Public Blog, Knowledge Bank Blog, New Product Launches

How to Launch New Products #3

This is the third in a series of five blogs on How to Launch New Products.  If you would like help developing a new product launch plan based on the principles we are talking about, please get in touch.

Right, onto the blog…

Creative Visibility

Do you drive to work?  (If not, think about a journey you regularly take).

Have you ever driven to or from work, got there (hopefully…) safely and remembered hardly anything about the journey?

Probably quite often.

On the one hand this is worrying.  There are millions of people on the roads right now paying very little attention.  On the other hand it’s reassuring.  They are (mostly) doing it safely.

This happens because we drive subconsciously.  It’s learned behaviour.  Something we repeat every time we’re driving.  Particularly on habitual routes like to and from work.

Most human behaviour is subconscious.  Tying your shoelaces.  Brushing your teeth.  Making a cup of tea.

We learn it.  We repeat it.  We don’t need to think about it.

As Daniel Kahneman, the Godfather of Behavioural Economics, said “we think much less than we think we think.”

Why are we talking about this?  If most human behaviour is subconscious, it follows that most shopping behaviour is subconscious.  Shoppers will often shop in the same store(s) at the same time and buy the same things.

This means they have a cognitive map of the store in their head.  It’s why you get so annoyed when stores move things around.  You have to relearn the map.

It means they typically use a mental or physical list.  It means they filter out all the stuff that is not relevant to the task at hand to only focus on the stuff that is relevant.

This is even more extreme online.  Particularly if shoppers base their shop on a favourites or past purchases list.

So, cutting through with shoppers is hard.  It’s hard for well-established products.  It’s even harder for new products.

A lot of products fail not because they are no good (although plenty aren’t!)  They often fail because most shoppers don’t see them.

To be bought you need to be seen.

So, how can you do this?

Be Intuitive.  We’re seeing blurring between categories.  We’re seeing brands enter new categories.  We’re seeing new segments emerge.  This means multiple potential locations for a new product.  It’s often not obvious to shoppers where something will be.

To be intuitive you need to be where shoppers would most expect you to be.  The journey of 0.0% alcohol is a good example of this.  When Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% was first launched it was next to normal Peroni.  Where you’d expect it to be.  Then as the 0.0% segment became more established, it moved to be with all the other low & no alcohol products.  Where you’d expect it to be.

To be seen, you need to be intuitive.

Be Relevant.  You want to have an intuitive home location.  But many shoppers won’t make it there.  So, you also want to be in secondary locations.  When brands think about secondary locations they tend to think ‘traffic’.  Trying to get in high traffic locations that shoppers are likely to pass through.

This is important.  But even more important is ‘relevance’.  Being in places that are relevant to shoppers at that point in their journey or to the other products around you.  For instance, you can put crisps in the produce aisle.  It will be high traffic.  But it will be low relevance.  Put your new strawberry yoghurt in the produce aisle next to strawberries.  It will be high traffic AND high relevance.

To be seen, you need to be relevant.

Be Instantly Recognisable.  A new product goes into a store that might have 30,000+ other products.  Goes into a category that might have 200+ other products.  That is a lot of competition for visual attention.  For a new product to be seen it has to be seen before shoppers see anything else.

To enable this you need to design (Pack, SRP, POS Communication) for maximum standout.  It needs to be simple.  Ultra easy for shoppers to process.  It needs to be distinctive.  Have a crystal clear and ownable visual identity.  It needs to be consistent.  Reinforcing the key visual cues across touchpoints and over time.

To be seen, you need to be instantly recognisable.

Be Different.  There is a tendency to think that to get visibility you need to have deep pockets.  Sure, it helps.  But lots of money spent on visibility is wasted.  Buying the standard retailer toolkit.  Doing the same things that everyone else is doing.

It’s possible to be visually disruptive in different and more creative ways.  It could be things like framing at shelf.  It could mean spotlighting key products.  Think of what Boots does with many personal care categories.  It could mean permanent hot spots for new products or ideas in a category.  Sainsbury’s do this well.  It could be links to cross category partners.  Alpro and Kellogg’s have done this well.

To be seen, you need to be different.

Shoppers see much less than we think they see.  Unseen is unsold.  Unsold is a failed launch.

Right, we’re off home.  Let’s see if we can remember anything about the journey.

Look out for the fourth blog of the “How to Launch New Products” series next week.

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