More and more, food brands are growing or pivoting their product offerings to meet new consumer trends (we hear mushrooms are all the rage). With a new product, you walk a fine line of maintaining the brand quality and values your current customers know and love AND delivering products new customers are looking for in the aisle. Our advice? Don’t just jump on the latest product fad. Slow and strategic wins the shelf.
Before brands can decide on what their next best idea is, they need to define who the idea serves with lots and lots of audience research. Whether this is revisiting existing customer profiles, some in-depth journey mapping, or fielding surveys to gather feedback, a product won’t get off the ground unless there’s a growing audience to receive it—which means developing a deep understanding of their wants and needs to validate your product offering. Your existing customers are the best sources of this kind of information and, chances are, they’re a lot like your future customers, too.
A great product doesn’t just solve a problem, it stands out from the competition visually and with clear positioning. To find your space, start by researching your competitors. Analyze their messaging, audience, and visual presentation. If they’re aiming to solve the same problems you’re trying to solve, you’re probably on the right track, but don’t let them beat you to it. If they’re doing things differently, it’s important to ask why. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. How can you make the wheel better? Or how can you introduce the wheel to a segment that has never considered rolling before?
In product innovation and marketing, customer empathy goes a long way. Create a product that solves a problem and appeals to their sensibilities, and you’ll be right on track to a growing business. Go in with open eyes, knowing that research, validation, and differentiation will be the foundation to sustaining that growth over time. With that being said, go forth and create that wheel!