Check out my new book, “The Brand Positioning Workbook: A Simple How-To Guide to more Compelling Positioning, Faster“, available on Amazon (5 Stars).
Mark Jenson, lecturer at the University of Minnesota describes it as “hands down the best book on brand positioning since Ries & Trout introduced this concept (Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind) many years ago”. Jill Baskin, CMO @Hershey’s says “This book is packed with easy-to-follow exercises that guarantee a compelling brand positioning. Highly recommend”.
Welcome to First The Trousers Then The Shoes Inc.
First The Trousers Then The Shoes Inc. (First The Trousers or FTT for short) is a brand research, strategy, and innovation boutique dedicated to helping brands unlock their growth potential. We do so by combining analytical rigor with creative problem methodologies. We help uncover fresh and actionable category, brand and consumer insights that drive action, identify innovative ideas to stimulate brand growth and inspire fresh perspectives on businesses and categories.
What Our Clients Say
FTT helped us evolve Angel’s Envy brand positioning and the Positioning-Roulette methodology was a good reminder that often “tried and true” is the best method when approached creatively. This all-encompassing approach had us explore every positioning option without bias, and with Ulli’s guidance allowed us to distill the ideas into a truly unique place in this increasingly cluttered category.
Ulli and the First the Trousers team helped us with a fresh approach to create a compelling story for a new (global) product through a Positioning-Roulette workshop. Positioning Roulette proved to be a very effective method to explore all potential options to build a clear and distinctive brand and product message to conquer customer loyalty and new customers. Ulli’s experience and enthusiasm to prepare the workshop and then moderate the discussions was the icing on the cake. Very recommendable!
Ulli (and the FTT team) has a clear passion and knack for positioning work. He also is very skilled at building relationships and leading/moderating discussions. The Positioning Roulette methodology led to a deep team discussion and new insights around how to optimize our brand positioning and also gave the team confidence that we had explored all potential options. I would highly recommend Ulli and look forward to working with him again.
Ulli and his team are thoughtful, thorough and caring. They do a wonderful job of listening, understanding and gathering info to help capture the essence of the brand (or it’s aspiration) and then checks it against the real world. FTT has helped us find a clarity that we’d been searching for.
Ulli Appelbaum and the First the Trousers team helped us think differently about our product portfolio and the category. Ulli brought research and product planning methodologies that changed the paradigm….By looking at our products from the consumer perspective, we were able to harness the power of human emotions and need states to make our business more relevant and more profitable. With Ulli’s assistance, we will be making dynamic changes to the current portfolio while launching new innovations in the next fiscal year.
Engaging Ulli and his team at First The Trousers for some specialized category analysis was a very rewarding and profitable experience. The insights gleaned from the research his group conducted for us were sound, actionable, and intriguing. We walked away from the project with a new perspective on a rather mature portfolio of products. Working with the group was also a pleasure. Ulli and his colleagues were collaborative and extremely accessible – there was a strong sense of partnership during each phase of the project and we look forward to continuing a relationship with this consultancy group in the future.
We recently brought in First the Trousers to work with us on a significant new business pitch. Ulli and his team painted a picture of our prime prospect that was thoughtful and rich in texture. Everything from idiosyncratic behaviors to core beliefs, they dug deep, uncovering consumer insights that provided our creative team with a solid strategic platform to build upon. FTT is a highly collaborative group with impressive agency credentials. They’re the ones I want to have on my side when it matters most.
We retained Ulli and his team to help identify what attributes of our brand story would be most compelling at point of sale. The learnings from the research allowed us to elevate our POS material to the next level and continue to improve our in-store marketing effectiveness. Subsequent to our research project, Ulli and his team have continued to be a valued resource to me in matters of marketing and brand strategy. I find Ulli and his team to be responsive, insightful, and highly organized. I recommend them anytime and will likely hire them again.
I invited Ulli Appelbaum, founder of marketing consultancy First-The-Trousers-Then-The-Shoes, to do a 30-minute presentation on interactive advertising trends at La Fleur’s 2015 Lottery Conclave & Interactive Summit in Orlando in December 2015. Ulli was a pro! He has an easy way with an audience that draws attendees into the topic. He also “builds” a good presentation by keeping it fast-moving and strategic. I give him an A+ as a presenter
“ Since the very first beginning of the project, Ulli was able to perceive the singularities of our business, and not less important, the opportunities we had as a company if we faced change as a way to position ourselves and our brands for a successful and bright future. The way Ulli organized and moderated the final workshop shows his wonderful skills in keeping everyone, sometimes with totally different vision, thinking the big picture and focusing the main problems”
“First The Trousers is a resource that is always a half step ahead of me. If you want the consummate marketing strategist with an open, creative approach, this is the place for you. They keep pace with the complexity and intensity of today’s business environment and are always adding value. I would highly recommend them for any marketing strategy initiative you have.”
I highly recommend Ulli and FTT! Ulli is a pleasure to work with, and his combination of both client and agency experience is hard to find. In addition, he is one of the best moderators I have worked with in my 20+ years of CPG research. While exploring advertising creative with consumers, he did much more than moderate, he brought his strategic expertise to the conversation and was able to elevate the typical focus group experience into a forum for deep insights and actionable next steps. He is very professional, collaborative and lots of fun.
We wanted to send you our long-overdue thanks for the wonderful experience we had at “The Art and Craft of Insight Generation”, collaborating with you and learning more of your brilliant insight-generation process…. The content you shared with us at the workshop encouraged us to think of problems differently. It was engaging and inspiring—we look forward to our next challenges that might require using the tools you taught us. Based on the feedback we got from the participants, they all felt the same way. Bosses reached out to us for recaps of the workshop, many attendants left with the desire to keep learning, and the main constructive feedback we received was that the workshop should have lasted at least another day. Quite a few participants left with curiosity and eagerness to learn more, which for us was the best indicator that your content and lessons resonated and inspired them. We sincerely hope we can further collaborate in the future, and we are thankful for the knowledge and experience you’ve shared with us and all those that participated. It has been a pleasure.
“As a start-up in a fast-moving market, Ulli helped us to quickly create a positioning and messaging strategy that was relevant to our buyers. In the space of just a few weeks he was able to interview a dozen of our internal stakeholders and over two dozen of our target IT buyers and current customers and provide us with compelling insights into what messages would resonate. His research and input allowed our marketing and sales teams to align around how to better communicate with the market and also provide valuable feedback for our product direction. I would highly recommend working with Ulli for your positioning and messaging strategy needs.”