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It is always easier for a company/brand to imitate competitive products than it is to truly reinvent their respective product or category.  As a result, progressive improvement is attained, but nothing truly innovate comes out of this type of product strategy.

When  a brand is looking to build a  product strategy, at the forefront of building this foundation is developing a Product Inspiration formula that allows your designers (Industrial/Graphic) the freedom to create without limitations. You should always have a structured seasonal front end loading process with your required product line planning, competitive analysis and “key” product/category drivers, however you should always look to drive product innovation through this free flowing creative process. This begins and ends with design inspiration. This inspiration should  come from and feed off of  adaptable technologies, design cues and bloodlines from products that drive your brand.  If you are truly a performance driven brand, then look for aspects of your product that come from or could be derived from other performance products, not necessarily from your industry. When we design, our intended purpose is to disrupt the norm, and create outside the boundaries of what has been done before in our industry. Your ability to give the consumer what they never knew they wanted, but have to purchase is the magic formula for success.

“Innovation distinguishes between a Leader and a Follower”

                                    Wisdom from Mr. Steve Jobs

This creative product creation foundation assures your company/brand will have a pipeline of designs driven off your brands bloodlines, and innovation that allows you to stake a leadership position. Your intention should be to take that leadership position through innovation, and out-innovate yourself. Consumers will then look to your brand for true, authentic, market driving products.

 

Enjoy the Ride …!

Bryan Smeltzer

BLOG: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success”

T: @bryansmeltzer

LI: linkedin.com/in/bryansmeltzer/

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Whenever
brands look to strategic marketing and brand “activation” , one component is always how to effectively build, manage and define metrics on sponsorships deals.

With digital marketing and social media tools, athlete/team “activation” has become easier, but you must also have a cohesive, brand driven strategy to reach out to your target demographic. This “reach out” campaign is an integral component to assure your brand stays front and center with “key” influencers and target demo. With attention spans being shorter, this is one the main reasons why “traditional” hard copy media has collapsed over the years, with digital marketing becoming more prevalent. The reason for this is “synergy”, synergy between content activation your demo is looking for (i.e, NFL,NBA, NHL..etc.) and how they obtain this content via on-line activation (Social Media, Digital Marketing). This is a seamless interaction between “brand”, “influencers” and “target demo”. This is a classic case of market evolution, and extinction of another medium no longer being adopted…

Two of the main issues brands have with effective sports marketing is “athlete activation” and “defining metrics”. With the implementation of digital analytics  (ie. Google), these sponsorships via on-line activation can be effectively measured and “drilled down” to extreme detail. This becomes tangible data which builds an interactive database of “core” consumers who then become brand advocates, assuming your strategy resonates. Once established, you can continue to build, refine and grow this advocacy group, who should be converted to “viral” generators, spreading the brand “virus” via word of mouth (WOM) and digital/social world.

Welcome to the new world of Sports Marketing Metrics analysis…

 Define a Cohesive Digital Sports Marketing Strategy…

Activate your Brand, Sponsorships and Social Media plan…

Reach out to your “core” audience…

Watch the “Virus” expand…!

Enjoy the Ride..!
Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog…” 

 

When selecting a primary source to produce your product overseas, you must ensure that the “core” compentancies/capabilities of  the factory match the “vision” of the Design team and brand as a whole. This many times is where brands fall short, and compromise happens, whether in construction, materials or both. In falling short, you risk alienating your consumer and long term growth of the brand. 

The sourcing component, and the development teams ability to carry the “vision” torch are integral to the success of not only the product itself, but assures the overall founding principles of the brands are carried out  in each product for the new season. This seasonal process begins with product line planning, marketplace positioning, concept/final design and ends with development, sourcing and final product qualification. This is a difficult, but necessary process, if you are to maintain your leadership position, and stay “true” to your brand. Sourcing with factories that are not component in your product will surely destroy your brand, as the consumers will recognize an inferior product and move to another brand. 

I always mention brands, not commodity driven products, as brands truely have an “advocate” following, and their expectations are to not buy a product, but rather live a “lifestyle: (ie. Ralph Lauren..). When you compromise this “lifestyle” through inferior products, the affinity for the brand has dimished and will eventually fade away….

Always bring Design “Vision” to Reality…

Do not compromise your “Principles”…

Always bring reality to the “Lifestyle”…

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog…”

 

Whether looking to drive customers to your brand on-line or in-store, you must find creative, unique ways drive consumer traffic. This has become easier, and at the same time harder for brands with the evolution of the internet and digital interaction with your customer. As you look to find unique ways to drive traffic,you must always manage all aspects of your marketing strategy, as other brands are looking to outmaneuver you at every turn. Those that do  will inevitably grab market share…

With attention spans getting shorter, you must “connect” with customer quicker and have a “point of difference” over other brands. Easier said than done, this requires a clear, concise, impactful branding message that “grabs” your customer either visually, verbally or a combination of both mediums. With a clearly defined marketing strategy, a well thought out branding message via digital, hard copy, social and viral, will build a “pipeline” of connecting points to your consumer. 

