Madeleine Griffiths

Launching a new product: staged process is key

Madeleine Griffith, public relations director at Guerilla, shares her experiences of launching a new product and how to

Last year I was involved in launching several new brands and products across the UK and Europe. There is no better feeling than when you have been working on the creation of a new brand or product and then you get to see it take off. In reality however, getting to the launch stage requires you to complete a lengthy process in which several development stages must be completed correctly, if not the launch of your product and brand could be a disaster.

For example in the case of launching the ‘Benu’ pharmacy brand across seven different countries we had to create a name for the brand that could be trade marked in each country, failure to do so in any one country would have led to legal battles after the launch. In a similar way the new brand name and identity had to be memorable and easy to pronounce with no negative cultural connotations. This is why to produce one brand name it can take literally thousands of suggested options, most will not make it through the trademark or linguistic checking stages.

The next stage of the launch process can also be challenging as it is often a subjective stage in which the new brand name and identity is tested by your client and their customers. Honing and fine tuning of the brand and launch plan is fine, but you have to ensure that the idea does not become diluted and remember the launch date will have been set- the clock is still ticking.

During the final stages of a product launch your plans are even more exposed to external influences, and any one of them can derail the launch. During our launch of Kim Kardashian Essentials weight management product, which
was due to launch in January, we suddenly found out that the UK product consignment was still on a ship coming from New York. Our finely tuned plan to launch a weight management product at the optimum month of the year was suddenly in pieces, as it would have to be delayed until May.

This also brings me to the ups and downs of working with celebrities to endorse a new product especially if they are as high profile as Kim Kardashian. A high profile celebrity can help with exposure of a product launch massively, but you also have to remember that logistically this can add real challenges to a launch event. In the case of Kim’s Essentials launch we arranged two events in London, involving Kim addressing thousands of fans
and the paparazzi. The numbers of security personnel attending the events alone came to over fifty!

So when it comes to launching a new brand and product, my advice is hold on tight and follow a staged process.

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