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”

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

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success..”



Building a platform for continual “Creative” success requires a cohesive mindset, and collective brand effort. These foundational principles ensures first and foremost those “driving” the brand are clear as to the near, and long term expectations.

These expectations are built from defining “what” you as a brand stand for, “how” you are positioned, “where” you are located and “when” you communicate to your “core” audience. Your brand “Advocates” expect a consistent voice, and a clear message both visually and verbally. Anytime there is a disconnect between these messaging mediums, you risk breaking this chain of loyalty.

It is crucial, and integral to a brand, that you “Create” a brand positioning strategy which gives a consistent voice and image behind the brand. If inconsistent, or there is a disconnect, a Brand risks loyalty “Destruction”, and trying to rebuild this foundation is difficult if not impossible to achieve.

I have had this situation with several brands I know very well. They choose the “low hanging fruit” to drive revenue and disregard the brand “foundation” in the hope their “core” will not notice, but inevitably they will and this “disconnect” spreads like a “digital” virus. You have a choice as a Brand, stay consistent to your “Creative Foundational Principles” or “Sell your Soul” and risk “Destruction” at the hands of those who built your brand.

“Always stay “True” to your “Roots”, they will help you grow..!”

“Always remain consistent to your “Foundational Principles..!”

“Always give your “Brand Advocates” a consistent “Voice” and “Image”..!”

Success is driven by your ability to keep consistent with your original “Vision” of “what you stand for..”. Your ability to adapt, while remaining “True” to this “Vision” will be key long term. As I have mentioned, there are many brands who lay in the “wasteland” of broken promises, not to themselves as much as to others.

Enjoy the Ride !
Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”

Inspired Design…


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…” 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


TWITTER: bryansmeltzer

SITE: bryansmeltzer.com

BLOG: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success..”

Take Risks..!



When Driving your “Go to Market” strategy, the safe vs risk component is always front and center. I say have a very cohesive brand development strategy, and one that drives home your message, but take a risk ! This is your chance to get people talking, they key is not to be something you are not, but rather something you would like to “eVolVe” into at some point. Brand “EvoLutioN” is key if you are to survive against your competition, regardless of the product you sell.

Being “different” has a proven model for success, and one that allows a brand to evolve and be accepted. This strategy is also very uncomfortable for many brands, with risk there is reward, but also the chance for failure. Failure is the Battle Scars of a “True” Innovator !! Those who play it safe, with a “Imitate vs Innovate” mentality eventually get run over ! Get off the tracks if you are not going to risk failure….

  • Always Take strategic Risks..!
  • Always Assure that Failure makes you a stronger Brand..!
  • Always Encourage Risk taking..!

Enjoy the Ride !
Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”



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


“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog…”

Driving Brand Success...


In order to effectively drive your products at retail, regardless of channel, you must have a clear product positioning strategy. This strategy must allow you to not only establish a “footprint” within your targeted distribution channel, but continually build upon your success.

With inventory turns being a barometer of success, it will be key for the brand to establish their competitive “POD” while presenting your product line, and activating this strategy when it hits the shelf at retail. This positioning takes form on many different levels, and each complements one another to structure a vertical brand. These components are; product performance attributes, pricing structure, branding, key selling points and merchandising strategy, each building upon one another.

If you believe your product has clear ,”authentic”, benefits that are superior to key competitors, this should always be your lead. Other components will round out the overall positioning, but having a superior product allows you to tell your story from concept through reality. This is why true “innovators”, not “imitators” will have a distinct advantage when it comes to positioning, and securing a leadership position. “Imitators” drive by looking the rear view mirror, while “Innovators” drive by looking forward and lead the pack. This is why “Imitators” crash and burn…

Always look to Position through superior Innovation..

Always stay ahead of the Imitators…

Always look to build a Vertical brand…

Enjoy the Ride..!
Bryan Smeltzer




“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog…”



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…

Always Stay True to your “Foundation”…


Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer


“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..”