Winning Product Launches


A new product launch is a significant investment for companies. Not only are the companies trying to penetrate the market with a new product, they are also trying to gain market share, build brand image, and perpetuate its reputation as an innovative company. But many new products fail in the first year after introduction, often leaving the company with a black-eye as well as red-ink.


What does it take to have a winning product launch? According to Nielsen’s analysis of 3,439 newly introduced consumer products, it determined that the top  winning products  demonstrated breakthrough results in innovation, relevance, endurance, and distinctiveness. In order to make the top list, the product had to achieve at least 90% of year-one sales in year two, demonstrating a solid consumer adoption of the new product.


The top products for 2013 are:


  • Chattem – Allegra® Allergy
  • Colgate Palmolive – Colgate® Optic White™
  • Dannon Oikos® Greek Yogurt
  • Del Monte – Milo’s Kitchen® Home-Style Dog Treats
  • General Mills – Fiber One® 90 Calorie Brownies
  • Hershey – Reese’s® Minis
  • Kelloggs – Special K Cracker Chips
  • Kraft – MiO Liquid Water Enhancer, Velveeta Cheesy Skillets
  • Monster Beverage Company – Monster Rehab®
  • Nestle – Skinny Cow Candy
  • P&G – Downy UNSTOPABLES™ In Wash Scent Booster
  • TalkingRain – Sparkling Ice
  • Unilever – Magnum® Ice Cream


Each of these products and companies successfully met three key requirements:


  1. Relevance – products must be relevant to the consumer and generate first year sales of $50+ million.
  2. Endurance – products achieved at least 90% of first year sales in its second year to confirm a sustained level of demand from trial to adoption.
  3. Distinctiveness – products must deliver a new value proposition to the market.


Launching a product might be tougher than it looks – particularly when the launch results have to be sustained into the next years.


Group Activities and Discussion Questions:


  1. Discuss the elements that make a good product launch.
  2. Review some of the winning product campaigns identified by Nielsen.
  3. Access and read the full report from Nielsen:
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team design a product launch campaign for a product of their choice.
  5. How will each team address the three key areas of relevance, endurance, and distinctiveness?


Source:  Nielsen Research, 7/2013


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