Category Archives: New Products

Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 2.

This is part two of a three-part series on marketing differentiation.

Part 1 highlighted New York City wine retailer Taste Wine Company (User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store).  The innovative idea propelling this new venture:  shoppers can taste every bottle before buying!

Today, in Part 2, we take a look at global hotel brand Mama Shelter, and how its founders are putting a different spin on the US boutique hotel business.

Credit: Mama Shelter.

Credit: Mama Shelter.

 

 

Redefining Boutique Hotel Experience for an American Audience

The Mama Shelter hotel brand is an example of both marketing differentiation and a global-brand applied geographically. Continue reading

Texas Bus Company Caters to Fed-Up Air Travelers

You might think the bus transportation business – and bus operator marketing – are boring.

That’s the wrong answer in Texas, where a new company offers a unique transportation option to fed-up Lone Star State travelers.

Credit: Vonlane.

Credit: Vonlane.

Vonlane puts a smart-differentiation twist on the old-fashioned bus ride.  It’s a reminder that when you think like an end-user, you may find a path toward commercially successful differentiation.

Vonlane demonstrates, at least sometimes, that what appears to be a commodity product or service doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else. Continue reading

Uber Shifts Gears in Spain to Build Brand

Uber is an agile marketer and tenacious competitor.

The company is known for disrupting (positively, for the public) the taxi/car ride industry.

Whether by design or not, Uber has demonstrated many agile for marketing characteristics, including being flexible, experimental, empowering and customer focused.  As I’ll explain, Uber also seems to have a strong, clear vision that’s aligned with adaptive execution.  (Thanks to Barre Hardy of CMG Partners, and her recent webinar introduction to the agile for marketing concept.)

Vision and execution bring me to what Uber is doing in Spain.  

In December 2014, a Spanish court ruled that Uber could no longer operate its UberPop car sharing service in Barcelona.  Instead of being hamstrung, the company made a smart and creative brand-building pivot.  Uber switched gears to nurture its developing brand equity and maintain its business platform foothold.

In February, the company launched UberEats.

UberEATS - Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

UberEATS – Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

According to the intro blog post, UberEATS is “an on-demand food delivery service that gets you the best meals from the best local restaurants in under 10 minutes.”  (Uber has a similar Uber Fresh service in Los Angeles).

Here’s how Uber is executing the strategy: Continue reading

Creative Branding Hooks $1M Investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban

Founders Brad Schultz, Amy Steadman and Justin Fenchel (left to right) make the Shark Tank pitch for BeatBox Beverages – October 24, 2014. Credit: BeatBox Beverages.

Last Friday night on Shark Tank, Mark Cuban invested $1 million in a boxed, wine-based cocktail business. Why?

Excellent marketing and branding.

The founders of BeatBox Beverages, launched in 2013, have done a terrific job with creative branding, customer target definition, and positioning.  Cuban was sold on the growth opportunity for this fun, lifestyle, experiential brand. Continue reading

Golf Ball Sized Apples Bring Easy, Healthy Snacking Innovation

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

A New Zealand company has come up with a new, innovative concept to market a product that’s thousands of years old:  the apple.

It’s a combination of agricultural technology and smart marketing.

The Havelock North Fruit Company developed the capability to grow mini apples that are just 1.5 times the size of a golf ball (via cross-breeding selected varieties).  Next came packaging inspiration that put five apples into a hand-held , transparent tube.  The concept was tied together with an attention-generating brand called  Rockit™.

Continue reading

Swedish Flooring Company Gives Away Flip-flops To Sell New Product

iStockphoto.com

Photo: iStock.

A Swedish flooring company demonstrates you can breathe new life into an old marketing tactic: sampling.

No, I’m not talking about carpet squares mounted on a board or a child’s toy-sized piece of wood floor.

Forbo Flooring Systems, working with agency Valentin&Byhr, figured out how to break-through to the architects who spec their products.  They created flip-flops made from the floor material, and packed it up in a gift box: Continue reading

Razor Battle is On! 800Razors.com Challenges Dollar Shave Club and Gillette.

Photo:  800Razors Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

At first glance, it would be easy to conclude that 800Razors.com is just a Dollar Shave Club copycat in the nearly $2 billion razor cartridge category.

But that would be wrong.

Let’s quickly set the stage for this discussion.

Category leader Gillette built a strong business via a decades-long, continuing series of product innovations that support a premium-price strategy.  They kept some of the older models as part of a tiered product/pricing assortment for consumers.

An opening existed for a competitor to deliver a high-quality blade at much lower cost, and it came via a new business model.  Dollar Shave Club (DSC) emerged as a disruptive player in 2011/2012, getting wide notice with a wacky video featuring its founder.  Its online, recurring monthly sales model (“club”) took dead aim at the category giants selling through traditional retail channels.

Photo:  Dollar Shave Club website.

Photo: Dollar Shave Club website.

Then, in 2013, 800Razors.com joined the fray, building off the DSC approach while incorporating significant go-to-market differences:

Photo:  800Razors.com Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

  1. Buy Only When You Want.  800Razors allows single purchase. Dollar Shave Club does not.  It’s an important difference because it removes a potential obstacle to trial.  For example, I’ve thought about trying DSC but didn’t want to sign-up for regular monthly deliveries. Continue reading