audio brandsYou probably know what a “brand” means, right? You buy an Apple brand laptop, the brand is Apple. Simple enough.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Some brands are developing products from the ground up. Idea, market research, engineering and design, CAD, factory, tooling, production – store. It’s a lot of work. Some companies are sourcing pre-existing products, slapping their names on it and selling it to you as their brand.

Does it matter? In terms of quality? Typically not. Does it matter to your wallet? Yes, quite a bit.

It’s time for product development vs. product sourcing 101. I spent years in product development working for a major US consumer electronics brand. Then I spend years in sourcing for a major US distributor. Welcome to class, you will be wealthier by the time you finish reading.

  1. Product development goes a bit like this:
    • You manage an existing line of Bluetooth speakers. They sell in Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.
    • Stores want new items each year. Each year you’re developing something new to present to the store Buyers.
    • You work with your design team on the basic designs. You present designs internally for feedback. You present designs to focus groups for feedback. You work with your engineers to make sure your design has good sonic characteristics. You present basic renderings to retail Buyers for feedback. Everyone likes the design, you’re ready to move forward.
    • Your industrial designer creates a CAD file. You send it to your partner factory in China. There’s some back and forth, getting it ready for tooling.

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