Design history of Vivienne Westwood

Sparking a Product Design Revolution with Vivienne Westwood

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How to Think Outside the New Product Design Box

Vivienne Westwood is one of the most successful British designers of the 21st century. While many of her contemporaries view her as a fashion designer, she is first and foremost an alternative artist. Her early start as the “godmother of punk” and her constant questioning of established norms affirms this counterculture first positioning.

Design history of Vivienne Westwood

The art world loves the obscure and weird, they love finding the new next best thing. But for all its love for collecting the rare and unusual fashion never seems to be held to the same level as a painting or object. There tends to be two distinct design paths a designer can take, either as a fashion designer who makes functional clothing or as an artist producing work that interacts or references the human body.

Finding the Middle Ground in Design and Art

I was once criticized in a sculpture class based around the body for making something that was too wearable and therefore not considered art.  But there is a middle ground. Wearable fashion design that any person can buy in a store which can be considered art. Because of the thought and design process such works can be considered alternative as well.  Not couture clothing created by an old French fashion house like Dior, because while couture garments are beautiful works of art, they are created for the sole purpose of consumption without meaning or intent behind the piece or collection.  Vivienne Westwood, however, is a designer whose work is not just innovative, but thought provoking.  However, because she designs fashion for everyday use she is discounted as just being a fashion designer and not an artist.

In an article by Nancy Haynes she uses Westwood as the benchmark of when an object has become too wearable and therefor no longer art, in an article about artist Yinka Shonibare by saying,

He (Shonibare) has long been intrigued by surrealism, particularly the surrealist approach to objects.  Some of his early direct nods to surrealist objects didn’t quite work.  Cha Cha Cha (1997), a pair of women’s shoes covered in African-print fabric and lined with luxurious yellow velvet, which refers to the famous Ma government (1936), seemed more Vivienne Westwood then Meret Oppenheim.[i]

Referring to Oppenheim’s My Nurse Shoes, of two upside down beaded shoes positioned and tied up to look like meat on a platter.  But Vivienne’s work is more than just mass produced fashion with a little bit of backstory thrown in, it is always innovative, thought provoking and she is never afraid to completely abandon a signature style once she feels it has become too commercial.     

Discovering a Passion for Design and Fashion

Vivienne Westwood had a relatively normal upbringing born in Glossop, England in 1941 her mother was a cotton weaver and her father a shoemaker.  A lover of fashion from a young age she was greatly influenced by the introduction the Dior’s new look in 1947[ii].  Brought on by the shortage of fabric after the war the “New Look” was considered to be quite ugly and vulgar by many women because of its tight-fitting skirts and jackets.

“It’s been forgotten how radical and anarchic Dior was.  With the cut and structure of the New Look, for example he changed the relationship of clothes to the body.”  Vivienne Westwood[iii]

This reinvention of a whole new look, created with nothing more than what was available at the time, is something that stuck with her.  At just 16 she left school and started at Harrows School of Art in London for fashion.  However, she left after just a year saying a working-class girl like her could never make it in the art world.  In 1962, she was working as a primary school teacher when she married her first husband Derek Westwood.  They had one child together before separating.[iv]

It was when she met art student Malcolm McLaren that things really changed for Westwood.

Always a bit of a rebel Malcolm encouraged her to visit gallery’s, question authority and to see how those elements interacted with fashion.  They started their journey into the fashion world first by selling used clothing out of the back of a store called Paradise Garage on 430 kings road.  In 1971 McLaren and Westwood took over and renamed the store Let it Rock and sold old 50’s records and vintage clothes inspired by the idea of kids running wild in the 50’s, the James Dean, aesthetic of rock and roll.[v]  Their store was in stark contrast to the rest of the boutiques in the area that sold Hippie clothing and crafts.  The Pair had a great dislike for the hippie movement which despite shearing many of the same antiestablishment ideals; they felt the hippie movement was a manufactured lifestyle controlled by an older generation of marketing companies.[vi]  So they set out to create clothing that was the opposite of the louse flowing psychedelic skirts and shirts of the hippies.

“We wanted to tighten all that up, pull it in, stop all that hippie smirking, be direct and stern.”[vii]

Her love of re-appropriating old garments, which is a defining feature of her current work, started in these early days.  This included the Teddy Boy look, a favorite of the wild children of the 50’s, a look that harkened back to the Edwardian dandy boys.  They mixed the 50’s quaffed hair with Edwardian style jackets and a refusal to conform.  Westwood started selling used and altered clothes from Let it Rock, then she took this look further by making the teddy boy favorite drain pipe pants in sparkly Lurex fabrics.[viii]  Westwood and McLaren understood the importance of branding very early on in their careers.  In the first incarnation of the 430 Kings Rd shop they dressed it up to look like a 50’s lower middle class living room harkening back to the time the teddy boys were influenced by.  Westwood once described it by saying, “It wasn’t quite a shop and it wasn’t quite art but something in between.” Vivienne Westwood[ix] By finding a niche market Westwood and McLaren could develop a cult fallowing, a group of people who wanted to subvert the current cultural scene.  Every time they felt that the style they had created was becoming two mainstream or not edgy enough they altered and reinvented their image.

