Monday, June 4, 2007

The Innovation Challenge

I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, but you’d have to have your eyes and ears shut not to know that most new products fail in the market. The latest stats I’ve come across were from Phil Lempert quoting The Nielsen Company. The facts are grim. Of the 88,000 bar-coded products introduced in the year up to 24 March 2007, just under 3 percent made more than a million in sales. No surprise that over 56 percent of them were food or beverages, and no surprise either that of the top 100 products that took off, 96 percent of them were brand extensions. Ninety-six percent. As Phil Lempert points out, ‘new ain’t what it used to be'. To me this experience alone makes a strong argument for Lovemarks. Looking at product development from the brand’s perspective puts you on the starting line along with all your competition. You are all working with the same market analysis, the same trends, the same game plan. Starting with Lovemarks and the idea that consumers own the brand puts you ahead immediately. Instead of looking sideways at the competition, you can look straight ahead at shoppers, mothers, parents. You need to explore their world. As our head planner at Saatchi & Saatchi, Sandy Thompson says, “If you want to learn about how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle”.