A brand continually evolves in it’s messaging, however the founding principles should be anchored in its culture, message and products. Through this evolutionary process, the marketing strategy is a “key” component to successfully aligning with your “core” consumer. Establish this alignment, continually interact and engage your “brand advocates” and you will be richly rewarded…

Build a Foundational Marketing Strategy…

Connect and Interact with your “Brand Advocates”..

Stay True to your Brand “Foundation”…

Enjoy the Ride…!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..” 

 

 

Driving continuous Product Innovation is a key component to a brand hitting on all cylinders. Many brands that have this mentality are at the forefront of their respective product category evolution, and other brands are content to “bleed the juice” out of their “one hit wonder”(OHW).

This OHW strategy will move a product along the life cycle curve, with “late adopters” being the final nail in the coffin. There is no way for a brand without a substantial Product Innovation pipeline to sustain premium price points, as markets move to fast and products evolve to quickly. However, building the Innovation pipeline is only one piece of the product evolution cycle, it then has to be brought to market and adopted by the brand’s “core” consumer. This many times is where brands have very thin skin, as they realize how effective and efficient you have to be to pull this off at retail. Inside the corridors of the brand they may profess continuous Innovation, but once accomplished it may sit inside the “vault” never to be released to the world, for fear it will not be adopted and revenue flow affected.

This scenario plays out in brands all the time, however balance does need to come into the equation, the problem arises when you tip to scale to much to “No Risk” vs “High Risk”.  The key is to find the balance, keep driving the Product Innovation and continually out-innovate yourself. No one said this was easy, but is essential to staying relevant….!

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough…”
                                                                                                                    Mario Andretti…

Enjoy the Ride…!

Bryan Smeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog”

WEB: .bryansmeltzer.com

T: @bryansmeltzer

B: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success” 


A key formula to assuring you are able to realize your goal of being an “Innovation” driven brand, is to assure the innovation hits the market at the right time, in the right markets with the right consumer. This is all achieved by ensuring you have a cohesive Product Life Cycle Planning system in place.

Many brands either live by their founding principles and organization, which may not have a life cycle process in place and feel this will continue to evolve the brand and its products. This is usually inherent in a smaller brand, still living in itEntrepreneurial roots. The process will eventually catch up with the brand, finding that processes and procedures are integral to its future growth and success, with the Product Life Cycle Process being a key ingredient.

On the other hand  is a well established brand with finely tuned Product Life Cycle processes, but never bring anything to market on time. This “passing of the torch” can damage a brands innovation engine as well. By the time this product evolution or re-creation gets through the brands systems and approvals, it may be to late, as smaller, more nimble brands have already established a footprint. Obviously, there is a lot of good which can come out of these large product engines, as deeper pockets allow for more “hits & misses”, whereas smaller brands do not have this luxury.

Tucked neatly in the middle to these two dynamics is the mid-tier brand, very nimble, simple point to point contact for product approvals and deep enough R & D pockets to do some serious damage. They’ve grown out of the Entrepreneurial roots, but have not yet accepted the large company mindset. These companies are the most dangerous, and the biggest threat to grab market share the industry leaders. 

Drive the Market…

Keep it Simple…

Always think Big, but act Small…

Be Quick to Respond, and anticipate Reactions…

Enjoy the Ride…!

Bryan Smeltzer

bryansmeltzer.com

T: @bryansmeltzer

LI: linkedin.com/in/bryansmeltzer/

B: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success” 

Product Pipeline…

 

A “Product Innovation Pipeline” is built from foundational brand positioning principles, and driven by a defined process execution. As I have mentioned previously, it is much easier to “imitate” than it is to “innovate” in your market space. However, if you have a defined process for ensuring “Innovation” is always part of your overall brand strategy, then you will have no shortage of “market driving” ideas/concepts. 

This “Innovation Pipeline” build is a sophisticated process, from defining the overall market space/opportunity to brand positioning, through design “ideation” and eventual commercialization of your concept, each progressive step must be  managed to ensure the execution happens within timeline expectations. It is one thing to have a great idea, but if it is never commercialized, it remains a “great idea”….” Innovation” is driven through a foundational system which assures “market driving” concepts are commercialized, and ensures you have the proper leadership to provide accountability and ongoing visibility. Driving with a  “road map is certainly easier than driving in the dark with no clear direction. Some brands continue to drive in the dark hoping they find their destination, while others drive with a defined purpose, clear direction and a leader with a long term vision.

Define your Brand “Foundation”…

Build a “Product Innovation” System/Process…

Stick to your “Foundational Principles”…

Always look to “Drive the Market”…

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog…”