The Business of Innovation

Running a brand is tough. However, creating one is even harder. That’s why companies spend so much money re-enforcing the names we know in our minds, and trying to link them to the products they sell. Think or George Clooney and Nespresso, or Novak Djokovic and Lacoste sunglasses. But how do you stay ahead?

There are lots of ways to stay ahead of the crowd, but they usually require cash, and lots of it. Within the fashion industry most marketing and branding is done with celebrities and fashionistas, touting the latest designer trinket or this season’s style, but several companies have a different approach, innovation.

Oakley was founded in the US in 1975 by Jim Jannard, from his garage, as a one-man band making ski goggles. Through some luck and creative product development the company became a success, and went public in 1995. In order to stay ahead of the competition and justify their lofty price tags, Oakley has always had a focus on innovation. They have spent a lot of money on material technology for both the lenses and frames of Oakley sunglasses, from Irridium coatings to hydrophobic lenses, better polarisation, high definition optics, high strength metals and more. If you’re a fan of sunglasses, a lot of these names such a ‘plutonite’, ‘x-metal’ and ‘nanowire’ are household names.

Image result for Lacoste sunglasses

With technology pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible, Oakley have embraced it and set out on a new era of ‘smart’ glasses design and production. To date, the company has filed more than 600 patents relating to smart glasses technology, from the projection of images onto lenses to new laminated composites to seamlessly display them. Whilst all of this may seem very new and high tech, Oakley has been involved in the development of this technology since the late 1990s, showing just how forward thinking they are.

This combination of forward thinking, innovative and interesting design and technology has allowed Oakley to stay at the top of their game for more than 25 years. Whilst other sunglasses companies chase the latest fad or fashion, Oakley pays little heed to this and carries on what it has always been doing, and doing well – innovating.

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