Business

[column] Unleash the cowboy in you and innovate!

By the latter I mean that you also have to have guts and stand right in front of your introduction. And you also have to mess with existing market conventions.

A current example is the introduction of Fromance under the brand new WildWestland brand, which was jointly developed by Westland cheese and Those Vegan Cowboys. The latter wants to make imitation dairy from vegetable products and the former wants to make it more sustainable and say goodbye to dairy produced with milk. WildFromance is a new company located in Huizen near Westland Kaas. The partners have the ambition to make the most sustainable and at the same time tastiest cheese and set the bar quite high. The traditional cheese girl has been kept, but got a new cowboy-like outfit. However, the real live cow has been exchanged for a steel cow, the machine with which the product is made in the factory.

In this case, both companies set the bar very high by doing just about everything differently.

They have developed an entirely new product, are marketing it under a new brand called WildWestland, at the same time naming a non-existing product category Fromance and creating their own market, the “no cow” market. Fromance is a bold product name, especially given the meaning given to it in the dictionary: An intense friendship with a person of the opposite sex which is in many ways like a relationship but without any sexual contact.

The question is whether consumers and retail will pick up on this quickly and thus boost turnover. It will undoubtedly require a lot of marketing and advertising efforts, but Westland has a lot of experience with this.

Successful innovators

There were more ‘cowboys’ who successfully broke through with their innovations. These were men and women with a stubborn and unique view of the world who wanted to change the standard in a market with amazing innovations. Just think of what Steve Jobs, Steve Woźniak and Ronald Wayne have marketed with Apple. For the – then leading – IBM computers, users needed quite a lot of knowledge to be able to operate them properly. Bee apple the roles were reversed and the computer and later the telephone were in the service of the user and is characterized by pleasant user-friendliness and attractive design. Apple also has smart and appealing branding from the get-go. That also explains why Apple still charges a high price for its products.

Another cowboy who doesn’t care much about existing conventions is Elon Musk. He saw that making the automotive industry more sustainable was excruciatingly slow and developed with Tesla the new standard in the electric car market in a relatively short period of time. Nothing hybrid, just 100% electric, with a fairly long range on the battery and, moreover, a beautiful design. All this aided by numerous subsidy schemes, Tesla quickly became a success and the defining standard in the market. As is well known, Musk is doing the same innovative ride with trucks, space tourism and other things. Tesla is also characterized by a well-considered and appealing branding.

Also Pieter Zwart with coolblue is a successful cowboy. He was admittedly not the very first in the online department store market, because Wehkamp (since 1952) and bol.com (just like Coolblue since 1999) were already active there. But he did manage to successfully bind the consumer to the brand by adjusting the standard in the market. At Coolblue they saw that consumers were reluctant to pay for the goods in advance, so Coolblue was the first to introduce payment afterwards. In addition, the orders were delivered much faster, often within 24 hours, something that consumers also appreciate. Coolblue is a successful Dutch brand.

Innovations only successful with cowboys?

In the examples mentioned, cowboy behaviour, daring to tackle and daring to change the market with guts and ambition is very important. This does not alter the fact that the development of the innovation itself is serious business.

If the product, service, service or technology is not of perfect quality, you have a big problem. The same applies to the development of brand name, product name and protection thereof. Here are a few tips from the broad practice of the Brand Commissioners.

  • Read carefully so that you know in advance what the existing offer is.
  • Conduct an extensive market exploration for those brands, products or services with which you want to compete; learn from their success and from their mistakes.
  • Carry out a thorough concept research in advance at a market research agency and sharpen the concept.
  • Make sure that the innovation fits in well with a (latent) market need.
  • Development of a brand positioning using Brandkey or BrandneXt
  • Develop and protect a brand name and branding route in a timely manner.
  • In the development phase, introduce the user to your product or service in order to gauge their interest, judgment and intention to use.
  • Once you have completed the concept and positioning, develop an appealing corporate identity, brandquide book and logo; that certainly helps with the introduction.
  • Let the market introduction come between the eyes and ears of your target group in a banging way.

Let the cowboy in your marketing body stand up and innovate!

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