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The term „innovation” is associated with change leading to great and rapid success. However, contrary to this widely held belief, truly new product or service ideas often require several years - if not decades - to become widely accepted ( some examples can be seen in the graphic below). 73% of all new products launched every year are flops. – And, objectively speaking, superior product quality doesn’t result “automatically” in success. Hundreds of products clearly won in tests of „Stiftung Warentest“, Germany’s leading independent test organisation – but weren’t purchased by consumers in sufficient quantities to survive.

Considerable experience has proven that the majority of innovations initially fail due to emotionally or factually suboptimal details which cause misperceptions and therefore rejection. Often the real benefits of the innovative offer are not communicated well. Subconscious fears that arise are sometimes addressed in the wrong way, or relevant target groups struggle to understand how the new product will influence their everyday life. If marketing wants to influence the consumers' acceptance of innovative offers systematically through optimum product positioning and well targeted communication there are two important factors to be considered namely: it must know the motives why a truly new idea is well received and if it isn’t just short lived euphoria also, often more importantly, the real causes of an initial rejection. The rest should be seen for what it is – a lottery. (The so called trial and error approach is rarely successful.)– Insights of projective techniques such as the Limbique Emotional Explorer have often succeeded to turn innovations into rapid successes which initially were prone to be failures (see also Dymo LabelWriter).

The know how and idea has been around for decades, that freshly drafted beer causes significantly better quality perceptions than beer from a bottle. However, numerous attempts to launch a draft beer system at home have ended in failure. Relevant projective market research insights have made a difference to this situation and enabled inbev (Beck’s) and Philips to achieve an instant and outstanding success. The PerfectDraft system met conscious as well as unconscious target group requirements optimally. Just to mention some ingredients of their recipe of success: Real beer tap, integrated cooling system, attractive and representative design (which was also well received by females – previously a major barrier), 6 litre barrel (most barrel quantities were previously too large) and convenient handling guaranteed perfect fresh beer experience up to 28 days after the first draft from the barrel. Based on historic experiences the resulting demand was underestimated: Beck’s responded with a campaign to recycle the beer barrels as soon as possible as initially demand far exceeded the barrel production capacity. – This problem, we are sorry to observe, allowed me too’s to catch up.

Methods used: Projective techniques, ad effect pretest, market simulation

Andree Lenatz, Lebensmittel Zeitung 16.12.2005; Ralf Mayer de Groot, John Mason: 11 Things you need to know about Innovation, Frankfurt, London 2013; Ralf Mayer de Groot: Innovationen: Rational klasse, aber emotional erfolglos (Innovations: Rationally great, but emotionally often flops), Markenartikel 6/2009 (magazine of the German brand organisation “Markenartikelverband”)