By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator
At the International Home + Housewares Show in March, the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center (formerly called the Housewares Design Theater) will present 20 educational programs, every hour beginning Saturday afternoon and ending Tuesday afternoon. The Theater, which was located in the Level 3 Lobby, moves to Room E350 (near the entry to the Level 3 Lobby) where experts in new product development and launch will discuss critical and timely topics in our industry. Over the next few months, we’ll introduce you to the presenters with a series of blog stories. Be sure to mark your calendars for these exciting programs! Check www.housewares.org regularly for updates on the schedule of Show events.
How Your Brand Is Killing Sales Monday, March 12 1:30 — 2:20 pm.
Nestled in California’s Malibu Mountains, How Creative, established in 1987 by Howard Lim, finds inspiration in Pacific Ocean vistas. How Creative leads its clients in a journey named Authentic Branding® to develop compelling brand images, which are the sum of what your customers really think, feel, know (or perceive) and experience about your company. Brand images belong to people, not companies. As Howard will describe, Authentic Brand Touchpoints™ are every contact point between a brand identity and consumer. In his presentation at the Innovation Theater, he’ll map out what it takes to get to those points.
Howard, tell us what inspires your passion in your work?
Well, let’s start with my vision; my vision is to inspire millions of lives by assisting businesses to shift their services and products into becoming Authentic Brands that connect with people’s intellect, emotions and experiences. I’m inspired by creating Authentic Brands that are real and original and make a difference in people’s lives by enhancing their lifestyle. All we truly have as a species are our experiences. And I say, “Why not create brands that are engaging and memorable for the better?” I enjoy making my clients more profitable, building brand equity and value, and having all the stakeholders be proud of their brands. I enjoy supporting business with a clear purpose. And when businesses have clear purpose, they are far more likely to succeed and lead.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
I was first invited to speak at the Inventors Corner last year when the organizers decided that it was necessary to add an educational element to the Show experience for the inventors exhibiting in the Inventors Corner. These educational sessions focused support for entrepreneurs and inventors at the Show. I really value how the International Home + Housewares Show is central to the industry, presenting consumer lifestyle information and innovation all under one roof. I enjoy being on the cutting edge in all industries.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
The word branding is so over-used, misunderstood, misused and has been zapped of its much of its meaning. But it is the most powerful of all business practices. And once its true meaning is understood, it can leverage a business to new profits, increased value and equity. Plus branding has the ability to attract more customers and better employees, while giving meaning and purpose to organizations, helping them stand out from their competition, and creating an experience that earns loyalty and trust. Branding is everyone’s business, whether you are inventor, entrepreneur, CEO, VP, manager, investor, buyer, distributor, customer or employee. The question becomes — are you branding from the “hip” or “on purpose”?
Here is an outline of what I will try to cover in my presentation:
• What Authentic Branding® is and what is not, and what it may cost you if you don’t know the difference
• How to conduct a brand audit on your business for higher profits and customer retention
• How to create a business brand culture to attract more effective, inspired employees and loyal customers
• How to enhance your business model for the new economy and increase your revenues within it
• What are the 5 most common—and costly—mistakes companies make
• How to expand your client/customer data base
• How to define your customer profile
• How to create new opportunities in the industry and channels for higher revenue streams
• How to learn the essentials of a brand’s core that may be worth more than the balance sheet
• How to look for shortcuts in your customers’ selling cycle for faster profits
• How to define your brand’s personality and learn how it drives the emotions behind all your media
• How to form matches between your company’s value and your prospects’ mindset
• How to create a brand that is Authentic to your business (your business is an original, don’t brand it like a copy)
• How to avoid the common branding mistakes that cost companies thousands to millions of dollars
• How to alter your customers’ perceptions for increased trust and profits
• How to integrate your communications pieces to become an extension of your brand personality
Since this is your first time as a speaker at the Show, what are you expecting?
I intend to give the audience a $25k dollar-valued lesson plan. I enjoy making a difference in other people’s lives, and I’m giving them tools and knowledge they can walk away with that makes a difference in their businesses.
How does the Innovation Theater help you spread your message?
It is an opportunity to impact the audience with valuable knowledge they can apply and share with others – pay it forward.
What kind of impact as a whole can the speakers of the Innovation Theater have at the Show?
They can influence businesses and give them insight into important tools for success.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals face in the housewares market?
I see a lot of product development professionals trying to be too trendy, rather than authentic or an original. They are too busy keeping up with others. If you are an original you don’t need to be a copy. Companies need to be clear on their philosophy, vision and values to start with, before producing a product. They need to stand for something first. When products are balanced between aesthetics and functionality they are more likely to succeed in their respective market place. Quality + innovation + technololgy adds up to more successful brands, especially in this crowded market. They need to spend more time with stronger strategies; brand (experience), consumer (engagement) and business (business model) strategies.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
I believe that people ask themselves, “How does the product fit into my environment and how does it make me feel every time I see and use it?”
What is the best advice you could give someone trying to get into your area of expertise?
If possible, work or represent big brands. The only way I learned the truth about branding was representing many of the Fortune 500 brands from Apple, Disney, ABC Networks, Honda, Namco, etc. Without that experience I would not be where I am now. Understand all the dimensions and aspects of branding—strategy to implementation. When you understand the entire picture of branding and apply it, you will be able to better represent clients and steer them away from obstacles and towards success.
Thank you, Howard, for giving us a preview of your program with us. We look forward to being inspired by your presentation at the Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, E350, on Monday, March 12 at 1:30 p.m. It’s sure to be a deep dive into a big topic! Visit www.howcreative.net to learn more about Howard’s creative work and vision.