When Steve Jobs introduced the world to his plans for the iPhone in January 2007, he created such excitement and anticipation that when the product launched later that June, people lined up in droves days in advance to get their hands on it. Three years later, Jobs again got people talking and driving demand by introducing the world to the first iPad. An amazing 300,000 sold the first day the product was available. These examples from master marketer Jobs offer an important lesson for any business – building awareness for new products stimulates sales. That’s why it’s vital -- and profitable -- to integrate public relations (PR) into your product launches.
Making PR Fit into Product Launches PR should be considered in every product launch because it can enhance business impact. Whether a media relations driven program to support a local restaurant, a trade show launch to unveil the latest B2B software that every manufacturer needs, or the latest consumer electronics device that everyone will clamor over, the right PR strategy can make your launch a success. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.
A National Splash Through Events & Media Relations Earlier this year, the HDC PR team was asked by Koss Corporation to help launch its newly created Koss Fit Series product line co-designed by U.S. Olympian Dara Torres.
The team strategized a number of ideas, including where a launch would make sense, timing it with product availability in retail outlets across the country, and then finding the perfect venue to showcase both our client and our spokesperson. The results have been golden. More than 80 million media impressions via TV, print, online and radio outlets. Blog posts across the country talking about the product. And feature stories in leading publications including USA Today, The New York Times and ABC News. The client saw an instant uptick in traffic to their site, and sales have been stimulated throughout the launch period. All driven by an effective PR launch strategy.
Regionalizing a Product Launch with PR But not everything needs to be a national product launch. Sometimes the impact needs to be felt on a regional and/or local level; such was the case for a Midwest-based custom bed manufacturer, Verlo Mattress Factory. In fall of 2012, Verlo seized upon an opportunity that connected the passion of Wisconsin football fans with one of the state’s most iconic products – cheese -- to create some buzz and get fans into their stores.Through a carefully orchestrated PR program, we helped Verlo introduce Wisconsin (and the world, for that matter) to the Cheesehead Bed.
HDC’s focused media relations-efforts combined with two strategic events to get the news of the Cheesehead Bed to consumers. The team leveraged the right spokesperson – a former football legend – to speak on their behalf.. And a carefully orchestrated media blitz across the state then coincided with two consumer-focused events.The results – stories across the state in key markets, the highest single-day increase in web traffic in the company’s history, and an estimated 22 percent increase in foot traffic at stores throughout the state.
Get Running with PR Sometimes niche or trade product launches can be just as important to a company. Whether it’s a manufacturer-focused product launch or something that runners will long to sign up for, it is all about the best approach to engage the right audience. For Ragnar Relay Series, HDC took a media relations-only approach to launch their new product to the running community – Ragnar Trail Relays presented by Salomon. This included offering the news release and story one day in advance to the top two running publications nationally – Runner’s World and Competitor -- both of which were thrilled with the notice and featured our client on launch day. The team then conducted ongoing outreach to additional trade and local media in each community, resulting in tremendous buzz in key markets that spurred registration.
It’s Go Time Sounds easy, right? Have a product to launch, just turn on the PR switch, right?
If only it were so simple, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any launch. The most successful product launch strategies are carefully thought out to weigh the potential impact with the client’s expectations. Not everything warrants national attention and sometimes, what clients feel is big news really isn’t. Understanding this, along with the appropriate relationships and PR tools to make a launch go, can position your company - and its products - for success, drive awareness and, ultimately, impact sales. So, what’s your next product launch strategy and how can we help?