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Driving Brand Equity… has many ingredients and each is built around the key principles of which the brand was founded. As you evolve and grow these principles can be adjusted, but not from the main positioning objective that are the origins of the brand.

To stick with what made you “stand for” is difficult at times, especially when you see the “low hanging fruit” in front of you, but remember any strategy that compromises brand equity or value is difficult to recover from long term. Short term you may reap the benefits of positioning which does not hold true to the brand, but eventually “trust” and “authentication” dissipates. 

The key to long term value is “staying the course” through the good and bad times, which all companies encounter at some point. The value of your brand is driven by instilled beliefs from the foundational bloodline that flows through the entire company…people, processes,messaging, positioning,products…

Value is a perception in the marketplace driven by the brands ability to built great product, market against the competition with a definitive POD, position within the right channels and continually stay “true” to your roots, as this will provide shelter when storms inevitably hit… 

Stay True to your “Foundation”…

 

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

W: bryansmeltzer.com

T: @bryansmeltzer

B: “Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..”

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Inspired Design… Every brand aspires to blend creative designs with the most innovative, market driving concepts. This objective and “true” brand foundation starts with inspiring your design team, and allowing the freedom to be creative beyond reality. Eventually, reality is brought to life in these designs, but it always starts with what is thought to be impossible.

From this foundational platform which allows designers to think beyond, “what currently is” to “what can be”, you will breed a creative force. It is the “what can be” that drives the creative engine, and allows for the most innovative product driven platform. Inspiring the design team is a process driven not by looking at what  is in the marketplace, but rather what is not being done, and what can be “adapted” to ensure the brand will drive innovation for the next century. As I have mentioned previously, you do need to look at your competitive set as  this will always be part of the process, not for what they have done, but rather for what they are not doing. The best designers do not want to drive in the rear view mirror, but always want to be driving the Lambo down the open road, while letting reality take a backseat.

” The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts, but how the get the old ones out…”

Wisdom from Dee Hock

Inspire the design team, both graphic and industrial, with free-flowing, brand driven, creative briefs and you will be rewarded with the most innovative, market driving concepts, which then are brought into real world. You will find this process will create concepts/ideas ahead of their time, and some will be uncomfortable with this direction. But isn’t that the goal…?

Enjoy the Ride..!
Bryan Smeltzer

W: bryansmeltzer.com

T: @bryansmeltzer

Brand Culture…

 

Driving Brand Success...Brands that strive to create and maintain a “culture driven” mindset will inject those “bloodlines” into all enter its corridors. These brands know the value of maintaining consistency in messaging, values and creative culture. The culture that is created, if broken, is difficult if not impossible to regain.

Culture drives a “cohesive” mystique around a brand, and builds a “manifesto” where all are part of one goal. This cohesive bond drives one voice and ensures the brand maintains a consistent “lifestyle” image. 

Always maintain your “Culture”…

Always strive for a “Consistent Voice”…

Always do what is right for “The Brand”…

Enjoy the Ride !

Bryan Smeltzer

T: @bryansmeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”

 

When building a Brand Strategy, you must define yourself through a “unique” proposition to your target demo. Fail to make a clear positioning, and you risk entering a world that is Shark infested, and you will quickly get eaten alive.

In order to avoid such a death, make sure you build a solid foundational, first and foremost by defining brand or product market position against your competitors. One that outlines your brand values/lifestyle, translated into a unique product proposition. This is your initial focus, but then find some “Open Water” , one where no one else is swimming. Stay away from the “Blood” bath of commodity, “me too” products, where your only competitive advantage is price with no value. If price is your competitive positioning, then get out of the way as someone will run you over sooner rather than later.

Finding a “unique” proposition can take many forms, such as; giving your consumer a purchase “experience” (i.e, Apple) through effective retail presentation, building a lifestyle your consumers want to experience (ie. Nike,Ralph Lauren), or driving an “anti-demo” mystique message (ie.Oakley). Each is unique and effective, but each must be managed with strict discipline.

Although difficult, you must find your Open Water and this will allow you to swim freely while others getting eaten alive in the “Blood” bath of playing it safe !!

