From part 1… Current statistics vary depending upon the source but the failure rate for new product launches is somewhere between 67% and 90%. Has new product development research misclassified what success means for the brand? Are the right tools chosen to predict success or are the chosen relativities too formulaic such that all new products get judged as if one-size fits all?
But one size fits no-one, because different people have different needs.
When purchasing, consumers do not assess any single brand proposition against their needs but instead compare multiple competing propositions, both sequentially and simultaneously. And these comparisons are not made rationally in laboratory conditions but in the context of a continuously fluctuating environment shaped by the wider market tectonics of the marketing mix.
It is the confluence of consumers’ different needs and marketplace tectonics that shape the outcome of a brand’s potential, and hence its success or otherwise in the marketplace.
Of course, concept testing research cannot replicate this marketplace, but that does not mean that contextual observations should not guide what is considered to be a ‘successful’ concept – by both respondents and researchers alike.
Our experience suggests that there are some recurring considerations that, to a greater or lesser extent, shape consumers perceptions of products and brands and their suitability to meet needs – and that these considerations should therefore play a part in concept research design:
1) PRODUCT CONTEXT: the implications of a preferred choice in the context of other choices made (red wine with fish?).
2) INGREDIENTS: these considerations may be values based (organic, sustainable etc) or efficacy based (it does what it says on the tin). Much concept research only assesses ingredients rationally.
3) BRAND EXPERIENCE CONSIDERATION: reflecting a propensity towards the familiar and dependable (loyalty) or towards variety and inherent risk.
4) LEVEL OF EVANGELISM / INNOVATION: the passion for a category or need for novelty within it.
5) PROMOTION: the rewarding sense of a bargain; Some brands will only be purchased if they are on offer.
6) BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS: making limited resources go further.
7) PURCHASE JOURNEY LENGTH: a desire to shortcut decision making v enjoyment of the purchase process.
With different needs and consumer behaviours attached to every purchase journey, isn’t it time to change the way we measure the potential of new product success?
Coming next: Part 3 – How brand potential becomes brand reality.