How To Launch A New Product – Big Brand Examples
The successful launch of a new product or service is critical for brands. A badly executed launch can tank company shares, turn off potential consumers and even create negative publicity. In fact, a poorly executed product launch can doom your product or company to eventual failure. At Moondust, we work with large corporations to create and implement winning launch strategies. In this article, we’re looking at how some of the world’s top brands used content and social media marketing to launch products and services.
#1 Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USPS)
The first thing you need to do when preparing to launch is to define your USPs. Your company USPs are not the same as the USPs for your new product or service. Before you launch a new product, you must clearly identify them to ensure your written communication is aligned and on point. How is your product different from the others available on the market? How will it benefit consumers and why do they need it? What are 3 great features of the product? Failure to get this right from the start can lead to weak or confused launch messaging. In 2013, Burger King introduced a new menu item hyped as a healthy alternative to their traditional fries. Named “Satisfries”, the fries used a healthier batter which absorbed less oil. Unfortunately, though, Burger King failed to convey the difference to customers. So, all they saw was that there were new and more expensive fries on the menu and most chose not to buy them. BK discontinued the fries less than a year after they were introduced. Identifying your USPs internally means you can then identify them in your launch marketing.
#2 Develop a multichannel marketing plan.
Firstly, a product launch is a busy time so you should ensure each member of your team knows their roles and responsibilities. Communication is key so be sure to involve the right team members in launch discussions. This is something we, as an agency address early on. Secondly, launching a new product without a multichannel marketing plan is fatal. It’s crucial that you map out your active channels and decide how and where you are going to launch. Your channels might include:
Social media platforms
Social media advertising
Your website and blog
Press releases or guest posts
Video (Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook or Insta live)
Radio or Television
Offline magazines, newspapers or billboard advertising
It’s important to note that whilst your messaging should be aligned, you don’t need to launch in a big way on every single channel. Instead, you can funnel customer attention to one. For example, an email to your database and a blog post can invite customers to join you for the big Facebook live launch.
Swarovski is a brand that knows how to narrow its focus to hit the right target audience. The Austrian brand invested heavily in the production of the #BrillianceForAll TV advert which starred Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Karlie Kloss, Ruby Rose, Fei Fei Sun, Andres Velencoso Segura, Maye Musk, Maggie Jiang, Daya, Nolan Funk, Chiara Ferragni, Boy George, Anthony Mackie, Eric Rutherford, Bryanboy and Nathan Owens. Now that is an impressive line-up! However, Swarovski knew the market it wanted to target and launched a tailored campaign via WeChat in China.
Taking advantage of WeChat’s digital features was a smart move for Swarovski and despite the high cost of the TV ad, two-thirds of new followers were organic. China is Swarovski’s biggest market pulling in €2.6 billion in revenue. Localising a launch campaign means you will need localised images and photos, local language support and a channel that works in that region. Most of China cannot access Facebook for example.
#3 Test everything.
The problem with launching a new product is that there will often be a roadmap that your company owners or shareholders want you to follow. This can create unrealistic deadlines, leaving brands to skip crucial testing or consumer surveys. It’s smart to conduct a mock launch internally before you roll out to the public. Get everyone in your company to test your product, signup forms, social media contests, landing pages and any coupon codes. Provide incentives for staff to report bugs or problems to your tech team. Back in the 80’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game was created in a rush following the release of Steven Spielberg’s classic movie. With only five weeks spent in development the game was flawed, difficult and lacked user friendliness. And it was an expensive mistake. Atari spent $21 million to purchase the rights to the franchise and $5 million on promotion of the game. However, despite making 4 million copies it only sold 1.5 million and buried the leftover copies in a landfill. E.T go home.
#4 Create Winning Press Releases.
No product launch is complete without at least one press release and in most cases, companies will release a series of alternative PRs. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when writing a press release for your product launch:
Keep it brief- 500 words is usually the maximum needed but if you can do it in 300 then even better.
The lead paragraph should say everything- The intro paragraph should summarise everything about your product launch. It should answer the what, when, who, where and why. What is happening? Where and when? Why is it happening? Who’s involved? You can then go on to discuss the product in more detail.
Get the style right- Be sure to adhere to your company content style guide for press releases. It’s also important to keep sentences simple, avoid using jargon or terms that the average person wouldn’t understand. Of course, be sure to have the press release professionally written. Reporters will immediately hit delete if they get a release full of errors.
