Trend Briefing Speed Summary: Clean Slate Brands

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The latest trend briefing from the fabulous is out today – focusing on the rise of ‘Clean Slate Brands‘ – innovations conceived and launched under new brand names without heritage and history. Think Method cleaning, Gaia skincare, or Nike’s new Flyknit sustainable brand.

The top line implication for innovation? Think new brand not brand extension when you are innovating.

Consumers love Clean Slate brands precisely because they don’t have heritage and history, they appeal to our lust for the new.  Heritage and history were more important when reputations were built and spread slowly, but in today’s networked consumer society, new brands can generate trust and awareness as fast as the click of a Like button – if they deliver a product experience worth talking about and in a way worth talking about (values).  This means that Clean Slate brands tend to be product-led brands, defined by the values and experience embodied in the product itself – not brand onions or brand architecture. Freed up from  traditional brand baggage, Clean Slate brands feel more authentic and open.

Five Innovation Opportunities

Of course, innovating for brands with history and heritage is not dead – some consumers some of the time will want to turn to the old established names.  But Clean Slate brands tap into the new consumer culture where the current has currency.  With that in mind, here are five innovation opportunities

  • Breakout innovation: Use the opportunity of clean slate brands to do things differently, think business model innovations, or new business ventures
  • Licence, don’t invent: Global brand owners such as P&G are acquiring, licensing and partnering with existing Clean Slate brands, rather than trying to invent them in-house
  • Reduce complexity: Take the opportunity to design a Clean Slate brand with simplicity at its heart – fewer choices and options but with crystal clear, concise and compelling value proposition
  • Bake in responsibility: Do away with brand greenwash, launch a Clean Slate brand that really walks the sustainability talk
  • Stand for something: Create a clean slate brand that stands for something that matters to a group of people

Want to know more, checkout the trendgraphic below, and download the full briefing.



Paul Marsden

All stories by: Paul Marsden
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