Taking the Next Steps in a Budding Design Career

Soon they renamed the store Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die.[x]  They moved from The Edwardian Teddy boy aesthetic to an overtly open biker, which was the beginning of the punk movement.  During this time, Westwood started making t-shirts.  She ripped, tore, knotted and stitched shirts and then embellished them with feathers, beads, zippers, and found objects like bike tires.

Using words like Venus, rock, and even perv, these affordable shirts gained a huge success among the emerging punk scene of the time.  One of the most memorable shirts she made was a black shirt with Rock spelled out in boiled chicken bones.  Each one of these shirts stands alone a not only a garment but an object that speaks quite clearly to her dislike of the common and practical.  Taking an article of clothing that was so basic and turning into a symbol of rebellion.  These early works lack the technical tailoring of her later collections but they were still created with thought and intention.

“We started to put zips in odd places, where they shouldn’t logically be.  We thought about the construction of clothes.  What was a zip for anyways? Was it really just a functional thing? After all there were all sorts of other trendy associations to do with zips.”[xi]  She would sew zippers right over the chest on t-shirts, making the viewer wonder if a zipper is just for function and the unzip is to expose the chest does that change the context of the shirt.  The zipper placement removes the shirt from everyday necessity to have a very specific intention and purpose.  This experimentation led Westwood and McLuren into a little known and little explored world.

Now, the store became more than just a shop to purchase clothing from it was a home base for the outsider to come and be inspired.  Westwood described it as if she was back teaching again “I felt I was coaching them, leading them away from common sense and stupid assumptions about morality, and what was normal and acceptable.” [xii]   The store at the time was quite like what Group Material was trying to do in the 1980’s.

The idea of questioning culture, questioning what is alternative and trying to bring together a group of people to explore these new ideas.[xiii]

Unlike Group Material who set out to bring together a community that they transplanted themselves into, to try and explore their Ideas, Westwood could naturally bring together a community.  It was not a physical geological community but a community of like-minded people who were drawn together at the store.

In 1975, she did a line of printed t-shirts with beading and images on them. One of the t-shirts had two cowboys talking face to face, with no pants on. The shirts contain elaborate turquoise beadwork and unique design. A man was arrested while wearing one because an old woman complained about the imagery on the shirt.  This prompted the British Government to prosecute them under the obscenity laws for exposing the public to lewd images.[xiv]   Westwood’s goal was to bring human nature out into the open to demystify the taboo.  A subject many artists explore, male, female gay and straight, the intellectual artist is always searching for a way to force the viewer to confront their views about design. Westwood did this by taking the subject out of the gallery setting and into the view of the common man.

The viewer who objects the explicit content can decide to not observe the images by simply not entering the gallery.

For example, if a man objects to the content of Mapplethorpe’s photographs all he really must do to avoid seeing them is not enter the gallery. With Westwood’s racy shirts that same viewer is forcibly exposed to the content when they see it on a shirt in public, taking away to control from the viewer. Instead of backing down to the government pressure the duo decided to rebrand again and promptly renamed the store.

Controversy and Reinvention

One of the printed shirts that made a very strong point had “you’re gonna wake up one morning and know what side of the bed you have been lying on”. The statement was printed across the top fallowed by a list of all the things that Westwood detested on one side and a list of things on the other side that gave her hope for the future.  Scrawled behind the text in handwritten faded lettering the word scum.  The list of dislikes included political figures, Artists, fashion magazines, dirty books that aren’t all that dirty, THE ARTS COUNCIL, the job you hate but are too scared to pack in and many more.  The list of likes included Feminists, a model whose affair took down a politician, BRAZIL, zootsuits and dreadlocks, imagination and coffee bars that sell whisky under the counter.

The shirt is funny yet thought provoking, making the viewer question what side of the metaphorical bed are they on and if they really are happy. It works as a new product marketing strategy and stands well on its own. Posing the question, “who is scum?” Is it the man who never questions anything scum for not working to change the world for the better? Or is it the revolutionary who is scene a scum for trying to question authority?

The imagery created by the words and the composition on the shirt could easily be printed on paper, framed and hung in a gallery but her choice to express her message on the body brings a multidimensional aspect to it which would have been lost on paper.

We see images on shirts every day, logos, bands, funny statements none of which I consider art.

What make these shirts more than just garments are all the contributing factors that culminated in their creation.  There was movement of young people, a questioning of authority and a never ceasing desire to expose people to another way of life.  The text was more than just decoration it was a moving manifesto for an alternative way of thinking.

Meanwhile McLaren was busy breaking into the music business as a band manager, which soon led to one of her most notable collaborations.  McLaren started managing a band of young men who would hang around the store.  McLaren took them on under the condition that they changed the band name from Swankers to The Sex Pistols.[xv]

“Some people still think the punk things was an eruption off the streets.  Something about dolce-queue rock, or working class youngsters making a protest.  But it was a fashion event right from the start.  We paid enormous attention to detail.  Malcolm and I dreamed up ideas and then I worked away to give them a focus as clothing.  Then Malcolm would come in with a final twist to turn the idea on its head to make it count.   All our images and slogans and clothes were so meticulously crafted and every nuance was a deliberate choice.”[xvi] Vivienne Westwood

The pair had created the ultimate performance piece, with the Sex Pistols as the body’s, dressed in Vienne Westwood’s clothes.  Then McLaren and Westwood would provoke the drunk and often drugged band all to bring attention to the wild and out of control life they believed in.

