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1. The product
development project
in the company

2. The organisation of
the product
development project

3. Product strategy
development: idea
generation and

4. Product strategy
development: product
concepts and design

5. Product design and
process development

6. Product

7. Product launch and

8. Summary: bringing
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8.10 Textbooks in
product development

Index of Examples &

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Product Launch and Evaluation


The launch to the consumer depends on the type of product, the budget and the general policy of the company. Products can vary in the consumers’ minds in terms of newness, the amount of 'learning' needed to adopt them and also the costs of trying them. If all three are high, the growth of sales is likely to be slow unless there is a very high budget. But there is also an element of risk, which could discourage the use of a high budget, favouring instead the use of a gradual launch through the market. At the other extreme, for example for a line-extension or an improved product, the product can be introduced quickly to as wide an area as possible.

There are three types of consumer launch:

      National Launch: the product is distributed to the total market area.
      This method is used if the competition is very close to launching a
      product that is similar or if the product change is minor. It does give
      a good start over the competition if the product is a success, but is
      very costly if the product is a failure.

      Area Launch: the product is launched in specific areas. Areas with the
      best potential are chosen: for example a wealthy area when it is a
      high priced or luxury food, and a strong ethnic area for an ethnic
      food. Some companies will choose to launch only in certain areas
      because they have neither the production capacity nor the
      distribution system to cope with a national market.

      Rolling Launch: this is much the same as an area launch in that it
      starts with one or two areas, then when the product has proved
      successful after a certain time, it is launched into another area(s).
      This is continued until it is selling through the whole market. The
      rolling launch is used when the product is innovative and the production
      and marketing are still under trial. This gives an opportunity to
      improve the product or perhaps prepare a line of products to make
      the production more efficient in terms of quality and quantity, and to
      make the marketing mix more effective. In other words, if the
      company needs a learning period, a rolling launch is preferable.
      But of course care needs to be taken that it does not give the
      competition time to come in and take a major part of the market.

Example 7.1 International launch of cranberry juice

Ocean Spray, the cranberry king, is about to become a missionary for the American holiday favourite, marketing it in 25 countries in the next five years. Transforming Ocean Spray into a global brand could be akin to trying to declare Thanksgiving a world-wide holiday.

Several years ago, efforts to introduce the Japanese to cranberry juice fizzled. The company shortened the name to Cranby to make it easier to say and served up a bland version for the Japanese palate. But the sales were disappointing, and the company pulled out quickly, though it recently introduced several cranberry drinks.

Ocean Spray's new strategy: Be patient, give away lots of samples to help people acquire a taste, and use market research to listen to the natives.

There are name problems: the brand name Ocean Spray, and the product name, cranberry. Ocean Spray sounds like a perfume. In Taiwan, the name used for Ocean Spray is Hoshien Pei which sounds similar but translates as healthy refreshment. In France the closest translation for cranberry is ‘airelle de myrtille', which sounds awkward. As a result, despite the French uproar about the invasion of English words, the company is leaning towards using 'le cranberry'.

Britain has already provided humbling lessons. Shortly after the juice was introduced there a decade ago Ocean Spray discovered that Britons don't like bottles. Instead they like to use juice boxes. But progress was made in Britain after Ocean Spray began to mix cranberry juice with blackcurrant juice, a f'ruity drink popular with British children in the 1950s and 60s And sales shot up after extensive publicity about a Harvard University study, sponsored by Ocean Spray, said that cranberry juice helps to prevent and treat urinary tract infections.

(Source: Pereira, J. (1995) 'Unknown fruit takes on unfamiliar markets', Wall Street Journal 9 November, B1. Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal. © 1995 Dow Jones & Company; Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.)

Think Break 7.2
Consumer launch: local and overseas markets

Using the cranberry example, list the factors that need to be considered when launching a product into an overseas market.

What are the differences in introducing a product to your local market and to an overseas market with which you are familiar?

Brand and product name are always important in introducing a new product. Discuss what should be considered when developing a brand name (1) in several languages and (2) for one general international brand.

What do you think are the important factors in choosing a product name?


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