At this year’s Anime Expo, Right Stuf announced that they would launch a new brand. The label, known as Lucky Penny, will focus on “high-quality and budget-friendly” releases, as Nozomi is elevated to a brand for higher-end products and limited edition releases.
Launching a new brand offers a number of potentially large benefits that may be reaped are quite large. With an effective launch and a consistent message, a company can grow its presence in the marketplace among its core market and the greater population. A strong brand demands mindshare, and encourages conversation among customers. It attracts attention, while also telling the story of the company that bore it. Likewise, there area number of challenges and potential pitfalls that can be fallen into, from poor storytelling to mediocre product offerings, that can cause disinterest to grow, and excitement to fizzle.
To get a better understanding of Lucky Penny as a whole, I reached out to Director of Marketing Alison Roberts with a few inquiries about the brand, its goals, and its ability to attact customers both old and new.
I began with a simple inquiry: “What led to the creation of the Lucky Penny brand?” Why did the company choose to to elevate the Nozomi brand from its current status, rather than introduce a new premium line? Roberts responded, stating that, “[f]or a while, internally, we had discussed shifting the focus of the Nozomi label to the limited editions that we (and the fans) consider its signature releases.” She elaborated on this, noting that not every title the company acquires has enough content, art assets, or even market demand to receive a limited edition release. “Rather than establishing a new premium line,” Roberts added, “we instead chose to build upon Nozomi’s reputation among the fans and create a new label to publish these additional shows.”
Through Lucky Penny, the company aims to gain more flexibility to release a wider variety of shows, which wouldn’t be possible through Nozomi’s emerging high-end model. Rather than try to forge into new demographics, though, Right Stuf views Lucky Penny as a way to supplement their current line-up. According to Roberts, Right Stuf sees the linea as “an opportunity to release more of the titles fans are already (frequently) asking us about — but for one reason or another can’t be released under the Nozomi label.” She admits that, like Nozomi’s releases, “the target audience for Lucky Penny’s titles will vary widely from release to release, but it’s fair to say most of the fans who purchase these titles value the accessibility and convenience of physical media, appreciate high-quality releases, and don’t mind the extra savings we’re able to pass along.”
The savings are derived from other sources, which Roberts noted in stating that “Lucky Penny’s releases will feature more standard packaging and resemble our El-Hazard: The Wanderers and Gasaraki DVD sets, with keepcase/litebox-style packaging.” Through such decisions, the company will be able to reduce overall costs, which will allow the company to release a title to market for a lower price than the typical Nozomi release. Regardless of the price difference, though, Roberts was keen to stress that titles “will receive the same quality video presentation, translation and subtitle treatments fans have come to expect from us.” Shifting to a smaller, less expensive footprint doesn’t necessarily imply that the overall presentation would be shockingly different than what many expect from the company. Roberts assures that the “The same designers responsible for the Nozomi releases… will also be handling these duties for Lucky Penny’s titles,” which ensures that there will be a visual consistency across the two lines.
“But this sounds so basic!”
Well, dear, reader, it is. However, to learn the basics of a brand roll-out is to learn how a company will approach a market. In particular, these are the questions that must be asked to learn how a company will build its presence and garner customers before the first product hits store shelves. It also explains the “why” and “how” of why Right Stuf selected its brand.
While Right Stuf isn’t breaking into blue oceans, they do have a clear goal for the customers they wish to reach. In particular, they are aiming for the dedicated core market, which they’ve already established ties with via the Nozomi Entertainment line. The new label will allow the company to grow its library without By extending the line via titles that wouldn’t necessarily fit into Nozomi’s mold, be it due to a lack of materials or prestige. This would allow Right Stuf to expand their offerings while also protecting the Nozomi brand from dilution.
Since both Lucky Penny and Nozomi will be important pillars of Right Stuf’s distribution, it will be interesting to see how the two branches perform in the market post-launch. The company has a specific interest in seeing both brands grow and thrive, as it continues to carve its niche in the industry. In the lead-up to launch, the company plans to “continue to focus on maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the fans (and prospective fans) of our titles,” via social media, forums, and other outlets. If everything goes well, and reception is strong, this will translate into word of mouth publicity that will ideally be converted into sales.
While there is some risk in Right Stuf’s strategy, there are numerous rewards that can be reaped if the gambit pays off. Initial reactions to the chosen titles are strong, which is an encouraging sign for the company. If the company can maintain the excitement that is buzzing at the moment, the ideal of a strong launch will become a reality.
A huge thanks to Right Stuf Director of Marketing Alison Roberts for her input.