This was a big moment for Noel Lee and the Monster team out here in Las Vegas for their annual CES press event on Monday. It seems like every year the audio brand tries to one up itself by trotting out big-name celebrities wearing their product, announcing some big product partnership, and gearing up for the always-eventful Monster Concerts at CES. But that was explicitly not the case for Lee and his brand this year.
Rather, Monster’s press conference had more of a humble tone to it, with the Head Monster attributing his success to things like strong retail partnerships, and him very candidly admitting that the brand doesn’t have the same mass market appeal as the likes of Sony, Samsung, or Apple. That fact, Lee said, has necessitated Monster’s evolution as a company and the launch of “Monster 4.0” here at CES 2019.
The new business model, which was rolled out in the company’s 40th year, places a major emphasis on partnerships. Still present in Monster’s expansive product lineup are updated headphones, its Blaster speaker, and other audio-driven products. But the company, which recently experienced something of a leadership upheaval, is dead set on leveraging forward-thinking and effective partnerships to expand its portfolio in ways that traditionally wouldn’t seem to make sense for a brand like Monster—except they’re actually shockingly on point.
WIth the help and drive of Noel Lee’s son Kevin, Monster announced its intentions to dive head first into some fascinating smart home categories, lead by their new Monster Illuminessence line of LED lighting solutions. Throughout other areas of the tech industry that we cover, we’re learning more and more about the importance of lighting. For home installers, lighting offers a simple and easy way to get in on the ground floor with homebuilding and renovation projects. But down to the DIY consumer level, lighting solutions offer a simple and truly unique way to upgrade the AV experience—or just the overall ambiance of a space—with just a few simple products. The line will include LED light strips, connected light bulbs, and more.
From there, Lee announced a new partnership with smart home software solutions provider Tuya. Tuya COO Alex Yang explained in a brief statement during the press conference how Tuya is a platform that works with brands and manufacturers to make nearly any product smart. Monster and Tuya, then, will work together on a wide-ranging line of products that expand the audio company’s portfolio in ways that, again, seem unconventional, but show their commitment to evolving and transforming their business model. Consumers can expect to see things like security cameras, connected doorbells, smart power strips that support Amazon Alexa, and more in the near future.
For Lee, the desire to evolve as a company is grounded in his realization that no mid-sized brand can do everything on its own. Rather than controlling the manufacturing, branding, marketing, distribution, selling, and all other aspects of its supply chain, Lee said, Monster will focus on what it does best and “partner with people who do all of those other things really well.”
So, while there won’t be a star-studded Monster musical extravaganza at CES this year, it’s refreshing to see this storied brand take meaningful steps towards revitalizing and evolving its business. It’s steps like these that are necessary to ensure they remain in business for another 40 years.