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How to Launch the “Next Big Thing”

At hfa, we don't see a product launch as just a phase in the new product development life cycle; to us, it's a distinct process that involves thoughtful planning and creative execution to accelerate momentum. Successfully launching thousands of new products has given hfa the knowledge to advise on the right steps to take.

Advantages of working with an agency that is a launch specialist:


  • Unique, compelling, relevant positioning that makes customers want to buy
  • Aggressive plan development to gain momentum quickly
  • Save time and energy while increasing your likelihood of success

With as many as 95 percent of new products failing each year, it's crucial to put in the work it takes to achieve a positive outcome. Our Product Launch Process aims to eliminate guesswork and provide a reliable foundation for planning and managing successful product launches.

KEY ASPECTS OF OUR PROCESS

Establish grounds for success. After assembling a launch team of key stakeholders, it's time to determine your launch objectives. For example, "What is your vision for your product?" or "Why will people want to buy it?" This preliminary research will help you identify your market and understand your target audience.

Even with a revolutionary product, glossing over this step could result in a blunder like the Segway; there was plenty of buzz around the product that was supposed to be an alternative to the automobile. But when it launched, it didn't take long for people to realize it was a glorified scooter with a hefty price tag. The lesson? Make sure to ask who will buy your product and at what price.

Make a connection. Developing a unique brand positioning is essential to resonate with consumers. Just as your product needs a market, it also requires carefully crafted, memorable messaging.

Another component to this step is making sure consumers understand your product. If consumers can't quickly grasp its purpose, it'll flop. Take Febreze Scentstories, for example. When P&G launched this scent "player" in 2004, consumers were rightfully confused. It looked like a CD player, and with Shania Twain as its celebrity spokesperson, many people thought the device involved both music and scents, so it failed to catch on.

Execute and implement. You've established a plan and done the work. Now it's time to launch. To ensure success, unite internally to create common ground and share the vision, starting with the identity and messaging standards. Ignite interest through an internal launch that includes all necessary frontline, field and sales associates. Be sure to communicate the product, service or program, its benefits and why it is important to them and the company.

Next is the target-facing launch. When possible, build anticipation and create buzz about what's coming to help boost immediate sales. This is also the time to tee up your integrated communications plan and take the tactics to your audience. In other words, start the campaign and start selling.

Analyze and optimize. Is all this effort working? Your organization should establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to help track your campaign's progress. Selecting the right KPIs depends on the product category, type of business and tactical execution you choose to employ. Once you have selected your KPIs, we recommend a real-time reporting tool to measure your success.

Launching a product or service isn't a cut-and-dried process, but if you follow these steps and work with an experienced professional, your hard work and ingenuity could result in great success.