For the Love of the Game


Ok, guilty as charged…we love what we do.  In fact, we exude so much passion for it, sometimes it bubbles over and we just need to share. All this super stroller madness started with Joe and my inordinately fun consulting projects.  Since we added juvenile product consulting to the repertoire as well, our blog posts can’t always be just our press and product features or poking fun at the competitors…uh, they are now our customers too. So, instead,  we are trying some helpful tips from some of the great lectures and articles we encounter. I read an article in a recent HBR called ‘reinventing your business model’, and got inspired to offer an introspective for one of our industry friends to help shed some light on their concerns. In my opinion, they make some of the best strollers in the business but get very little love outside of Europe. Why you may ask?? Well, for one, when it comes to an assessment of your brand identity it is key to know when its time to spruce things up a little.

>>Why Change?

Breakthrough products and concepts rarely emerge from established businesses, mostly because new products need a new business model to thrive. To transcend the problem you must understand your existing model to the finest detail so you can reinvent it, and then figure out the way to get people to embrace to your new product offering. Despite the fact that few people will dispute its relevance, business model innovation is uncommon since most people would rather look to the product then the practice as the means to the solution. The answer to realizing a successful new model lies mostly in mapping the plan of implementation. First, think about the customer you are satisfying and the problem or service you are looking to address. Second, look at how to construct the blueprint to the model where you can address that need at a profit. Lastly, look to see how much change is required from your existing model to capture the opportunity. The tides are changing and in the wake of economic turmoil and a consumer spending crisis, you need to figure out ways to make your models more efficient and their product more appealing and value oriented.

>>Re-inaugurating your Brand to the consumer

The most critical element to address is the consumer value proposition. To be successful, the product needs to service a function or address a problem that the consumer is looking to have solved. The more important the function, the worse the substitute products and the better yours is, the more value will be assigned and thus the more you can appeal to being the answer. Clearly, the stroller industry is plagued with archaic designs and poorly marketed commodity product and you too can be a solution for the blossoming demographic of modern parents. Some of the most successful products will emerge from an opportunity where the rest of the substitute products have not been designated to address the specific function that is creating the demand. So, as opposed to designing a product and then figuring out where it fits into the market, read the market and identify the opportunities that are also a fit for the brand. If the idea is to make something utilitarian and price point, or to make it have a modern appeal, let it service that need with conviction and your brand’s way. The more a product is trying to be everything the more it loses its appeal to everyone. Although the customer value proposition is undoubtedly the main issue to address, it is critical to make note that there are four elements that comprise a smooth transition to the induction of a new model. The profit formula, resources and processes are the other components that can not directly help you to improve control but will be what creates your competitive differentiation. You do not want the project to be a pie in the sky that serves only promotional needs. Balancing the elements and ensuring they remain complementary is critical to long term success. From a marketing perspective, the product needs to have depth and address as the intrinsic values that the consumer looking to have filled. If the brand is positioned as a more premium, quality and stylish offering and appeals to the consumer who is looking for a product that while satisfies all of the needs for child transportation, still conveys their sense of personal style. New products that are introduced should have continuity and fit both in market and in the brand matrix with respect to design and functionality. Due to the amount of saturation in juvenile products, your approach needs to start from the point where the consumer is at the research phase, looking for how to have the need met more then solely at the point of sale. Help to engineer a platform where you can indoctrinate the sales staff and make better use of retail space while reinforcing the message to consumers with an aggressive media campaign.

>>Plan of Action

Plot a course that will enable you to expedite the strategy and implementation phase in order to deliver results with the most immediacy. By using the top down and bottom up approach, you can maximize the value proposition while accounting for the harmonious blend of all four of the aforementioned elements. To ensure a successful result, there is a 2 stage plan that will allow you to clearly plot a methodical course to attaining your desired outcome on a schedule that meets your needs. The objective of the alpha phase is to conduct extensive market research with consumer and retailer focus groups to identify the perception of the existing product mix at both levels. Secondly, isolate the strength weaknesses and opportunities with respect to the market and product attributes and will propose a course that will best capitalize on the opportunity. Lastly, identify the means to best tailor a message that you are looking to communicate with the brand and product. By using the appropriate conventional and non-conventional media channels you can maximize the relevant exposure and anchor the brand positioning. Once you establish a desired course and timeline, then begin the design section. After scrutinizing all aspects of the project, then implement the relevant market information from the alpha phase, dissect the product, packaging, potential accessories and marketing opportunities to make the most value packed proposition. In short, make the branding infectious, the products have merit, and both will play a symbiotic roll to one another.

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