The Allure of Rebellion

Vivienne Westwood’s early work was about seeing how far she could push things, showing off the, “We don’t give a damn” attitude of the punk movement.  Soon, like most trends, the punk movement was becoming mainstream.  Designers were mass-producing punk garments and music labels were signing anyone with Green hair.[xvii] So just like before she rebranded, this time calling the store Seditionaries a word she made up to suggest you needed to seduce people to revolt.  In 1976 Westwood redesigned to store to look like it could have been an art instillation on the commentary of war.

With a cold and clinical feel the store featured a blown up image of the German city of Dresden which had been leveled during the war and on the opposite wall an upside down image of Piccadilly Circus with holes punched in the walls to look like it had been bombed.[xviii]  Clearly drawing from their time in art school, the store decoration alone could have easily been put in a gallery as an installation on the effects of past war and the current relabeling that was going on with the punk movement.  Add in the props and rubber wear for the office Westwood was making at the time, the store seemed to speak quite clearly to the allure of rebellion.

As time passed Westwood said she started gravitating towards fashion because it alienated her existing clients who had become predictable and boring.  In the end, she concluded that punks who set out to scare the common man, really didn’t do anything.  At that point, she said she lost interest in the movement.[xix]  This is the turning point in her work where she stopped making work to incite a rebellion and started making fashion with a purpose.

With a love for 18th century garments, she studied patterns at the Victoria and Albert museum.  While many designers reference back to historical garments for inspiration on collections they tend to try, and look at the past and find out how to make it modern.  Look back at any Major couture designer and you will find entire collections influenced by the past.  Jean Paul 2007 Gaultier’s spring collection is a good example of a designer taking the past and turning into modern fashion.  His models graced the runway in long gowns and halos looking like strutting Virgin Mary’s.

The collection clearly was influenced by religious iconography, from day of the dead to stain glass church windows.  Dresses that were styled to look like the cloaks women were painted wearing in Italian renascence religious painting.  John Galliano’s fall 2006 couture show was a parade of Joan of Arc warrior women.  While the collection is a visual candy store for your eyes, the medieval concept is repurposed onto modern shapes.  Westwood however took the opposite approach.  She studied old patterns and worked at creating a collection from old shapes and silhouettes that felt new and fresh through fabrics and styling.

Designing the First Significant Product Collection

Rejuvenated with new ideas and a new direction to take her work, Westwood’s first real collection was in 1981 and it was pirate themed.  A fitting concept, pirates were rebels of the sea out to explore new territory just like Westwood was doing.  She was a fashion rebel embarking on a journey into the world of fashion.  A role she still plays today.  Piracy was also a hot topic in the music industry at the time, as pirating music was becoming a problem.  So once again the shop was renamed Worlds End and done up to look like the inside of an old ship.

The Pirate collection was something completely new, the clothes were based on 500-year-old patterns, many of which were what were considered lewd in that time.  It became a new romantic look of oversized unisex clothing.  On the runway and in the documented images she did at the time, she adorned the models with Walkmans – or vintage headphones – as a commentary about pirating music.[xx] Westwood also used gold foil rappers to cover the models’ teeth and painted the exposed nipples gold. McLaren played rap music from a new band he was managing Bow Wow Wow during the Show.  The band even whore the pirate clothes in their music video for C30 C60 C90.

This new aesthetic was a game changer for Westwood it catapulted her from an alternative shop owner to a respected fashion designer.

Gone now are the days of in your face trends like the inappropriate t-shirts and rubber clothing.  She now started to explore the subtleties of what makes something alluring and how that interacts with a women’s body.

“Nowadays I am even more fascinated by the relationship of the body to clothing.  This underlies all my design, and I can’t stress enough how important it is in general.  Self-awareness about the body separates good from mediocre design”.[xxi] 

            In her third collection, titled Buffalo (Nostalgia of Mud) Fall 1983, a collection that explored a primitive third world look.  Woodcut prints on knit dresses with large petty layered skirts and exposed undergarments over asymmetrical cut pieces.  In the programs at her fashion show she asked the readers to “Take your mothers old brassiere and wear it undisguised over your school jumper and have a muddy face”.[xxii]  Influenced by Peruvian women who considered owning a bra a status symbol, they would wear them on the outside of their clothes.

In idea later used by Galliano when he created Madonna’s infamous cone bra.  What was so innovative about this collection were that the shapes the garments created were not formed by seams but by the body walking under the clothes.  This meant that to truly see the beauty of the clothes you had to see them in motion or feel them move on your own body.

Bringing Great Design from Mind to Market

Her new collections are a constant conversation between the body and the garment.  She often execrates or highlights a part of the body.  Exchanged busts, small waists and enlarged hips.  Her Collections from the 80’s to present show how with age she has only refined what a true rebel is.  Endlessly cheeky, often subtle or not so subtly political, her work is ever changing.  For the purpose of looking at Westwood as an artist, her shoe designs are particularly interesting.  As objects, they have just as much depth and conversation as Meret Oppenheim’s My Nurse Shoes.  Oppenheim’s shoes a commentary on how women are often viewed are objects in the male dominated world of art.  Many women artist have approached the subject of male domination, Westwood however worked to take charge of the male gaze, not by being blatantly and overtly vivacious like in her early work but in a subtle way that gives women to take back the power of their emotions.

