Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Make a New Product Unique

This article is a definite read. The concept of marrying product attributes with unique capabilities sounds obvious but companies rarely put the two together.

 …two factors help a company stand out from the competition when introducing a new offering:
Unique product attributes (difficult for rivals to copy), in technology, packaging, customer experience, or design
Differentiated capabilities that create coherence in your company—an alignment between your business strategy and your portfolio of products
…. four-step strategy to create a great product coupled with a coherent capabilities system.
1. Articulate how your company or division’s innovation approach fits with its overall strategy. For example, is your company a premium or a value player, a technological pioneer or a fast follower?
2. Identify the needs—articulated and unarticulated—of the particular consumers you have chosen to reach, and figure out how your new products can meet those needs 
3. Devise a group of differentiated innovation capabilities that will sustain those new products. For example, are you going to win by getting closer to the consumer using proactive market insights? Are you going to beat your competition with distribution through your superior front-of-store prowess? Will you employ claims-based research to out-market the upstarts? If these capabilities are too common and generic, your competitors will too easily copy them. If they are too complex and specialized, you may destroy your margin value. Try to find capabilities that complement one another so that they are mutually reinforcing and make the most of your investment in them. 
4. Remember that not every product will be wildly successful. Fail fast, fail cheap, and create a culture of thoughtful risk taking.

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