Brainstorming for a new product idea and stumbling upon a dead end is probably a road that every entrepreneur takes once in a while. Some people like to make comparisons with a similar condition that writers face, and hence put a fancy label on it, ‘entrepreneur’s block’. Whatever label we put on it, we must keep in mind that revolutionary product ideas are not generated every day and it’s common to run out of ideas as an entrepreneur for obvious reasons. On top of that, every product idea isn’t going to always sustain in a competitive market. Only 20% of all products that are launched every year, live long enough to see its success. Coming up with a product idea and making it work is not something as easy as it seems.
You may be asking, is there anything like a magic spell, to find a revolutionary product idea and knock it out of the park? I’m afraid, there isn’t. However, a well-structured plan of action should work better than random doodling on a piece of paper every day of the week. The process will not guarantee you success, but it can certainly increase the odds of you knocking it out of the park with your next product.
Having said that, here’s our five:
1) Find a problem that you can solve
First things first, to design a good product, you need to find the problem you want to solve. Being adaptive is one of the core qualities of a successful entrepreneur. Be flexible and be adaptive to the demand in the market. As Jim Semick, the Founder and Chief Strategist at Productplan says, “Before spending a dime on development, interview potential customers to understand the problem”.
Every year a large number of consumer products are launched worldwide and about 80% fail. That’s a scary statistic to digest for entrepreneurs. Delving into the reasons behind the failures, you will see that a large fraction of them are because of not focusing on the problem to be solved.
2) Design products on the foundation of the ethos of your company
You may not know it, but products complying with the values of your company already have a boost of brand value under its belt. That doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot probe. Business experts say, it is significantly easier to build the brand of a new product if it complies with the organizational values.
Keeping an eye on the big picture for your company, with the addition of a new product helps tremendously. For example, if Patek Philippe were to launch a new line of product affordable in the mid-tier market, this non-compliance to the values the company offers can harm the performance of the product(s). However, through sub-branding the task can be accomplished if we look at the example of the marketing mix of Armani, the Italian fashion brand; they have Giorgio Armani (a top-tier brand), Emporio Armani (a mid-tier brand, and Armani Exchange (a mass market brand).
3) Customize as much as possible
Product customization refers to preparing goods and services tailor-made for individual needs and the demands of customers. Post-modern culture is going away from riding on the bandwagon and buying the exact copy of the same product in bulk. People look for exclusivity. Being able to provide customers with a feeling of exclusivity can be a big boost up for your product. Especially in the ready-made garments or RMG industry, the importance of product customization is rising. There are a few steps that can be followed to make product customization successful. Although it can be costly, if done right, it should be worth every penny.
Many successful big names across industries are getting huge success through product customization. Nike in recent times, is enabling its customers to get to choose from a template and customize at will, while purchasing sportswear and snickers. Product customization in the fashion industry can be a very tricky move.
4) Timing is key
Timing of the launch of your product can mean everything to the success of the venture. The launch of a product at the right time, and at the right place can be the cherry on top of a nicely designed product. But with the flip of a coin, the scenario can be proven the opposite. A brilliant product can go downhill very easily, if the timing of the launch is miscalculated.
Prepare the timeline of your product after doing a comprehensive analysis to figure out the optimum time. It is not as easy as it sounds, however, rather than solely riding on gut-feeling, an analysis will yield better results for you. Before launching your hard-work invested product, do your homework, create anticipation among your audience, and engage them in the marketing process.
5) Relate a social cause to your product:
Finally, engaging the social benefit within a product can be a real push for your product to be a success. As Monaem Ben Lellahom, a founding partner of the Sustainable Square says, cause-related marketing yields a win-win situation for all stakeholders, the consumer, the society, and the company of course. A personal relevance to the cause is likely to make a potential customer choose a product.
Studies have found that relating a social cause can make a product more acceptable to a larger pool of consumers. The perception of negative externalities can be significantly reduced, if the product is tied to a humanitarian cause. On a survey, it was found that three-fourths of consumers feel more satisfied with a product that is contributing to the society. However, you need to be careful to be avoiding controversies that can potentially damage your brand value and of course your product. On top of that, consumers must perceive your efforts to be genuine if you are to succeed through this policy. While shooting, don’t let the gun recoil onto your nose.