26 product launch strategies

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26 topline marketing strategies to launch a new brand, product or service. Includes a 1 page summary outlining the pros and cons of each approach as well as best in class examples. Designed as flashcards so that it can be printed out to help stimulate brainstorm sessions.


  • INSTRUCTIONS 1. Print out this presentation double-sided. 2. Use flashcards as stimulus for product launch brainstorms. 3. Mix and match flashcards to try different combinations. 4. Challenge convention. Be different. Be brave. 5. Select your best ideas. 6. Launch product. 7. Sit back and watch sales come in. Credits: Richard Pentin, Planning Director at TMW @ifonlyblog
  • DRIPPING TAP A controlled reveal over time
  • When to use it? High interest category Avid fan base Complex product category (eg automotive, gaming, IT, entertainment) When full suite of launch assets are not yet available Whats so good about it? Sustains buzz over time Press journalists thrive on this approach as they need brand stories to fill column inches Fuels insatiable appetite from avid fanbase Whats not so good about it? Conventional/traditional The film industry are masters at drip feeding stories in the run up to the official premiere. Trailers, posters, behind the scenes footage, soundtracks, interviews with protagonists, advanced screenings and PR stunts all designed to create positive buzz and generate box office success. E X A M P L E SD R I P P I N G T A P
  • LOCKDOWN Enforce a strict embargo on all outbound communications until launch
  • David Bowie launched latest album completely out the blue and to huge critical acclaim When to use it? In high interest categories When you have a strong fan base High confidence in new product/service To gain competitor advantage When you dont have a lot to say! Often used in conjunction with other approaches (eg Fanfare, Stampede) Whats so good about it? Speculation fuels rumours/buzz Catches competition off guard No cost Whats not so good about it? Hard to enforce prone to unofficial leaks Product may not meet the hype No opportunity to unpack story over time E X A M P L E SL O C K D O W N
  • RIPPLES Empower key influencers to tell your story
  • When to use it? High interest product / category When product/campaign has social currency Existing relationships with key influencers High confidence in product/service Whats so good about it? More cost effective than talking to the masses More authentic/persuasive Whats not so good about it? Less control Reach dependant on engaging right influencers Harder to control launch message Google Glass seeded prototypes to about 4,000 "Glass Explorers" who won an online competition to try them out (#ifihadglass). Drawing from celebrities, the fashion industry to bridal couples about to get married all will bring a unique and compelling perspective to help launch this innovative technology to a more mainstream audience. E X A M P L E SR I P P L E S
  • GRASS ROOTS Create groundswell from existing fans before opening up to broader market
  • When to use it? High interest product / category Loyal/avid fanbase High confidence in product/service Lower budgets Whats so good about it? Rewards biggest advocates Mobilises your unpaid sales army Invariably costs less than talking to the masses Whats not so good about it? Preaching to the converted Potentially slow burn Hard to get reach E X A M P L E S Wispa chocolate bar was discontinued by Cadburys but relaunched after passionate fans canvassed for its return on Facebook and various other platforms and events. Cadburys bought 1,000 billboards in the UK and Ireland and invited fans to submit messages which would feature in their campaign. G R A S S R O O T S
  • FANFARE A big bang at launch involving a concentrated burst of media investment across multiple channels
  • When to use it? Mainstream products At key seasonal events (eg Christmas, holidays) Usually used in conjunction with other strategies (eg Lockdown, Dripping tap or Ripple) Whats so good about it? High profile Confidence adds layer of reassurance Integrated storytelling Galvanises internal stakeholders Whats not so good about it? Expensive Unsustainable Conventional E X A M P L E SF A N F A R E
  • SHOCKWAVE Court controversy in order to generate headlines or mass hysteria. (Based on the assumption theres no such thing as bad publicity)
  • When to use it? Challenger or provocative brands Youth brands Popular in fashion, music, gaming and FMCG industries Low interest categories Whats so good about it? Free publicity Builds brand awareness quickly Affirms brands challenger status Whats not so good about it? High risk Polarising - potential negative backlash Sony Playstations Portable Player Deutsch Harvey Nichols Sale E X A M P L E SS H O C K W A V E
  • KEYNOTE Live event with key influencers to reveal product including live demonstration and live streaming. Media investment focused around promoting event.
