to create a sense of customer urgency and desire.
Businesses must also be aware of the potential for mimetic rivalry and conflict. This can occur when two or more businesses offer similar products that satisfy the same desires. To avoid this conflict, businesses must differentiate their products and create a unique value proposition that differentiates them from their competitors.
Finally, businesses must be aware of trends and fads but should not rely on them exclusively. Instead, they should focus on creating products that satisfy their customers’ long-term desires and create a loyal customer base.
Case Study: Apple’s iPhone
Apple’s iPhone is an excellent example of how memetic theory can be applied to new product development. When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it was an innovative and unique product that satisfied the desires of early adopters and influencers. The iPhone offered something that other smartphones did not, and it quickly became a status symbol.
Apple marketed the iPhone effectively, creating a sense of urgency and desire among customers. The company also differentiated the iPhone from its competitors by focusing on the user experience and design, creating a unique value proposition that set it apart from other smartphones.
The iPhone’s success created a trend other companies tried to emulate by creating similar products. However, Apple continued to innovate and create new versions of the iPhone that satisfied its customers’ long-term desires. This approach has created a loyal customer base that continues to purchase new versions of the iPhone yearly.
In conclusion, the memetic theory has significant implications for new product development. Understanding how memetic desire works can help businesses create products that resonate with their customers and lead to long-term success. By researching the target market, creating innovative products that satisfy desires, marketing effectively, differentiating from competitors, and focusing on long-term desires, businesses can create successful products that create a loyal customer base. The iPhone is an excellent example of how memetic theory can be applied to new product development. Businesses can learn from Apple’s approach to create successful products that satisfy their customers’ desires.