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When looking to establish yourself within a specific market, whether locally or globally, establishing your brand “Pillars” are crucial to building a long term strategy.

These “Pillars” are what anchor your company from the top, and liquify the entire company on a daily basis. If you do not know what you “stand for”, then how will you define your  POD -“Point of Difference” vs competitors. Even better, assume you do not have any competitors in your space, what would “aspire” your brand to be or achieve ? This many time frees the mind to imagine what could be, not what has been done !

The key is to clearly define yourself, breath this daily, do not comprise, and live the life. You can not fake, nor imitate your way to success. Success is found when you provide a “lifestyle” to your consumer, and they engage with your brand. You can build great products, but if they do not relate to your consumer, or more importantly your brand image, your eventual success will be short lived. 

Always define your brand “Pillars”, they build your foundational success..

Always “Live the Lifestyle” you are looking to provide, this builds “Passion”..

Always “Engage” with your customer, they provide the “Keys” to your success..!

Enjoy the Ride..!
Bryan Smeltzer

bryansmeltzer.com

@bryansmeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog” 

Merchandise your product as a complete brand, reflective of the “Lifestyle”, “Look” and “Feel” your “core” consumer would like to aspire to when they exit the retailers door. Many times brands do not fully embrace the significance of ensuring that all “pieces” of the merchandising puzzle are pulled together at retail. There are significant advantages to having a complete merchandised brand picture at retail, not the least of which is increased sales/ft 2, and brand equity. This not only involves the product, but also involves the aesthetics and environment in which you place your product. Uniform in design, complete in its message and rich in its environment.

When looking at what makes for a successful merchandising strategy for a brand, one key ingredient is a mixture of vertical product flow, assuming a collection driven product line, blended in an environment which makes purchasing this assortment open and easy to navigate. Many times the downfall to this strategy is out of stock sizing, colors, styles or plannograms that are not held in check. If not company owned, which the bulk are currently not, this is not controlled by the  brand and can be very frustrating to deal with when you have laid out a very clear  and cohesive merchandising strategy. Nonetheless, it can not be overstated, having a brand merchandising strategy is key to the overall successful sell through of  your product at retail.

This is a win-win scenario, as both the brand and the retailers look to have increased inventory turns. It has been proven that an effective merchandising plan increases sales/ft2, represents the brand as a lifestyle, and can provide for a relaxing shopping experience. The reward is the payoff, for the brand, retailer and the consumer…

Merchandise as a “Complete” Brand

Create a “Lifestyle” Environment

Build a “Loyal” Consumer

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

bryansmeltzer.com

@bryansmeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success”

 

Ever try driving down the road while looking in the rear mirror without crashing.? Probably do not want to try this, as you are likely to crash and burn. Even with this common sense knowledge, you will find this analogy going on with companies every day, even though they know this will likely result in failure.

Market driving companies are one’s that find themselves at the forefront of consumer perception, from both a product innovation and market positioning standpoint. Those that “drive” the market vs those that are “driven” by their respective markets, have established creative processes which allow them to interpret future consumer desires, dreams and needs and bring them into reality. When brought to reality, it is packaged, merchandised and marketed as the next evolution/generation that all “early adopters” mush have or be left to follow the crowd. The earlier in the adoption curve the brand can grab these “early adopters”, the longer the product lifecycle and greater profitability  at retail. Both good for your customer … the retailer…

Companies’s that are merely “driven” by the market find themselves with a “late adopter” consumer base, competitive pricing pressures and shorter product lifecycle. They must be very adept at managing forecast and inventory turns, within a very short window of opportunity if they expect to achieve any margin contribution.

For this reason alone, the greater your ability to “drive” the market and “core” consumer to your new/next generation of products, the greater your ability to avoid significant competitive pricing pressures, increase your product lifecycle and eventually draw down your product price points over time, while still maintaining substantial margin.

Always look to be the Leader, not a Follower…

Always Innovate, do not Imitate, it will keep you in the “First Mover” position…

Always take Risks, it should the Lifeblood of your Creative Engine…

 

Enjoy the Ride…!

Bryan Smeltzer

T: @bryansmeltzer

web:bryansmeltzer.com

BLOG: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success..”

