The Secrets of Becoming a Top Accessories BrandApril 24, 2013 By Bruce Borenstein, AfterShokz, president and CEO
Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about accessories as anything more than simple add-ons that play supporting roles to increase the benefits of their favorite products. But those of us in the accessory manufacturing business see the show differently: our inventions are the stars.
Yet, in the consumer technology industry, where innovation is busting at the seams, simply being a star doesn’t always translate into success. And for new brands, especially, becoming a household name may seem an impossible goal. I’ve learned that success is attainable through a recipe of one part creativity, one part dedication and a dash of optimism.
Before reading on, pause for a moment and put yourself in the shoe’s of your customer. Think about the dizzying array of choices consumers have: something to suit every taste, items that offer different features and benefits, all at varying price points. As consumers we crave that breadth of choice, and in our hunt for enhancement products, we demand it. From a manufacturer’s perspective, that’s the beauty of our business.
Because of a vast range of needs, there are endless opportunities for brands to develop products that fill many holes. Yet on the other hand, with so many choices, it becomes critical for manufacturers to find a way to shine brighter than the rest – to be enticing enough to be the product plucked from the shelves. But how? That’s the million-dollar question. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Shoot for the Bull’s Eye
Those of us in the accessories business know how tempting it is to want to offer it all, thinking that will increases our chance to touch as many people as possible with our brand. If you’re the manufacturer of phone cases, perhaps it makes sense to offer cases that extend battery life, are waterproof and come bejeweled in every color of the rainbow. While there’s a certain upside to being everything to everyone, that strategy can also take your eye off the ball—and that’s especially true for new brands trying to break into a crowded space.
Suggestion: hone in on the thing(s) you do well, and do that better than anyone else. In our case, rippling the waters of the sport headphones category required a unique design (one that doesn’t block the ears) and an equally nontraditional way to transfer sound (bone conduction). Don’t be afraid to pioneer a new category with your product in order to carve out your niche.