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R einvent Your Product Without Changing A Thing

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Nick Cotton Nov 24, 2014

Reinvent Your Product

Old Spice has been around since 1934. Originally made for for women, Old Spice has undergone countless changes to become one of the most dominant brands in men’s grooming products. But no shift was quite as dramatic as the approach executed by Wieden+Kennedy in 2010 with the “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign.

The success of the campaign rocketed sales of Old Spice. Records were broken. History was made. All accomplished without changing the product. Smoke, mirrors and a brilliant ad campaign.

A good marketing team is magical. Give them a product, choose a demographic and let them connect the dots. No need to waste precious resources on months or costly R&D when a weekend marketing retreat can lay out an entire rebranding campaign.

What can be done with marketing alone?

Open Up New Demographics

Before you expand, make sure you have a clear idea of who makes up your current customer base. Don’t guess. Dive deep into information you’ve collected on your market and have your team put together a profile of your average customer. To widen that base, allocate resources into assessing the new market you intend to break into. The team will have a much easier time retargeting advertising dollars if they’re armed with a clear idea of who you’re looking to target.

In the wake of their earlier success, Old Spice is returning to its 1934 roots and attracting women to the same product they’ve marketed to men. All done with smart and flexible messaging that appeals across demographics.

Appeal to New Emotions

It’s popular. Everyone wants it.
It’s scarce. You’ll be lucky to find it.
It’s a deal that’s disappearing fast.
It’s a staple that any real fan has to have.

A consumer’s emotions drive expectations and experience of a product. No market does this better than wine. What does the label do to communicate the flavor of a bottle of wine? Nothing and everything. The label has nothing to do with the objective flavor and everything to do with your subjective experience. In the upper echelons of wine tasting, professional connoisseurs work hard not to be exposed to the bottle until after they’ve tasted and rendered their judgment. The influence packaging has over our impressions can’t be overstated.

Inspire Nostalgia

Nostalgia gets its own category because of its unique influence over consumers. “New” doesn’t always sell. “Old” is a powerful motivator. Think homes, wine or toys from the early ‘90s. Keep a thing for a decade and it becomes retro. Keep it for two and it’s back in fashion.  But a product doesn’t need a long history to use nostalgia as point of leverage. Take the soon to be released Apple Watch: Apple is attempting to excite the general populace into purchasing a whole new category of electronics, but how are they distinguishing themselves from their competitors? By making their watch capable of looking and feeling like a regular watch.

Scroll down the Apple Watch product page. How are they trying to sell you on this latest gizmo? Processing power? Size of screen or hard drive? No. But they go into meticulous detail about the options of bands and enclosures the watch can be adorned with.  Apple is attempting to usher in a second-wind to the watch market by giving you the ability to make their new product look the way watches used to. For Millennials it’ll be retro, but for me? I’ll be returning to 1992 when my dad gave me my first flat black Casio digital.

The Drawing Board

The drawing board is the Bermuda Triangle for product developers, but for marketers it’s a playground. The best part about marketing is the instantaneous feedback: you can easily test messaging on low-cost Facebook ads that have been micro-targeted to your demographic. With a little reinvention, a company who sold a sense of security to Baby Boomers can reposition itself to sell vanity to Millennials. Same product, new possibilities.

Today’s Challenge:

Any marketing movement starts with small steps. Here’s where you can begin:

  • In the comments below list two new demographics that you would like to try to introduce to your brand

Expand your presence on the web

Reach new customers in your market.