Many times as brand managers we launch new products or service without consumer insights only for us to find out that our market positioning was wrong all along because we did not do the needful before launching the product. So what really went wrong? Was it the product or did we just not get the whole marketing plan right?
Often times, the type of insights needed while developing a new product or service should be based on what consumers are saying and thinking and what truly matters to them. Smart and successful brand managers know how to manage consumer insights, put differently; a brand manager should always keep the ‘insight in sight’. In other words, by using the insight as a guide the product development pathway or the innovation funnel ensures a successful market launch and product acceptance.
Insights are a powerful tool for successful product launch because with compelling insights, it is easy to create products which fully deliver benefits highlighted by the insights, thus successfully executing, advertising, packaging, and marketing that emphasize the benefit and sells it in a believable way.
What then do we need to successfully develop a winning product that is acceptable by the market? Outline below are six modest tips to ensuring one gets its right the first time.
The key to finding a compelling new insight is by understanding consumer needs, wants, and how they view and use the category. Trying to “sell the consumer” on personal insight is hardly successful, but discovering culturally relevant insights by watching their actions will lead to discovering terrific results. So let’s ask ourselves this question: what is it about my brand that triggers an emotional response such that the feeling elicited is stronger that the functionality of the commodity in itself? An ability to identify these core emotional triggers should be tested quantifiably in order to determine if they are truly novel and trendy (or just old wine in new bottles). Ensuring that the viability of a compelling insight is validated before embarking on concept writing or concept design is key. Why?-Only when the insights have been validated to truly have ground breaking potential should one proceed to the concept development phase.
Many times we think that one good idea is enough to make us break through the market. However, ideally, a ground breaking insight has the ability to be executed in many ways. If an insight is only leading you down one concept then it is truly not a compelling insight. Ground breaking insights have the ability to be executed in multiple formats- hence if one has exhausted all the possible directions in which the concept can be developed and executed one is then able to screen out of the lot to find the most uniquely compelling delivery of the insight based on factual information and statistics. It is sometimes also very good to use co-creation methods in developing winning concepts especially if the product is at a design stage and potential targets can input in at the development level.
So we have our winning concept, now it is crucial we develop the concept to deliver on the benefits and reasons to believe (through product performance) . The product must live up to the benefits expounded in the concept or the business case will be unsuccessful. Consideration must also be given to fulfillment of concept promises, cannibalization estimates on existing products [brand] and market volumes in order to forecast the success of the new product.
At this stage, it is too late for the advertising or public relations agency to get involved and start reinterpreting the product’s benefits. Good marketing communications should “sell the insight”. If the product’s reason to believe (RTB) is not conveyed properly in the advertising, it’s just a waste of ROI. By engaging the agency in the development process they can aid in guiding the project and will be in a much better position to write copy that’s true to the original insight. Working closely at the conceptual stage with the brand research and brand marketing agency is critical, as advertising is not the place for trial and error.
Screening multiple campaigns to objectively find the one that does this best is essential as well. Not only should the winning campaign be motivating and unique, it should convey new information, communicate the features and benefits that are most important (that is, the ones that consumers have already indicated they bought into), and it should generate the emotional reaction necessary to get consumers to bond with the brand. Each element is part of a successful concept/advertising testing effort.
Often times, for most brands the the only advertising (especially with SME brands) consumers will ever see. When making a choice of packaging, there is a need to clearly focus on the insight and sell the benefits that come out of it. Just like advertising, the packaging company must understand the insight and not try to rework the product’s benefits. Also, multiple packaging options should be considered to find the direction that is most operationally friendly, motivating, and unique, does the best job of communicating benefits, and leaves consumers with the emotional reaction you want to achieve. To avoid any tensions at the development stage, the brand packaging firm should be brought into the process early, out of interest – before final concepts are designed – allowing the packaging firm to offer experience and advice on how to execute the idea efficiently, effectively, and at the best cost level. The best idea, if unable to be executed (or if executed at tremendous cost) is a no win!
Ensure that your market entry strategy is true to ‘the insight’. The winning insight can never be overemphasized. So tell consumers the story the way it is. Let them know the breakthrough value it is bringing to their lives so they don’t think this is just another line extension of an existing product.
Never forget that you owe your insight to the consumer, who should always drive your efforts. If you get off course and the consumers notice and point it out, take note. This is the reason you have to keep checking with them, to make sure you have stayed true to their original leading. Simply listen to consumers, because it’s the best way to improve any new product, advertising, marketing, and packaging.
Ensure to have an insight partner or resource on board to keep all these development efforts focused on the insight and its benefits. Sometimes, depending on your corporate culture, this can be an internal manager, and sometimes it is best accomplished by having an external resource person handle this for you.
Looking to hire an external resource to develop your concepts to market place- we are capable of delivery at MarkMonitor Consulting!
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