Brand Revival!

I can’t pretend to have heard of Choc-ola, but I’m not sure I’d like it. It was a sweet chocolate milk drink, popular in the United States in the 1960’s and 70’s. It hasn’t been available for many years, but that just changed. Two Indianapolis entrepreneurs recently snapped up the trademark for $275, got hold of the recipe, and have relaunched the drink. They hope it will appeal to both old customers who want a taste of their youth, and a new market looking for something different. They already have a production deal with a major dairy and a contract to supply a 21 store chain of supermarkets.

As you might imagine, this got me thinking…How many interesting old brands are laying dormant out there? How cheaply might they be bought up? And might a bit of innovative marketing breath a bit of retro chic into something that is all but forgotten. This has got to be worth giving some thought to.

Cashing In On The Gloom

Most businesses attempt to work around recession and economic gloom, but if you’re just starting out, a more sensible approach is to get into something that actually benefits from it. What sort of businesses thrives in harsh economic conditions? Here are a few examples:

  • Money Saving Services
  • Discount Goods Sales
  • Buying And Selling Second Hand Goods
  • Money Lending/Pawnbroking
  • Recycling Services And Products
  • Jobseeking Services

If you’re looking for a new business, or an addition to an existing one, you could do a lot worse than start your search in one of these areas.

Selling Leads

The lifeblood of many businesses is sales leads, and it’s not widely known that there’s a great deal of money to be made, simply from supplying hot sales leads. One of the key intermediaries in this market is T3 Leads who pay people to generate leads in a variety of markets including payday loans, car loans and insurance which they then sell on to their merchant partners.

To make money from this, you simply drive traffic from your website to theirs. If you have the right relationship with your customers or audience, this can be a valuable source of additional revenue.  Payouts for payday loan leads for example, can be as much as £100.

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What’s New?

Almost every would-be entrepreneur I speak to is looking for something ‘new’…a product or service nobody has thought of before. But what exactly is ‘new’, and is this a realistic ambition?

In the early part of the twentieth century, long before the internet,  The Boston Globe had an instant real time news feed product, backed by advertising. Breaking news was chalked up on huge boards and placed in the newsroom window which backed onto the street.  The news was usually conveyed by a headline (140 characters or less!) and behind it were paid advertisements. In addition telegraphed communications of  boxing watches or football matches was shouted out by employees using loud hailers, round by round or play by play to an eager audience. Early multimedia in action!

Okay, it’s not quite Twitter, but the point I’m making is that the demand for news of events as they happened was always there, and there was a product to fill the demand.  What’s available on the internet today is just a modern day manifestation of a product meeting the same demand. Rather than looking for something completely new and unique, a more fruitful route to a lucrative business opportunity might be to look at what was popular in the past, and then how it can be given a modern twist. Technology changes, but underlying in-built human needs wants and desires do not.

Publicity Power

The power of publicity was brought home to me about 15 years ago when a national newspaper ran an article about a book I’d just published.  The gist of the article was that the book was a disgrace and should be banned. I steeled myself for the hate mail, but it never arrived. There were just two letters of complaint, but they were accompanied by several hundred orders for the book!  Since then, I’ve experienced similar outcomes time and time again. It’s because publicity can be so lucrative that public relations agencies are able to make substantial profits. The aim of a PR agency is to get positive publicity for its clients across as much relevant media as possible.

The great thing about PR is that there are very few barriers to entry.  If you have a laptop, broadband and a phone, you already have everything you need. Clearly, you also need to learn about the business, but it’s not something that’s beyond anyone of average intelligence.

If this field interests you, it’s time to do some research. There are literally hundreds of books on the subject, so try a search in Amazon. Many agencies specialise in particular fields or markets and this would be a good place to start. Look at your own interests, experience and expertise. Could there be an opening for someone specialising in PR to companies operating in one or more of those fields?


A Small Market Niche

What do Martin Sheen, Al Pacino, Mark Wahlberg, Danny DeVito, Joe Pesci, and Seth Green have in common? Well aside from being actors, they’re all under 5’8” tall and they’re all customers of Jimmy Au.

Au runs a clothing company in Hollywood that specialises in suits for shorter men. You might think that a suit for a shorter man is simply a smaller suit, but apparently not, and this is the key to the niche Au has carved out. Most designers create their suits for men in the 5’10” to 6’2” range and then simply scale down for smaller customers without adjusting the fit. This results in knees and elbows falling in the wrong place.

In a world where most products and designs are created for people within the average or normal range,  there must be niche opportunities in myriad markets for products specifically aimed at the tall, short, fat or slim.  Might there be an opportunity to create a product for people outside of the normal size range in your market?