My daughter Kristen has just graduated from college with a degree in fashion design and has been tapped to design a line for a luxury sustainable wood eyewear company. (whoooohooooo!) And in a series of conversations over the past few weeks we touched on brand positioning – as each of the people involved is representing and nurturing their own emergent brand.
From my outsider view – the eyewear company has a high-end, green/sustainable, kind of edgy but meticulously hand-crafted eyewear product/brand. (It’s a pretty cool product and I would like a pair myself… but I digress…)
My daughter’s brand perspective provides a global design aesthetic with a focus on the melding of color, creativity and texture. So then in this collaborative environment, how can each new brand be positioned synergistically?
In this case, the eyewear brand should lead and the designer should follow because it is important that a new product company with a narrowly focused line not be diluted or eclipsed by a designer’s brand.
However, the benefit of bringing a designer in (which btw is a great idea for other micropreneurs to consider) means that the designer should influence and add to the product story. It then becomes a great angle for the product company’s marketing and sales materials – even for those launches with a limited time engagement. With proper handling even an emerging designer with a strong perspective can help craft the story for the product company. And the benefits for the designer will be numerous as well.
I think there are other cases where mature companies can take somewhat of a back seat and exist more as the platform. Take the Target and Neiman Marcus collabo for example – a rather brilliant program all the way around. They sought to bring in hot leading designers to launch “affordable chic” lines for the following impressive design roster:
Alice + Olivia, Altuzarra, Band of Outsiders, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Eddie Borgo, Jason Wu, Judith Leiber, Lela Rose, Marchesa, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Philip Crangi, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Robert Rodriguez, Rodarte, Skaist-Taylor, Thom Browne, Tory Burch and Tracy Reese.
In this case, all of the brands were well known – and each lends its own credibility and depth to the experience. It also broadens the reach for both Target and Neiman’s. The lines are introduced to an entirely new entry-level market and presumably as they mature (read: have more disposable income) they will seek out the true luxury buying experience with Neiman Marcus.
Ahhh…. yes, balanced collaborative branding takes a considered approach but as in these two cases, it can be a brilliantly executed experience for everyone involved – including the consumer!
Hey there. I’m back just jotting down my answer to a question posed to me today from one of my clients that I thought may interest you. She wanted to know what my top four suggestions were for adding residual income streams based on my own personal business building experience. Great question.
Here they are in no particular order:
1. Create an application that will provide a solution for the core problems your own customers are facing. Think automation, sharing/collaboration, or data mining.
2. Create and sell your own branded information products including e-books, white papers, how-to guides, etc.
3. In this same vein, create a self-guided online course for your clients.
4. Add a much needed/requested service that you don’t currently provide for your clients. Outsource it to a trusted and competent provider and keep a percentage of the income.
I have personally seen each one of these ideas grow business profits exponentially.
We have noticed for years now that creative skills in this economy are becoming more highly regarded. As we move from our reliance on production of goods and materials to one more largely based on selling ideas, we find that the creative vanguard is thriving. You know it’s true what they say about the number of millionaires that will tend to emerge from times of great economic distress, despite the circumstances.
With the right tools (almost all of which are found online) it’s now really easy to create, distribute, manage and collect revenue – right from your bedroom if you wish. If nothing else, the recession has taught us all to be more resourceful and to build multiple revenue streams. (just make sure it’s done well to ensure long-lasting profitability)
Here are six strategy considerations for building companies which thrive in the creative economy::
- Multi-tier pricing plans :: be flexible in how you approach your pricing model so that you can capitalize on all available revenue opportunities. We often recommend three or four layers to your pricing model
- Multiple product formats :: just as there are multiple prices, design and develop your product offerings in different packages or formats to meet the needs of your consumer
- Cottage Industry Costs :: keep your overhead low and put more money in your business checking account by working from shared spaces or home offices, this makes you nimble and keeps you from becoming a dinosaur
- Creative Consortia :: build mastermind teams who commit to sharing their skills to help everyone thrive
- Make it multiple :: one website isn’t enough these days your brand should have multiple sales, event and social media networks, feeds and landing pages all branded with care.
- Strategic partnerships :: Create an affinity network to help you save and make money. Share your costs and profits from by developing shared advertising and campaigns and product offerings.
A mathematician I am not; but for some odd reason the Fibonacci sequence came to mind this morning when considering the power of partnerships. Originally applied to the idea of how rabbits multiply so quickly, this recursive sequence is calculated by adding the sum of the former to the next number.
Or more simply :: 0 + 1 = 1; 1 + 1 = 2; 1 + 2 = 3; 2 + 3 = 5 and so on to infinity.
This sequence illustrates the power of numbers. We know through our work that when two businesses align around an idea and a well-designed project, product or service; it becomes much more likely that there will be a significant increase in bottom line sales for everyone involved.
There is always some level of risk involved with partnering because you can severely jeopardize your brand by aligning with a company that doesn’t deliver the way you and your customers need them to. All businesses that are thinking of applying this growth model should conduct some level of due diligence to ensure that they can identify the correct partners, plan and implement a project, and correct the program if it should go off track.
If your small businesses is focused on doing one thing well and you have achieved a certain level of success you may want to consider the next-stage growth of your business using this method.