I think this is where may people tend to discredit Westwood as an artist because it would be easy to look at a pair of her shoes and only see them just an accessory not see the underlying concept.  For instance Westwood just like Oppenheim made a pair of nurse’s shoes (Lace up Nurse Spoons: Erotic zones).[xxiii]  Westwood’s take on the nurses shoe takes the classic British nurses or governess shoe and places it on a 6-inch stiletto.  Looking at this shoe today it is hard to see anything remotely attractive about them; they look like just another patent oxford heel.  During the 1990’s however Westwood was bringing new heights literally to heels.  Adding this height was a reference to S&M bondage shoes.  This could be read a few ways either she was allowing the wearer, of these traditionally stern and proper shoes to express confidence.  Or showing how women are often, because of their gender, put into domestic roles like childrearing and caretaking.

“We got criticism from feminists who said our designs were degrading to women.  They never thought that in fact women might feel in control through these clothes and accessories, that they might be empowered.”  Vivienne Westwood[xxiv]

If Nancy Haynes had taken a moment to look past Westwood’s commercial front as a fashion designer and looked at the depth that a seemingly basic shoe of Westwood’s can have, Haynes might have realized that an object displayed as its intended purpose can be just as strong as one displayed right there on a platter.

Westwood shows that you don’t need to create a traditional work of art to start a conversation about, love, gender, revolution or culture.  She uses clothing to express her interests, concerns and the conversations she was having and then releases that article of clothing to someone else to continue the conversation in their own way.

Works Cited

Wilcox, Claire.Westwood, Vivienne,Vivienne Westwood. London : V&A Publications, 2004. Print.

Krell, Gene. Vivienne Westwood. New York : Universe/Vendome, 1997. Print.

Vermorel, Fred. Vivienne Westwood: Fashion, Perversity, And The Sixties Laid Bare. Woodstock, N.Y. :

Overlook Press, 1996. Print.

Beatrice, Luca,Guarnaccia, Matteo., eds. Vivienne Westwood: Shoes. Bologna : Damiani Editore, 2006. Print.

Haynes, Nancy: Picton,John.  Yinka Shonibare: Re-dressing History.  Berkeley, CA: UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/3337879

Felshin, Nina., eds. But Is It Art?: The Spirit Of Art As Activism. Group Material Timeline. Seattle : Bay Press, 1995. Print.

Notes

[i] Yinka Shonibare pg 63

[ii] Vivienne Westwood by Clair Wilcox pg 9

[iii] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg 98

[iv] Vivienne Westwood by Clair Wilcox pg 10

[v] Vivienne Westwood by Gene Krell pg 10

[vi] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg

[vii] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg 58

[viii] Vivienne Westwood by Gene Krell pg 11

[ix] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg 58

[x] Vivienne Westwood by Gene Krell pg 11

[xi] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg62

[xii] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare Pg65

[xiii] Group Material Timeline pg 2

[xiv] Vivienne Westwood by Clair Wilcox pg 12

[xv] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg 69

[xvi] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg 75

[xvii] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg 20

[xviii] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg 81

[xix] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg80

[xx] Vivienne Westwood by Clair Wilcox pg 16

[xxi] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg22

[xxii] Vivienne Westwood by Clair Wilcox pg 18

[xxiii] Vivienne Westwood: Shoes pg 9

[xxiv] Fashion Perversity and the sixties laid bare.  Pg63

consumer products design

Pallina Designs Top Consumer Electronics Product Design Picks of 2018

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What Product Designers are Watching in 2018

The  consumer electronics sector is on fire this year, and it only seems to be heating up. There’s so many great new products coming out that it would take years to cover all of them in detail. So instead, I’ll focus on my top picks for the product categories to watch for the rest of the year. Keep in mind this the opinion of a product designer, so form and function matter.
consumer products design

Bluetooth Earbuds

Nobody quite has this one right. Sure, we can all point to Apple and their wireless earbuds as top quality aesthetic, but the features just aren’t there yet. Apple’s earbuds are plagued by short battery life, poor Bluetooth signal issues, and a host of other seemingly disparate items that may indicate flaws. The cost isn’t exactly affordable, either.

Other brands are attempting to get on the Bluetooth bandwagon with varying degrees of success. I have seen many products from China come out as well, which I can only assume are the original manufacturers or factory owners that are making many of the brand name products doing their own. That’s a common practice in China, and a problem that plagues many product designers.

China’s outputs usually look fine, are super simple to use, and have a host of next generation features packed in. To top it all off,  prices come at a bargain, meaning many more will be able to enjoy these often less ambitiously aesthetic products. And therein lies the rub – and the reason Bluetooth earbuds are top of the list – nobody has created the universally agreed upon best product, so there’s still a lot of room for designers to come in and make waves. Plus, everybody needs new headphones about once per year. Wear and tear and loss are powerful when it comes to products that are relatively costly but necessary.

