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Lesson # 105 Do You Know Your Inventions HOOK?

rogerbrown's Avatargold

Here is a fun exercise. I’m surprised how many Inventors leave out some of the attributes of their invention when they present it that could be the tipping point between a person GETTING their idea or not. Also, how Inventors focus on other parts that really aren’t that important when you are trying to get a company interested in your product from a licensing point of view.

And lets not forget that you can have a different HOOK depending who you are approaching. Your Hook to the company may not be the same HOOK you are going after to the consumer.

Take a look at the two sell sheets below; I have left off the text so all you get are the graphics and the title. Based on that what do you think is the purpose of each item and what would you assign as their HOOKS? Do you see any HOOKS you would assign differently to the company and to the consumer?

Robert Pontius
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crystaldiane's Avatar

This is great timing for me. It reminds me of the difficulities i had when i established a pet food pantry charity effort in my comminity after i observed the company I was working for throw out tons of  food because it was shelf damaged  i had to do something...long story short until I changed my Approach or the pitch to something the company could get behind in this case it was the group go green policy they kept saying no. After full year of petitioning I finally got them to say yes. So i am reminded of the value of this lesson!

On this product...it seems to be the social interaction between players the item facilitated. Is this it? 

Sarah Mann
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sjane722's Avatargold

Crystal,

It would be great to see your progression of ideas on the food project- and how you went from no's to a yes.

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chappy75's Avatargold

Anti Gravity Basket Ball: 

Consumer- 

Burn off the sugar rush of cake and ice cream! Fun for all attendees of your next party or sleep over no matter age or gender. Ready, set and let it fly! Your antigravity basket basketball game requires no special court or hoop. Turn on your kid's imagination as they display their gravity defying skills! (Some assembly but no batteries required)

Company- 

Non-seasonal lightweight single use product with mass appeal an non gender specific. 

Requires minimal consumer set up. 

The anti gravity basketball game Occupies kids attention, promotes engaging exercise activity; exactly what parents are looking for! the display of the product is undeniably eye catching and requires minimal floor space and no special setup. Just fill with helium and anchor... That simple. When kids see it parents will have to comply.

The packaging is flat, takes up 8.5" of shelf frontage or is light enough to hang on pegs. Easily shipped for online orders.

Film based products are cheap and easy to produce with fully automated process that could realize a 7x margin depending the local consumer market it is being sold into. 

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi sarah.... of course I first started with the store management and they said no  when I asked them why  they said it's simply it always been donthe  that they just threw out things  that were shelf damaged  but I asked permission to go above them - important step - they said YES to this, so then I started researching things on my own  and found the name  the regional managers  started making phone calls and writing letters at first I pitched it from a pet rescue standpoint  but this particular company has no interest in pet charities  so every time I tried that angle I got no  several months later the company announced a go green initiative and I thought AHHA maybe if I try this - in the meantime PILES of perfectly good pet food are tossed in the trash and landfills each day - soo frustrating - I hate to see such waste  so I rewrote my  appeal sent it again to all the contacts I had  and got a phone call saying that  if I could help keep product out of the trash and show how to save money for the company they would let me pilot the program  in the two years I ran the  program I called "Every Kibble Counts"  out of the back of my car  I donated 26 tons of product that would have been put in the waste.  I hooked up with local pet charities and the local food bank  I was able to turn that into  thank you letters  from the people that was donated to  also real numbers in terms of savings  for the company which I reported back to them once a year.    I did this a hundred percent on my own time as a charity effort and I'm proud to say that even though I'm no longer with the company  the program continues without me.  For me, I did it because it tied into my personal goals of Leaving good Footprints in the world - not for money or recognition (I got none) But  I feel really good about starting this program.  It also helped me PERSONALLY because I realized that ONE person still COULD get a MAJOR MULTIBILION Dollar company to change a dumb policy for the better - last I heard they had spread the program to other stores -   I'm hopeful I can once again overcome the odds with my little invention

Mark Bartlett
Leo Gauthier III
Sarah Mann
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sjane722's Avatargold

Diane,

That's amazing!

I'm going to send you a clip I saw on Instagram about stores in Australia where the food is free. Their source is the same as yours!

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inovate's Avataree_badge

Nice story Crystal. It would be nice if they could change laws and help feed the hungry with wasted restaurant food or damaged store packages.

Chappy you forgot... And No Cleanup! Just un-tie and set it free.

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi Chappy, this company DOES donate a lot to the local food charities - I think we all have a our own 'thing' when it comes to charity work and food charities are mine - the Pet Food Thing was a start.  I live in California and just last year they changed the law so companies could NO LONGER Get Sued if they donated food that possibly caused a food born illness (this is what happened, a few bad people spoiled the pot).  Slowly this is trickling down to the store level again - more and more stores donate food.  Part of the problem is the infrastructure and logistics of moving the food around. I was able to expand my Pet Food Pantry program because I was able to convince the local food bank to make the pet food part of their regular gleaning pickup. Anyway - we had to do away with the law that hurt the people that tried to do the right thing - the tort attorneys got one thing taken away - but the greater good is helped...but remember - people can still launch a suit - law or no law so this will be slow to adopt especially for smaller places that can't absorb the hit of litigation - right nor not. So people just say NO to stay out of the firing line. 

