By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs + Services
Learn how to develop and launch the right products for the right customer—with the right methods!
The four days of the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show will be packed with events as well as educational sessions. To help you plan your time at the Show, we’re giving you a preview of the presentations that will take place in the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center. Today we are speaking with Howard Lim, an expert in retail design and visual merchandising. His presentations are always entertaining and informative, so be sure to mark his program on your Show schedule.
Design Your Business and Brand for Higher Value and Profits
Date: Sunday, March 16, 2:30 – 3:20 p.m.
Location: Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, E350
Spanning a career of more than 25 years, Howard A. Lim has produced creative work for Fortune 500 brands such as Apple, Honda, Disney, DreamWorks, Acura, Xerox, Mattel, Paramount Pictures and HP. His company, HOW Creative®, established in 1987, is the first Los Angeles-based, single-source, multidisciplinary Authentic Business and Branding® firm.
HOW Creative offers a range of business design, branding and marketing services for companies of all shapes and sizes and provides support across the entire business life cycle — from startup to exit strategy — to help clients grow their business sustainably. His Comprehensive System Approach™ integrates strategy, implementation and management into a process that incorporates every aspect of business and brand-building. This process synchronizes every engagement point including company and product name and design, product design, environmental design, plaza design, brand identity, taglines, websites, annual reports, catalogs, packaging, events and retail design.
Howard, what inspires your passion in your work?
HOW Creative enriches millions of lives by designing businesses to shift their services, products and information into leading authentic brands—brands that matter more to people. I am passionate about solving problems for business leaders and coming up with innovative solutions to design and build their business and brand to gain higher profits, market share and customer loyalty. Furthermore, I have a passion for creating strategies that help consumers know that the products they’ve purchased are reliable, unique and will improve their life experience.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
The International Home + Housewares Show attracts the brightest thought leaders who come together under one roof to share best business practices from around the world. I enjoy contributing my ideas, concepts, knowledge and experience to inspire a better living environment.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
Most companies want to increase their sales, customers, value, equity, profit, and partners, and don’t know how or why their strategies are not working. I discovered that often it’s not their product or service, but their business model, brand core, outdated brand identity or the wrong marketing/ channels. They don’t have a far enough reach to create a trusted brand image in the customer’s mind and heart. I will show the attendees how to shorten the learning curve, excel or better their business model, and inspire their customers from bystanders to buyers.
You’ve presented in the Innovation Theater before. What are you looking forward to most from speaking?
I look forward to giving valuable information I’ve gathered from more than two decades of experience to inspire audience members to take action with their own businesses. I enjoy reconnecting with people and companies. Reviewing their progress and offering advice on where they are now, and what has changed since last year, is always intellectually stimulating and very gratifying for me as an adviser, speaker and mentor.
What kind of impact can the speakers of the Innovation Theater make at the Show?
The speakers offer their knowledge, experience and wisdom to the listeners who then can apply what they’ve learned to their business for immediate results. Likewise, it is a great opportunity for people to network and build relationships. Because speakers come from various industries, parts of the world as well as different cultures, attendees can hear alternate approaches to problems. These basic shifts in origin (whether it be industry or geographical) can provide profound shifts in perspective and can inspire fresh thinking that attendees can take home.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
The consumer has too many products to choose from and they don’t always know which brands to trust.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals face in the housewares market?
Consumers want to personalize and customize products to fit their aspirations, behavior and lifestyle. People in the housewares industry need to be aware that the soul of brands is definitely an up and coming trend. Additionally, they need to offer products that are an extension of the consumer’s personality. Cause Marketing is gaining attention as well. Lastly, consumers at various price points are demanding design with a focus on aesthetics and elegance. It’s no longer only the elite who want something beautiful; America is returning to its roots and experiencing a rebirth of our love of elegant products with incredible craftsmanship. If people in the housewares market are not alert to this trend, they will be left behind.
What advice could you give someone trying to get into your area of expertise?
Be openminded and creative. Study a minimum of six years of product and graphic design, philosophy, computer science, economy, art history, business, architecture, science, psychology and technology, and be mentored and trained by the best in multiple industries. Take risks, be patient but perseverant and don’t mind what others think about your ideas. Discover your passion.
Thank you, Howard. You’ve offered thought-provoking insights that will draw people to your program on Sunday, March 16 at 2:30 p.m. Learn more about Howard’s work at www. HOWCreative.com. His direct line is 310-455-0389.
At the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show, the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center will present 20 educational programs, beginning Saturday morning and running through Tuesday morning. Be sure to make time in your Show schedule for FREE executive-level seminars that will help build your business—at the Innovation Theater, located in Room E350—near the entry to the Level 3 Lobby, the gateway to the Lakeside Center exhibit hall. Check www.housewares.org regularly for updates on the schedule of Show events.