Bluetooth Speakers

I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Hear me out on this: When it comes to the integration of home, work, and play, there are far more innovative products to come. Smart speakers are starting to invade the home, but their utility outside is limited. Portable Bluetooth speakers with waterproof coating and longer battery lives are popping up everywhere, but none are premium enough to replace the home speaker system.

I look at it as a wonderful white space in which a new product can play. High end, beautiful, and well designed with ample audiophile-friendly features, yet integrated into the cloud with modern technology. Think about an Alexa Premium or a Apple Home to go. It’s all about packing in the power of a large home system with the elegance of design, then topping it all off with a rugged usability that won’t get damaged. That’s a tall order, but somebody will figure it out soon.

It’s likely products from China won’t replace the major names in Bluetooth speakers one to one, they may sway people that are considering a lower priced system from the likes of Sony or JBL. The portability and waterproof factors vibe with a significant shift in consumer psychology: the move away from owning things and to having experiences.

Truly great new products are disruptive, and so I’m going to make sure and analyze the category winners and losers later this year. Want to learn more about me? Get to know my product design philosophy.

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How to Create Effective New Product Launches

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How an Eye for New Product Design Translated into a Small Empire

In the early days, the company was composed of a single product designer and a vision

GoTech is a team of designers, entrepreneurs, photographers, filmmakers, and action-adventure enthusiasts. We joined together to create performance and lifestyle products fused with innovation, simplicity, originality, and style. We currently design, manufacture, and market mounts and accessories for GoPro HERO® cameras, action cameras, headphones, and smartphones.

launch new products effectively

Our products have been adopted by photo/video enthusiasts, action sports athletes, and adventurers throughout the world seeking to capture and share their experiences more creatively. If you share our passions for high-quality media content and extraordinary products – we invite you to join our tribe.

Creating the brand story

GoTech was founded in 2013 by industrial designer and action-adventure enthusiast Nick Knight. As a designer, Nick has driven innovation, creative thinking, and product development for some of the world’s top brands – including Hasbro Toys, the VF Corporation, and 3D Systems. He developed his inspiration for GoTech after packing up his full-time job and moving to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to work freelance and snowboard (a lot) with his GoPro® HERO camera. Today, GoTech is proudly located in Asheville, North Carolina – a vibrant cultural and startup hub in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Western NC. Asheville was recently named by Forbes Magazine as an unexpected source of Innovation, and by Popular Mechanics as the second-best startup city in America.

Developing a 2-minute quick pitch

Hey, good evening everyone! My name is Nick Knight, and I’m the founder, CEO, and Chief Designer of GoTech. As a designer I’ve helped drive innovation, creative thinking, and product development for some of the world’s top brands and organizations – such as Hasbro Toys, the VF Corporation, and 3D Systems.

I founded GoTech in 2013 while living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado pursuing my passion for snowboarding. Today, GoTech is a team of designers, entrepreneurs, photographers, filmmakers, and action-adventure enthusiasts. We’ve joined together to create performance and lifestyle products fused with innovation, simplicity, originality, and style. We currently design and manufacture mounts and accessories for GoPro HERO® cameras, action cameras, earbuds, and smartphones.

Our product line provides creative and exciting new ways to capture photos and video. Our flagship product – The Original Handle – empowers action sports athletes to capture larger than life perspectives and stabilize their GoPro videos. Our second product – GoFist – raised over 200% of its funding goal on Kickstarter.com, and gives adventure enthusiasts the ultimate grip on their GoPro camera.

Creating new products to outpace competitors 

Our newest product launches next month on Kickstarter. (hold up prototype) Meet the world’s most versatile and well-designed smartphone accessory – empowering you to simply and securely attach ANY smartphone with ANY case to ANY GoPro mount or camera mount featuring a standard tripod adaptor. Our unique design unlocks hundreds if not thousands of ways to mount, use, and capture life creatively with your smartphone.

Our products have been adopted by over 7,000 photo/video enthusiasts, action sports athletes, and adventurers throughout the world seeking to capture and share their experiences more creatively.

Working the sales channels in a competitive consumer electronics landscape

GoTech products are sold direct-to-consumer via our website and Amazon.com, through wholesale/retail channels, and to International distributors. Through high-quality media, a growing social media network of over 60,000 fans, an internal Ambassador program, and referral marketing strategies we’re able to effectively drive awareness and demand for our products.

We can become one of the leading manufacturers of creative and innovative camera accessories both in the US and internationally. Our focus on building our brand and community also opens the door for GoTech to branch out into other lifestyle and accessory categories in the future.

GoTech is looking for strategic retail and distribution partners, as well as identifying potential talent for our team. Finally, we’re looking to connect with investors interested in partnering with our emerging brand in an exciting market space.

Thanks for your time everyone. Once again, my name is Nick Knight, and I’m the founder of GoTech.

Creating Effective New Product Presentations

The WOW Statement

I want you to think back, and remember the first time you saw a Dyson Vaccuum Cleaner. Your idea of a vacuum probably changed forever, right?

Well, GoTech is the Dyson of the camera mounts and accessories.

We create innovative and exciting products for action sports athletes and adventure enthusiasts that empower them to capture creatively with the world’s most popular cameras – from GoPro to Smartphones.

