It’s all about the product.
After visiting the shows earlier this summer it’s becoming clearer and clearer that product is becoming king. Gone are the days of producing any old product and slapping your name on it and expecting it to shoot out the door. If you want success with consumers then pure marketing hype has to now be replaced by messages informing consumers of the real benefits that they can gain from your product. The speed of information dissemination on the Internet means a product can be an instant hit or an instant failure.
So brands producing product that offers real benefits to users are even more likely to find they have a hit on their hands. Remember we are in the boardsports industry, our market is driven by technical developments in sports equipment, footwear and clothing, so developing new technologies to benefit participants is in our blood.
Today’s economic environment where most consumers have less to spend and so are more careful with their cash, is reinforcing the process. They now justify purchases by obtaining real benefits not just through believing the hype. And if they really feel those benefits they will be out there looking for other products, which promote similar emotions.
Brands are working hard at capitalising on this. They have worked out their USP, better now to be different than similar and are refocusing product lines around fewer key products with simple clear messages.
Likewise at Source we are doing the same, every issue now contains product trend reports, this issue we have cruisers, wetsuits, sunglasses and surf apparel trends, and online we additionally run previews of individual brand offerings for the upcoming seasons. Retailers (many of whom are independent and so buying in isolation) read our trend reports to get a third party opinion on what is happening out in the market place and what they need to be looking for in their next buying period.
So the pieces are all coming together and there is a feeling of a re-invigorated industry being driven by new products that give a real benefit to their users.
Product is king…long live the king!