Off! brand solved one of consumers’ biggest problems with their category… and their new product is flying off the shelf. Here’s a great example of a company that sufficiently understands its category and consumers and use that knowledge to drive breakthrough innovation. They solved one of consumers’ biggest concerns about insect repellents – the inconvenience and fear of applying it to your skin – with the Off! Clip-On and early sales results are exceptional. According to Ad Age, the Off fan has exceeded S.C. Johnson‘s initial sales expectations by 400%, sold $4.2 million in its first month, and retailers’ sole problem with the item is keeping it in stock. And at a premium price of over $10!
Here’s a great example of how leading companies develop successful and profitable new products: solve consumers’ problems. Such a simple idea… but all too rarely applied. Here are some easy ways to do it:
1) Conduct need-gap research – a simple market research study that determines what are the priority benefits consumers seek in your category (i.e. in the insect repellent category, #1 is likely repels insects, #2 might be keeps working (with one application), and how well your brand, and major competitors, perform on these priority benefits. Identify important attributes that no one is serving well: that’s where lucrative innovation opportunities abound.
2) Maximize and leverage consumer feedback loops – find out what issues consumers have with your category or your brand that you can capitalize on. Customer service, salesforce, and website are all rich potential feedback loops that can be used to identify consumers’ unmet needs.
3) Capitalize on all innovation opportunities, not just new products – there are many important things that annoy consumers or prevent them from buying more of you that you can fix – that are not necessarily new products. Common opportunities include: being clear about how you help them on your packaging; better information on how to properly use your product on/in the product; being more convenient; being more available; appropriately priced; being more responsive…. Again, find an important consumer nuisance and fix it.
Off’s new Clip-On product is destined for continued success… same great functioning product, but creatively overcoming consumers’ convenience and safety concerns.
1. Consumer complaints are one of the greatest sources of innovation opportunities. Make sure you use your contacts with consumers as a good feedback loop. Collect consumer complaints and issues and use them as inputs for your innovation activity.
2. Make sure you know what are the important benefits and attributes that consumers want and how well you and your primary competitors solve those problems. Let ‘what they want’ lead innovation, not ‘what we can make.’
3. Lucrative innovation isn’t just new products. Innovation is defining ways to enhance any aspect of your brand’s appeal to the consumer.