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These Companies Aced New Product/Service Debuts

Posted by Neha De

April 20, 2020    |     3-minute read (520 words)

New product launches are expensive, risky -- and vitally important. Check out these four brands that managed to get it right.

KFC Reinvents its Chicken Sandwich

In 2010, KFC replaced the bun for its chicken sandwich with deep-fried chicken, stuffing bacon and cheese between two boneless white meat chicken filets. The creation, named the “Double Down,” generated a tremendous amount of publicity. Because of its high fat ingredients, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asked KFC to avoid marketing the sandwich to children.

KFC used the buzz to its advantage and created social media and internet advertising campaigns that were centered around the product. The company ended up selling close to 10 million sandwiches in the first few months after launching. When it comes to successfully rolling out a product, generating attention is extremely important.

Virgil Abloh’s Collaboration with Nike

Virgil Abloh’s collaboration with Nike entitled “The Ten” was the biggest sneaker event of 2017. The fashion designer teamed up with the sports brand to release a limited collection of 10 of the latter’s reimagined footwear classics. To win the opportunity to buy a pair of sneakers, prospective buyers had to register in a raffle.

Even though the raffle never happened, the product launch was pushed back and the collection was ultimately launched on the Nike SNKR app instead, at which point the entire line sold out within minutes. Building up hype several months in advance, showcasing the collection on social media and offering limited availability turned this launch campaign into a roaring success.

Unsplash’s Kickstarter Campaign

A few years ago, Unsplash launched a Kickstarter campaign for a book featuring photos, essays and art from creators as a way to thank the photographers who had contributed photos to help Unsplash hit 50 million downloads. The goal of the campaign was to raise $75,000, but the firm managed to bring in more than $100,000. How did that happen? By getting influencers involved, and not celebrities.

According to research, 70 percent of millennials are influenced by the recommendations of their peers when it comes to buying decisions. And according to a study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions and TapInfluence, the ROI of influencer content is 11 times higher than that of traditional campaigns. That’s because influencers quickly build trust and relationships and improve brand awareness.

WePay Versus PayPal

PayPal received some negative publicity around freezing member accounts in 2010. Competing firm WePay saw this as an opportunity. During PayPal’s annual developer conference held the same year, WePay dropped 600 pounds of ice with frozen money and a simple message to PayPal users: “PayPal Freezes Your Accounts. Unfreeze Your Money.” The firm basically wanted to let people know that the same thing would not happen to its users – and the stunt worked to get the company publicity, even making the front page of TechCrunch and many other popular tech sites.

What WePay did was promote its strengths through competitive marketing. The publicity resulted in three times more conversions on the stunt landing page, a 225 percent increase in traffic and a 300 percent increase in signups.

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