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Category: Value Creation

Value Creation

20 Ways To Kill Dull Products

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Product Innovation Strategy

When Nielsen analyzed over 3,400 new consumer product introductions launched in the U.S. market in 2012, it found just 14 managed to generate at least $50 million in sales in their first year and sustain that momentum into their second. Out of some 17,000 new products launched since 2008, just 62 of them have had that kind of success.

According to Taddy Hall, “Breakthrough Winners don’t rely on luck or genius. The hallmark of successful innovation is that they resolve struggles or fulfill aspirations; they perform jobs in consumers’ lives.”

With that in mind, here’s my 20 suggestions on how to arrive at wonderful products.

1. Rethink what’s assumed.
2. Redefine what gets done.
3. Make something much more accessible.
4. Make it so clear.
5. Do something simpler.
6. Bridge a little gap.
7. Add joy.
8. Connect/combine.
9. Startle.
10. Lift what gets paid for.

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Brand Loyalty Value Creation

Brand Strategy For Lasting Value

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Brand Loyalty

Every brand manager would like to believe that the world will love their brand. Given how much time, energy and experience they pour into trying to make that happen, that seems like a reasonable hope. But, as Douglas Van Praet observes in a recent Fast Company article, consumers are far from inclined to feel that way. “The human truth is no one wants to connect emotionally to your brand … People want to be [led] to a better life not bond with companies.”

We could debate whether people want to be led at all, but there’s little dispute that, in the light of this idea, brand loyalty is probably not what most brand managers have talked themselves into believing it is at all. If Van Praet is right, consumers are not loyal to a brand. Not really. Buyers are most loyal to the feeling that a brand evokes in them and in those around them. The emotion sways them. Perhaps the company reassures them, but it’s the feeling they keep coming back for.

Loyalty is connected with the hopes people have for their lives, not the companies themselves. People are inclined towards stories and ideas and changes that brands articulate that stimulate them and that attract their interest. All of this flies in the face of how brand managers rationalize what they do: that people identify with the brand; that awareness evokes loyalty and familiarity generates action. The thing is, maybe buyers aren’t really looking for the company when they look for the logo – perhaps they’re looking for a sign that the emotion they treasure is present.

This further suggests that brands that communicate but fail to bond people to ideas may not have achieved anything like the levels of loyalty that they think they have. They may get a response – but if Van Praet is right that response is triggered by other reasons: convenience; price; happenstance … Buyers may be moved by a stimulus to act. That does not mean they are hooked into the brand. Contact, even action, is not persuasion.

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Value Creation

Value Creation In The Post-Marketing World

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Economics is about deciding what’s valuable.

After the re-set in the global economy, people everywhere are re-evaluating and sorting out what is valuable in their lives and what is not. What the world needs now is to have more value added to it. And that’s what brands must do — add value to the world — if they want to lead the market in the post-marketing world.

This is one timely and underpinning theme of our brand strategy event, The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World May 16th & 17th in San Diego.

Creating new value is fundamental to the healthy functioning of our free-market economy. Like the natural law of gravity, creating new value is the natural law of increase. People are always seeking an increase to their lives — wanting to be a higher and more fuller expression of themselves. As brand marketers, when we have the opportunity to serve people well, we find greater meaning and satisfaction in our own life experience.

The marketplace is a slush pile of clutter.
Your biggest competitor in the marketplace is clutter. Attention spans are shrinking, people are fatigued by marketing messages coming at them from everywhere and on every device… attention spans are shorter, media channels are ever changing. One could argue now that people don’t care about brands, and they really don’t want a relationship with a brand — unless they get a discount.

If your company/product/brand no longer existed would any one care?
Does your brand represent an ideal (beyond your product / service function and money-making) that customers highly value? Does your organization focus on innovation that provides your best customers just what they’re asking for, or do you focus on providing future customers what they’re dreaming of and waiting for?

We live in the post branding/marketing world everything is branded and everything is good.
In a world of me-too products, resonance and relevance is an increasingly difficult challenge for brand marketers in every business category. If your value proposition looks, smells and tastes like marketing, people are more inclined to ignore you.

How brand marketers can be more successful.
Increasing your value to people requires insight to be out ahead of the customer’s stated needs and connecting with their unspoken aspirations and dreams. This is what people really care about. The products / brands that best represent these higher ideals are usually the ones that reshape categories, change people’s behavior and lead markets.

