A new product launch is an exciting, but also nerve-inducing, event for any CPG brand. You’ve done market research and held focus groups—and you believe that you have a product that will resonate with consumers. However, even big data can’t guarantee a successful launch. For that, you need a powerful marketing campaign that will excite and engage your target audience.
Knowing how to generate brand awareness for new products requires, above all, knowing your market. There are virtually millions of CPG products on the shelves for consumers to choose from; a successful launch is increasingly dependent on taking a digital approach in order to break through the noise of a crowded marketplace. And that means leveraging mobile platforms and social media to create buzz.
Many brands have been able to proactively gain attention for new products on a national or even global level, and thereby achieve a successful debut. Let’s explore how you can adapt one such brand’s tested strategies to ensure your own product launch sees similar results.
How to Create Brand Awareness and Buzz for New Products and Marketplaces
Whether you’re introducing a new product into an existing market or pushing an established product into an untapped market, the one thing that product needs is buzz. While the word is short, the path to earning it is not. In fact, it’s estimated that only 15% of new products succeed in the CPG industry. Brands that have faced this challenge head-on and launched a breakthrough product typically have this one thing in common: they got consumers engaged.
Let’s consider the case of Milk-Bone’s Brushing Chews. The company identified a common problem, canine dental health, and reached out to partners who could help them solve it. Prior to the product’s launch, the brand worked with several retailers to customize their message based on the demographics of the retailers’ audiences. They also spearheaded a social media campaign focused on pet dental health with the help of veterinary professionals to gain credibility and help to drive interest. In one year, sales for the product topped $50 million.
The brand successfully created brand awareness for a new product launch by:
- Solving a universal problem: Pet parents rarely brush their pet’s teeth as it’s a challenge both for the owner and the pet. Milk-Bone saw this dilemma and capitalized on it to launch a new product that turned a task into a reward.
- Building a social media campaign: The company used a series of online videos featuring their mascots Ted and Rudy, a man and his beloved dog. The videos featured an engaging duo demonstrating the product; viewers were excited to share and comment on it.
- Creating mutually beneficial partnerships: Veterinarians were the first to raise concerns about the lack of dental care for pets, so Milk-Bone decided to work with them to get the word out about their toothbrush-esque product. Milk-Bone was able to get the support of these industry leaders while veterinarians received a solution to a problem they saw every day.
Through these marketing efforts, Milk-Bone was able to roll out a new CPG product launch that was one of the most successful in the sector in 2014. They gained popularity and sales for their product by focusing on the common needs of their target audience.
Adapting Milk-Bone’s Strategy to Create a Successful Product Launch
It should be noted that Milk-Bone was up against some tough competition. Their competitors’ products, however, tended to be marketed as medicinal, rather than as treats. Milk-Bone created a niche presence for themselves and leveraged partnerships with trusted industry professionals to spread a powerful message.
Regardless of the product your company is selling, you can adapt some of their strategies to improve your own launch and build brand awareness:
- Bend categories: Milk-Bone is a company that primarily provides dog treats. However, with the rollout of their brushing chews, they moved into the health category. As they were the most dog-friendly option in the health category, they became a go-to option for many pet owners. Launching a product is often easier when you’re the stand out among a fixed group of competitors. Find your product’s unique selling point and use it to compete in a less aggressive category.
- Leverage social media: Milk-Bone rolled out their new product on several platforms, including social media. Their online videos, in particular, resonated with pet owners. Video advertising can generate a high ROI and can be a great tool for building buzz and engagement among consumers before your product even hits the retail shelves.
- Create partnerships: You don’t necessarily have to work with industry experts to carve out a place for yourself in a crowded market, you just need to find a partner that consumers already trust. Shopping apps are a great tool for CPG companies as they help spread your brand’s message to a wider and active audience and help you build the buzz you need for a successful product launch. They allow you to travel with the consumer through the ever-increasing shopping aisle, providing more powerful opportunities for in-the-moment messaging.
By taking a unique slant with your product and marketing it through digital avenues, you can gain more attention and brand awareness for your next product launch. Partnerships, like the ones you build with shopping rewards apps, can also help get the word out about your product to gain consumer’s interest. These apps can give you access to a new audience of consumers who are already engaged—and ready to help create buzz for your next product.
Shopkick is a popular shopping reward apps with partners and consumers alike. Our partners have found success in reaching new audiences and launching new products. To learn more, contact our team today.
Image courtesy Olivier Le Moal