  • When to use it? High tech categories (eg IT, automotive, gaming, consumer electronics) High profile brand ambassadors Confidence in product benefits/innovation Whats so good about it? Product is hero Product benefits clearly articulated Whats not so good about it? Relies on charismatic speakers Apples Steve Jobs was the master of keynote launch presentations Automotive brands frequently use keynote format to launch products at motorshows E X A M P L E SK E Y N O T E
  • SAMPLING Enable consumers to experience or trial product for free from traditional product sampling to live multi-player demonstrations
  • When to use it? Anything from FMCG, beverage, software, gaming to social startups Complex products which need to be experienced To reward early adopters or advocates When brand has confidence in product benefits/innovation Whats so good about it? Puts product into consumers hands from outset Whats not so good about it? Can be expensive Call of Duty and other gaming brands use MMORPG to demonstrate new game releases E X A M P L E SS A M P L I N G
  • STAMPEDE Based on the scarcity principle. Create the impression of excess demand by restricting supply. (eg restricted opening hours, retail outlets, stock levels, Limited Editions)
  • When to use it? One-off events High season (eg Christmas, Summer) High demand/avid fanbase Limited retail footprint Whats so good about it? Gives impression of excessive demand Creates visual evidence of fanaticism Provides exclusivity to selected partners Whats not so good about it? Lost sales due to stock management issues Consumer frustration Upset children at Christmas! When Rolling Stones announced an intimate gig at Brixton Academy in July 1995, the only way to get tickets was to tune into Virgin Radio on a specific day. Only then would the DJ announce where tickets would be on sale. Resulted in national coverage of massive queues blocking up Oxford Street outside Virgin Megastores and a sell out tour. E X A M P L E SS T A M P E D E
  • BETAMODE Adopt a more iterative approach to product launches by giving early access to new product in order to gain feedback which could enhance product development before general release
  • betamode Approach #10/ When to use it? Categories where issues can be rectified relatively quickly (eg IT, software, gaming, social platforms, apps) Whats so good about it? Fast to market - agile marketing Empowers community Transparent Better product design through crowdsourced feedback Whats not so good about it? Risky/exposes technical flaws Potentially damaging to brand if product is inferior Flipboard launched Android app in beta so any teething problems could be ironed out whilst driving positive buzz within Android community Mojang's launched their popular game Scrolls in beta, following the same iterative development cycle as Minecraft. The game is sold at a discounted rate during the beta period with the aim of making improvements based on community feedback. E X A M P L E SB E T A M O D E
  • RIDDLES Create an elaborate and immersive experience across a range of platforms where public have to solve clues to reveal product or win prize Web 1.0 (websites, email), Web 2.0 (Google Maps, Interactive Media, Wiki, Blogs, Videos, Social Networking), SEO, SEM, Viral, ARG, eDM, SMS, Print, Outdoor, 3rd Party Partnership, Experiential...
  • When to use it? Any brands where the prize is considered big enough Avid, passionate fanbase who are prepared to invest the time Whats so good about it? Can create significant buzz Extends product launch cycle Immersive experiences, plays to digital strengths Whats not so good about it? Potentially expensive and labour intensive Can be guilty of preaching to the converted Requires a lot of effort from consumers which may deflate response E X A M P L E S To launch Lynx Attract, Lynx provided a range of clues which the target audience had to decipher in order to win the ultimate prize a holiday to Chaos Island R I D D L E S
  • Start small and watch it build momentum of its own. Often involves seeding something which goes viral.