We’ve re-imagined the way you capture photos and videos.

Potential WOW Sentence

We design products to help you capture creatively with your GoPro® HERO camera and Smartphone.

We design mounts and accessories to help you capture creatively with your GoPro® HERO camera and Smartphone.

Products designed to help you capture creatively with your GoPro® HERO camera and Smartphone.

We design creative mounts and accessories for your GoPro® HERO camera and Smartphone

Competitive Grant Example 2-Minute Video Script

Nick: Hello! My name’s Nick Knight, and I’m the founder, CEO, and director of design at GoTech.

Brenden: And my name’s Brenden Foss, I’m the VP of Business Development here at GoTech

Nick: We design, manufacture, and market mounts and accessories for the world’s most popular cameras – from GoPro HERO® cameras to smartphones. Our product line provides creative and exciting new ways to capture photos and videos. Our products have been adopted by over 7,000 photo/video enthusiasts, action sports athletes, and adventurers throughout the world seeking to capture and share their experiences more creatively.

Please take a moment and enjoy some of the amazing footage our products have captured.

Brenden: GoTech products are sold direct-to-consumer via our website and Amazon.com, through wholesale/retail channels, and to international distributors around the world. We effectively drive demand for our products through social media, partnering with consumer influencers, and content marketing strategies.  We can become a leading manufacturer of creative and innovative camera accessories both in the US and internationally.

Nick: Over the last 2 years we’ve established an authentic brand in an exciting and massive global market. We’re excited to participate in the selection process for the NC IDEA Grant. With the NC IDEA grant, we’ll be able to to scale up our product line and operations to meet the demands of our customers worldwide.

We truly appreciate your time and consideration in reviewing our application – and we look forward to becoming a high-growth success story in the state of North Carolina.

Competitive Grant Semi-Finals Example Video Script

Hey! My name’s Nick Knight and I’m the founder and designer of GoTech!

As a product designer, I saw a lack of creativity in the products being developed for the action camera accessory market – which was littered with white-label and unauthentic brands.

Two years ago, I set out on a mission to change that! Today, GoTech represents a unique product line which provides creative and exciting new ways to capture photos and video with the world’s most popular cameras – from GoPro to Bluetooth Smartphones. We broke the status quo and took an approach that has differentiated us from our competition with products featuring our signature blend of form and function.

Our core team is made up of myself, and Brenden Fitzgerald who is our VP of Business Development. Brenden brings a diverse skillset to the table in the areas of Sales, Marketing, and Digital Design.  As for myself, I’ve helped to drive innovation, creative thinking, and product development for some of the world’s top brands – including Hasbro Toys, the VF Corporation, and 3D Systems.  We also have Photographer Joshua Niven, and film maker Jared Sims helping us grow our brand and media content. Both of which graduated from Savannah College of Art & Design.

Our products have been adopted by over 7,000 users throughout the world seeking to capture and share their experiences more creatively. We’ve grown a social media following of over 70,000 fans which we engage with amazing daily content. Our product line has been successful in specialty retail shops the world over, as well as, supported in larger retail outfits like Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, B&H Photo, and Fry’s Electronics. Additionally, our products have been utilized in Street League Skateboarding competitions broadcasted on Fox Sports – which is the world’s largest competitive skate league.

GoTech products are sold direct-to-consumer via our website and Amazon.com, through wholesale/retail channels, and to International distributors. We drive awareness and demand for our products through social media, consumer influencer and referral marketing strategies.

Our target audience consists of action sports and adventure enthusiasts with a passion for photography and filmmaking. While this demographic spans a wide age range, we’ve found those between the ages of 18-34 who are interested in capturing and sharing their experiences on social media to be the core audience for our brand.

GoTech was founded with an initial investment of $50,000 which I saved from working as a consultant. Luckily, we have been able to grow and continually reinvest in our business through successful sales. To expand our product line and team, attend more trade shows, and ultimately gain more momentum for our brand, we need additional capital and ideally – some strategic partners. An investment of ~$75,000 will help us speed up the process of becoming a leader in our market.

We’re really excited with the opportunity to present at the 1 in a million cups competition. Thanks for watching, and I look forward to seeing you all in person.

new product marketing plan

Creating a New Product Marketing Plan from Scratch

Using a Digital Marketing Strategy to Launch New Products

I’m often asked to help design and build products. The process is intense, and most of the focus is on the thing we’re creating. But what happens after the new product is finished and produced? It must go to market, and to have successful sales consumers must find out about it first That’s where a comprehensive marketing plan comes into play. In this article I will outline an effective digital marketing plan for any new product.

new product marketing plan

Below is an anonymized client plan for a line of powered outdoor gardening products developed in part by my team and covers the following areas of digital marketing:

  1. Social Media Setup
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Real-Time Marketing
  4. Social Media Promotions

Leveraging Social Media to Launch  a New Product

Community Management

The Community Manager serves as the day-to-day online representative for the brand. He or she takes on the responsibility of cultivating relationships with consumers and influencers within social networks. In doing so, the brand is able to meet United States consumer expectation of social media presence while identifying key opportunities to extend the brand message. As media and brand awareness increase, the scope of this role increases as well. As brand is launching with national media and that of Home Depot a daily Community Manager presence that is closely tied to other agency messaging will be required.

