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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..”

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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”

 

Strategic Viral, brand driven, marketing is one of the most strategic weapons available in the marketing Arsenal. This weapon, if deployed effectively and accurately, allows you to touch the “core” of your demo with messaging, imagery and a targeted “injection” that connects them with the brand.

With the increasing use of digital & social media marketing, viral “injections” can be achieved on many different levels. The most effective campaign is a clearly defined strategy of continuous messaging through events, promotions, products and branding. Each and every one of these “fuel the passion” for the brand advocates. Never taken for granted, and always “engaged”, the brands that effectively manage this balance and stay “true” to their foundational principles will build a following others will envy..

“Why join the Navy, when you can be a Pirate..”

                                                                                    Mr. Steve Jobs

This messaging must be achieved through a coordinated effort of the marketing force in the field  creating the content, and the digital marketing team converting the relevant brand content. I say relevant, as to many brands build digital content for sake of building content, though no true brand connection exists. This is the most difficult part of building a “Viral” strategy, and one that needs a “pipeline” to ensure content is continually flowing, and your advocates are engaged AND interacting. Interaction is the “key” to gauging your success. If all you are doing is building content down a one way street, with no active/mutual engagement with your “core” base, then you have done nothing more than build a mountain of digital content that no one cares about, and may in the long run damage the brand and your base.

Define your “Viral” content Strategy…

Build “Relevant” Content…

Actively “Engage” your “Core”…

Viral marketing is truly a powerful weapon, but make sure you deploy it effectively, and with a strategy before pulling the trigger. Done effectively, watch your infection base grown and the passion for your brand build…

Enjoy the Ride..!

Bryan Smeltzer

http://www.bryansmeltzer.com

“Product Innovation and Marketing Success Blog..”

 

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/

 


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…”