New Approach to Product Innovation
Aims for 75 Percent Success Rate

By Lynne Cooke

Millions of dollars are spent on developing and launching new products each year, but the vast majority fail. Now companies may have a clear determination of whether products will succeed in the marketplace.

A new approach by Nielsen revolutionizes the traditional method and can improve the likelihood of new product success to 75%. For the first time, companies may have a clear determination of whether new products will succeed and how to increase their odds of success.

Nielsen has identified 12 criteria every new product must meet to succeed, including specific recommendations on what companies should change before the new product launch to increase chances of success.

Companies spend on average $15 million on marketing for a new product launch, with some companies spending more than $60 million. New products generally have a 10% percent chance of succeeding. With Nielsen’s new approach – based on tracking 600 product launches and testing 20,000 initiatives – the success rate can improve to 75%.

Vicki Gardner, senior vice president, Product Innovation North America, Nielsen, said, “By identifying key criteria every successful new product must meet, we’re helping marketers know where to focus their efforts in new product development and in-market execution. As a result, companies gain a huge leap forward with more actionable advice and better decision-making, and that means better investment of new product marketing dollars.”

In the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, when deciding which new products to pursue, many companies rely on the same core measures from the “pencil and paper” days of research. While these key dimensions provide a good measure of likely sales, Nielsen’s approach goes beyond sales forecasts and provides an understanding of success on consumer benchmark areas, such as “findability” and advantage over others, for an improved prediction of new product success.

“At Kraft Foods, our growth strategy includes a stepped-up emphasis on great brand marketing and great innovation,” said Barry Calpino, vice president, Innovation, Kraft Foods North America. “We feel Nielsen’s new method gives us a much richer and more in-depth assessment of our initiatives. And importantly, it’s designed to suit the needs and realities of being an innovation project leader – the person who uses the tool to help make our ideas bigger and better when we go to market.”

Nielsen’s twelve success factors encompass five main areas:


1) Distinct Proposition - Does the product offer a true innovation?

2) Attention- Catching – Will the product be noticed?


3) Message Connection - Is your message conveyed in a simple, persuasive way?

4) Do you have a Clear and Concise Message? Is it conveyed without clutter?


5) Does your product have a substantial Need/Desire? Is it solving a problem or meeting consumers’ needs?

6) What is your product’s Advantage? Is it better than others currently in the marketplace?

7) Credibility - Are your product claims believable?

8) Acceptable Downsides - (Typically related to side effects for over-the-counter (OTC) products)


9) Findability - Is the product where consumers expect it to be? Can shoppers find it easily among the competition?

10) Acceptable Costs - What are the cost/benefit trade-offs at the shelf? This could be price, calorie content, usage instructions, among other factors.


11) Product Delivery - Did you meet or exceed consumers’ expectations? Are you delivering on your product’s promise?

12) Product Loyalty – Will consumers continue to purchase your product in the future?

“You are only as strong as your weakest link,” said Gardner. “Take a triathlon as an example. You don’t need to be the fastest swimmer, biker or runner, but in order to win you need to do well in each event. You can’t win in the swim but get off the bike and push it up the hill. New product success is not about doing one thing really, really well; it’s about doing everything you need to do well.”


Campbell Offers Consumers Expanded Assortment of Soup

By Lynne Cooke

Campbell Soup Company plans to have a soup for everybody – those who want less salt and those who prefer full flavor.

To spur sales, the company is adding salt and flavor in more than two dozen soups, while continuing to provide consumers with a wide variety of lower-sodium products, including 90 varieties of soups and more than 100
other Campbell products, such as V8 juices, Prego Italian sauces, SpaghettiOs pastas and most Pepperidge Farm breads.

Dozens of new products will be introduced – from Campbell Slow Kettle soups and Prego alfredo pasta sauce to V8 energy shots and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish sandwich bread.

In a Reuters new story following a recent annual investor meeting, Denise Morrison, Campbell’s Chief Operating Officer who will become CEO on Aug 1, said, “Reducing sodium was absolutely the right thing for our company to do. It's vital we provide people with a choice, so we will continue to offer an appealing variety of products for consumers who seek reduced-sodium options as well as compelling options for those who do not.”

At a meeting with investors on July 12, Campbell provided additional details about its reduced sodium soups:
  • The company is launching eight new varieties of Healthy Request soups, increasing the line to 33 soups from 25. Campbell's Healthy Request soups offer heart-healthy versions of some of Campbell's most popular Condensed, Select Harvest and Chunky soups. All Healthy Request soups contain 410 milligrams of sodium per serving, meet U.S. government criteria for healthy foods and display the American Heart Association's heart-check mark.
  • Campbell will continue to provide more than 50 other soups in its Condensed, Chunky, Select Harvest  and V8 product lines whose sodium content has been reduced between 10 and 50 percent in the last   few years.
  • In response to consumer feedback, Campbell will improve the taste of 31 of its Campbell's Select Harvest soups. Enhanced recipes will include a variety of flavors and seasonings, including increased salt. For consumers who desire reduced-sodium options, Select Harvest Healthy Request soups will continue to be an attractive choice.

According to the Reuters report, Campbell is raising sodium levels in all 31 of its Select Harvest soups to 650 milligrams per serving, from about 480 milligrams. They originally ranged from 700 to 800 milligrams.

“Sodium reduction is important but we have to do other things, like taste and more culinary credentials,” Morrison said in the Reuters report.

Campbell also announced that it plans to shift the allocation of its R&D resources to ensure the company’s efforts are focused on a variety of ways to bring innovative products to market, not only on sodium reduction.

“We know that many consumers take great interest in the impact of the foods they eat on their long-term health and well-being,” said Morrison. “But we also recognize that the health and wellness attributes of foods mean different things to different people. For many, weight loss and weight maintenance is of primary importance. Others define their wellness needs in terms of vegetable nutrition, sodium reduction, energy and stamina, or digestive health. Thus, reducing sodium is just one component of our wellness strategy.

“Campbell offers consumers a choice of foods to suit their lifestyles and help them meet their dietary goals,”
she continued. “For example, we provide convenient and delicious ways for people to get more vegetables and whole grains in their diets, which is encouraged by the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines, but which most people fail to do. Our products can help consumers to meet the recommendations in the Guidelines, whether they are looking to incorporate more vegetables and whole grains in their diets or to decrease their consumption of calories or sodium.”


New Approach to Product Innovation Aims for 75 Percent Success Rate

Campbell Offers Consumers Expanded Assortment of Soup
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September 2011
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