A new poll finds that 70% of marketers either launched a new line extension or developed a new innovation this year, and most rated that launch as the single most important initiative in their business in 2007. And 64% plan to do so again in 2008, according to Next Level SMG, the brand strategy firm conducted the survey.
More than half of those polled say they also focused on developing new marketing initiatives, new advertising, new packaging or new product design, and these changes were driven by a need to revitalize their image and enhance their consumer relevance.
Krauss, who defines relevance as whether a brand achieves a meaningful fit in a consumer's life, says this is an area of increasing concern. Currently, about 47% of those polled say their flagship brands have more relevance with customers than they did two years ago. But 31% say their relevance is slipping, and 22% believe they've stayed the same. "While this can be taken for granted sometimes, good marketers are really keeping on eye on this. Relevance is dynamic--it's constantly changing, based on competitive products and changes in consumers," Krauss says.
Finally, she says, many companies are acknowledging that they need to do some serious pruning in their brand portfolios. While 52% think they have the right number of brands to adequately cover their market, nearly one-third (31%) believe that they have too many. "And sometimes, those brands are just using up shelf space, and it's important to make way for new products," she says.
"But companies can place too much emphasis on new products," Krauss adds, "and while that drives short-term growth, they don't always create sustainable growth."