If the product or service you’re launching is at the center of your communications strategy, and if you haven’t found your peanut butter, beware! Your launch could use a healthy injection of innovation. (If you just sat back, furrowed your brow and said “Huh?,” allow me two minutes to explain.)
For three years running, we’ve hosted an exclusive event for clients designed to stimulate innovative thinking on a topic relevant to today’s most important marketing decisions. The most recent Innovation Experience (INEX for short) invited nationally recognized thought leaders to inspire attendees to innovate their next launch. A pre-qualifier: Innovative thinking shared had to be paired with practical ideas that could be immediately implemented.
As you well know, launching a product or service today is complicated and daunting. Competitors are adapting faster. Information is consumed inconsistently. Gaining regulatory approval requires agility. Awareness simply isn’t enough. Marketing mandates extend beyond setting the marketing strategy.
Changing the launch game isn’t easy for many companies, especially those in well-established and highly regulated industries. For marketers, the perceived risk of changing strategy or approach could alone seem reason enough to forego innovation and stay the course. (And yet the risk of not doing so is equally great.) Fortunately, we gleaned 10 insights from our keynotes and featured speakers that are relevant and useful even in this context, while also being challenging and inspirational.
- What’s your peanut butter? It’s been said that no one knows the science behind word-of-mouth more than Dr. Jonah Berger, professor of marketing, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Spurring this kind of buzz actually has less to do with how interesting your product is and more to do with how strong and frequent the triggers are that make someone think about your product. Peanut butter is a trigger for jelly. What’s the “peanut butter” for the product you’re launching? As he says, “Top of mind means tip of tongue.”
- Take the product out of the conversation. This advice comes from Casey Flanagan, director of communication strategy at Kohler Co. One of the great challenges marketers face, following what often can be years of product R&D, is shaping a conversation in the market that has more to with the audience’s situation than with the product features and benefits. Dr. Berger seconded this thought, saying that no one wants to hear you talk about yourself at a party. So true.
- Create an unexpected experience. Johnny Earle, better known as Johnny Cupcakes, is the famed entrepreneur behind the world’s first T-shirt “bakery” and hero to a cult of brand loyalists worldwide. Not only has he created complete sensory experiences in his retail locations, but he’s also built his business around creating experiences at every customer touch point, many of those unexpected and, as a result, memorable. Case in point: Simple handwritten notes he’s included in T-shirt orders to customers have driven people to take pictures of the notes and take to social media to share the experience.
For the balance of the insights, be sure to download our free guide, Innovation Matters: 10 Tips for Your Next Product Launch.