I recently met up with Claude Schmidt, director of marketing for audio company Cleer to talk more about some of their unique products I saw at CES in January.
Maureen Jenson: Hey Claude great to see you again! The Cleer brand is some what new, what are you doing to raise Cleer brand awareness for both consumers and dealers?
Claude Schmidt: Cleer is a relatively young brand and we are fully embracing the challenge of cracking an established market. One important way that we are differentiating ourselves is through our products. Every product from our true-wireless earbuds, up to the NEXT, and even STAGE our Alexa Voice Service enabled portable Bluetooth® speaker offers exceptional performance and value at reasonable prices and healthy margins.
Staying visible and keeping the channels of communication open is also important whether it’s exhibiting at established audio shows, such as CanJam, Axpona, and Rocky Mountain Audio Festival or engaging the dealers face-to-face at key buying events, such as: ProSource, NATM, and the CE Week Retailer Meetup. Either way, it affords the opportunity to not only engage with the Cleer team, but also to interact with the products. Later this year, we plan to hit the road and show-off the Alexa Voice Service enabled models you recently saw at CES.
Finally, with our website and social media platform in position and products falling into place, it’s time to begin integrated marketing campaigns that leverage consistency, coherence, and compelling content to drive and amplify awareness, in addition to a supporting social conversation.
MJ: At CES Cleer had the largest new product introduction since the company launched three years ago. Can you tell our readers about these new offerings?
CS: CES 2018 was an exciting show on many levels. We announced three Alexa Voice Service-enabled products, two In-Ear headphones and one SMART home speaker. When added to our 2017 line, it was plain to see that we finally had a comprehensive family of products, each conceivably providing an enhanced experience, above and beyond just an exceptional listening experience.
The lineup begins with ALLY, a water-resistant, true-wireless headphone featuring intelligent voice control via Alexa Voice Service, enhanced call quality via Qualcomm cVc™ 8th generation noise cancellation technology, and up to 4-hours of playback with an additional 10-hours charge available via the supplied case, priced at $129.99.
The EDGE Voice Wireless Heart-Rate Monitor Headphone with Alexa Voice Service is shockproof and water-resistant with built-in heart-rate monitoring capability. Alexa Voice Service allows for always on voice control and also intelligent coaching, while up to 6-hour battery life and Quick Charge capability ensure the EDGE Voice is always ready for a worry-free workout, priced at $169.99.
For home, there’s the SPACE Smart Home Speaker with Alexa Voice Service, priced at $249.99. The SPACE affords a unique listening experience via a compact halo of seven full-frequency drivers working in conjunction with a singular, downward-firing bass driver. Having the drivers arranged in this fashion allows for immersive 360-degree, stereo, movie or when interacting with the speaker, directional listening via Follow Me functionality. For example, Follow Me is handy when mom is enjoying music in the living room and dad asks Alexa a cooking-related question. Via Follow Me, dad receives the answer while mom hears uninterrupted music.
MJ: Your NEXT high-performance headphone is garnering a little buzz….what’s that about?
CS: The NEXT is an exquisite piece of engineering from stem to stern. Surpassing conventional soft-iron, single magnet designs, the Cleer NEXT headphone employs an advanced audio driver featuring a proprietary magnesium diaphragm paired with a patented iron-less motor assembly, all housed in a luxurious, open-backed headphone for dynamic, spacious, and nuanced audio reproduction. Here’s how it works. This driver unit is based upon a ringed assembly of twenty, strategically layered rare earth magnets that tackle complex distortion producing electromagnetic phenomena head-on via a perfectly focused magnetic field for efficient voice coil control and efficient acoustic response. To this we attach the 40mm magnesium diaphragm, for a high stiffness-to-weight and excellent damping characteristics, to deliver superior broadband reproduction and more importantly, an emotional listening experience complete with extended lows, a rich mid-range, and vivid highs. We look forward to releasing the NEXT later this spring.
MJ: Are there new product categories on the horizon for late 2018?
CS: It’s a very exciting time to be in the audio space and one thing is for certain, we can’t afford to sit idle. The team has been working on several interesting developments. If you recall, at CES, we had the pleasure of not only introducing the SPACE Smart Home Speaker with Alexa Voice Service, but also an Alibaba Cloud enabled version of the same speaker built specifically for the Chinese market. Also present was the VISTA All-In-One VR Head Mount Display that affords a lightweight and immersive VR experience san tethers or embedded handset that also features Cleer audio technology. In either case, the implications for immersive, 3D/multidimensional audio experiences is quite significant and hints to exciting product developments that extend far beyond what Cleer has done before.