As a product manager, you’re often times required to manage your product line by balancing the operational needs of your company with the needs of your consumer. Your company wants you to manage your product line’s profitability, which often results in changing a recipe, an ingredient, a component, etc. that can ultimately have a negative impact on your product’s performance and/or perceptions at shelf.
If you’re making significant changes to your product, keep these things in mind as you look to potentially reposition it in consumers’ minds:
1) Give the changes a reason for being. If you’re taking some component or cost out of your end product, will consumers notice? If they’re going to notice, you’ll have to ground the changes in a story that makes them say “OK, I get it,” so they will continue to buy it anyway. Consumers are well aware that “whipped” products are the result of air being blown into them, and yet they continue to buy them for the “lower calorie” benefits they provide. It makes sense.
2) Take something and give something in return. If you have to eliminate something from a product, can you now add something that costs less but provides additional benefits? If so, you can turn your story into a positive for the consumer, who might just accept your new offering if it really delivers on a consumer need.
3) Completely reposition. If your product—or service for that matter—is going to change significantly, be sure to go back to square one and test your new concept with consumers to find out how to deliver on a consumer need in your communications. Completely revamping a product or service requires revisiting the needs of your target base and talking about your new product in a way that resonates with them. It may not be the same way you communicated with them before the changes, so be sure to do your homework.
The best advice for any product change is to ask yourself “what’s in it for my consumers?” Find a way to connect with them and tell your new story in a meaningful way and your product will have an extended shelf life—until the next product change comes around anyway!
Patti Purcell brings 25+ years of journalism and marketing skills together to provide national and international companies with outstanding concept writing services via the company she founded in 2006, Writing by Design, LLC. She and her growing team, based in Wisconsin, have written hundreds of concepts and achieved many successful A.C. Nielsen BASES test scores over the last 10 years using their Crystal Clear™ concept writing methodology.