Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Recession killing your high-end products? Try marketing your junk.

By Lorne Craig on March 20, 2009

I was wandering blissfully through my local supermarket when a magazine caught my eye. Junk Beautiful it proudly proclaimed. And with its clean, well-styled photography, and a decent design, this magazine/DVD bundle actually does fair justice to its title. What’s more, it has lessons for any company that is facing recession pressure.

Now, I am an admitted scrounger. I love perusing thrift stores, yard sales and Craigslist for pre-used treasures that can live again while saving some landfill and manufacturing resources. So this sort of thing is right up my dumpster-dotted alley. But consider the marketing power of this concept for a moment. Here is a company that’s not extracting, manufacturing or even selling a thing. They simply offer education, inspiration and motivation, while encouraging people to save money with style (at 13 bucks an issue).

There are a few keys to success in branding something as eclectic as junk. One is to employ a strong graphic standard and style. From the book, to the web site, to the magazine and DVD, the look is fun, funky and consistent – in a folk-art duct-tape kind of way. Another element of success is their choice of sponsor. Gorilla Glue fills a double page spread on the first page of the magazine, and holds the main banner position on junkmarketstyle.com. For the junk style do-it-yourself projects featured throughout, this is a sponsorship that makes huge sense.

Now the marketing lesson: What does your company have in its ‘junk’ pile? A line of underperforming products? Internal processes you have developed that are marketable? Old brand names or trademarks you might want to unload? Brand them with consistency, partner with the right people and you may find fresh markets.

Junk Beautiful is a brand idea that is more than recession-proof. The worse things get, the more people will want (and need) inspiration to live their lives creatively with less.

Image credit: ©Junk Beautiful

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