Reinvent the Space You Play In
Reinvent the Space You Play In
Reinvent the Space You Play In

The best brands have you in their marketing net before you really know it. They draw you in, although sometimes we may not be completely clear as to how or why, but we are there because we want to be. It occurred to me this last weekend while doing some holiday shopping for my bride that we were deep into a particular brand’s netting.

As with many women, Kim admires Pandora jewelry, which offers a plethora of unique jewelry intended to complement each woman’s individuality. Versatility and an extraordinary design thread distinguish this Danish line apart from the rest of the jewelry world. With a wide array of charms and beads, women around the globe now have the opportunity to be their own designer and personalize their jewelry selections according to their individual styles and moods. But that is just marketing stuff and isn’t the best part of the brand’s brilliance.

Wicked Frit Pandora
Image by FormFire Glassworks via Flickr

So a Pandora bracelet and a handful of their charms were in order for Kim’s birthday earlier this year. It was a great gift; I spent less than $500 for a cool bracelet and some charms, which she had already picked out. She loved it. Prefect right? What unfolded though, is fascinating.  It isn’t really a $500 bracelet; it is a $2,000 bracelet, made up by four to five more $200 visits to the jewelry store over time for more charms.

It is brilliant marketing. I would likely never purchase a $2,000 bracelet. I did, but it doesn’t “feel” that way because of the smaller purchases over time. Pandora reinvented the space they play in, and successfully persuaded folks to extend their spend, even in a down economic market.

Where Are the Animals? 

Is there really anything new under the sun? Probably not, but as marketers we continue to strive to find new ideas and ways to break from the pack of mediocrity. New ideas break out everywhere, and while this isn’t a new idea or even a new company, the story of Cirque Du Soleil is another great example of a company reinventing their space.

Initially named Les Échassiers, Cirque toured Quebec in 1980 as a performing troupe. In 1984, after securing a second year of funding, the troupe hired Guy Caron from the National Circus School to re-create it as a “proper circus.” Caron built it with no ring and no animals and in doing so reinvented what a circus was. They reinvented the space that they play in by effectively identifying which factors in their industry are routinely taken for granted that should be eliminated.

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Marketers must drill down into the things in your client’s or oganization’s industry that are routinely taken for granted that should be eliminated. These ideas are there for anyone to see, and are usually pretty evident when you begin to think about your industry from a different light. When you eliminate extraneous ones, you create your own market … one that is not so crowded and where you can flourish.

The problem with this type of disruptive thinking is your staff and employees cling to what they know, even if it has little to no real value anymore. At our own small business, it is our greatest challenge to get our staff to change, to think differently about what we do, and how we shape the brands we represent.

So, as you stare down the barrel of 2012, think about what things are routinely taken for granted that should be eliminated in your industry. Conversely, what things should be added? Reinvent the space you play in and create your own market. It is much more fun, and profitable.

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About the Author

Eric Brown
Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.

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