• Chris

Before you launch – put your brand into this scary story...

The recent HBO mini-series about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster took the concept of “damage control” to a whole new level. While the scale is exponentially smaller, things can and often do go wrong in a startup, both before and after launch, making damage control a necessary component of the brand owner’s tool set.

Let’s conduct a “thought experiment”. There's no "right" or "wrong" answer here. But put yourself into this story…

Your manufacturer just delivered you a new model. After you ship to all your pre-order customers, a design or execution flaw is brought to your attention. It doesn't make wearing the watch impossible, but it does limit the use or value of some feature.

For instance, not all of the micro-adjustment holes in the clasp can be used. The clasp is usable, but not *as* usable as it would otherwise appear to be. Most customers don't complain, and are fine with it as-is, but some are disappointed, and do complain. Imagine the seconds hand on your chronograph has a stuttering motion. Imagine the seconds hand jumps when the movement is un-hacked. Imagine an internal bezel has some issues with slipping. Imagine the lume is weak, or starts to become discolored, or falls out.

What do you as the brand owner do?

What are the various factors which might influence your course of action? What are the expenses and time involved in any course of action? How does your decision impact your brand reputation? What complications can you expect in the future, as those watches are sold on the secondary market?

Tell yourself this story about your brand, and your first (or next) model. Imagine different things which could be wrong. Imagine if you had different pricing, different production and sales volume. What could you do prior to starting mass production and order fulfillment to prevent this situation from happening, or to make sure you discover those problems earlier in the process?

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