Brand Strategy

SPEEDING TO MARKET

EXECUTING WITH EXCELLENCE

David Ball
Account Director

September 16, 2019

In the world of CPG, speed to market is critical for every company. From the smallest organic farmer to the largest corporation, speed to market with innovative, trend-driven products are the key to success. Believe it or not, you can move quickly and still deliver groundbreaking strategic design solutions that drive trial and repeat purchases. Here is a guide to help you create an effective and successful go to market strategy.

Step one. Create a simple RACI to ensure that there are owners and approvers at every stage of the project. RACI is an acronym that stands for the following:

R = “The Doer”—The design firm responsible for doing the work

A = “The Approver”—The ultimate decision maker

C = “The Consultant(s)”—Various experts that provide insights on the project

I = “Informed”—This is someone that needs to be informed of the progress or outcomes of the project, but does not have any input or decision-making authority

To be truly successful, you can’t have multiple “A’s” or delegate your “A” to another team member. Also, the Informed must acknowledge they are there to monitor progress and shouldn’t derail the project with unexpected feedback.

Step Two. Write a creative brief that effectively outlines objectives and success criteria, which is approved by the “A.” Keep it simple: a succinct, well-written brief will keep the creative team focused.

Step Three. Create a realistic-but-efficient timeline that incorporates input from all the key stakeholders invested in the project from start to finish. Once this is created, hold everyone to the key dates and define consequences (in advance) if anything is missed.

To help build out this timeline, identify the project’s “must haves” and “nice to haves” for items that could add significant timing to your project. For example, new structure, name, USDA approvals, changes to production process, sourcing of unique ingredients, or the inability to manufacture in current facilities can significantly impact the overall timing for your project.

Step Four. Align on how to validate the designs. Does the “A” require qualitative and/or quantitative research to green light the project? At times, research is not required and the final decision will be made by internal alignment.

Step Five. Create the strategy that will drive the design exploration and promote effective creative reviews. A clear strategy that aligns with the brief removes subjectivity from design evaluation. For example, when there is no clear strategy, feedback becomes subjective and the project tends to swirl out of control, which ultimately adds frustration and extends your project timeline. Additionally, determine when does the “A” need to be involved, and you stick to the RACI chart in every meeting.

Step Six. Share designs with printers early in the process to ensure there aren’t any issues executing them. Align on printing techniques, capabilities and budgets, so the project is not derailed at the last minute. Once a final design is approved, have a preproduction call with the design firm, separator, printer, and client, so the design intent is clearly understood by everyone. This alleviates surprises or quality issues during the pressrun. Finally, require a representative from the design firm to attend the initial press run for final quality and consistency checks.

Speed to market is definitely a huge factor in a successful launch and staying ahead of the competition. That said, quality should never be sacrificed for speed. When clients say, “We don’t have time to make that change,” I like to challenge them with this: “Their bosses will forget if you are late, but will never forget if it is wrong.”

I guarantee when an inferior product or a poorly executed design lands on your CEO’s desk, he or she won’t buy the excuse of “We didn’t have time.”  A great leader has the courage to stop a project when it becomes clear the strategy is flawed, so that you can get back on track and execute with excellence. As a client once told me, “We only have one chance to make this work, so let’s make it worth it.” When leaders allow the team to take a step back and find the missing pieces, they will be empowered to build an effective brand strategy and execute a design that resonates with target consumers, drives trial, and increases sales. Once that phase is successfully completed, you can reignite the project and race to market.

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