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chappy75's Avatargold

Charlie... Lol! FAA may take issue with that and I hope they all land in your yard...lol

The game would have to be played indoors with low ceilings or you could never miss.

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi Sarah,  great post!  ANd Link.  I have often loved the idea of these local places that are in community. Food Insecurity/Hunger/ these are BIG issues in our time and there is so much misunderstanding about the need.  Misconceptions abound.  

One of the BIGGEST problems is distribution - inbound and outbound.  Most food charities rely on a network of volunteers to move food around.  Putting food in reach of people by foot is HUGE.  There are also Pop up Boxes I have seen installed on lampposts and such - the other is the perception that ALL people can COOK so should only be allowed to buy ingredients not prepared food - this too is a poor understanding of the problem of food insecurity - what if you are homeless? Or living in a shelter? Or lack the ability to pay your utility bill? You can't prep food - - - ooops getting on my soap box here LOL.

I swear if My invention Ship Ever comes in I will be able to get back to some of the charity work I want to still do.. helping to resolve food insecurity in this very abundant country is one of those things high on my list. 

Sarah Mann
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chappy75's Avatargold

there may be a little bit of thread jacking taking place... (Shoulder shrug)

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Yep, done now!  LOL.  Back to the thread - I am already thinking of some elements to add to my sales sheet that help display the primary benefit - this is great timing for me as I an hoping to meet with the illustrator yet this weekend!  I think I have been presenting the product all wrong (sigh - I am learning) instead, I need to show the relationship of the product to its benefit - err...how did I forget that lesson? I should have known better....

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Some great insights being posted. Notice everyone focusing on the balloon and avoiding the backpack.

On the balloon don't forget reuse as a feature for the consumer. What about licensing logos?  

Keep it coming.

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sjane722's Avatargold

I have looked back at other sell sheet challenges as well. They're great! I would love to participate but feel so clueless when it comes to toys and games. My mind goes blank!

I can envision boys walking home from school together and using the backpacks. But other than that.... I kind of want to fill them with foam padding. Books can get heavy, it's hard to envision active play while wearing a heavy back pack.

The balloon concept seems like it would sell better if it weren't marketed for special occasions. Especially since it's shown for littler kids. It's so easy to set up, it's safe (except for them running into each other and fighting over the balloon) easy to store. It would be great maybe for play dates and sleep overs. I would delete the happy birthday. Maybe point out that the height can be changed for increased challenge and increased age range.

I like the idea of adding marketing ideas and SKU potential to write ups and sell sheets. After all, we're selling to the manufacturers, not the customer at the sell sheet point. 

So for the balloon- I don't see tremendous SKU potential: "Girl colors," "boy colors," and neutral colors. Holiday OPTIONS such as Happy Birthday, and Congratulations.

Okay, so maybe I'm not a complete blank...lol. Sorry I did more of a critique than a sell sheet...

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chappy75's Avatargold

Roger, 

I am assuming that the balloon is filled with helium. Though they might last for multiple days I don't think they are exactly reusable. You may sell 1, 4 or 6 packs but party supplies generally are thrown away at the end of said event. I think that's it is actually a benefit to the company that it is one time use and cheap enough that parents will just throw it away and buy again next time.

Not going to touch the backpack.

Sarah Mann
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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, the backpack is to be used when not worn, such as recess, waiting for the bus, etc. You get play value by simply sewing the pocket/net.

A number of mylar balloons have tabs that can be used to deflate and inflate as needed. Walmart sells a balloon kit that even includes a helium tank with it. So reuse is not an issue. It was designed as a social item getting others to play together. As stated many people will use it once and trash it, others that are more environmentally concious will like the reuse.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Ah. I thought the kids would run around throwing the ball at eachothers' backs. I guess the hook wasn't obvious to me.

Why is everyone avoiding the backpacks? I don't get it.

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, if others want to see other sell sheet challenges they can look at Lessons 35 & 36. I have other sell sheets they can see at http://www.rogerbrown.net

You don't see many examples available of sell sheets. I like posting some of the ones I used to get my products licensed so people can see they do not have to be highly technical to get the point across. 

Sarah Mann
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crystaldiane's Avatar

How does one illustrate such broad benefits? Im stuck on words only as a communication tool...those pictures speak volumes....as do these comments......

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Look at the ones on my website and you can what I sent to the company. That all I sent to gain their interest. Many Inventors get to wordy or have several pages of text and graphs. That seems to just make things to confusing for a first look.

Consider a car you have interest in, the style may be what first attracts you. Then you look at the sticker. Your sell sheet is like that you want them to at least walk over long enough to check you out. 

If the first look doesn't get their attention it will be a hard sale.

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sjane722's Avatargold

My friend who works in marketing told me that the function of the sell sheet is to connect with the prospective buyer on an emotional level, any write up and or tech drawings serve as back up.

