The editors are committed to advancing Lotus interests and see an important role in merchandising. This article is the first in a series that will examine and review specific items. These articles are partly inspired by the attractive goods available and our visit to the dedicated shop in London. In this instance of the Type 1 watch the editor saw in Lotus dealer and was extremely impressed.
Merchandising provides an opportunity to brands to provide additional goods to customers that are themed and complementary to the brands primary focus.
There are very good reasons for doing this which includes:-
- Provides owners and non-owners with goods with which they are proud to identify
- It offers a range of gifts that are focused and which a recipient might have proven interest
- It offers a degree of diversification extending brand lines
- Some brands might consider using their in-house designers to produce merchandising , developing and extending their talent within a disciplined umbrella /design framework
- Merchandising can easily embrace items produced by others eg.scale models, books etc.
- Merchandising might also sit with consultancy –again giving design engineers a range of tasks and opportunities .Possible cross pollinating with mainstream activities particularly where technology ,materials and aesthetics are concerned
- Merchandising on international level can provide customers with goods they might otherwise not be able to access
- Merchandising can help democratize a brand by making goods affordable
- Merchandising might also be considered free advertising where clothes , etc. are displayed to a wider audience and possession seen as vote confidence
- Merchandising can perhaps to assist product development by indicating interests and aesthetic appreciation not least in heritage based items eg,fine art
- Merchandising can also offer opportunities in collecting
Examples of Merchandising
The editor’s note that several major brands including automobile marques provide merchandising. Possibly one of the better known is Porsche Drivers Selection.
Their merchandising range extends to:-
- Clothing and accessories [male and female]
- Life style
- Books and calenders
The editor’s note the current watch range makes direct reference to the Bauhaus and the very best of German industrial design. [See A&R dedicated article on Walter Gropius & Bauhaus]
Subscribers are directed to website:
The range includes:-
- Clothes, accessories
- Scale models –excellent selection including F1
- Art work-including drawings by Peter Hutton [see A&R dedicated article]
The editors recommend subscribers visit website and dedicated shops in London and Silverstone [see A&R article]
Selected item for detailed analysis: Lotus Type 1: Chronograph watch
The editors believe in creating a successful merchandising piece like a watch according to the Chapman and Lotus design methodology they would have:-
- Absorbed the design philosophy of elegance
- Defined the brand and its core values
- Explored production economics and parts sourcing
- Made statement of function
- Incorporated dual use wherever possible contributing to light weight
- Enabled piece to provide accurate information in sport, speed context
- Identified piece with innovation
- Enshrined piece with Lotus aesthetic and recognition accompanied by degree of understatement
- Considered ergonomics and wearability of watch in different situations
Possibly too in recent times there might have been more emphasis on predicted user and profitability considerations.
The Lotus Design Type 1 Lotus Watch is the first wristwatch to be created by Lotus Design, the famous design studio responsible for all Lotus products. It was launched at the 2006 Geneva international Salon.
The quartz analogue chronograph watch is the first « in house » designed Lotus watch described as being infused with Lotus core values through its appearance. However, the Type 1 Lotus watch is “not a mere branding exercise”.
Figure 1.Image from net.
A high precision quartz movement, a three-dial 1/10th of a second stopwatch timing system (up to one hour), and a calendar mechanism promote sophistication. These include an orange anodised aluminium crown guard mounted on a high power black and cobalt dial with a silver Lotus roundel, taking inspiration from precision automotive and race parts used in the modern day Lotus sports car.
The stainless steel casing completes the technical flowing profile of the watch, and is finished with an etched logo of Lotus Design on the rear of the case. This is equally complemented by a high-density resin adjustable strap.
Russell Carr, Chief Designer of Lotus Design explains: « This is the first time Lotus Design has had the opportunity to play such a significant role in the development of a non-automotive product. Whilst there are factors specific to watchmaking which we have had to learn, we wanted the Type 1 Lotus Watch to be essentially like our cars: to create desire through emotional and unique forms that remain honest to the functionality of the product ».
The Type 1 Lotus Watch is a limited edition of 2000 timepieces manufactured by Time Products (UK) Ltd. It made its official public debut on the Lotus stand at the 76th International Motor Show in Geneva.
Figure 2.Image from net
The editors believe that the chronograph watch deserves to be considered truly “Lotus”.
It’s a precision piece of advanced technology that is functional and elegant. Not always compatible .The watch can be read at a glance without ambiguity.
The editors believe that great care was taken in the execution of this piece and its aesthetic suggests no production compromise .It stands on its own.
Made in relatively small numbers its felt this ought to be collector’s piece for the future but which can be worn, enjoyed in the meanwhile. Its not bling.
Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.
These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.
In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-
- List manufacturers including automobile marques that have adopted merchandising
- Suggest items/goods suitable for inclusion –male/female interest
- Identify risks associated
- Suggest marketing strategy for merchandising
- Visit websites, compare goods and critically examine the extent they reflect/reinforce primary brand commodity
- What merchandising is most suitable in museum retail setting
Exhibitions, Education and Economics
In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.
For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.
Merchandising can obviously been seen as more than retailing opportunity and as such might be a subject of a design themed set of exhibitions. The following titles and themes being possible:-
- What to ware? From light weight cars to light weight clothes
- Lotus Traffic :Brand on the Move
- Sportscars to Sportswear
- Brand on the Run
Merchandising provides an important economic dimension to brands. It can be made to sit with heritage, extend brand image, reputation and desirability. It also democratizes a brand making goods available to those that might otherwise be excluded whilst providing complementary often interpretative or educational pieces to owners and institutions [scale models for example]
Merchandising can also widen brand appeal across gender .It provides advertising and dissemination to a wide audience e.g. wearing of clothes at events.
Possibly it can help brand managers and design engineers to define the essence of the brand and provide design exercises which require the core values to be expressed, reinterpreted and reinforced in new demanding settings.
We strongly recommend our subscribers to visit the shops and make purchases on line.
Shortly we will be looking at other significant pieces from the range.