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HOW NOT to find unique ideas: Focus groups are the worst way to find big, bold ideas. Customers can only tell you the world as they know it. Quality guru W. Edwards Deming once said, “Customers can’t say what new product or service would be desirable three years from
today. New ideas are generated by imagination, risk, innovation, trial and error by the producer.”
How TO FIND unique ideas: Take personal responsibility for the challenge. Get personally involved in your category and in categories near your category. Seek out the “thought leaders” in your industry. Who are the retailers, salespeople, consumers, customers, or even members of the media who are most aware of where categories are going? Seek them out and ask about tomorrow. Ask them what they anticipate the future looking like in three years, five years, and ten years. Don’t be bashful. Just ask those involved in your industry for their ideas and insights. Listen especially closely to those ideas that contradict your established thinking. Radical ideas, different ideas offer the greatest potential for helping you realize meaningful growth.
Think NEW TO THE WORLD, Not New to You. It’s common to confuse “new to our company” with new to the world. Customers don’t care whether you’ve never offered a certain type of product or service before. They’re interested only in what you can do that NO ONE ELSE CAN DO.
NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT ARE CONCEPT EXTENSIONS GROW SALES AND PROFITS, AND CAN HELP GROW YOUR PARENT BRAND
The most obvious reason to pursue new products and services is to grow sales and profits. However, if we’re smart about it, we can also use them to grow our existing businesses. Note that concept extensions are not the same as concept variations, which might represent other flavors or sizes. Concept extensions belong in separate categories.
Research shows that the introduction of new products and services can revitalize customer perceptions of an existing Flagship brand. Research was conducted on the “halo” effect on the parent brand of introducing line extensions (new flavors or varieties of the same product) as well as new concept extensions (leveraging the Flagship Brand’s Overt Benefit in NEW PRODUCT CLASSES).
After just a twenty-five-second exposure to ideas for line extensions or concept extensions, consumers’ attitudes toward the parent brand improved significantly. Important, too, is that the attitude improvement remained even a week later to those shown the ideas for concept extensions.
Net: When you introduce concept extensions, i.e., take your trademark and benefit into new categories, you place a sustainable halo over your existing brand. Research also shows that in the event that the concept extension is a failure, there is less risk of a negative effect on the parent brand’s image. Customers don’t appear to blame the parent brand for the failure of a concept extension. Net: With Concept Extensions you gain a positive halo for your Flagship Brand with less risk of damaging that brand in the event of a failure.