Always look to find your “Unique” Selling Proposition…

Always find your “Open Water” …

Always avoid the “Blood Bath” of Imitator Products…

Be an “Innovator ” .. !

Enjoy the Ride !

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..”

 

The ability of a brand to connect with their “advocates” on-line, and proactively “reach out”  and interact is “key” to building a successful Social Marketing program. These “advocates” have the world within their reach, and want to be part of the brand’s lifestyle/culture.

If a brand fails to embrace these advocates from a viral and social perspective, they risk alienating their “core” consumer and driving business to another that will embrace them continually. In order to effectively reach out, you must define a clear social networking strategy , which encompass’s an “authentic” message with continual interaction. Many brands still reach out in a unilateral direction, which defines their strategy as self promoting machine that does not understand the current state of social interaction. When you have clear direction to viral/social interaction with your audience, it is not only defined by company positioning, but also infects everyone involved with the brand and as a result the message is clear, concise and effective at all levels. Successful Social Marketing is built off of foundation of guiding principles which are at the “core” of the brand:

Define “What” you stand for…

Communicate this clearly to everyone inside the brand “Camp”…

Be Proactive in “Reaching Out” to your Brand Advocates

Always be “Authentic”…

Once this “vertical” messaging is grounded into the principles of the brand, it can be communicated into the social world with your “brand advocates” , but the key to brand growth is the have these advocates “inject” others with the message, lifestyle and culture.  Remember, customers do not buy “products”, they buy “lifestyles”, and brands who understand this principle will  successfully grow not only their “advocate” base, but revenues as well.

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog…”

Creative Vision…

 

 

Companies that try to “milk” the Vision of their origins to long, suffer being eaten alive by their competition. Case in point…although Apple continues to thrive with a product life cycle created by Steve, this will soon turn into “Vapors” unless some new “Dent in the Universe” product is created. 

In addition to “milking” Steves legacy, Apple continues to get “pounded” by it’s competition, where they were the ones doing the pounding. I love Apple, and what is stands for, but at some point you have to stop the Apple “Core” from getting “Eaten Alive” ! Market share continues to dwindle, the product “pipeline” diminishes, and the true “Pirate” Vision of what Apple stood for continues to erode. It is actually sad to see, and one I am sure Steve would not like to see evolving from his Vision of Apple could be, and en-Visioned it would be.

The “Take no Prisoners” approach Steve had, with the mindset to “Always stay Hungry”, was the “Passion” that drove them to become the most valuable company in the world. Let’s hope this “Vision” does not continue to erode. 

The  “Hunter” has now become the “Hunted” , and the competition is taking Aim ! 

Always, always look to Innovate..!

Always obsolete successful products for something more Innovative..!

Always look to be the Hunter…!

Enjoy the Ride !

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog…”

 

Brand Driven Product Marketing is key to making the connection between your “brand” message to the “core” consumer, and attributes of your product. This is the juice behind your brand, and what allows you to achieve cohesive positioning in the marketplace. To often brands do not “connect” with their “brand advocates” or send an inconsistent message, which either does not resonate or sends a confusing message.

While at these “Market Driving” brands, such Oakley, Taylo

rMade, adidas or Schutt, our  product and marketing teams objective was to always  define our message while the product was being created, but most times this was clearly defined before pen was put to paper in the Design room. Strategically we knew what the brand stood for, and knew the product would match the message. Some of these brands had more clearly defined messages than others, but each had its own “authentication” and “heritage” story. Brand positioning had to match the message, culture and overall product strategy or you risk being thought of  as “not authentic” to your consumer. This is why it is always so critical to continually ask the question as you evolve your brand.. “Is this right for the brand..” ..

Whether in marketing strategies or products, it is always a key  question, but it all starts with a clearly defined product strategy, which then both the Product and Marketing teams can build a cohesive “Brand Driven” message around at retail. The more effective you are at creating a clearly defined positioning strategy, culture and vision for the progression of the brand, the more successful you will be at creating long term value. 

Match the Product with the Brand Message…

Engage your “Brand Advocates”…

Stick to your “Core” Vision for the Brand…

Enjoy the Ride..!!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog”