Part 2 New Product Launch

Product Launch

A successful new product launch must have a well thought out marketing plan in place. Regardless of research, market demand, and all the work put into perfecting your product, failure is probable if the right launch plan and strategy are not properly implemented.

Launching a product in foodservice is significantly different than retail products. Sales, distributors, operators, and consumers are all keys to success.

Strategy

Here are the building blocks for a sound strategy to launch new products:

Part 1 New Product Development

New product development is a major key to success in the foodservice industry. Providing creative food experiences is the life-blood for restaurants and chains, and how they fulfill customer expectations will determine their success or failure. This is where you can become a valuable foodservice partner, providing insight and resources.

Every year, tens of thousands of new products are introduced into foodservice, most of which fail. Why? If consumers want new and exciting products and flavors, why do most fail? I would offer up that the answer lies somewhere within product development and the launch cycle. There’s a simple, yet systematic process for new product success in the foodservice industry.

First off, not everything works for everybody. And there is no sure-fire silver bullet when it comes to new product success. However, the pathway outlined below, will give you the highest likelihood of success on your next new product.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone it is highly improbable that he anticipated just how dramatically telecommunications would evolve, much less the revolution smartphones. In the past five years, since the launch of Apples iPhone, Blackberry, and Android, the use of mobile phones has changed exponentially. In addition to altering how people stay connected to each other, smartphones have changed how consumers shop for food products. In essence, it’s become their in-store GPS, and you may or may not be entered into their trip destination.

Smartphones are providing food brands with a viable tool to stay connected to their consumers while creating an even stronger consumer-to-brand bond, than ever before. Food brands such as Nestle, Campbell’s, Kraft and Kellogg’s have launched apps for smartphones that provide coupons, nutritional information, recipes, tips, tools, entertainment, all at their consumers’ fingertips. The apps provide the convenience and information consumers are seeking, while incorporating a specific product, or products, into the solution provided.

As a food marketer you don’t have to go to Disney World to hear the “It’s a Small World” song inside your head. All you have to do is walk through the aisle of your local supermarket.

More and more, over the past few years, when one looks at the shelves of the grocery store, it’s obvious a mainstreaming of ethnic food brands and flavors is occurring. In the frozen foods section at Wegmans, under their proprietary label, offerings of Indian and Thai cuisine take up an entire freezer case and aisle are dedicated to Kosher and Mexican cuisine. In the suppermarket there are no ethnic boundaries, only booming sales.

In a recent article on Brandchanel.com they noted that in the US “$1 out of every $7 is spent on groceries toward ethnic foods.” And it’s a trend that continues to grow due to the popularity of celebrity chefs embracing ethnic flavors, a more adventurous, sophisticated consumer, and the belief, though not always true, that ethnic cuisines are somehow healthier.

What do Gap, Tropicana, and Pepsi all have in common? That’s right; they have all received branding “face lifts” over the past two years. Well, that was their goal at least. As we have been in the long process of redesigning and launching the new packaging for Hatfield Quality Meats, I immediately thought of these larger companies and the backlash they have been receiving over their re-branding.

Gap announced just 4 days after confirming its new logo was indeed legit that it would be going back to their classic blue box logo. Thanks to social media vehicles like Facebook, Gap was able to receive the response and critiques of the new logo from their more than 720,000 fans. Once they deemed the new logo a fail, they were able to pull the plug hopefully before any damage was done. So what part of the logo was not well received? Why were consumers not feeling it? According to Advertising Age via an article written in Huffington Post, “they chose the new design because it was more contemporary and current. It honored the heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.” While Gap might have felt this way, their fans dubbed the logo as bland and boring.

By Kevin Schluth

The title of this entry is a quote attributed to David Ogilvy. When guys my age (mid 30’s) think of Old Spice, we usually think of the aftershave that our dad kept in his medicine cabinet. My dad was an Old Spice guy. So when I was a kid and I wanted to pretend I was a grown up, I would go to my parent’s bathroom and splash on some Old Spice. Shortly afterward I would do the Macauly Culkin scream a la Home Alone.

Nowadays, it seems the only thing ‘old’ about Old Spice is everyone’s perception of the brand. With their recent ‘Your Man’ campaign they have completely transformed many peoples perception of the brand. They certainly changed mine.

Showing that they were not satisfied with the positive responses they got from TV and YouTube ads, Old Spice took it up 10 notches with their recent ‘Your Man Responses’ endeavor that included producing 186 virtually real time video responses to online users questions.

There’s no magic formula to successful food marketing in today’s world of social media. The strategy is the same as it was 20 years ago…keep your brand visible and relevant where your consumers are actively engaged. Certainly the avenues have radically changed and consumers have adopted and embraced mediums where they have a voice and influence.

Some food brands have done a decent job at engaging and marketing to consumers on social networks, but few have it down to a measurable, effective science. Here are two tools that can take your social network marketing to the next level.

First, you have to seek out and find those who are already enjoying your brand or would be likely to purchase it. As well as those who already have an affinity and are sharing with others the wonderful attributes of your product.

A few weeks ago I tuned into a webinar hosted by a fantastic vendor and partner of ours, Valassis. Valassis is one of the nation’s leading media and marketing services companies. They deliver value to consumers how, when, and where they want through their consumer brand, Red Plum. Valassis also offers a tremendous variety of other products, from E-Marketing all the way to direct-to-door marketing. They pretty much do it all so I was very interested when the opportunity came my way for their “Finding the Silver Lining” Webinar.

The theme behind Finding the Silver Lining was to first determine “your new consumer.” Who is this new consumer and how do you determine who this person is now, as opposed to yesterday? As we are slowly coming out of the recession, consumers are redefining their needs and wants. Some products that were once “needs” are actually being pushed to “wants” in the eyes of consumers (i.e. IPhone vs. Blackberry). Since consumers are redefining their shopping purchases, it is our number one job as an agency to make sure our client’s products are staying in the need category. Unfortunately the good old days of solely creating awareness to create loyal customers is long gone and frugality will be sticking around.

Posted by Kelly, Senior Copywriter

We’ve all heard it at one time or another from our mother, “If your friend jumped off a bridge would you?” Of course not. That is unless your friend happens to be in the 6.2% of online adults who generates 80% of the influence impressions on social networking sites, or among the 13.8% of online adults who generate influence posts via a blog or a blog comment. Add all these impressions together and they reach the remarkable total of 500 billion impressions made yearly regarding products and services by influential online users.* Then, yes, you may just find yourself jumping off a bridge. Or trying a new product that you just can’t live without.

Now, let’s couple these impressions with the fact that women, who control 73% of household spending, make up 55%** of active users on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. These figures reflect two key points for food marketers: one, your most influential consumers are online, they are blogging, they are Facebooking, they are tweeting. They are waiting to be engaged. Two, your influential consumers are actually easier to find and begin a dialogue with in order to gain your share of the 275 billion impressions women make yearly. You just have to reach out.

By Nancy Landis

Listening and being engaged can make a difference on so many levels.

The other day I found myself exhausted purely from listening. As we grow increasingly busy here at the agency, I’m required to listen on a deeper level. A level that involves not only listening but actually engaging.

It’s made me think. How are brands interacting with consumers? Are they listening? Are they engaging?

In this day and age when most people are glued to their blackberry and only moments from a computer, where are you? Social media is a tool accessible to everyone. In fact, it’s a great way to engage and show we are listening.

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