 

 

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

@bryansmeltzer

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog…”

 

With the World literally within your reach, the new reality for driving your brand will be to connect globally with your prospective consumer through digital interactive media. The new interactive media “bloodline” is digital, which allows the marketing team to drive instantaneous brand messaging both virally and socially.

This new “weapon”, which has been proactively adopted by many brands, still is being deployed like a bomber blowing up anything in it’s path, versus an “elite” strike force with a defined target and mission. With this focus, this new weapon becomes a powerful part of your marketing strategy arsenal. Specifically, there are many different areas of “soft” copy digital media that can be implemented at lower cost with increased market penetration and defined metrics. This is the magic formula for marketing team that has always struggled to calculate ROI.

These digital campaigns are most effective when they  are part of an ongoing brand message, seasonal product releases and integrated into social media strategy. By “reaching” out to your “core” consumer, one who embraces culture and lifestyle of the brand, you have effectively built a pathway for them to become part of your brand. This is done via social networking, where you can “activate” interaction between “the brand” and the consumer. With this type of networking you can also decide to “partition” interaction between different segments of the brand such as: Sports Marketing, Marketing, Product, etc…. effectively creating an “underground” connection to the brand.

You can also extend digital marketing messages, and strategic campaigns that are measurable through “activation”, “interaction” and eventual consumer “purchase”. The power of digital marketing comes through in these campaigns and “social” interaction. Soft copy is now what Hard copy once was, still integral to the overall marketing strategy mix, but as a secondary component vs a primary driver. This “blending” marketing strategy will continue, but most if not all hard copy advertising has in someway adapted to the  “softcopy”  digital transition.

The message should be loud and clear, like a freight coming at you full speed.. your Choice is clear….

Jump On and Enjoy the Ride…

Get out of the Way and become Extinct…

 or do nothing and Die….

Your choice should be to “Jump On”.. Enjoy the Ride.. If you don’t, the next evolution in Marketing is coming and you need to be prepared with what is new reality today, so you are prepared for tomorrow..!

All the best..!

Enjoy the Ride….

Bryan Smeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog”

T:@bryansmeltzer

WEB:bryansmeltzer.com

 

Brand Culture…

Brand Culture…

A brand IS a Lifestyle choice for a consumer, not a Product choice. Growth for a Branded consumer products driven company is driven by your ability to create a Lifestyle for your “Core” customer first, and then balance it’s extension beyond this base. This is a very delicate balancing act, as a significant number of brands extended to far, eventually went over the cliff and their “core” base never returned.

Product by design for a premium brand should always be driven a quality and performance, but also has a story built around its eventual creation. This story is the “Connector” between the Design Ideation process, and Marketing’s ability to convey the vision at retail or on-line.

As the brand execution team, you are the ” keepers of the flame” , do not let it burn out… keep thinking outside the box… provide new experiences for your loyal followers, take them on the ride with you..! Always, Always…

Think

Act

Be

Different..!

Your customer wants to be part of the lifestyle offered and envisioned by your company, the brand. Their is a certain persona and lifestyle associated with… so give it to them and let them be part of it ! The Product is an extension of the brand, which is driven by a lifestyle chosen by your “core” consumer. Stay true your purpose, be authentic and they will stay loyal to you… The BRAND…!

Enjoy the Ride !

Bryan Smeltzer

“Product Innovation & Marketing Success Blog..”

T: @bryansmeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

Driving, and building a Brand’s ID to your “CORE” audience is key to developing a social presence, and long term relevance. “Juicing” the Brand is a continual process, and has many components that work together to ensure you have an effective marketing strategy. 

In the “digital” age you are constantly challenged with not only keeping your audience engaged, but ensuring your “voice” is of interest. With many voices looking to engage this audience, you must have an effective plan to continually keep them coming back and engaging them in your brand “culture”. As we have discussed, this Brand Culture…is the lifestyle your audience wants to be a part of.. 

Bring them in, engage them in your Brand, and keep them coming back..

Always look to “Juice”  the Brand…!
Always drive a “relevant” Brand message…!

Always build a long term “Plan” to Engage…!

Enjoy the Ride !
Bryan Smeltzer

BLOG: “Product Innovation & Marketing Success”

WEB: bryansmeltzer.com

T: @bryansmeltzer