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Brand extensions for the common man

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celebrity, bottled and sold

celebrity, bottled and sold

Brand extensions are a natural for celebrities.

Britney has a fragrance, Puffy has a scent. Celebrity chef Rachael Ray sells santoku knives, EVOO (a Rachael-ism for Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and other kitchen products, including that infamous “garbage bowl” of hers. Jessica Simpson has literal brand extensions, a HairDo line of synthetic hair accessories.

But what about the common man or woman? How do we break into the market with our own product lines?

Breakout: Lauren Luke

user-generated content: packaged, branded, and sold

user-generated content: packaged, branded, and sold

Case study of a sell-sumer turned celebrity cosmetics purveyor:

Sometimes, you get discovered. Ad Age recently had an article on Lauren Luke, an unemployed single mother in the U.K. who started selling makeup on eBay, and then posting video tutorials of herself applying the makeup on YouTube.

Lauren’s video tutorials are amateur, unscripted and ad libbed, with a yapping dog in the background. This informal, no-frills approach to makeup application has brought more than 34 million visitors to her YouTube site. Eventually, the online attention brought her into a partnership with 1) a professional makeup manufacturer and 2) NYC ad firm Anomaly, who will help brand, market, and launch the new product line: By Lauren Luke.

Launch Your Line

Thoughtful bling by Furnish

Thoughtful bling by Furnish: do you have a better idea than foam jewelry?

What if you just want to get in the game now and partner with manufacturers and marketers immediately?

Lucky for you, this is the core business of Launch Your Line, a new turnkey service that lets people with a product line idea bring their vision to market faster. Their motto: “Start with a dream, end with a product line.”

Entrepreneurs sign up for free and get to line up all the business and service processes at once. A central “Dashboard” controls how you outsource processes like drafting, prototyping, production, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, distributing.

So there you have it. I expect to see some quirky brand name product line in the works from you budding entrepreneurs…


Written by @hellopanelo

April 15, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in, biz strategy, DIY

Mood-altering “motivationals” — kitten posters, possibility books, and physical talismans

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In his book Snoop, psychologist Sam Gosling says we keep some stuff around to assert our identities (brand-name goods, affiliation markers), but other stuff we own to regulate our moods.

Sound familiar? What are all the things we surround ourselves with, to subtly or obviously motivate us towards goals?

Successories is a company that has seized this market for “visual motivation.” (I like to think they got their start from that inspirational “Hang in There” kitten poster from the 70’s.) You’ve seen the Successories posters before — a majestic bald eagle accompanies a pithy statement on “Excellence”, or a crew team rowing in early dawn exemplifies some proverb on “Teamwork.” The imagery and language of Successories is ripe for parody, not lost on, whose line of Demotivators posters are committed to “Increasing Success by Lowering Expectations.”

Successories is cheesy because it’s manufactured and corporate-minded. What does a DIY approach look like for motivational propaganda?

In the 2005 film Last Holiday, Queen Latifah keeps a “Possibilities Book” — a scrapbook of magazine clippings and handwritten notes of her dreams for the future. When she finds out she has a terminal illness, she sets out to fulfill every dream in her possibilities book (which apparently involves going to chef GĂ©rard Depardieu’s hotel chalet restaurant in Prague.)

In the web 2.0 world, a possibilities book could be something like, a site that “makes your life a list.” You put you goals down, 43 things you want to do before you die, and get encouragement from others and presumably the motivation that comes from just expressing a specific ambition.

dollar1Sometimes the things you carry, literally, are an expression of your ambition. A young Jim Carey — way before his big break, working the stand-up comedy circuit in L.A. — once wrote himself a post-dated check for $10 million and carried that around as a tangible reminder of his goals.

But back to web 2.0 and the DIY approach.

Why not make your own visually motivating posters? After all, only you know what gets you out of bed in the morning. For these people, it’s simple: Make Something Cool Every Day. For Jeffre Jackson, blogger at Pink Air and inspiration for this post, he’s created his own nifty set of DIY motivation collages…


Written by @hellopanelo

March 21, 2009 at 7:05 pm

help yourselves! the self-help factor

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Fuzzy cameraphone shot, sorry. And yes, I thought Ben Franklin's bio might be a good self-help book.

The other day, a friend mentioned that self-help books are actually behind many success stories. Cheesy as they are, self-help books can provide the [motivation, epiphany, inspiration, what have you] that help people accomplish…. whatever it is they bought the self-help book to accomplish.

I admit, I’m a periodic self-help junkie too, often in my battle against dirt and time. (Recent titles: Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain, The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play).

Right now, I’m obsessing over alternative forms of work, and how we can escape the 9-to-5 grind as independent workers. I’ve got a healthy reading list this year, as people keep churning out books about how technology and globalization can let us work anytime from anywhere. Some titles are published traditionally and available easily at Amazon and other big bookstores (The 4-Hour Work Week, My So-Called Freelance Life).

Other titles I’ve heard about word-of-mouth, and are published by people I’ve met through networks. I’m Outta Here! is a book about the futures of work. It’s marketed and distributed by Lulu, a printing operation that lets you self-publish your own books, ebooks, music, and other materials on-demand.

Like fortune cookies and horoscopes, I take self-help books with a grain of salt. Keep what works for you and is relevant to your life — trash all the rest.

What are your self-help guilty pleasures?

FYI: Shelfari is an interesting web 2.0 way to track your reading consumption and keep up with others’ reading lists. My bookshelf’s here. It will look more impressive once we tackle this semester’s reading…

Written by @hellopanelo

February 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Posted in, good reads