There’s nothing a creative designer loves more than to be asked to launch a new product. There’s never really a blank sheet of paper in design, of course, as the product itself normally predates any brief the designer gets. Yet it has been one of the pleasures in my design career to have worked with Dale Sklar, owner of Wine and Spirit International, who has often spoken to me about new products in his portfolio of niche brands even before he’s started to produce them.
The design and marketing campaigns for a new product must also flow from the brand positioning and tone-of-voice that will resonate with the end user, or consumer. The colours, the visual language you create for the new product, grow out of the benefits and unique character of the product itself, its form and function and, in the case of lifestyle drinks products, its taste and flavour.
But then of course you don’t design simply to please yourself, or even to please your client or the brand manager. Your real master is the end user and the customer who will try, test and then hopefully buy the product. Design after all has a function. If a design is beautiful but doesn’t sell then, ultimately, it’s an unsuccessful design.
Colour, typography, photography, style all play a part in the launch of a new product, and then there are the various media channels that you choose to deliver the visual styling, the design that you’ve created. And thankfully I’ve usually been closely involved in choosing and developing the means of delivery for several new brands.
For many Wine and Spirit International products we used trade advertising and promotions, film tie-in and co-branded campaigns, direct mail, viral email campaigns, sponsorship of media events such as the Popbitch summer party, concert and event sponsorship and many more approaches even further outside the more traditional routes to market. These were chosen for their extended reach, and for their value to the individual products and decided by their fit with the positioning of the brand.
However, today it’s an even more exciting time for launching and evolving products into new markets of all kinds. Social and digital media and the web give the creative designer and the brand professional another palette to work with. The opportunity is there to add more depth, meaning and dimension to a brand – to more accurately target users and consumers, on and off-line.
This means new challenges too, but like many designers I see that as another chance to show my creative and design skills and approach new projects with social media delivery at the forefront of my thoughts. And to think the Web 2.0 and social media age is only just beginning. These are exciting times.