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

If you looked at the majority of the sell sheets I have they try and depict the product in action. I have found that helps GET the point across if the text doesn't.

Sarah Mann
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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, you said you feel clueless when it comes to toys and games. So here is one that is in the tool area. Have fun. Again consider how would you pitch this to the buyer/company you want to license it? Then think what features would you promote to the consumer? Are the HOOKS the same?

Robert Pontius
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sjane722's Avatargold

Roger,

I love this tool. Does this exist? It should! 

I added a feature to it that you didn't point out...

I didn't go crazy with the layout. 


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sjane722's Avatargold

And thanks for providing a non toy or game!!!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, keep in mind these are just an exercise. You don't want to disclose something of value to you.

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sjane722's Avatargold

I understand. I did find the screwdriver for sale! And saw other things I could have included on the sell sheet lol.

But did not find the balloon or backpack concepts.

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, I don't believe the other two exist at this time. I have not done any research on them in a while. Both are ideas I floated around to companies with no success. I have used them as examples for over two years so I am not concerned with them anymore..

I have a new balloon idea with a twist that is unique, will allow for sales in multiple occasions so that it is not a seasonal item and would be considered a keepsake by the receiver. Just started pitching it to my contacts.

Kevin Luxon
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sjane722's Avatargold

People love keepsakes!!!

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Roger, have you tried submitting the basketball backpack to the Under Armour idea house? I figure you know all the go to people, however, figured I would ask. I send them a lot of ideas. No hits yet but I keep trying.

Sarah Mann
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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi I find these very helpful - 

For me, I really believe I don't know enough about the ability of the people on the other end to completely visualize the concept - so I tend to leave EVERYTHING In, hoping one of those points will stick.  But just yesterday I heard that the average person can only grasp three separate concepts at a time - maybe this is the answer. Stick to the main three....  thoughts?

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Crystal-Diane, I believe the recent exchange we have had off forum shows you sometimes more is not better. Being to wordy can distract from the reader getting your point.

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sjane722's Avatargold

I made my first sell sheet today.

I put some 3-D-ish drawings into Photoshop and played around. It's no John V, but I think it's okay and gets the point across.

I may have more words than I need, and will revisit it tomorrow.

Edit, Edit, Edit!!!!!

Another thing-- I do wonder about the power of color in the sell sheets. Colors have been proven to elicit specific responses. For example, red is exciting, blue makes people comfortable, or whatever. But sometimes the colors that are right for the products are not the ones that will elicit the response you want...

Sounds like over thinking, I know, but it's just subliminal psych.

Robert Pontius
Jacob Downey
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inovate's Avataree_badge

Nice Sarah, words can be more missunderstood then a picture

Colours, well what ever is thought about them, they are still vibration, and quite possibly just the vibration the reviewer needed?

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, as long as it is short, concise and GETs the point across I think you will be fine. As I have said before a good practice is to give your material to someone you trust and is under a NDA and don't tell them anything about your idea. Let them read what you have and ask them to tell you what they think your product is and do they GET your features/Hook. If you tell them about the product ahead of time it takes a way seeing if given cold can someone GET your vision.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Roger,

So--- I sent my friend the sell sheet. I came up with this idea because of a specific problem she has.

She said It looks great! But I don't know if would help me.

So I wrote her back and said this is how it works: 1, 2, 3.

Her next response was You're A Genius!

I am not lol, but I realized as a result of this that I needed to change the sell sheet.

I made it the images, and the three points I had shown her. VERY CLEAR and more concise. And changed the header to make it even more clear. 

I am okay with this as it will be accompanied by a more detailed write up.

To this version she responded that she thought the first sheet explained it well too, and I could add more detail back in.

LOL.

Clearly the first had NOT shown the function clearly at a glance! But I may add a bit more back into it.

It's a process!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, when you went back to her and she said the first one explained it well too, that was after she understood it after your explanation. Unfortunately when most people see our pitches we are not there to answer questions, clarify any issues they may have, etc. 

Think about cooking recipes, in most cases it is the picture of the finished meal that draws us in to read the ingredients, prep time, instructions for cooking. The same goes for your sell sheet. You want it to draw them in to want more, but also GET your idea the first time they see it.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Roger- Exactly!!!

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

This is something I created a long time ago and figured I would share since it's not going anywhere. It is supposed to be a fun way to mop. It's a water gun mop.

Sarah Mann
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rogerbrown's Avatargold

I want one!!!  Great ASOTV item. I can see it for $19.99 and a second one for just shipping and handling.

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Ha ha!!! I actually did have interest from one company, however, at the end of the day it was too niche of a product for them. Apparently not too many ten year old boys mop floors.

Sarah Mann
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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Here is another one to use for practice.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Erin,

It might entice those boys to do some mopping! lol.

erin hoff
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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Roger, that looks like the USS Enterprise from Star Trek as a supply holder. Pretty cool.

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Thanks, glad you like it.

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Roger, here is another idea that I thought of that unfortunately won't go anywhere. It is a self painting robot. I have no idea how to get it to defy gravity but it does look cool. I never heard back from I Robot on it. I figured since they do those vacuums.

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