Social Account Alignment

Social networks have specific requirements to represent a brand visually while providing users with clear cues as to appropriate interactions. By identifying which types of accounts, copy and creative assets required to meet brand goals, The Marketing Team will extend the brand into the social space while setting up communities that attain business objectives.

  • Creation of accounts in key social networks as directed by brand and agency
  • Placement of social network-specific creative assets to maintain consistent brand look and feel across various social networks
  • Periodic strategic review and recommendation based on dialogue with consumers

Monitoring and Management

The Marketing Team utilizes brand-monitoring techniques to collect and store consumer dialogue in social networks. This daily activity allows for a process-driven approach to interacting with consumers while driving awareness, preference, trial and sales.

  • Community Manager monitoring protocol documentation development in line with brand requirements
  • Social media monitoring software setup per target audience and brand direction
  • Daily monitoring for brand opportunities by agency Community Manager
  • Daily dialogue with consumers and influencers through social networks on behalf of the brand brand
  • Content placement per the editorial calendar outlined in the Content Marketing section of this document
  • Daily engagement with consumers and influencers to address questions, complaints and praise
  • Proactive identification of opportunities to extend brand awareness, preference, trial and sales in the online space
  • Escalation of key issues to brand employees as needed

Blogger and Influencer Outreach

Working with the Earned Media team to collect a comprehensive list of online influencers, a Community Manager will build relationships with the goal of influencing brand awareness. Influencers may be defined as those consumers who have an above average following within the brand target audience within social networks.

  • Supplement Earned Media influencer list through research and ongoing community management activities
  • Daily dialogue with key influencers based on Content Marketing opportunities, Real-Time Marketing opportunities and Promotions
  • Influencer tracking and database management

Community Management Reporting

The Marketing Team will measure impact on the brand and include a report as a part of regular account reporting.

  • Social Media metrics achieved through Community Management activities including reach, impressions, follower count, web traffic, leads and sales
  • Engagement metrics including number of positive, neutral and negative brand mentions, outbound and inbound messages

Using Content Marketing to Tell a Deeper Product Story

Affecting many areas of the brand, content marketing acts as fuel to leverage awareness, organic ownership (taking organic search share away from Home Depot) and act as a continuous permission to have dialogue with the brand target audience.

Mission Development

The Marketing Team will utilize research data and experience to craft a content mission. This qualifying statement will be the lens through which all social media content is developed to ensure brand objectives are moved forward each day.

  • Research and ideation around significant unmet needs or pain points within target audience addressable through online content
  • Creative development of content-focused mission statement
  • Ongoing application of the mission and refinements based on consumer response to content

Content Audit

As a company, brand has produced content for internal and external stakeholders. The Marketing Team will inventory existing content and make recommendations to build efficiency through repurposing that content. Agency and brand will work together to identify ongoing opportunities to make resources generated for marketing and non-marketing purposes extend into the social space.

  • Content review with brand team
  • Content analysis and ideation for repurposing
  • Content editing and creative development based on identified opportunities

Editorial Calendar Development

As brands develop new ways to connect with American consumers, it has become apparent that a journalistic approach is required to online marketing activities. The Marketing Team will create and maintain a comprehensive editorial calendar covering planned messaging several weeks in advance. The editorial calendar serves as a point of collaboration between brand and agency, allowing all groups to identify what messaging is being communicated when and where. The editorial calendar also assists in identifying gaps in communication and opportunities to further enhance messaging.

  • Create editorial calendar in shared environment
  • Incorporate all communications and messaging into a single view, with breakouts for channel-specific messaging
  • Daily management of editorial calendar including changes and proactive identification of integrated opportunities

Content Development

In line with the editorial calendar, The Marketing Team Content Developers will create blog posts, images, infographics, videos and copy to populate blogs and social networks. Content will be held to the content mission while working to engage consumers and lead to product trial and sales. By crafting relevant and engaging content, brand will effectively take control its online brand, earning highly valuable organic and social media traffic to the brand website.

  • Evaluate keyword opportunities with input from Media team and content development best practices
  • Create regular blog posts for the brand blog to reinforce brand position and increase search engine traffic
  • Create regular visual content for use in social networks with attention to engagement factor and viral opportunity

Content Reporting

The Marketing Team will measure impact on the brand and include a report as a part of regular account reporting.

  • Content Marketing reporting integrated into brand report based on social engagement, web traffic and online sales
  • Specific focus on impact on organic search traffic to the brand website

Grabbing Real Time Marketing Moments as They Happen

Real-Time Marketing offers an opportunity to take advantage of national events that intersect with the brand target audience without resorting to expensive sponsorships. By producing creative and copy that appears spontaneous and placing within social networks at key moments, attention can be earned and focused on the brand. Real-Time Marketing does not typically involve travel, as creative is preplanned from the agency office much like other forms of traditional advertising. The real-time component is based on a timed release and availability to respond via social networks immediately.

Event Identification

The Marketing Team will identify one key national –level event per month for 2014 including social network markers like hashtags and key influencers. Events will be of great interest to the brand target audience and may include sporting events, television show finales, movie releases and political elections.

