Knowledge Bank Blog, Range & Portfolio

Winning Products

Are your products set up to win?

‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’.

Or for those of you whose Latin is a bit rusty – ‘faster, higher, stronger’. The Olympic motto.

The Olympics are typically seen as the ultimate competitive test, particularly for sports such as gymnastics, cycling and athletics. Each of these sports has world championships. Yet the Olympics matter far more. That is why the goal for many athletes is to peak every 4 years. To go faster, go higher or be stronger than the competition. And judging by the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, Team GB are getting pretty good at it.

Last week we spoke about the number of things in the world that are going up. But in our industry, in many categories, average price is going down. Not a great situation to be in.

However, there are many categories and brands that are growing significantly. They are managing to increase average price. They are giving shoppers a good reason to pay more. And if you look at these categories and brands, they are typically delivering on 3 characteristics.

For ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ think ‘Better, Healthier, Easier’.

Winning categories, brands or products have one or more of these characteristics. And this often allows them to command a price premium in the marketplace. So, what do we mean by this?

Better Products. This is essentially about product quality and performance. It means being better than the competition – whether that is a direct competitor in your category or indirect competitors from other categories who are competing for the same usage occasion.   It means innovation that is better than what came before. If it isn’t better, why invest the resource?

Better could mean better taste in food. It could mean better refreshment in drinks. It could mean better cleaning power in homecare. It could mean better moisturisation or protection in personal care products. Better, unsurprisingly, means that more shoppers are prepared to pay more. We see it in Beer with premium and craft. We see it in chilled ready meals with Bighams. We see it in Coffee with Nespresso.

So, ask yourself. Are your products better than the competition? Is your NPD better than your existing products? Are you communicating this clearly to shoppers?

Healthier Products. Look at the growth segments in many categories in recent years. Chicken in Fresh Meat. Low Sugar in Soft Drinks. Nuts and popcorn in Snacking. Porridge in Cereals. Even the rise of semi-skimmed milk vs whole milk. Not only are shoppers looking for healthier solutions, but the dice are being loaded in favour of healthier – e.g. sugar tax, locations in store. Potentially, which products we are allowed to promote in the future.

Again, many shoppers are prepared to pay more for healthier. Whether that is £3 for a small bag of Almonds in Tesco or £1.50 for 2 boiled eggs and a few spinach leaves in Pret. And it is not just about food. In homecare does ‘healthier’ mean more hygienic? In personal care does it mean more natural?

So, ask yourself. Are your products healthier than the competition? Is your NPD healthier than your existing products? Are you communicating this clearly to shoppers?

Easier Products. Given the choice between a more difficult option and an easier option, most of us will opt for the easier one. So, as much as we’d like to think shoppers always buy the best products, often they buy the most convenient ones.   Easier can mean a number of things – easier to buy, easier to store, easier to use, easier to dispose of. Why else would we happily buy a 500ml bottle of water in a supermarket instead of the 2 litre bottle that has four times the volume and is half the price?

In many categories the winning products over the last few years and, we expect, over the next few years, will be the easiest, most convenient products and formats. Whether that is chilled prepared fruit and salads, porridge pots or snacking and on the go formats. Shoppers will pay more for easier.

So, ask yourself. Are your products easier than the competition? Is your NPD easier than your existing products? Are you communicating this clearly to shoppers?

To have a winning product you need to tick at least one of these boxes. But if you can tick more than one, then you multiply your chances of success.

In the Product Olympics be ‘better, healthier, easier’. You will give yourself a great chance of Gold.

Feel free to forward.  Have a great weekend and speak to you next week.