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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Jumping the Shark

Are you jumping the shark? Portland pastor, Bob Hyatt asked if Seattle pastor, Mark Driscol has "jumped the shark" with Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together*, his new book with his wife, Grace.

The reference is to the episode of Happy Days when Fonzie jumps a shark (literally), which has come to mean when a show, or anything else for that matter, abandons its core success and begins a downward spiral into oblivion. So when Starbucks coffee started selling instant coffee, that might be considered jumping the shark, or when Porsche made an SUV for soccer moms, or you can fill in your own thoughts.

It's almost inevitable that a brand, show, person, church or pastor will be tempted to jump the shark. It's so much harder to keep doing the same thing and continue being successful. Rather, if you keep doing the same thing, you will limit your success. You will only reach a limited number of people if you keep doing the same thing. You can branch out and do something different to reach a new audience. But you run the risk of jumping the shark.

Does your new message flow naturally from what you've been saying all along? If you were to poll 100 people on the street, would they choose your new path based on what they know about your organization? Do you have any credibility to speak to this new area? Are there any sharks involved?

What have you seen that looks like shark-jumping?

*Note, if you purchase the book through this link, I earn a small commission. I haven't read this book and I can make no endorsement of it.

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