Public Blog, Knowledge Bank Blog, New Product Launches

How to Launch New Products #4

This is the fourth 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…

Developing Your Logline

Let’s start with a quick quiz…

Below are some one sentence descriptions of films.  You just need to guess which films they are describing.

  1. After a bachelor party in Las Vegas, three friends with no memory of the previous night wake up to find the bachelor missing, consequently seeking to find their friend before his wedding.
  2. Several historic events from the 20th century unfold from the perspective of an Alabaman man with an IQ of 75, whose only real desire is to reunite with his childhood sweetheart.
  3. A teenager from the slums of Mumbai excels on a TV gameshow and when interrogated under suspicion of cheating, revisits his past, revealing how he had all the answers.

The answers (1) The Hangover; (2) Forrest Gump; (3) Slumdog Millionaire.

Get all 3?  Even if you’ve only got a vague interest in films you probably did.

The descriptions above are all examples of loglines.

A logline is a brief (usually one sentence) summary of a TV programme, film or book.  The aim is to provide a synopsis of the story’s plot and an emotional hook to stimulate interest.

It’s a way for content creators to sell their work in a crowded market.

Emphasising what makes their story unique.

Why are we talking about this?  Like the entertainment world, the FMCG world is crowded.  Tens of thousands of existing products.  Thousands of new products launched each year.

Shoppers are exposed to lots of them.  But they don’t have the beautifully crafted concept test description in front of them.  They don’t have two minutes to read everything you are saying on pack.  They might, at best, have two seconds to quickly glance at your pack or POS communication.

You might have done a good job of driving awareness of your new product.  A good job of driving visibility.  But if you’ve done a poor job of communicating the proposition you’ve got a problem.

Many shoppers don’t understand it.

To change this you need to have a logline.  A simple, clear and compelling summary of your proposition.  Something that shoppers can easily understand and remember.

Because to be bought you need to be understood.

So, how can you do this?

You need to follow a simple formula for communicating to shoppers.  Something that is important for existing products but absolutely essential for new products.

You need to tell shoppers… What the product is.  Why it’s good.  When to use it.

Tell them what it is.  You’ve been thinking about the new product for months.  You know everything there is to know about it.  It’s obvious to you what the product is.  But a shopper hasn’t been thinking about it.  Doesn’t know anything about it.  It’s often not obvious to them what it is.

Understanding what a product is has become harder.  Categories are blurring.  More brands are playing across categories.  New segments are continually emerging.  It’s easy for a shopper to stand there asking themselves… Is it a biscuit?  A cake?  A cereal bar?  A chocolate bar?

You need to tell them.  Clearly.  In a way they will understand.  Don’t just tell them a product is a ‘Hard Seltzer’.  Then think “I’ve told them.  Job done.”  Most shoppers don’t know what a hard seltzer is.  So, tell them it’s a mix of alcohol and sparkling water.

Tell them why it’s good.  A store is full of products shouting similar things.  Stock words like “new,” “improved,” “best ever.”  If you’re a food or drink “great taste.”  You say it.  Your competitors say it.

There is a LOT of noise out there.  The danger for any new product is they’re just adding to it.

New products need to say why they are good.  But this means why they are different.  Something that you can say that other products can’t say.  And ideally say it in a distinctive way.  There are lots of ways to talk about health benefits.  Find and own your way of saying it.  For instance, M&S x Zoe Gut Health Shot “Five billion reasons to try.”

Tell them when to use it.  Shoppers don’t walk into store and buy a random bunch of ingredients.  Then  get back home and think “right, what I am I going to make for dinner tonight?”  They buy with the end in mind.

To get them to buy something new you need to give them a WHEN.  If you’re a food it could be an occasion – e.g. midweek meal.  It could be a type of dish – e.g. perfect with chicken.  If you’re a laundry product it could be “add to every wash.”  If you’re a personal care product it could be “use after every shower.”  A WHEN gives your product a role.  New products often need one.

To get bought you need to be understood.  Being understood means having a logline.

What.  Why.  When.

That’s all.

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

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