Gourmet cupcakes were a fad. Obviously. They were cool to serve at your friend's birthday party instead of the usual sheet cake. Lots of photos could be taken, particularly if there was an assortment among the cupcakes.
But, those gourmet cupcakes were too high priced for enough consumers to make a habit of opting for that kind of treat. Also, the healthy eating movement was pressing against that exact kind of product. Friends don't feed friends indulgent desserts. Think strawberries with low-fat, low-sugar Cool Whip.
Could the average businessperson build a whole business venture around gourmet cupcakes? Likely not. That could be a launch item. Soon, though, entrepreneurs had to add more traditional fare, ranging from ethnic and upscale breads to kids' birthday cakes with special themes. No surprise, the cupcake-only store on 1st Avenue, near the Woods Library, in Tucson, Arizona is now shuttered.
In contrast, leveraging social networks and social media for commercial purposes created a sustainable niche.
Public relations agencies and marketing communications firms could actually make brandnames for themselves and grow profits just focusing on that. Of course, they had to keep up with the rapid changes in the technology and the new players such as Twitter.
Some, though, took a cautious approach. They simply added social media to their menu of services. When the digital approach became embedded in standard outreach practices, they expanded their offerings. No, they never limited themselves to social media per se.
Fads provide a good entry point into a category. Want to start an upscale coffeehouse? You bet, it's smart to feature prominently whatever edible or beverage is grabbing attention. But the sooner the better is it for you to begin trying out what is more sustainable.
The one thing I got out of being an English major is the wisdom from Shakespeare: The crowd is fickle.