  • Research and ideation around significant events intersecting with brand target audience addressable through social networks
  • Capture of broad-view events calendar with suggested monthly events identified

Creative Ideation

Once events have been identified and outcomes predicted, creative assets will be produced in line with each event tone and audience. Creative assets may include images, videos, infographics or other digital media.

  • Conceptual development of social network creative assets for events on a monthly basis
  • Refinement of selected creative concepts based on feedback from internal and external stakeholders

Supplemental Community Management

During peak event times, additional community management will be required to engage with prospective customers, spread the Real-Time Marketing creative and respond to interest.

  • Second and third shift Community Managers assigned as needed around specific events

Spontaneous Event Monitoring

Not all opportunities for Real-Time Marketing can be planned. The Marketing Team will maintain monitoring around the brand target audience to identify opportunities to place content in moments that matter most.

  • Monitoring software programming for events and trends-specific focus
  • Management of workflows to quickly react when the brand target audience picks up on a spontaneous trend or event

Post-Event Reporting

The Marketing Team will measure impact on the brand and include a post-event report as a part of regular account reporting.

  • Real-Time Marketing reporting integrated into brand report based on social engagement, web traffic and online sales

Social Commerce Generates Sales Amplification

The brand website will offer ecommerce options for products in the brand line. It is important, therefore, to leverage a high-growth social media audience to keep this fact top of mind throughout 2014. By creating awareness of and participation in our owned ecommerce channel, brand can maintain a direct line of sales with customers, helping to maintain independence from Home Depot.

Social Proof

The American consumer increasingly utilizes social networks and review websites to vet products and services. It is critical for the brand line to provide social proof in the form of peer recommendations. The Marketing Team will align the brand website with social networks to provide a more trustworthy experience, lending credibility by showing customer Facebook friends who recommend, like or have commented on the brand line.

  • Work with brand web team to integrate social media opportunities

Product Reviews

Leveraging growing relationships with customers is another component of success for the brand line. It is efficient to manage these relationships through social networks. The Marketing Team will put in place protocols for management of positive comments and feedback in social networks, funneling those who have already endorsed the product to do so through formal review systems (Home Depot, Facebook, brand website, etc…).

  • Establish protocols and priorities for positive customer funneling to review websites
  • Daily outreach to key customers who have indicated they are pleased with the product line
  • Tracking of review websites for overall program efficacy

Point of Purchase Announcement

The Marketing Team will work to integrate point of purchase social technology into the brand website such that new customers are encouraged to share their transaction in relevant social networks. brand community managers may engage these users with further interaction, cementing the relationship and ensuring customers see brand as a different kind of company.

  • Work with brand web team to integrate social media opportunities
  • Daily outreach to web buyers to introduce the social media program while demonstrating attention to detail in customer service
  • Tracking of interactions with new customers

Sales Messaging in Social Networks

By placing creative and short-form copy in social networks, brand will ensure prospective customers who are introduced to the brand line through social media can easily access the ecommerce portion of the website. In addition, periodic push messaging through social networks directing followers to the brand website will maintain a direct link to sales outside of Home Depot.

  • Copywriting of periodic sales messaging in social networks
  • Creative assets for social networks (banners, tabs, etc…)
  • Periodic refresh of creative assets

Using Social Promotions to Excite a New Audience

Acting as a staple for continued engagement and as a reward for consumer social media interaction, Social Promotions include social network contests, giveaways and sweepstakes. The brand target audience will be regularly engaged with exciting promotions within key social networks. Ongoing promotions offer opportunities (but not requirements) for timely advertising messaging in other channels as part of the existing brand media budget as well as Earned Media dialogue with reporters and influencers as part of the existing Earned Media budget.

Promotions Ideation

Once promotional opportunities have been identified creative concepts will be produced in line with each promotion tone and audience. Creative concepts may include images, videos, infographics or other digital media.

  • Conceptual development of social network creative assets for promotions on a monthly basis
  • Refinement of selected creative concepts based on feedback from internal and external stakeholders

Social Promotions Rules Development

Online promotions in the United States are subject to specific rules and regulations in each state. To further complicate matters, each social network has specific rules and regulations as to how promotions may be administered. The Marketing Team will develop compliancy guidelines and written rules to govern each promotion and ensure the brand brand is in compliance.

  • Development of written rules for each promotion including privacy policy and opt ins for follow-up marketing from brand
  • Compliance checks with appropriate social networks

Promotions Programming

Each promotion will have programming and development requirements needed to ensure participants can quickly and easily opt in. These requirements may come in the form of web pages, Facebook apps, or other integrated technology. The Marketing Team will develop and test these requirements to produce functionality outlined during Promotions Ideation.

  • Development of participation mechanisms for each promotion
  • Testing of code for functionality and load
  • Deployment of code within required social networks
  • Fulfillment of prizes per official rules

Post-Promotion Reporting

The Marketing Team will measure impact on the brand and include a post-promotion report as a part of regular account reporting.

  • Social Promotions reporting integrated into brand report based on promotions participation, social engagement, web traffic and online sales

By following this marketing template, you will have a state of the art marketing program for any new product launch. This will ensure you have sales success, and go on to design many more new products.