Doing more with your core: 3 ways to add real value

Don’t worry, this isn’t another article how to get back in shape after the festive period!

​Being efficient in how your use your time, resource and budget will always be a hot topic (you can still watch our webinar from last year on this here), so today Tom Carvell from the STRAT7 Advisory team is sharing how to get more value from your core product portfolio without costly NPDs by using commercial innovation.

According to Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey, 75% of senior marketers are being asked to do more with less. ​If this rings true for you, I’m sure you agree it doesn’t get any less frustrating the more you hear it!

‘Doing more with your core’ may sound dull compared to its cooler and more edgy cousin, breakthrough innovation, which we’ve talked about previously, but I promise you can be just as rewarding. You can be creative with commercial innovation, update packaging, visuals, claims, positioning, or the sensorials and emotives that effect how the product tastes, smells and feels.

These changes can have a huge impact on how consumers access, perceive and experience your product and brand. But before diving in and brainstorming the changes you could make; you need to make the right strategic decisions about what will add most value for your consumer and business.

Here are three areas to address to ensure that innovation within your core product portfolio adds real value.

1 / Optimise the consumer experience

Perceived value hinges on consumer experience of your products and determines how likely customers are to stay loyal to your brand. If you are losing customers through a high churn rate or find that competitors are stealing share through a superior UX, it may be prudent to focus your attention on optimising the product experience.

The best place to start is with ethnography – observing how consumers interact with your products and interrogating them based on your observations. This will identify tensions which are (consciously or unconsciously) holding back satisfaction, as well as shining a light on unmet needs which, if met, could further delight consumers. There may be quick wins by addressing the tensions and needs through changes in the packaging or design, or by enhancing the sensorial experience with new tastes, smells, textures etc.

Pampers demonstrated textbook experience optimisation when they identified nappies were leaking as a result of improper application due to babies wriggling during changing. They added a simple graphic to the inside of the product to help parents align the nappy correctly which helped to improve the changing experience and performance of the product – all without radical design changes. This helped propel Pampers to being the global leader of category.

2 / Sharpen how you communicate your benefits

There’s no point having a great product experience or category-leading benefits if consumers aren’t aware of them or don’t understand them. To achieve uptake, your benefits must be visible, appealing, relevant and distinct vs competitors.

Boosting visibility and appeal of your benefits can be achieved through impactful visuals and demos. A notable example is the Dulux visualiser app which uses augmented reality to show consumers how different coloured paints would look in their home. The app has over a million downloads and 4.4 stars on the apple app store.

Relevance can be enhanced by diagnosing specific desired outcomes among your target audience and then communicating your benefits in those terms.

Scholl has demonstrated this with their category-leading fungal-nail treatment. Undeterred by the potentially off-putting subject matter, they identified that the key outcome was fast visible improvement – they made “Visible results in 2 weeks” bold on the front of pack.

However, in the years following this, that claim become normalised as competitors started using similar language. With one eye on maintaining a distinctive position in the category landscape, they pivoted to focus on bringing the science of their product to life: “Faster Penetration, Lasting Results.”

3 / Pivot to new consumers and occasions 

Commercial innovation can also result in extending reach to new consumers or occasions. This can be especially lucrative when there are multiple brands competing to deliver the same benefits to the same consumers, or if consumer attitudes have shifted to create a new and overlooked demand space.

Segmentation of the addressable audience can identify opportunities with new target consumers and occasions by providing a landscape of all the needs and category-entry-points and highlighting which are most underserved.

One of the great success stories in this area is from the P&G personal care brand Old Spice. The brand was traditionally aimed at an older demographic until a shift in strategic focus drove targeted marketing towards younger consumers without transforming their products. As they learnt more about their new target market, they also discovered that it was, in fact, primarily women who were buying the products for men which led to the brilliant “hello ladies” ad campaign.

Hopefully this provides some food for thought on how commercial innovation can unlock more potential from your existing products. We can help not only identify the best approach to ‘doing more with your core’, but also understand the constraints (capabilities, costs, and regulations) to establish the boundaries of possibility and develop pragmatic solutions.

Please get in touch if you need help identifying commercial innovation that will maximise impact your business and consumer.