Launching a new product is really a lot of fun for someone like me…..I mean there is a lot that goes into the planning phase and, to be honest, I really love all those secret strategy meetings.
The fundamental truth is every single brand that you know and love today, started off as an idea. Brands like Minute Maid, Coke Zero (and for my local community Moo! Milk and LLB) are just some of the brands that I’ve helped launch, and while at the time they were unknown, these brands are now raking in millions of dollars in sales.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘how can that even happen, I mean ‘if no one knows the product how can it sell?’ and you’re correct, Many of the new brands I’ve worked with were met with much skepticism as they hit the market and, to use colloquial language many person’s exclaimed ‘WAH IZ DAT??’ when hearing about the product for the first time.
So how do you penetrate a new market and make an impact when the odds are seemingly stacked against you? It’s easy and you don’t have to have a big budget to do it.
To begin, I want to share with you a true story.
About ten years ago, I was part of a team and our mission was to launch a new drink onto the local market but there was a serious problem.
People were in love with the competition.
People had grown up with their products and the brand did a really great job at integrating themselves into the fabric of our community making it extremely difficult for us to get our audience to take notice………Difficult……….but not impossible!
Here’s how we did it:
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK LESSON #1: Do your research
The team and I decided to take a look at our market, what was unique about our brand and what the public loved and hated about our competition. Through focus groups and intensive questionnaires we found although the brand was around since the beginning of time, people didn’t love the taste….it was sort of like just the ‘go to brand’ that people knew about because their parents, grandparents and great grandparents purchased. It was all about what they were accustomed to, but they weren’t in love.
This was gold for us, because here was a weakness we can now capitalize on. Our products were fresher, richer and tastier than theirs (we knew because of additional research and blind taste testing).
Which brings us to…..
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK LESSON #2: Know your customer
Because our audience literally grew up with the competition there was a sort of blind loyalty so we knew we couldn’t just stand on ‘taste’ alone. We decided to brainstorm and discuss other objections our customers could have to a new product.
Is it safe for kids? Yes
Does it list all the ingredients in case of allergies? Yes
Will I be able to purchase it anywhere? Yes
…..and any other questions they may have.
We understood what we were dealing with so we addressed every concern they may have had from the beginning. We made a pact to NEVER mention our competition in any of our campaigns because we knew that THEY knew the short falls of the brand they loved so much.
Hard selling would not work here, so instead of reinforcing what they already knew or trying to convince our customers to make the change, we extended an invitation to try something different.
And this brings us to….
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK LESSON #3: Show up wherever your customers are
We showed up everywhere:
Sampling exercises at the grocery stores and supermarkets (because we knew that taste was a major concern);
We did major social media campaigns addressing the concerns that we knew they would have around the product;
We used publicity on mainstream media to encourage discussion, build brand awareness and visibility;
We set up a customer center for the public to contact us with any issues;
Now you’re probably thinking you don’t have a huge budget for all of this, but honestly, neither did we. What we did have was the data collected from our research which helped us be more strategic and focused on what we needed to do.
If you’re trying to think of ways you can promote your brand on a budget, check out this blog I did on this very topic.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK LESSON #4: Be committed, not attached
We researched our market and our competition, we launched and did all we could but, as with any new product we got feedback both good and bad and we welcomed it all. We were open to making improvements to the brand and the campaign where necessary and we were also well aware that we would not be able to convert everyone, just the ones we deemed our ideal customers.
Before long, we created our very own advocates by being consistent, giving value and being helpful. Soon we had our own raving fans who were offering testimonials and converting their friends and family for us even now.
As a new kid on the block it might seem scary putting yourself out there and I’m sure you might feel intimidated by others who are seemingly doing it all, but even if you think that someone has dominated the space you can still find your place, make your mark and increase your sales. I’d very much like to help you plan your strategy to help you launch your brand. Let’s hop on a free virtual chat, follow this link to book yours.