Include CTAs- Don’t make readers hunt for information elsewhere. In most cases they won’t do it. Provide strong CTAs like “Reserve your spot” or “Preorder now” with embedded links to your product.
Here are a few press releases that nailed the golden rules:
You can see that Maroon 5 (or rather their PR team) nailed the intro paragraph. We don’t even need to read the rest of the press release because we can see what’s happening, when, and how to buy tickets right at the start. They also included an image of the band above the fold to reiterate the messaging.
Popbar also nailed the intro paragraph and established the history of their product in their press release, a smart tactic. With fun lingo that celebrates all the ways and places people enjoy their snack, they sweetly introduced their presence in Houston Texas.
#5 Create A Video
Creating a video or series of short videos to promote your launch is an effective tactic. However, today, brands are thinking beyond a single incredible video and considering the entire campaign. This includes:
Matching campaign hashtags
Messaging across social media channels
A tie in contest or offer
Storytelling for the blog or PR
A charitable contribution or community initiative
Sorter social media videos
Behind the scenes/ meet the stars
A good example of an integrated campaign was H&M’s Erdem collection launch. The Swedish fashion company tapped Baz Luhrmann, world-renowned director of Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, and Romeo + Juliet to work on this beautiful video The Secret Life of Flowers. The video portrays a love story set in a mysterious mansion where it’s always spring. And the video has it all. Flowers, lust, elegance and love. Fashion crowds went into a frenzy on launch day queuing for hours outside shops around the world to snap up the pretty floral garments.
H&M nailed the video, but they also nailed behind the scenes storytelling:
High level and well-placed PR in spots like Vogue:
And matching hashtags for the campaign:
#6 Create FOMO
FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out is a huge part of a successful product launch. In fact, it’s estimated that 69% of millennials experience the phenomenon, and 60% of millennials make reactive purchases because of FOMO. So how can you use FOMO in your launch?
Create limited edition products- by limiting products to 10,000 for example, you will create more demand.
Offer a limited time discount- Offer a discount or coupon but only for a limited time. By doing this you are pushing readers to take prompt action.
Use the right language- Use energetic, fast paced language to convey a sense of speed and urgency.
Place questions & comments- We are not suggesting you do this, but well-placed comments and questions by users do create a sense that the product is in demand.
Advertise to friends of fans- Friends of fans will instinctively be more interested in a product that their friend has purchased or liked.
Check out this great FOMO example by Nike below. So high was the FOMO factor, that these trainers resell on eBay for up to $2,500 (as opposed to $190) and the line has received more than 34,000 #TheTen mentions on Insta. The key to all this was building hype in advance and limiting availability.
#7 Monitor Hashtags
So, you’ve got your amazing campaign hashtag but are you monitoring it? That’s literally the entire point of having one but many brands forget this when they launch. Monitoring your hashtag will help you to see the popularity of the campaign, answer any questions or complaints and engage with your audience. Remember that today’s social media users expect swift responses. The average response time for brands on Twitter is one day, seven hours. Yet, 64% of customers on Twitter expect a response from companies within one hour. This is particularly crucial if you’re launching a time sensitive product or offer as ignored consumers will become frustrated and impatient.
Let’s turn to Nike again. The brand has one of the strongest customer service accounts on Twitter. They feature a dedicated Twitter account which provides support seven days a week in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German & Japanese. When a customer mentions Nike’s main twitter handle, @TeamNike jumps in to help. This shows how dedicated the brand is to solving customer problems and questions.
#8 Go Live
Going Live is an excellent way to launch your new product or service and there are many ways to use the Live tool. Go live to show a launch event, behind the scenes, interview with product developers or fan testimonials.
82% of online audiences prefer live video from a brand to social postsF
Facebook videos get 10x higher reach than YouTube Links
Live videos average 6x more engagement than regular video
You can also use “sneak peek” to give your audience a preview of an upcoming launch but remember to publicise it. Build up to your live event with email marketing and messaging on your other channels and blog.
Think that “Live” is only for the cool kids? Think again. Traditional brands like finance giant NASDAQ leverage their presence with live-streamed interviews with financial and corporate executives. They also go live for opening and closing bells. There’s even a series called ‘Behind the Bell’, that features interviews with famous people who rang the bell that day. Now that’s great content marketing.