The amount of choice that we have today is unparalleled. For many established Brands this reality makes it very difficult to compete on product alone. While their may be excellent, it is most likely at par with another, if not a group of others. As such, playing on line extensions, packaging improvements, ingredient stories, etc. will drive a bit of interest for a shooting moment in time, but that is about all. Instead, Brands need to play with the layered value game. This is difficult because it is very easy to get carried away with all the great technology options that exist. There are good examples where the hero product is firmly integrated into the new product so that there is true benefit amplification, and there are examples where the connection to the hero product is weak.
A Brand that has been able to develop a brilliant new product to sell its original, or hero product, is Hellmann’s. They realised that the best way to encourage people to use their mayonnaise was to help them make tasty, easy, and fun dishes, with their product. They tapped into a common reality which is reverting to the same old dishes with what you have in your fridge versus try something new. Therefore, Hellmann’s invented the ReciTweet, an online recipe book where you access the perfect dish by simply texting the ingredients you have in your fridge plus #PreparaPraMim. The way it works is that the program accesses Recipedia, the web’s biggest source for recipes, then it matches your ingredients with the ideal dish from its database. Therefore, through this interesting technology Hellmann’s makes eating more fun and inserts its product into your cooking adventure.
A bad example of a Brand that creates a product to sell it original product comes from Nivea. Nivea have been playing around with innovative print ideas for a while. Just a year ago they developed a print ad that allowed you to charge your phone while on the beach, demonstrating the strength of the sun and thus the reason for one to use Nivea to protect yourself. Their most recent experiment may have won a Grand Prix at Cannes but was creative indulgence as far as I’m concerned. They developed a bracelet that acts as a “distance collar” to ensure your kids stay at a safe distance while at the beach. The innovation itself is very cool and incredibly useful but the connection to the Brand is weak. Perhaps it builds on the Brand values but the link with the actual product is a bit removed. Have a look and judge for yourself.