File under: Branding

The King Is Dead

King Product

The saying “Product is king” was the reigning collective idea years before buzz words. With true merit the idea drove entrepreneurs to focus on making their product the best it could be. Which is pretty great for all of us.

And thanks to a focus on creating superior products
we have Fidget Spinners.

Ok, maybe not the best example, but it’s safe to say it’s hard to keep up with all the great products out in the world. This is due to a focus on getting a minimum viable product to market and fast innovation lending a hand to improve quality. Today’s tech tools also make it simple for start-ups to produce a products in months not years. Product prototyping, contract manufacturing, fulfillment- as-a-service, web-store design and whatever else that’s out there I don’t know about.

Innovation enters ridiculous speed.

Countless entrepreneurs are discovering the hard way their supposedly game-changing idea has already been launched by others, or at best is being copied by nimble competitors. This traffic jam of products is making startups focus on brand strategy first and as a reward they are seeing results. 

Branding takes the throne.

With product overload, branding is more important than ever to stand out amount the sea of product clones. People care about what you sell just as much as who you are and what you look like. Consumers want more than just a product, well unless you’re Brandless. But that’s a story for later…

The point is branding now needs to prioritized over product. In this moment, entrepreneurs are now obsessing over brand strategy and hiring agencies to help them do it.

Case study anyone?

Take Casper, a name that has become synonymous with the boxed-mattress category. Casper wasn’t first to market — that honor goes to BedInABox, which launched in 2006. Casper didn’t launch until 2014. Today, there are more than 100 digitally native mattress companies fighting for a share of the market.

At the time when Casper entered the market industry sales were slow, the retail landscape was saturated with nearly 10,000 specialty mattress stores, and virtually no one was buying mattresses online. Why the hell would anyone want to get into this space?!

Because all the mattress brands were boring.

What they did.

Casper’s co-founders made a smart decision. Instead of coming up with some new advancement in mattress technology, they invested in brand strategy.

Casper’s came up with the tagline “Live a life well-slept,” which gave Casper room to grow beyond mattresses with pillows, bedding and more lifestyle products. From there, its purpose and desired image guided myriad decisions on product design, business policies, marketing communications and the consumer experience.

With Instagrammable packaging, thoughtful user manuals designed to look like a bedtime storybook and customer-­friendly policies, Casper stood out thanks to its creative brand strategy, not because of any innovative aspects of their product.

Branding is the new king.



Why would anyone love banana bread? It's made from rotting bananas.

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