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The Brand Within: The Four Stages of Product Evolution

In his new book, fashion entrepreneur and television star Daymond John examines loyalty-based relationships between brands and customers.

Daymond John is founder and owner of FUBU, star of the ABC series “Shark Tank,” and a corporate branding consultant. He has been named Marketer of the Year by Brandweek and New York Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In his new book, "The Brand Within," John examines the loyalty-based relationships that brands and celebrities seek to establish with their customers and fans drawn from his experience over almost two decades in the fashion business.

The following excerpt from Daymond John's book "The Brand Within: How We Brand Ourselves, From Birth To The Boardroom," is presented by InformationWeek SMB courtesy of Display of Power Publishing.

Don't Miss: Daymond John on branding and social media



The Brand Within
Chapter 2: The Four Stages of Product Evolution

I'll get to how we brand ourselves as individuals a little bit later on, but let's start out on the product side of things--because that's where you'll find the beating, pulsing heart of our brand-based society. That's where we live and die and hunt and gather--in the marketplace of ideas.

I thought about this a lot as I've built FUBU: The Collection from a hand-sewn inventory of tie-top hats and high-end t-shirts to a global lifestyle brand. I built it without any kind of polished plan or MBA-type understanding of the market. All I wanted was to sell, sell, sell. I had no clear idea what I was doing except pushing ahead, making something out of nothing, going for it in whatever ways I could. It was only later, after we'd reached a certain measure of success, that I looked back and broke it down, trying to figure it all out. There are some folks who'll tell you I'm still trying to make sense of it all, but what I've come up with is this: in today's consumer culture, there are four stages of product evolution. Four distinct thresholds every entrepreneur must pass on his climb to the top. These four stages generally apply to retailers and to the service industry, and it's been my experience that you need to go through one in order to get to the other. We went through them at FUBU, same way every other designer, retailer, and manufacturer has gone through their version of these stages.

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