I have helped launch countless products, programs, and services over the years. The most notable is surely Blue Moon, which my team handled the public relations for, on behalf of Coors. And there have been plenty of other lesser-known but equally successful introductions over the years, including new cones and cores for Sonoco Products, new equipment and systems for Windmoeller & Hoelscher, new multifunctionals for Panasonic, and new technologies for Disc Manufacturing.
Perhaps the biggest splash I ever had the pleasure of being a part of occurred in the early 90s, promoting a “buy American” campaign on behalf of Monsanto’s Plastics Division. The company supplied polymers to the automotive industry and wanted to impress the Big Three U.S. automakers. Since the U.S. auto industry was suffering at the time, Monsanto decided to launch an incentive program for its domestic employees to purchase an American-made automobile.
In an era before the internet, social media, or even media relations departments, my boss and I – two reasonably talented business-to-business PR pros – used a press release, b-roll, and the telephone to generate more than 150 million media impressions in 24 hours. The campaign, which was quickly matched by other U.S. manufacturers, eventually helped pump $50 million into the then sagging U.S. auto industry. And it earned our client face-to-face meetings with the Big Three. Not bad for a day’s work!
I also helped introduce Value Range Marketing for Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, generating more than 62 million media impressions as a result of our national and local publicity efforts. While this revolutionary concept never fully took off, our successful introduction helped differentiate the company from its competitors and position it as the brand committed to improving the real estate business in America.
Working on behalf of AST Computers, I helped introduce several new desktops and servers. This was back in the old days, where we would begin by briefing industry analysts, and then target long-lead media before having a press conference (often at a trade event, to ensure maximum media attendance) to make the actual announcement. And, of course, we accompanied this with an extensive product review (a.k.a. loaner) program so that reporters and other influencers could gain first-hand knowledge of the product, write reviews, etc.
In addition to launching products, programs, and services, I also have a proven track record of helping sustain interest in and enthusiasm for products already in the market – keeping brands fresh, relevant, and in-demand in the ever-changing marketplace. This is perhaps best reflected in the work I did on behalf of Advanced Elastomer Systems and Monsanto’s Plastics Division, frequently leveraging case studies and industrial design events in vertical markets to demonstrate the benefits and effectiveness of their products and services.
The timeline for introducing a product has shrunk considerably in the digital age, and we have added many new tools and channels to make the process easier and quicker. But the principles remain the same, beginning with a thorough understanding of the product, market, and target audiences along with a well-conceived plan for rolling it out and maintaining interest and enthusiasm until the next one comes down the pipeline.