[i]Personally, I think most yo-yo companies need to try and put together some kind of cohesive brand identity first, and THEN worry about promoting it.
Right now, Yo-Yo Factory is the only company that has one. Duncan’s is falling apart since they no longer employ anyone who knows anything about brand management and Yomega’s seems to have stopped somewhere around 2001. Russell’s brand has never existed, as they have always been a tool to further the branding of others.
As far as the other companies are concerned, they are too small to be of any concern or impact so it’s pretty irrelevant. They could sell all their yo-yos in brown paper bags with the name scrawled across it in black Sharpie and it wouldn’t matter. They have as much chance to claiming any kind of real brand identity with impact as I do of sprouting wings and flying to Singapore for noodles.
Duncan has one of the most elaborate websites in the industry, and doesn’t use it.
Yomega, whose tagline used to be “The Conscience of Quality In Toys” hasn’t made a quality yo-yo in years.
Yo-Yo Factory, who has the strongest brand identity, sent Ben to Worlds for a Golden Ticket Event where he spent 20 minutes talking about the previous years failed experiments, and then said “Here’s the new stuff!”
Everyone is making mistakes, large and small. The difference comes down to “who is moving units” and right now everyone seems to be short in that department. Smaller operations have less overhead to cover so fewer units can still net them a nice check, but ultimately my opinion is that everyone has failed the US market. In spades.
That’s not to say that nothing good is happening. Just that no one is anywhere near their potential at the moment. YYF seems to be biding their time. Duncan hasn’t got a clue. Yomega hasn’t had one in almost a decade.
Brand management is as much an art as it is a science. This industry is short on artists and scientists, and the handful of companies that have one are still missing the other.
People ask me, almost daily, why I don’t start my own yo-yo company.
No, I’m not sponsored by Yo-Yo Factory. They’re my friends. They hook me up with stuff, and I promote their stuff because I like it, I trust it, and they are the only company making yo-yos of a quality that I’m comfortable saying “Hey kids, buy these up!” Just because I am friends with Hans and Ben doesn’t mean I’m not critical of some of their choices. I also have zero say in how they run their company, and they take and leave my advice on their own whims. As I’m also not privy to the inner workings of their company, I’m only commenting with an outside perspective so my comments are taken with a grain of salt. They’re good folks, I like 'em , and I trust 'em. Doesn’t mean we agree on everything.
YoYo Jam is not a “major manufacturer”. I’m sure you really do like them a lot. That’s just keen. Doesn’t matter.
No, I’m not dogging on Duncan because I “hate them”. I don’t hate “them” because Duncan is a brand, not a “them”. I think Jason Sauey is a [edited] and he treats his employees like garbage. I have opinions on Jack Ringca that I prefer not to share. Mike Burke is just a guy at a desk, and Jeff Bush is only interested in numbers. I’m still good with the Crew. I’m highly disappointed in the downward spiral of the brand and product offerings, and disappointed in the waste of their tremendous resources. And the poor QC on the last few runs of FH Zeroes is personally offensive to me.
I realize that you enjoy the yo-yos made by CLYYW, SPYY, Frank Difeo, Anti-Yo, and others. They are tiny, tiny companies. They are irrelevant to this discussion.[/i]
The above, as you can see, are direct quotes from Steve Brown, written recently. I’ve made no changes to their content or context save the editing of questionable language.
I’m not sure why I want to discuss this, but I do. I invite you to join me.
Some of this is factual. Some of it is open to debate. Some of it could be interpreted as negative or inflammatory. Perhaps a well-veiled attempt at sending a wake-up call? I’m sure there’s some underlying history that I don’t have to fully understand or appreciate what’s being said and for what reasons, but I have my own take on it.
I’d like to hear yours, dear members.