If you’re discounting your prices, you’re not leading anything
Only market leaders command premium pricing. There can only be one leader. Everyone else sells on functions and price. And in an over-crowded marketplace, where there is abundant choice, any price is too high. You can’t grow your value discounting your prices. Nor can you increase your prices without providing the equivalent or greater “use value” people are dreaming of and waiting for.

Moving up the value chain implies more than a fair exchange
It’s no longer enough to meet customer quality expectations. Today, everything is good. Good = the same!  To thrive, enlightened business leaders will focus less on urgent transactions and more on creating scintillating, dramatic, unique, relevant and transformative experiences. Experiences people love. This will always involve innovating new crazy ideas that provide far more “use value” than customers pay in cash value. This is the over-looked source code to customer advocacy.

Two choices: the creative plane or the competitive plane
If your brand is to thrive in the new economy driven by creating new value, you’ll have to choose between operating from the creative plane or the competitive plane.

When your organization operates on the competitive plane: It can only win when somebody else loses. You will only bring products to market that are based in incremental user needs, and abundantly available from other sources. You’ll be forced to compete at the lowest price. Crazy ideas that are without form and are unproven will be discounted in favor of the status quo. Your enterprise will be managed based on control, competition and survival.

When your organization creates value on the creative plane: There will be no shortage in supply of opportunity. You’ll innovate and design products that redefine the category, delighting customers with the unexpected, making competition irrelevant. Your customers will experience more use value than they pay in cash value–making price irrelevant. Your organization will be focused on turning possibilities into realities. Your organization will not count transactions but create experiences people love and build trust advertising money can’t buy.

What marketers need to do.

Embrace Crazy ideas
Everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be is at first a formless thought seed in the imagination of a creative mind. Many of the products we can’t live without today started out as crazy ideas– automobiles, airplanes, personal computing, digital music an entertainment, smartphones, the social web – stuff nobody needed or was asking for, but once realized was just the thing they we’re waiting for.

All the stuff that has changed how we live in the world begins as a formless crazy idea. Crazy ideas are always more richly embedded with game changing opportunity than safe ideas. A safe idea is the one you can “prove will work” before it takes form in the world.

Few if any great innovations were proven in advance.

Innovate around a higher meaning
Creating new value always involves proposing new or unexpected meanings. What matters most to people is not the function or performance of a given product, but their emotional, psychological and cultural connection to what the product means to them.

New value is in the “meaning” not in the physical thing. People don’t just buy product, they buy into a higher meaning. This unexpected idea, unsolicited by user needs, once discovered, turns out to be the very thing people were waiting for, just not asking for. Nobody was asking for an iPod, Facebook, baked potato chips, the Swiffer, or any other product innovation that has redefined or reinvented a category.

Forget user-centered innovation
With so many such examples in every industry to benchmark from, I am surprised most marketers don’t seem to “get it”.  Most are heavily invested in traditional market innovation – finding a consumer need and filling it.

Many marketers are focused on how their new product / service innovation has more buttons and is easier to use, has more features and is cheaper than the leading brand. A radical innovation of meaning rarely, if ever, comes from incremental improvements or user-centered approaches.

Most companies continue to improve incremental performance within existing market concepts they know well– leaving only a few visionary companies to gain competitive advantage (market leadership) by proposing new and different meanings.

The message of hope.

Value creator brands are guided by a higher purpose beyond money-making… they earn and deserve the advocacy of high value customers because they represent an “increase to life” itself. In our post-marketing-social-media world, consumers create communities based on shared values. Brands can’t add values to the world unless they have them.

Sponsored by: Brand Storytelling Workshop Series

Join us at The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in Your marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Value Creation

Brands And The Power Of Crazy Ideas

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The source code of value creation BEGINS with formless creative thought not data. Formless thought in the creative mind is where crazy ideas come from.  Crazy ideas have changed the world many times over. Knowing this, it’s surprising many marketers still don’t trust the crazy idea when it shows up.

Everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be is at first a formless thought seed in the creative mind. Many of the products we can’t live without today started out as crazy ideas– automobiles, airplanes, personal computing, digital entertainment, smartphones, the internet and social media – stuff nobody needed or was asking for, but once realized, was just the thing they we’re waiting for.

All the stuff that has changed how we live in the world begins as formless crazy ideas.

Crazy ideas are always more richly embedded with game changing opportunity than safe ideas. A safe idea is the one you can “prove will work” before it takes form in the world.

