10 Words to Provoke Brand+Product Ideas in 2010 (Part 1)

Here are the first 5 of 10 powerful words in the new ideas lexicon.

This is perhaps the word I use the most when trying to yank brands out of the shadows.  Mentoring involves looking to brands which have made it and applying their values and ways to your brand or category. So for example, how might Body Shop market a range of nutritional supplements or how might ZARA market a consumer electronics brand? This exercise will shake your brand out of its fuzzy point of view and provoke a unique stance. Some of my favourite brands to use for Mentoring are: Disney, Nike, Starbucks, MUJI, Haagen Daz, Target. You can also use people for brand mentoring, so how would Madonna market Vitamins or Oprah sell travel?

Brands have long been self-serving, consumer needs have shifted and their is now an opporunity for brands to provide open doors for consumers to do good through their consumption. Brands such as Toms Shoes have made doing good their sole purpose. With every pair of Tom’s Shoes bought another pair is donated to a needy person. Initiatives such as Bono’s RED campaign have long appreciated the appeal of brands that do good.

There is a tendency for brands within a single category to conform to unwritten codes of the category. This assumptive behaviour is detrimental to brand stand-out. A brand can go far by simply approaching the category with a dose of ANARCHY and over-turning some category norms. Ailing categories such as the leisure travel and the fitness market have benefited hugely by ditching some assumptions. The whole low cost airline sector is a result of anarchy.

Brands and products always seek to use complementary language and ingredients to help sell the advantages of their offering, however with new product overload it can be wise to embrace a known NEGATIVE when designing a new product. Max Factor Mascara did exactly this when they developed their 2000 calorie mascara. High calories mean volume to the consumer, which in a lashes context is not only a desired benefit but a memorable one too. Or how about embracing the negative “Cholestorol” for Hair Repair?

Challenge yourself to REMOVE a critical component of your product offering and then imagine how you would market this new product or service. You will be amazed at how inventive you can be. So imagine what a taxi service becomes without a Taxi Driver, or a Hotel with no staff?
Your end product idea may still include the removed benefit or feature but the process will certainly get you to re-imagine how value can be delivered.

Another 5 words to provoke ideas will appear in Part 2 of this post in Jan 2010.
Happy Holidays!