5 Steps to Overcome the Odds & Launch with Success
Developing and marketing a new product is an exciting (and busy) time for any company. Following a brand strategy template will keep your product launch on track and your team focused on doing the right things.
This focus is critical, because launching a new product is risky. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen estimates:
“Each year 30,000 new consumer products are launched—and many of them fail.”
That’s over 82 new products entering the market every single day. It’s popularly reported that up to 95% of those will fail. Insight to Action has a track record of helping clients bring new products to market, and we are sharing this brand strategy template to help more new products succeed.
Brand Strategy Template Step 1: Market & Category Analysis
Just how “new” is your product? Often, the most promising Strategic Growth Opportunity Areas (SGOAs) are closer to home.
When Chef Boyardee sought guidance on new product extensions, Insight to Action helped the brand define its core area of expansion, along with additional zones that consumers would welcome.
For this brand, research showed the market wasn’t ready for total innovation, but Chef Boyardee had plenty of opportunity to expand its kid-friendly Italian into new packaging forms and possibly frozen meals.
Launching a brand new product category that the world has never seen before requires educating the market about a new way of buying, consuming and possibly even living. Our Apple innovation strategy example shows how the launch of the iPhone was met with mixed reviews. Hardly anyone saw the potential of how smartphones would change the world.
Brand Strategy Template Step 2: Customer Segmentation
Here’s a growth strategy chart that shows the relationships between existing customers, existing products, new customers and new products. Launching a new product is represented in the top half.
This step of the brand strategy template helps determine which customers you’re going to target:
- Offerings expansion to existing customer segments
- All-new customer segmentation
Launching to your existing customer segments has several benefits:
- These customers are already aware of and (hopefully) loyal to your brand
- Your company’s understanding of these segments should already be deep and nuanced
- Your marketing team likely already knows how to reach them
- It will take fewer resources
Launching to all-new customer segments requires deeper research, more lead time, and will likely need more budget. With careful planning, it can be done. In our new product ideas project for Scotts MiracleGro:
“After the initial new product exploratory research was complete, we held a focused ideation session. The commitment was to test at least eight starting positioning ideas and at least 10 starting new product ideas. All names underwent legal review by Scotts before they were tested. In the end, we tested 38 natural new product ideas and/or positioning alternatives in five overall benefit areas with target consumers in nine mini focus groups.”
Brand Strategy Template Step 3: Competitor Analysis
Among your target customer segments, identify the reasonable substitutions for your new product. These are your competitors. If it’s a new product category, consider that one “competitor” is buying nothing at all. Then, apply competitor analysis frameworks, such as:
- Side-by-side basic grounding
- SWOT analysis
- Blue ocean strategy
For Celebrity Cruises, Insight to Action employed a blue ocean strategy for competitor analysis. This intensely competitive industry has been hard hit by the pandemic. It’s large, complex and can be segmented in many ways.
Get creative with your competitor analysis. In a competitor analysis case example, Insight to Action was tasked with developing a pipeline of “better for you” food innovation products in pasta. By looking at competitors in analogous categories, we identified five valuable takeaways for our client.
“We identified leading competitors in the analogous category of bread, and then conducted case study interviews with management at these firms, analyzed scanner and household panel data, and completed a marketing review.”
Brand Strategy Template Step 4: Positioning for Launch
The big moment has arrived! You’re confident in selling the right product to the right customer segments, and you have the competitive advantage. In a new products case study with Scotts Bird Seed, we identified these three segments:
- Avid Birders
- Casual Birders
- Sporadic Feeders
Once we understood these consumers’ motivations and vocabulary surrounding feeding birds, we tested a new product positioning that met with a very favorable response:
“PLUMPER, RICHER SUNFLOWER SEEDS IN THE BLEND MEAN YOU’LL ATTRACT A WIDER VARIETY OF BIRDS
“It’s exciting to have a variety of birds at your feeder, especially when a new type of bird shows up. And studies show that sunflower seeds draw a wider variety of birds than any other single seed.
“With Scotts, you’re providing 99.9% pure bird food…no fillers. We start with an excellent mix of seeds, designed to attract a wide variety of birds. Then we add the very best sunflower seed available. We work directly with growers in the Dakotas to get only plump premium Grade A sunflower seed, with more nutty nutrition inside each shell. So, you may see varieties of birds at your feeder you never saw before.
“It’s amazing to see the variety…the colors…the different behavior patterns of birds. And Scotts Bird Food with premium sunflower seed help you attract that variety.”
Launch of wild bird seed under the brand name Scotts Morning Song was a success.
Brand Strategy Template Step 5: Positioning after Launch
Introducing your new product to customers is only the beginning. For your new product to enjoy long-lasting success, your company needs to continue following the brand strategy template.
Unfortunately, Scotts Morning Song later became tainted with pesticides, and the brand never recovered. Scotts ended up selling the brand to Global Harvest.
A positive example of positioning after launch is LEGO AR-Studio, which has morphed into offerings like LEGO Hidden Side and the LEGO Technic AR app. This augmented reality app allows consumers to build virtual racetracks to race their real-world toy car creations. In 2017, LEGO was ranked as the world’s 91st most valuable toy brand, and in 2022 has skyrocketed to #1, with a value of over six billion dollars.
Insight to Action: Experts in Brand Strategy Templates
If only one in every 10 new products succeeds in the marketplace, it’s clear how important it is to follow a strategic brand strategy template. An experienced team like Insight to Action’s experts will provide the clear-eyed guidance your brand needs to get to launch—and beyond.