Crazy ideas are like ancient fire – feared until proven useful

As early humans, we learned and adapted within the context of our surroundings. When humans first learned that fire makes life easier (like cooking meat and keeping warm) the idea of fire was eagerly embraced as necessary for survival.

I’ll bet before people figured out the “use value” of fire, it probably was a very frightening thing to experience – consequently something one should avoid.

Crazy ideas are like that.

The music industry fought tooth and nail to avoid the crazy idea of digitally produced, reproduced and distributed music. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine the folly of their resistance to this crazy idea. But they did for nearly a decade at great harm to their shareholders.

Consumers weren’t demanding the crazy idea of digital music be created out of their unmet need for digital music.  Yet once its use value was realized, the crazy idea changed an industry and the world.

The same is true for more commonplace crazy ideas like the Swiffer, which changed how people clean their homes. Netflix which destroyed its established brick and mortar video rental competitors. Even DiGiorno Pizza, which elevated the idea of frozen pizza to freshly delivered pizza status. Nobody was asking for these crazy ideas, yet each one proved massively successful.

Crazy ideas propose new meanings and create competitive advantage

In a me-too world of abundant choice, it’s far better to create new value (propose new meanings) than compete for the value created by others. If your brand is competitively ranked number three or four in a category,  you might want to be thinking about a crazy idea that will create a new meaning around your brand that will put it in a league all its own.

That’s exactly what Swatch did.

When their bigger competitors Seiko and Casio were closely monitoring consumer needs for technical precision then inventing quartz technology, Swatch had the crazy idea that people valued self-expression more and created a new category and untouchable competitive advantage in a class all by themselves for well over 30 years.

The key ingredient to competitive advantage is to provide people with more “use value” than they have paid in cash value. That takes crazy ideas.

Although you could buy a high-quality, precision quartz watch from Casio for under $50, it didn’t provide the perceived use value of active self- expression available for $100 from Swatch. The correct time was not what Swatch customers valued. The same could be said of the iPhone over the Blackberry. The power of crazy ideas creates new value even when the innovation is not driven by known user needs.

Two choices: the creative plane or the competitive plane

If your brand is to thrive in the new economy driven by crazy ideas, you’ll have to choose between operating from the creative plane or the competitive plane.

When your organization operates on the competitive plane, it can only win when somebody else loses. It will only bring products to market that are based in incremental user needs and ever-cheaper prices. It will be forced to compete for low value customers. Crazy ideas that are without form and unproven will be quickly discounted in favor of the known and the proven. The business will be managed based on fear, control, competition and survival.

On the other hand, if your organization operates on the creative plane, it will have a compelling purpose and reason for being. There will be no shortage of supply or opportunity.  It will develop products that redefine the category, delighting customers with the unexpected, making competition irrelevant. Customers will experience more use value than they pay in cash value–making the price irrelevant. Everyone in the organization will be focused on turning possibilities into realities. Management will not be hyper focused on counting transactions but will create experiences people love earning trust  and advocacy that advertising money can’t buy.

Get crazy if you want your enterprise to move up the value chain.

Our latest crazy idea is designed around value creation for you and your brand:

The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn

Sponsored ByThe Brand Positioning Workshop, the Brand Storytelling Workshop Series and Brand Strategy and Customer Co-Creation Workshops

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Featured Value Creation

Brands With Vision Can Find Opportunity In Chaos

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Brand Strategy Opportunity

Like a raging storm in the open sea, the waves of change come at brand marketers from all directions. There is no eye in this perfect storm – no brief moment of calm to prepare for the next big wind to blow your business off course. The world is changing so fast most brand owners can hardly manage the process of learning what’s necessary to master to keep their ship afloat in all the apparent chaos surrounding them.

From the media we hear daily about the dire circumstances facing all of us on the planet. The stubbornly slow global economy, dwindling resources, over population, political uncertainty and global unrest are taking its toll on the collective creativity and resourcefulness necessary for humans to solve the wicked problems we have created in our modern age.

Everything is different now – profoundly different. Yet it is out of and from chaos that all new order is born. And we are at the beginning of a new order. That’s very good news for those brand marketers willing to view it as such and act accordingly.

We’re in this together.

Right now many brand marketers are connecting the dots between their present circumstances and the bigger, better future they desire to create; between the global picture and their personal circumstances; between individual and collective success. We’re all in this together.

As marketers, we can’t afford to continue to operate on the premise that when one of us wins, another must lose. We need to leave the competitive plane and operate on the creative plane – creating new value rather than competing for the value already created by others.

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