  • snowball Approach #12/ How does it work? Start small and watch it build momentum of its own. Often involves seeding something which goes viral When to use it? When you have a strong, contagious idea Whats so good about it? Cost effective way to gain reach Whats not so good about it? Invariably requires investment to kickstart Viral success is not guaranteed Untargeted TNT TV channel in Belgium created an entertaining ad which they seeded in social. After some initial promotion the video built momentum of its own and went viral. 44.8 million views and counting (as at 18.4.13) E X A M P L E SS N O W B A L L
  • COAT TAILS Exploit the power of positive association and ride on the coat tails of someone famous
  • When to use it? When product or brand is not well known and needs additional endorsement/support When brand or celebrity share similar values Whats so good about it? Quick way to raise awareness Whats not so good about it? Can be expensive Celebrity can overshadow product/brand Risk of Tiger Woods syndrome where celebritys reckless behaviour contradicts brand values E X A M P L E S HTC have hired Robert Downey Junior as their official Brand Ambassador to headline their brand repositioning launch HTC - Heres To Change Samsung bought 1 million copies of Jay-Zs upcoming album at $5 a piece and gave away copies 72 hours before its official release to Samsung Galaxy S4 owners. C O A T T A I L S
  • PLAYMATE A collaborative partnership with another brand with similar passions, shared values or customers
  • playmate Approach #14/ When to use it? When there is a mutual benefit between both parties eg To reach a specific audience To combine investments To share intellectual property, technology, insights, data Whats so good about it? Shared investment Shared brand equity Broaden audience reach Whats not so good about it? One brand can overshadow the other E X A M P L E S Infiniti & Red Bull Racing Infiniti Essence & Louis Vitton To help establish itself in Europe, Infiniti has a technical partnership with Red Bull Racing which has resulted in numerous collaborations including the development of the exclusive Infiniti FX Vettel Infiniti Europe also collaborated with Louis Vitton to create bespoke luggage for its luxurious concept car, the Infiniti Essence. P L A Y M A T E
  • ALIENATION Break industry paradigms by launching in an alien environment
  • alienation/ When to use it? Over saturated market Challenger brand wanting to get noticed Where product extends category Whats so good about it? Creates cut through/standout Reaffirms a brands challenger status Unconventional Whats not so good about it? Risks targeting wrong audience E X A M P L E S Instead of launching Fords SYNC technology - their latest in-car connectivity system - at an international motor show like any other automotive brand would do, they chose to promote it at the Consumer Electronics Show 2010 instead. A L I E N A T I O N
  • DOMINATION Appear more omnipresent than you really are by dominating a specific channel, publication, media network, time of year, locality or event.
  • When to use it? When you want to appear to have deeper pockets than you really have When you want to saturate a specific audience ( Whats so good about it? Implied ubiquity makes brand look more dominant than it really is Gives brand stature and cut through in more targeted way Whats not so good about it? Invariably have to make sacrifices in other areas eg investment in other platforms, times of year, other events Call of Duty chose to dominate a day BT Infinity chose to dominate a locality as part of their media launch strategy when fibre- optic broadband was available E X A M P L E S Unicef focus on World Food Day D O M I N A T I O N
  • STAR PRIZE Offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience which is too good to resist
  • When to use it? When you want a more participatory experience to the launch campaign Whats so good about it? Gets people talking about campaign Ability to create content around promotion Whats not so good about it? Attracts tyre kickers Potentially expensive Promotion can detract from product message and benefits E X A M P L E S For the launch of Lynx Apollo, guys have the chance to become a hero and be sent into space. S T A R P R I Z E
  • ZEITGEIST Capture the mood of the nation
  • When to use it? When you can identify a zeitgeist or meme which connects with the brand or product values Whats so good about it? Cultural relevance Generates cut through Builds brand affinity Whats not so good about it? Easier said than done! During the Olympics, British Airways urged Britons to stay in the country and support their home team rather than fly with them. At a time of incredible advertising clutter around the Olympics (between October 2011 and August 2012), BAs Olympic sponsorship awareness rose by 19 percentage points to 54% (according to Millward Brown data), placing it above all other sponsors such as Adidas and Visa. E X A M P L E SZ E I T G E I S T
  • STUNT A publicity stunt which generates headlines and spreads virally
  • stunt Approach #23/ When to use it? To generate cut through, gain free publicity As a precursor to other launch campaign activity Whats so good about it? Opportunity to be innovative News journalists love to report on a good PR stunt Can create social currency Whats not so good about it? Virality is not guaranteed E X A M P L E S HTC dropped a photography student and a model out of a plane in a unique shoot to demonstrate the photographic capabilities of the new HTC One. Queenslands Tourist Board generated global headlines when it advertised the best job in the world. To help launch the Anything Is Possible season, Harrods sent a gift wrapped helicopter to one of their customers as a gift to take his partner on a trip of a lifetime. S T U N T
