How Brand Affects Product Life Cycle

November 22nd, 2008

In a previous post I looked at how innovation can Restart the Product Life Cycle. As suggested there, most of us are familiar with the standard product life cycle graph. A product increases in popularity, levels out, and then declines. But have you thought about how brand can influence and help shape the product lifecycle?

In fact, a brand can dramatically influence the shape of your product’s life cycle. This includes both your company’s brand and your products brands. For the purpose of this article I will be discussing branding in general. To see how brand changes the shape of a product life cycle we need to first take a closer look at four stages of a brand’s life cycle.

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Bailout Economy Leads to Meaningless Innovation

November 14th, 2008

EconomyWhat happens when a global recession is met by massive bailouts? When large corporations are not allowed to fail?

First, natural market corrections are not allowed to take place. If the economy goes into recession and companies fail, competition is reduced and the market share of the failed companies is spread out among the remaining members of the industry. The industry is then able to build back up as the remaining companies are in a properly saturated market in relation to the current state of the economy. However, when companies are bailed out the market remains overly saturated and all companies suffer for a longer period of time.

Second, there is no longer fair competition. When the large corporation fails and is bailed out, they are allowed to survive in their mismanaged state. However, the “little guy” who may be extremely innovative and well managed, may fail in the resulting economic downturn. Then the mismanaged large corporation carries on business as usual, possibly to fail again.

The result of all this is that innovation becomes effectively meaningless. I do not mean that world changing ideas are going to be rendered meaningless. What I do mean is that when an innovative company is allowed to suffer and fail for the benefit of a mismanaged company there is no reason to innovate. Sure you can innovate to gain a share of the market, but take too much and cause your competition to fail, and they will be bailed out and the economy will crash and your innovative company will fail!

Overcoming the Stress of Innovation

October 27th, 2008

Stress of InnovationInnovating is always a stressful process. In my experience, the biggest stressor during the innovation development process is financial concerns. Finances are going out and there is not only nothing coming in, but there may not any future return on the investment. The longer your innovation development period takes, the worse this stress can be. Here are five ways to overcome the stress of innovation development.

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Innovation Starts the Green Industrial Revolution

June 19th, 2008

Power - EnergyWell the bloggsphere continues to buzz over EEStor’s ultra secret innovation; it’s a new type of battery currently referred to as an Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU). According to the buzz that started in 2005 in late 2008 we would start seeing production of this secretive innovation. It is with that anticipation that I write this article.

Let me be the first to state that there are few things known for certain about EEStor and their Electrical Energy Storage Units. And that is just how EEStor wants it. Is the secrecy used to drive the hype… or to hide a flaw in the technology? I’ll let you decide. But one thing is certain, if the claims EEStor makes about their Electrical Energy Storage Units are true, then we are in for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Why the hype? Essentially using EESU which is 1/10th the weight of a lead-acid battery you could drive your car from Toronto to Montreal (543 km or 337 miles) on a 3 or 4 minute charge! Forget plugging your car in overnight! Better still the EESU doesn’t use chemicals it uses solid state technology so it is completely green.

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How Much Should I Charge?

June 12th, 2008

One of the most common struggles for any start-up business is answering the question how much should I charge. In my experience this is one of the best questions for a business owner to struggle through. The benefit to answering the “how much should I charge” question is that once you have answered it, you have understood your business and industry inside and out. This doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it probably will take between one and three years.

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Is Your Price Point Too Low?

May 21st, 2008
Price points are often set too low or too high. Why? Do we set a price as a result of an emotional response, from market research, out of greed, on a whim, or for other reasons?
Low Price Point

I don’t know about you but whenever I am launching a new product one of the hardest things is finding the right price point. For me it starts something like this. Right after I come up with an innovative idea I jump to setting an initial price point. The next thing that happens is I start making sales projections. If I sell one hundred I will make this much profit. Of course I continue to increase the projections. What if I can sell five hundred, one thousand, or even one million? If I don’t like the projections, then I increase the price point and start making new projections. Now I beg to ask, is this process helpful? Or am I just revealing a level of greed? There are three things I always take from this process and none of them are the actual price point.

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Get Out of That Bad Investment

April 22nd, 2008

Get OutIt is always hard to let go of an investment before it is too late; this applies to all investments, be it a business, a product line, a personal investment of time, anything. There is a side of us that always thinks our bad investment could still turn around. However, that reasoning is more of a gambling mentality and not an investing one. But, even for good investors, why can it be so hard to let go?

Before we look closer at why we can’t let go, I would like to give you a simple tool to evaluate any investment and determine if it is time to let it go. First you need to know your mission (why your organization exists) and your values (what is important to your organization). Now just ask your self, does or will this investment achieve our mission and or contribute to what we value? Your gut answer to this question is probably right. As we look closer at why investments are hard to give up, I will give you examples of how this test can assist you.

In my experience there are many reason people find it hard to give up on an investment. The first two reasons are time and money invested. We find it tough to see hard costs lost when there is still some hope of return. If your organization exists to make money and you only value money, these are the only two items you need to concern yourself with. But most organization and situations are more complex then that.

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Supporting Innovations

April 9th, 2008

Bridge SupportWell you have launched a new company… or a new product. You made your big splash and made some money. But, your competitors are already mimicking your big idea. And you are frustrated that you cannot find another innovation that will appeal to your market share. What are you supposed to do now? Simply put, you need to look at things from another perspective; you need supporting innovations.

If your mission is to sell great shoes and you focus all your time and money developing the perfect shoe, then you will fall short! Consider the things that your company values and look to innovate in those areas as a way of supporting your overall products. If your company values customer service, look to innovate in customer service.

Supportive innovations accomplish three key things for your main product:

  1. Draw in new customers
  2. Generate repeat customers
  3. Lengthen the product life cycle
  4. Increase product effectiveness
  5. Broaden the audience of your product

Supporting innovations are a simple but powerful concept. Too often we get bogged down with our “bread and butter” innovations and neglect the areas that make such innovations possible and effective.

A quick word of caution, do not spread yourself too thin with supporting innovations which distract from your overall purpose.