How to ace a new product launch in the age of COVID-19
What do you do when you’re a world-leading brand that’s renowned for show-stopping new product launches. But… you can’t get in front of your customers because… COVID-19 has kiboshed that plan.
For years you're at the forefront of your customers' minds with your amazing brand innovations and creative launches. Your new product development presentations are in fact the stuff of legend. Talked about and celebrated long after you've left the room.
Better still, sales, influence, and marketing reach skyrocket because of a well-executed new product launch plan. And you’re also incredibly proud of how your product development and marketing teams come together to create the most memorable launches – each beating the last.
When a Standard Zoom Call Isn't Going To Cut It
This is exactly the situation one of our clients – a global drinks manufacturer – found themselves in just months before a planned new product launch and unveiling its five-year customer strategy.
We got a call asking for help, and when we heard how COVID-19 had royally stuffed up their high-profile customer engagement plans, we jumped at the chance to deliver a solution that would make an impact.
Our team loves a challenge, and we know many companies have similar needs from their new product launch presentations. So, here I'm sharing tips for how to ace a new product launch presentation, using a real-life example*.
Pushing the creative Boundaries To Ace A New Product Launch
It was clear from the initial conversations we had that this multinational really wanted us to push the creative boundaries of their new product launch and deliver a presentation campaign with a big wow factor. They wanted creativity, interactivity, energy and pace. Together with all the flexibility, dynamism and versatility of a face-to-face presentation.
This presentation was being delivered to multiple audiences and so it also required plenty of flexibility so the client could keep messaging on brand and tailor to different audiences. On top of this, each sub brand had its own identity and guidelines to honour, while ensuring the overarching brand flowed through the content and design. Oh, and did we mention there was a tight deadline?
First up is the discovery phase.
New Product Launch Presentation - Discovery Phase
To ace a new product launch presentation, you must start with the basics. Identifying the purpose of your presentation, your target audiences, what you want people to remember, and the actions you want them to take.
If you don’t clearly define all this at the start of the process, it’s all too easy to veer off course as multiple people get involved and, slowly but surely, your messages are diluted.
For our client, we took a deep dive into their brand, the company, products, sub-brands, everything. We examined brand guidelines and how the company is representing itself online, via social media, ads, and more. We also looked at different channels to get a good feel for what our client’s target audiences respond to and interact with.
Once you’ve done all of this, you’re ready to think about presentation structure, content, and design.
Storytelling and designing a new product Launch Presentation
Once you’ve outlined the purpose, key messages and call-to-action, you need a structure.
This is where storytelling comes into play. Stories are a universal language that people understand, relate to and they create an emotional connection with audiences.
There are plenty of helpful guides about how to structure your presentation story. Check out this one about how to tell a story in a virtual presentation.
Our client already had a clear presentation structure in mind, linked to their product launch category strategies and five-year plan. But the volume of information, charts, graphs, and images they wanted to share could easily overwhelm audiences. Each section was authored by a different department, and the overall presentation needed to cater to multiple target audiences.
So, we worked very closely with the client on each section to define the right structure and navigation, then pulling out the key messages, ‘must have’ content and supporting information. We also pulled everything together with a consistent tone of voice that stayed true to each brand personality – but overarched by the client brand.
As this aligned, we highlighted supporting information and linked everything, enabling the story to flow seamlessly between different sections. This would later allow presenters to skip past some areas and go straight to others (tailoring it to their different audiences).
While all of this came together, a team of designers were working with brand assets and their own creative expertise to build an initial look and feel for the presentation, and then develop the full deck.
When you’re trying to create a presentation that incorporates multiple brands and needs to speak to multiple audiences, that’s no mean feat. Start by thinking about slide layouts and colours that will work together, taking all the insights gleaned in the discovery phase to inform and inspire the look and feel of your presentation.
Our creative team recommended a menu-driven presentation deck, which our client bought into straight away, realising the benefits and ease of use, which were key.
Menu-driven presentations offer so much value because you can move quickly between different sections and use one master deck in different ways for different audiences. This saves time and effort creating multiple presentations and get the right template and you can use it time and again.
Crafting your Presentation Slides
Different rules apply when you’re presenting remotely, you’re going to need a little bit more text than we’d usually recommend on your slides to give people looking at it some context, but not too much, as you want them to listen to what you’re saying too.
So, use a few words for your key messages, then use visual cues including icons, images, graphics, and diverse ways to bring your messages to life and display your product features and benefits. Think about it like this – what do you want your audience to read in five seconds and then absorb visually while you speak about it.
Think multimedia too – videos and animations create interest, pace, and show creativity. Our client wanted us to go all out, which we did and were delighted with the result, which again they were astounded could be created in PowerPoint!
All the way through we built story, interest and added elements of surprise – focusing on the core benefits to the audience and making our clients look amazing at the same time.
Bringing it all together
At key stages we made sure that we played it back to our client, and there were plenty of last minute adds as brand plans were confirmed so we appointed a creative brand guardian to make sure that everything stayed on brand as well as on track.
The true beauty of PowerPoint is that it enables you to create a presentation that you can adapt to different audiences. The right template means you can create a master presentation – and then tailor certain areas to different audiences. You don’t have to create a separate presentation for each different audience. I mean who really has time for that nowadays anyway, right?
Here are a few things to remember:
- Create a story with a clear and compelling narrative and visual identity.
- Make the presentation relevant to each of your audiences.
- Create a connection between your products and audiences.
- Highlight the benefits.
- Show the commercial value.
- Demonstrate your value.
- Have a clear call to action.
Running alongside the presentation design and build, everyone on our team and the client’s focused on the bigger picture at play. How to execute the launch presentation to get the maximum engagement.
We knew the presenting medium – via Zoom calls. But rather than a one hit presenting wonder we adopted a campaign-style approach to build excitement about what was to come before the event, and what would follow.
So, rather than a one-off presentation this new product launch became a whole campaign.
Building the hype
Teasers are a terrific way to create a sense of interest/intrigue ahead of your new product launch. Don’t give too much away but speak to your audiences’ wants and needs in a way that grabs their attention and leaves them wanting more.
You can do this via:
- Teaser videos/animations.
- Email campaigns.
- Mail outs.
- And more.
The sky’s the limit. Base your approach on what will impress your target audience. Give them something they’ve never seen or experienced before.
For our client we created a pre-presentation teaser video to get everyone excited about the launch. The teaser was on brand and used some graphic elements from the main presentation to pique interest.
The main presentation included a feature video to sell in the client as the expert in their field and detail more about future plans. And a follow up video rounded up the launch and next steps with a strong focus on the partnership between client and customer.
Coming full circle
So, you’ve just delivered the best presentation the world (or your customers at least) has ever seen. You’re confident that it’s memorable, but what happens next?
Don’t simply leave it there. Follow up with a final campaign element that is equally as engaging as the teaser. It should involve your audiences and reinforce the action that you want them to take – and that you’ll be taking too.
Wow your audiences with your next new product development presentation campaign. Click the button below to find out how we can help.