  • SURVEY Ask them what they want and then give it to them
  • When to use it? To tailor rollout/targeting strategy Potentially to build database of prospects Whats so good about it? Strong source of insights Consumer centric Inclusive Builds an engaged prospect pool Whats not so good about it? Requires significant investment to generate the response BT Race to Infinity BT launched a nationwide survey asking communities to tell them if they want fibre-optic broadband, promising in return to provide high-speed internet to the five top-scoring areas by 2012. The online survey is designed to help BT identify hot-spots of demand and inform its plans to rollout fibre-optic broadband to two-thirds of the UK population by 2015. E X A M P L E SS U R V E Y
  • Blur the lines between advertising and entertainment. Integrate product into existing storylines or create dedicated entertainment where the product is integral to the plot
  • When to use it? When traditional approaches are losing cut through To overcome trend of skipping ads with PVRs Can be used across a range of entertainment vehicles, including TV and movies, radio shows, songs and music videos, video games, plays and even novels Whats so good about it? Holds attention for longer More immersive More entertaining Whats not so good about it? Can be expensive Jaguar launched the new F-TYPE by collaborating with The Brooklyn Brothers and Ridley Scott Associates to create this short film called Desire a story of adventure, betrayal, retribution and greed. The Jaguar F-TYPE takes centre stage alongside a headline cast including Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis. E X A M P L E SA D V E R T A I N M E N T
  • MOVEMENT Create a clarion call which people can genuinely rally behind
  • When to use it? When there is a consumer need not currently being met Can have altruistic or charitable links but not essential Whats so good about it? Provides a more emotive connection to brand/product Spreadable consumers like to show support if they identify with cause Whats not so good about it? Not easy to do Doritos rallying cry to Bring Slow Dancing Back E X A M P L E SM O V E M E N T
  • BONFIRES Start lots of small fires
  • When to use it? When you have a lot to say When you dont want to put all your eggs in one basket When you want to unpack brand stories To support transmedia planning strategies Whats so good about it? Focuses resources on content generation Some bonfires can spread unexpectedly Generates reach and depth SEO advantages Whats not so good about it? Maintaining brand consistency and premium quality can be a challenge Audiences will have mixed exposure to content E X A M P L E S "We don't do advertising any more. We just do cool stuff. It sounds a bit wanky, but that's just the way it is. Advertising is all about achieving awareness, and we no longer need awareness. We need to become part of people's lives and digital allows us to do that. Simon Pestridge UK Marketing Director Nike B O N F I R E S
  • CROWDFUNDING Source private equity from the general public looking for a return on their investment and gain publicity at the same time. Involves signing up with crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdfunder.
  • When to use it? Good for start-ups, artists, disaster appeals, motion picture funding, software development, inventions, research Whats so good about it? Provides capital for launch Gains publicity, particularly if idea catches peoples imagination Whats not so good about it? Have to pay out! Who Gives A Crap is a new brand of toilet paper that uses 50% of its profits to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. They give 50% of their profits to WaterAid to help the world's poorest people access clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. They used indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform, to secure the initial orders to launch the product and get production off the ground. E X A M P L E SC R O W D F U N D I N G
  • SABOTAGE When all else fails, go on the attack
  • When to use it? Challenger brands Confident in product superiority Whats so good about it? Usually appears confident Good for upsetting the status quo Whats not so good about it? High chance it can backfire Negative advertising Danger of positioning brand/product as what you dont stand for rather than what you stand for Samsung mocks iPhones genius technology and lack of features to promote Galaxy SIII E X A M P L E SS A B O T A G E
  • 26 stampede betamode riddle snowballcoat tailsplaymate star prize survey zeitgeist movement keynote alienation sampling domination WINNING STRATEGIES ripples grass roots fanfare crowdfund advertain stunt sabotagebonfires shockwave lockdown dripping tap
  • Founded in 1987 by Paul Tullo, Richard Marshall and Chris Warren, TMW has evolved into the Intelligent Influence Agency. TMW guides organisations through the complexities of todays consumer and business environments by identifying the key influences that affect how people feel, behave, spend and think. This approach recognises and builds on the opportunity to create greater engagement by encouraging audience participation with organisations. The agency offers a wide range of services from data planning and analytics, CRM & eCRM, to content creation, community management and shopper marketing. Campaigns are executed across a breadth of channels including email, digital, social media, mobile and video. TMW works with some of the worlds most respected companies and organisations including Unilever, Diageo, Nissan, Sony, Brother International and Sainsburys. In 2006, TMW joined Creston plc, the FTSE-listed insight and communications group, comprised of eleven agencies divided into three divisions: Insight, Communications and Health. For more information visit www.tmw.co.uk