Having worked on launching life science products and therapies to the global market for more than 30 years, I have seen and experienced a lot when it comes to launch strategy. The key lesson I have learned is that to succeed, we must be open to failure—and ensure we are learning from our mistakes as we tweak, reset, and then redo as necessary.
Launching a product is often an unknown, but what about relaunching one? Entrepreneurs can spend months working on new products, bringing in agencies and experts, but when it comes to relaunching we often use a known-to-succeed formula rather than approaching it as a new project. Here I will offer my advice for any entrepreneur or business looking to remarket and relaunch a product.
There are many reasons you may decide to relaunch a product, so you first need an accurate diagnosis of why the brand is under-performing and why it needs to be relaunched.
Areas to explore are the strategic choices that have been made:
What are the core insights that are fuelling the strategy? Are they working for you? You’ll know this by considering the following:
- Is your vision one that creates value for customers whilst also being competitive?
- Is where you have chosen to focus for growth – big enough (ie is the growth you require realistic) AND are you confident that you have nailed how to win there. With which stakeholder (s) do you need to win and what is the behaviour needed to drive? Are you clear about what it is going to take to drive that behaviour? Getting your internal stakeholders aligned around how you want your customers to think, feel and act, is key.
- Is the way you have decided to position your brand driving demand and motivating the desired behaviour change? Is the benefit you are offering, one they care about?
- Have you understood and built the distinctive capabilities required to support the activation of the relaunch?
- Are you investing in initiatives that provide brand experiences that align to your vision and that are effective at driving the desired behaviour change?
Relaunching is about revisiting and strengthening the strategic choices you have made and re-allocating resources to support the refreshed/winning strategy.
From the outset of the re-launch, you should re-group frequently to capture learnings, convert learning to insight and make sure you are leveraging these insights – be willing to let go of anything that is not giving you the desired return on investment or improve on the execution of the initiative so that it does.
Non-negotiables to consider when relaunching a product:
Clarity and alignment across the team/business on the choices that have been made and what that means at an individual level.
Clarity and alignment across the team/business on what you’re measuring and tracking to ensure the relaunch is a success.
Clarity on what you should be achieving in relation to these indicators [ie an action standard] for you to be successful so that you learn and just get better and better at converting the learning into insight and the insight into action/reallocation of resources.
Not being scared of failure, and learning from the successes as well as failures.
A team with a winning mindset and ‘can do’ attitude.
An agile way of working.
What other departments do they need to work with?
In the pharmaceutical sector, the core team members are research & development, medical affairs, and commercial. The extended team members will include supply & logistics, regulatory, policy teams, etc. You need to consider what are your essential team components for your industry?
I would advise all departments to work cohesively through an app such as NMBLR to ensure strategy is processed and followed no matter where the various teams are located..
What are the common mistakes brands, that are being relaunched, can make?
A focus on tactics at the exclusion of rechallenging the strategy
Trying to find someone or a team to blame
Not understanding the importance of having a cohesive strategy
Not being sufficiently agile or embracing agile ways of working
An over-reliance on what has worked in the past and or past experience rather than looking at the new world we live in with a fresh set of eyes.
Making decisions based on assumptions/ or on conclusions that have been drawn that are not supported with evidence.
Lack of understanding of how that customer journey needs to change for you to be successful. and what you need to invest in to shape that customer journey.
Relaunching a brand is as critical as launching it in the first place. Why? Because it is an opportunity to get your customers to sit up and pay attention to how what you are offering can positively impact their lives.
- Always start with the end in mind. How do you want your customers to think, feel and act as a result of your new brand?l
- Don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Talk to your internal stakeholders and your customers. Find out what they think, what’s important to them. Get them aligned. They play a key role in your brand relaunch efforts.
- Give your customers a reason to care. Relaunching a brand needs to focus squarely on how it will benefit them.
- Harness the power of your brand story to create clear and compelling message that engage your customers and drive uptake. This requires testing, refining and re-testing your brand messaging before you go prime time.
- Don’t be afraid to be bold – building brand experiences that align with your vision is critical
About the author: Janice MacLennan is CEO and founder of St Clair Consultancy, offering marketing and strategy advice to pharmaceutical and life sciences companies. She recently launched the NMBLR app to enable global teams to work across timezones coherently and consistently to bring new products to market and commercial success.